Saturday, September 16, 2017

knitting and dyeing

Butterflies were everywhere today, it was so cool. You sort of can't feel too bad about anything when there are dozens of butterflies fluttering around you. On flowers, in the grass, everywhere, some even brushed ever so lightly by my hair.

I am knitting more lately and if I'm not knitting I'm thinking about knitting...a little bag being worked with five needles...and more hexipuffs worked with three needles to someday be assembled into the beekeeper quilt. I feel like I've gently slipped into a groove where knitting comes easy so I'm going to ride it out as long as it lasts.

The Japanese indigo has been maturing for some time and I knew I couldn't delay much longer before the leaves would be unusable. It was perfect timing, the leaves were not only supple and abundant, their color held strong as well. I tried some simple shibori techniques that came out a little wonky but was a glorious day and I am so happy with the outcome. I just wish I had been better prepared with a few skeins of naked yarn to dye.

I love these darker days with cooler nights and getting to wear a sweater again. I am rearranging tabletops all over the house with stones and candles and seed pods and acorns and whatever else I find. The other day when I was out walking Talula, a man in the neighborhood gave me a plastic grocery bagful of acorns he'd just picked off his lawn. I'd never seen so many acorns from one oak tree, it must have been the perfect year for them, unusual for here.

Thanks for visiting and happy weekending. I will either be knitting or thinking about it.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

a cornucopia

Starting with the new moon in Leo on August 21st, I began a focus on abundance with the Roman goddess Abundantia. At first I didn't feel any connection with Abundantia whatsoever but after learning that her symbol was the cornucopia, I was all in. I love cornucopias, I have no idea why but I do. After I dug mine out of storage, I created an abundance altar. I began filling the cornucopia with reminders of abundance -- small (in size) gifts from friends, pieces of paper I'd written on and folded little, a flower from the garden and so on. Each day I add something and by the time of the full moon, this cornucopia will be overflowing. Abundantia, in case you're wondering, has a more well-known counterpart -- the Greek goddess Gaia.

I love that the light has changed enough that I feel like lighting candles during the day again. 

My newest garden ritual: Every morning there are dozens more dyer's coreopsis flowers to be picked and dried for making future dye. My little granddaughter helped me one morning, we both loved that, I hope she remembers doing it.

Our first morning glory blossom floating in the middle of the air.

Various stages of drying...maiden, mother, crone.

I finished knitting and blocking the Stitch Sampler Shawl. It's a generous size, about 17"x62" and was wonderful fun to knit. I almost want to start another one.

I'm intentionally slowing down at this, the busiest time of year. There is something about just going along, doing my thing. Not thinking about how time flies or whether there's enough time to do it all.

I want to hold onto this feeling. Thanks for visiting here. xx 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

more than expected

And there is more Dyer's coreopsis for drying and dyeing. Everyday there is more, this plant blooms her heart out.

It started with needing a cloth for my little altar table, something that would reflect this month of August with all its vibrant colors -- too soon to go into the dark.

A pre-cut stack of cotton squares was put to good use. A spontaneous project from the start, I didn't want to overthink it or be too precise. 

Our Talula on her spot outside the back door gnawing down a rib bone for both calcium and cleaning her teeth. It was meaty when she started.

The result of the bindweed dye I made with homegrown bindweed vines (ha)...a soft gold on silk and cotton, darker on wool. 

Flowers were picked during a drizzle. Once I had the cloth ironed I couldn't wait for a vase of flowers. 

The patchwork isn't backed and bound yet, I couldn't wait for that either. I'll do that in September with some kantha stitching as well.

The onion blossoms are setting seed, more than anyone could ever want. I'll save a bit but hope for some to self-seed which might be a long shot. There were at least three ladybugs nestled inside this one blossom.

I have been posting on Instagram regularly lately. There is a link on the sidebar if you are interested -- you don't need to use a smart phone to view photos on Instagram.

The garden in August is lush and productive, always offering so much more than I think it will. One year before a harvest ritual, my friends and I left written prayers of gratitude here and there in the garden...pinned to tomato cages, attached to plants or placed on the ground and held down with stones or candles. The next day I collected all the papers with the beautiful prayers, some were written from the heart, some were poems or short essays. I want to do this again on my own. I feel deep gratitude for this life, this place where I have landed.

August does that to a person. xo

Thursday, July 27, 2017

dyed and dried

Late July. Early August. Something comes over me this time of year and I have a hard time putting that something into words but I want to try. It's the thickness of the air and how it looks and feels green to me now. It's about the pace and intensity of insect sounds and bird songs and kids playing outside at dusk. It's the way my bare feet seem to spring roots that sink into the ground with each step, how I am drawn to lie down on the grass to be pulled oh so close to the mother. And for some reason, I just seem to quit caring about all the things I thought needed doing. Instead, I wander.

