Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Solar dying

I had to laugh when I saw these jars filled with fabric, the last time I used the jars was when I canned fruits and vegetables. Well, enough of that. I saw on http://riihivilla.blogspot.com/ (a wonderful natural dyer in Finland) that she solar dyes, layering the dye stuff and wool yarn. Check out her blog and be sure to go back to the June 21 blog where she begins to tell about solar dying. I tried a few jars last Thursday. The jars are layered with (premordanted alum and cr. of tarter) wool fabric, The one on the left I pushed some of the fabric in and added some annatto seeds (orange color), a little more fabric then osage orange wood shavings (gold color) and then another layer of the annatto seeds. The next jar is layered cochineal (red), osage orange and the top layer is chopped up madder root (rusty red). After I layer the jars I poured simmering hot rain water over the top and capped them.

The next morning the madder root and cochineal jar was beginning to work. I hope the fabric turns out with a layered look.

Four days later after sitting in the hot sun and adding a teaspoon of washing soda to the annatto (nothing was happening until I added the soda and then magic!!). The fabric is becoming darker and darker. I'll probably leave the fabric in the jars until the weekend then rinse it out. I'm trying not to move the jars and disturb the colors.

Last Friday my husband and I packed up the camper and our fishing boat and went north for a long weekend. Michigan has so many beautiful inland lakes and if your lucky a pair of loons on the lake. We spent our days on the lake, my husband fishing while I quilted and took pictures.

The water lilys were in full bloom, which I added to my turtle, frog, snake block (forgot to take a picture of it).

A pair of looms, they have the most wonderful haunting call. Every evening and early morning you can hear them.

Usually loons are very shy and when you boat up to them they dive under the water and reappear a long way away. I was happy we got so close to this pair.

And overhead was a bald eagle fishing. (a little fuzzy).

And on every fallen log in the waters of Michigan we have turtles sunning themselves.

On our way north we went by my husbands grandparents home where his mother was raised. This will be the next house in my family tree quilt. And along side the house will be the little outhouse they had.

One note on my fabric soaking in the birch bark water. It was looking great after a week, then I decided to simmer the bark and water and add the fabric to see if would become a darker peacy/yellow. Well, that was a bad idea, it became a dull tan. I think the heat made to much tannin in the water. So tonight I will start over with soaking the fabric in the bark just out in the sun.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Roof top garden

Last evening was my Herb Societies 25Th anniversary. We celebrated at our local college where they had a roof top garden put in. We also have a herb garden there for the people to enjoy.
The live garden on the roof should last 50 years with very little maintenance.

This is a portion of the gardens. They were planted in a checker board pattern (looks like a nine-patch to a quilter) using different types of sedum. They are a succulent plant that hold a lot of water. They are very efficient plants for water conservation.

close up of the 9 patch

One small area also included some native grasses.

Down from the roof garden through a court yard is the Sensory Herb garden. We planted it years ago and maintain it for the college. A lot of the different herbs are planted in these tall sewer pipes.

Clever idea using these as planters, each plant identified with markers.

A pretty sundial in the middle.

This morning as I was leaving for work I noticed these cute mushrooms in our lawn, they are paper thin and look like little mix drink umbrellas. I wish I would have planted them in a pot, right now my husband is home mowing the lawn and they'll probably on their way to being chopped up, darn.

Another cute plant I have is this cinnamon basil. The stems and flowers are deep purple. It smells wonderful and they use the leaves in Asian cooking.

This is my rose scented geranium, there's many different varieties of the scented geraniums from apple, coconut, rose, pineapple etc. Their not grown for their flowers as their very small, just for their scent. I learned last night you can make a wonderful lemonade punch from the leaves. You pick a handful, rinse and pour boiling water over them. Let them seep, discard the leaves and add the liquid to a pink lemonade. Last night at our party we had lemonade punch made this way using lavender blossoms, it was real good.

Deb asked about using birch bark in Alaska for natural dying, I sure it will be great, just don't use too old, dried out bark (years ago I tried some and didn't get much). The books say you should get a pink with it, mine so far is a wonderful light peachy yellow. I still have it soaking in the hot sun, I'm trying a little solar dying. Next week I'll show you.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pow Wow / birch bark dye

Fourth of July weekend we camped at the Manistee Pow wow, it's always well attended and beautiful. One special group that was there were native people with Aztec ancestry from Mexico. They put on special dance performance. They began by burning sage and blessing the arena in the four directions.

You can see the man blowing a conch shell during the ceremony.

After the blessing a women took over on the drum. She was a powerful drummer.

Dancing with the drum.

After the Aztecs, the Pow wow resumed with the traditional Native dancers. This was a great men's traditional outfit. The head piece is a traditional piece from the Mamdam (sp?) people of Northern Montana and Idaho. His appliqued was beautiful.

This bustle on the dancers back was all eagle feathers. If made correctly the bustle sways with the dancers movements.

I love how kids play together, skin color is invisible. This little native boy is wearing a traditional grass dancers outfit. Traditionally grass dancers lived on the plains out west and before a pow wow or important ceremony they (much older dancers) would stomp the grasses down. When they dance the fringe on their outfits sway as the grasses move in the wind. It's a beautiful dance.

They have a Miss Princess contest with quite strict rules. Katie (the girlfriend of one of the drummers on my husbands drum) won the contest. She will represent the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians for the next year. She is a wonderful person. She did the red, white and blue floral bead work on her outfit.

Well, our kids have gone back home and it's time to get out the dye pots! My girlfriend called and said she had some birch bark and wanted to know if I wanted it for dying. I went there was quick as I could to pick it up (thank you Sandy). I chopped it up and put it in a bucket of water to set a week or so before using it as a dye. They say you should be able to get pink.

I put in a couple of rocks in to hold the bark down. This is the color of the water after 12 hours. Next week I'll add the wool.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

After the 4th

I hope you had a wonderful Holiday weekend. We were busy, busy, busy ending with the fireworks, which we're great this year. The little ones were so excited. When we arrived home one of the twins grabbed this little quilt from a chair and promptly fell asleep under it. He's the one who uses their Halloween wall hanging for a a quilt on his bed in the fall. I made this small quilt in 1991 with blocks I won at my quilt guild.

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo