August

In some ways, August feels hectic and difficult. School is about to start. When my children were younger, it included the stress and expense of shopping for school supplies, bookbags, uniforms, and shoes. With 10 children, this was a big deal!

Annoying, insects, (fleas, pantry moths, yellow jackets, fruit flies and mosquitoes), seem to increase, multiply and  thrive in August. Maybe they know their time is growing short.

Fresh Indigo

Basket of Japanese indigo leaves


One of the nicest things about growing indigo is dyeing with the fresh leaves. It's a quick summertime treat. The colors are different from vatted indigo. The shades are greener, like robin eggs, turquoise, or mossy water.


Strained dye


Dyebath, rinse water, and leftover leaves


Little particles of indigo leaves in the rinse water



Silk embroidery threads


Organza silk before the final rinse


After washing and rinsing

Wool Pot holders


Undyed wool loops


Years ago, a dear friend shared a huge 5 pound bag of pure wool pot holder loops with me.. Little did I know at the time just how valuable and hard to find these would become. I dyed the loops with natural colors, and made potholders for gifts and for sale.

Hemp Yarn


Hemp is  oine of my favorite fibers to spin and dye. Of course it doesn;t drink up color like silk or wool, but I love the gentle shades of natural dyes on the yarn.



Indigo on 2 ply hemp yarn


 

I don't work in a very scientific or mathematical manner, so every skein is different. Some are more firmly spun.


Some skeins are soft and loose.

Pansy dye progress

The results of the pansy dye experiment have been interseting and a little suprising. The purple and blue pansies gave beautiful shades of green to the silk organza.


Silk organza soaking in purple pansy brew


The silk looks a little bluer in the jar. Maybe it's the reflection of the blue and purple flowers in the water.


The silk fabric dyed with yellow and orange pansies is a greenish yellow.


Yellow and orange pansy dye


 


Green and yellow silks from pansy dye


I like these shades, but I'll keep experimenting.

Pansy Dye

Since May, I've been picking pansy flowers and saving them in the freezer. At first I kept individual colors in their own bags - purples and blues together, yellows and oranges in their own bags, etc..Lately, I've just been stuffing them all together so now I have to separate them.


A few fresh blue pansies  for the brew


There are mostly purples  and blues in this jar, but since I wasn't very careful. there are a few bits and pieces of pinks and yellow flowers

Yellows and oranges

June Inspiration

II've been dyeing silk threads in colors inspired by the velvety shades of  petunias


Combinations of lac, logwood, madder and indigo


 The milkweed flowers have begun to bloom. The air is filled  with their heavy sweetmess. The tender, muted pinks seemed like the perfect color for some handspun wool yarn I've been saving.


Milkweed  (Asclepias syriaca)


Handspun wool yarn soaked overnight in alum.

Summer

Officially Summer today, though to me summer really begins on June 1st.


Ripe!


The squirrels and blackbirds keep knocking them down.


Raspberries beginning to ripen


Milkweed


Madder stars

 


Milkweed and madder in a friendly competion for sunshine

June morning

June morning


It's so fine to step outside barefoot,without a sweater, and get started right away. On most mornings,this means just wandering around in wonder and amazement.for awhile.


The backyard is not big, but the cherry tree doesn't seem to mind.



The blackbirds and squirrels .are ready to pounce!


A clothesline fiull of projects

 Silk organza after soaking overnight in alum water



 Another piece of organza dyed with indigo


Vintage linen napkins

Old fashioned


 Both of the Grand daughters have arrived!  Like flowers in the garden, they blossomed one at a time.


Their fresh new lives are a lovely unfolding of beauty, hope and mystery.


White peonies


The little ones have charming, old-fashioned names. Clara May and Ella Jane. This seems just right. The old-fashioned garden plants welcome them with soft perfume.


Magenta peonies (Paeonia officinalis)


Old peony bed


Dr, Huey (1914)


 Mock orange (Philadelphus virginalis)

Sarah van Fleet (1922)


Service-berries ripening (Amelanchier alnifolia)

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