The dye and mordant pots have been in use. With a mixture of fibers, the gray results are from red basil aerial parts and the golds/rusts are from dyer's coreopsis aerial parts, with a pup to match. My favorite pieces are the two doilies. This growing season one small bed in the Buddha garden was dedicated to just dye plants and it's done so well. Soon the Japanese indigo will be ready, maybe using some simple shibori.

I stitched a likeness of a tarot card from The Herbal Tarot and decided to pin-storm (pinning up a storm) it to the black linen journal cover as a sort of preview. I like it -- and can use the journal to record tarot/oracle cards and layouts and aha moments that I always think I'll remember forever but never do. The misty star patch is from Spirit Cloth's ThreadCrumbs Shop and the moon was cut from my handwritten Rumi cloth.

The first green pepper from plants grown from seed was eaten. A bowl of bindweed blossoms was picked to dry and burn and a big pot of bindweed vines is on the stove right now making dye.

That's about it. Thanks for visiting and happy weekending.


Saturday, July 8, 2017

woman drummer

Today is the full moon, a time to acknowledge and maybe even celebrate what has come to fruition, my scrap-linen drum case being one such thing. 

The three moon squares are hand-dyed bits of cotton and I only used threads from the thread nest for all the handwork. It was French-seamed together on the sewing machine -- the tie is an odd length of plant-dyed silk. 

I love working with linen, it looks and feels beautiful no matter what you do to it. I have a good amount of plant-dyed cloth to use in projects, this is hopefully just the beginning.

Our sweet grass grows in one big clay pot in order to contain it. I want to make up a jar of sweet grass oil with this first cutting -- I read that it should dry for a few days and then infuse the oil for six months. It exudes a heavenly fragrance as it dries and when it burns, so I have high hopes for what it does in oil.

The almost 2-year-old and I followed a huge butterfly as it flitted all around the Buddha garden feeding on larkspur blossoms. A Western Tiger Swallowtail. Huge.

Things I'm noticing...the woad has gone to seed, a section of snow pea vines is kaput and the crickets started up on July 4. Belladonna plants are blooming and forming berries. Our nights are cool, random leaves on trees have turned yellow and red. I think there's a touch of early autumn in the air, the seasons are blurring together again. xx

Friday, June 30, 2017

right outside the door

I found perfection right outside the door the other morning -- rigor mortis had already set in so she'll join some fluff and pods and such in my little curio cabinet. Even if I could open her wings, I don't think I could mount her onto a piece of paper. That would just be wrong, to pin down someone's wings.

This is part of a small grove of bluish-white clary sage, Salvia sclarea, in our front moon garden. I adore this variety -- stocky with huge flower stalks, it glows on cloudy days and shimmers at night.

A bundle of the bluish-white clary sage was hung to dry. Do you notice that plant catalogs often refer to the color purple as blue?

Almost done stitching the last eco-dyed moon square on the linen drum case, but there is one more thing I want to add before hemming the edges and calling it done.

Elder flowers and more elder flowers. One of those white hollyhock flowers held a sleeping Japanese beetle. I let her sleep even though I knew she would go straight to the grape vines to devour at least three leaves immediately upon awakening.

Elder flower liqueur was begun.

I filled a quart jar to just below the shoulder with the flowers and filled it again with 100 proof vodka. After a few weeks I'll strain out the flowers and add other ingredients, maybe a sugar syrup or some honey, depending on the taste.

Lemon balm water infused under a full moon followed by a full day of sun...I make this pretty often, even when the moon isn't full.

I love seeing flower heads on some of last summer's onions that I missed. The flowers are delicious mashed into butter but the bees like them too so not sure about cutting them. I read that you should cut the flowers off and harvest the onions immediately as they will start to rot if left in the ground. But harvesting and using every single thing in the garden isn't really the point for me -- if I use just a little bit of something once or even take time to notice and appreciate a plant, then our connection feels complete.

St. Joan's wort, Hypericum perforatum, flowers started blooming right in time for Summer Solstice. At solar noon a friend and I sat before her holiness and made flower oils. One of the plant's most common uses is to soothe burns and other skin afflictions. By the way, I learned to call this plant St. Joan's wort instead of St. John's wort from Herbalist Susun Weed who says St. Joan knows more about burns than St. John. I agree.

Garden love. Right outside the door. Connecting to the natural world just always brings out the best in us. Where else would you ever find, and leave be, one beautiful little Japanese beetle, all covered in pollen, asleep inside one perfect hollyhock blossom?

Thanks for visiting and happy weekending. xx