Sunday, April 28, 2013

quiet sunday

sophie napping in the window
freshly baked chocolate donuts
a tree so...
unbelievably pink
madelinetosh dk merino in 'ms. taylor'
equal parts leftover daffodil and onionskin dyes

Thank you to those who left kind comments and sent 
 emails regarding the passing of my friend.

They made me realize how lucky I am
to have such dear and supportive people in my life.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

"Our friend Jim died on Saturday."
It took a moment for the words to sink in.
They still don't feel real.

The world will be a bit darker now
without his bright smile and generous heart.
xo, j

Saturday, April 20, 2013

hammer in hand

top to bottom: forsythia, daffodils, tulips
violets folded and hammered into fabric 

un-dyed yarn, daffodil yarn, holly nostepinne, bookbinding hammer

It's a bright and windy spring day here.
I put some more yarn in the mordant bath this morning
and then made for the local park, hammer in hand.

The book I've been referencing for some of my dyeing experiments,
Harvesting Color, by Rebecca Burgess, has a section on direct dyeing.

I presoaked my muslin in soda ash and then placed fresh violets on
one half of the cloth, folded the other side over, sprayed with a 
solution of soda ash/water then gently hammered the flowers
to release their dye.

A woman and her dog wandered my way to ask what I was doing
while others stayed close by and tried not to stare!

Tonight I will cook up a dye bath of red onion skins.
The top photo shows the blooms I am collecting and drying 
to use in a mixed dye bath.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

the finished product

Well, the dye lost its brilliant orange color and 
ended up a nice golden hay color.
I left one skein in the dye bath overnight to see if it would darken
but the color was the same this morning.
I'll use the remaining dye as a base for a bag of red onion skins
collected from the grocery store.

The grey sweater was finished last night and blocked this morning.
It's as soft as a cloud and the fit is loose and very comfortable.
I didn't get to plant the seedlings as planned, soon...

The morning is grey but vibrating with the acidic green of new leaves
and the smell of rain and chlorophyll.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

the dyeing process

Last night I put 5lb. of daffodils and a handful
of red onion skins in the dye pot and simmered it for an hour.
Left to steep overnight and through the day, 
I then strained out the organic material and poured 
the dye back into the pot.

A quick pre-soak of the mordanted wool and into the pot to simmer for an hour.
Just before the timer rang I put a teaspoon of Soda Ash into the mix.
A yellow froth hissed up and bubbled for a bit then I put the pot aside to cool.
For now its a nice burnt orange color, we'll see how it rinses out and dries.

While the pot simmered I folded some seed starter pot from newspaper.
I found an easy to follow tutorial here.
I used a half page from the NY Times Book Review to get small containers.
Tomorrow morning I'll plant some tomato seeds before work.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

sunday at home

the sweetest little pink flowered strawberry plant 
complete with 3 berries and more to come.

I did all my running around on Saturday 
so I could stay home and work on Sunday

First, I bound 25 signatures in another coptic book.
Orange endpapers and thread with a finished thickness of 1 3/4".
My ever watchful assistant was fascinated by the thread as I sewed.

Then wound three skeins of un-dyed merino wool, each weighing 2 lb.
An hour simmer in the mordant bath and then a rinse and dry in the shower.
Tomorrow I will boil the daffodil flowers and then steep the dye overnight.
Hopefully the yarn will be dyed on Tuesday night!

And I also finished one sleeve of my sweater, only one more to go.
I hope everyone had a great weekend too.

Friday, April 12, 2013

bookbinding at work

Today it was my turn to do an in store-demo at work.
I always do a bookmaking project; this time it was coptic binding.
The signatures were made from some rag paper greeting cards that we sell.
It was a quick way to make a text block and worked well.

I love the combination of the linen cloth with the lilac endpapers and thread.
The endpaper is handmade and unfortunately the book board
shows through a bit, but no one seemed to mind.
Covering the board with a white insert would fix that problem.

I have some leftover materials so maybe I'll make a few more this weekend.
It felt good to make books again but now I'm exhausted!

Monday, April 08, 2013

magnolia tree

While driving home from work I noticed this 
White Royal Star Magnolia tree in bloom.
I love the petals and the strong sweet smell.
Sure to wake up the bees!

Sunday, April 07, 2013

in the bag

Cleaned out my bag today.
Keys, wallet, lucky NYC map, earbuds, necessities, glasses
address book, iphone, flashlight, sunglasses, business cards 
and hot chocolate flavored lip balm.

Boiled some chicken, stock is now in the freezer.
The day was soft.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

an apricot colored day

It was a pretty spring day,
a chill in the shade and warm in the sun.

Apricot roses and cookies this morning.
Knitting, work at the drawing table
and I made a simple muslin curtain for my window.

In the afternoon I took a ride out to Echo Hill Farm,
an Amish run Dry Goods store that offers
organic foods without all the fancy packaging.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

mushrooms and knitting

A few days ago I started growing some oyster mushrooms 
from a box kit made by a company called Back to the Roots.
The company was started by two college friends who experimented
with growing mushrooms in recycled coffee grounds.
Super easy, a great way to recycle and I can't wait to eat them!

Knitted a couple of rows this morning, more this evening.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

A Walk After Work


inside the hive
frog eggs 

along the floodplain

Today was bright but very brisk.
After work I decided to go for a walk at Pool Wildlife Sanctuary.
It may look like winter but flowers and beasts were easily found.
A lovely way to close the day.

Monday, April 01, 2013

April is Here

Within weeks the cherry and apple trees will be blooming.
Yesterday was all steady rain and today the sun is bright,
so is the pattern that awakens the trees and flowers.

I've been unwell again.
Last week a small itch on my arm covered my torso and arms
overnight with large red welts and little pustules!
Contact dermatitis.

I went to the doctor twice and am now on steroids to stop the progression.
I don't like taking medications and this one makes me a bit restless.
So yesterday I stitched together the hankie window shade, painted the rabbit 
and the polar bear and frantically knitted away on my grey sweater.
Oh, and the apartment has been thoroughly straightened!
Needless to say, sleep has been difficult.

I also just bought a new camera.
These are my first photos taken with it.
All the settings are right out of the box as I haven't taken
the time to read through my manual yet.
It's a bit steps.