Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Playing with the dye pots

When we were picking the St. John's Wort I saw a wonderful field full of Black-eye Susan's (away from any people) and I remembered reading about dying with them, so I decided to try. When I got home I looked it up and the author recommended dying with them when they were past peak, mine were at peak, but I thought I'd try. I can't remember what color you could get with them, but I didn't get it.
The first piece of fabric with just with the alum mordant, the second I dropped in a piece of lead in the dye pot and got a nice brown gray. The colors I've been getting aren't to exciting but they are good colors for my "nature" blocks. I have a lot of bright color wool that I can't use very often, but on my "family tree" quilt I'm working on they will be used in the lattice strips. This is my patch of sage, its not the edible type, its for smudging. It smells wonderful but not very dark in color. I thought I'd try it and see if I'd get anything.
I was happy I got this much color. This weekend I thought I'd try ivy, I'm still trying for that elusive green. My red clay is still curing, I'm afraid to wash it.

My girlfriend Judy is a wonderful knitter, she brought her wool shawl she just finished to bee, it is so beautiful, I wish it was mine. Every section of the shawl is a different type of knit, some sections have beads knitted in.
My good friend Nancy Waters in running for County Clerk, she is such civic minded person and such a blessing for our community. She should be running for Governor. Here we are on her float in a parade.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My natural dying season begins

I'm so excited to be starting to natural dye fabrics this summer. My goal this summer is to find a green dye from Michigan plants without over dying yellow with indigo (which I do at the end of the summer with all the yellow fabrics I don't like). I thought I had a great start on my goal, I found a big field filled with the correct type of St. John's Wort, my friend Sandy drove me through the woods and into the field where we proceeded to pick the tiny little flowers for a hour. She has this great "Mule" that's a lot of fun to go "two-tracking" through the woods with. Two-tracking might be a Michigan word. This is my pot of St. John's Wort, I think if you double click on the picture you can see the tiny black dots along the edge of the plant. I followed the directions very carefully and put in my small piece of fabric, let it simmer and it came out green! Not dark green but a pretty green. I was suppose to put other fabrics in for other colors but the dye was exhausted. So the next day my husband drove me back to the field and we picked another ton of flowers. I brewed up another pot and thought I would put the same fabric in and it would turn out more even colored and darker.
I dropped it in and it instantly turned tan with rosy spots! I was not happy. I don't know why it did this. It's the end of the season for the flowers and I'm not getting the intense colors the books say you should, so next year in June I'll try again.
Then, I looked at my big rosemary plant and thought "let see what color I get from it", well I got green, not a wonderful green but it is green. I have 2 other pots developing, one is black-eye susan, which they say to let the flowers and fabric soak quite a while and I have my red clay from Utah developing with fabric. And I have a big patch of sage growing in my garden looking at me that I'm going to try.
Oh, and yesterday while on the net I found a natural dying class in Arizona. It is a 3 day intense dying workshop (all dying, no weaving) taught by a Navajo women I believe on the reservation. (You go out in the field and harvest the plants to dye with and dye over a fire outside) I called up the coordinator and register for next August!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Native Mass at the Cathedral

Last weekend my husband and I went to Detroit for a special Mass at the Catholic Cathedral, it is so beautiful. Every year they celebrate the Feast of Kateri Tekakwitha. She was a Native American born in 1656 and was baptized April 18, 1676 into the Catholic faith. She was persecuted by her people for her christian beliefs. She died April 17, 1680 and many miracles have been associated with her. She has been declared Blessed by Pope John Paul and hopefully soon will be declared a saint. We arrived early and I photographed the alter floor with its inlaid tile. Wouldn't this be a beautiful quilt?Some of the other areas, what great inspiration.

They had a lot of beautiful stained glass windows. I love the old churches.

Their pipe organ in front of the stained glass.

My husband on the drum, they sat on the alter for the mass and played the music.
This is a native lady's bead work on the back of her poncho. She's an amazing women and a wonderful Christian. When she was 7 she died, (she had polio in her lungs), while the Dr. worked on her, she had this vision. This bead work was her vision. I can't remember all the story but the top cross is for Jesus, the bottom heart is the Native American heart and the bluebird is for happiness, (there's a lot more to the story). Anyway, she was brought back to life and ever since has had visions.

The procession to the alter.

Some of the local young people with their traditional Mayan outfits. I thought they had beautiful applique but I believe the designs were painted on.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bead Work

At the pow wow this weekend there were some wonderful bead artists. This native lady was beading a dance fan. I never saw this technique done before, in the hoop was a layer of Aida (counted cross stitch) cloth , then felt, and then on top was a piece of paper (old calender) that she drew on the pattern. The design came to her in her dream. After she is done beading she will cut the fan out and put a layer of leather behind it. The picture does not show the true beauty of the bead work. Notice the leaves on the ground. Her mother, Marie is highly respected for her herbal medicine she makes. Everyone swears by salves. This is the lady with her mother in the dancing circle. The women dancing behind them has wonderful applique on her dress.

This is a Mullein plant. These are the leaves that they were drying. In my plant book it states: boil the leaves and apply them to body joint to relieve the aches of rheumatism. to the head to relieve a headache. Smashed leaves were used for respiratory ailments. Marie also had a glass gallon bottle filled with St. John's Wort flowers and water (or some kind of clear liquid). St. John's Wort flowers are suppose to be a fun plant to natural dye with and I want to try it but I have a problem, the description in my dye book says the flower petals have black dots along the edges. I can not find any plants with the black dots on the edges. The plants fit the description in every other way. Does anyone have an answer? Am I finding the wrong species? In my plant book is says, fresh flowers steeped in olive oil or alcohol will yield a bright red lotion for cuts, sores and minor burns.

Some of the dancers bead work.

This was the head dancers, her dress has to be so heavy and warm. When the native lady (I don't know her name) talked about dreaming her designed I was reminded of the quilt design I had dreamt of. It was a full size pieced pear quilt,when I woke up I thought "that was a goofy design idea", but the idea stayed with me and when my bee had a fabric challenge I used the idea for my wall hanging. The pears, corner squares, little boarder, silk ribbon, button and embroidery thread I dyed myself. The outside boarder and leaf fabric was the challenge fabric. I purchased a fabric with a lot of texture for my background. The flowers I picked from my garden and matched so well I photographed them with the quilt.

Close up of the pear and ribbon with the hand dyed buttons.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy 4th of July

We're home from camping, had a wonderful week with the kids. This is my grandson posing for a Fourth of July picture. The quilt he is sitting on I made with my collection of patriotic fabrics. It's a crazy quilt flag for my table.This vase is a Mountain Dew bottle special for the Fourth. I believe it aluminum but doesn't seem to have a paper coating. I thought it was so cute for a vase.
This picture I took while we were out camping, as it is so hard to get a good picture of all four boys together I was very happy with this one. One shot thats all the time they gave me before they ran to play.
The boys have been playing on the Native drum when they come home since they were about 4 months. This was last nights "drum practice". The littlest one was so excited he bounced up and down and beat the drum until he had a blister on his hand. Notice the short drum stick Grandpa has, he made all the kids their own little sticks and they all want to use the long adult sticks. The kids have a few more days here before their father flys up and drives them back home. We're leaving tomorrow for Manistee to camp a couple days at a Native American pow wow. I'm going to check out the beads, maybe next week I can get back to quilting!

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo