Madder roots and silk

Madder patch May 2017 (rubia tinctorum)


I've used and re-used all of last years' home-grown madder roots so many times that now there's barely a whisper of pink left.  Although they still look rosy- red, I don't know if I can coax any more color from these roots. They're so pretty, I don't want to compost them yet. I might just dry them once more for a future experiment.



Old madder roots from last years' garden

Rain

Lately, the rain has been steady.. Explosive thunder, gushing downpours, then soft dripping from the branches.



Serviceberry



This weather isn't so good for taking pictures of textiles outdoors, but it's perfect for working in the garden if you don't mind being soaked.




 The water does wonders for the garden


The alley is a lot better after a good wash.


The houseplants are rejoicing in the rain after the long, dry winter indoors



The water encourages the seedlings.



Somniferum poppies



Reflecting the elm tree

May color reminders



To celebrate the beautiful rich shades of the May garden, I've started a little purple, pink and indigo dyeing project.Yesterday I mordanted some silk scarves and wool with alum. After soaking overnight, they were ready to drink up the colors. I'm using madder, lac and indigo.



Pansies


 This is my favorite weather for gardening and dyeing - fresh and damp without harsh sunlight.


Pink, purple,and indigo in layers of wet color

Baby Spiders



Baby spiders were born in the garden today. The sun was warm and the breeze was gentle.


I found the new spider babies on the edges of  flowerpots, on old sticks and near the curls of last years' vines.


 


This group made a May Pole.


Lily flowered tulips

The elegant lily flowered tulips are the last variety of tulips to bloom in this garden.


                                wide open in sunshine

                              closed in rain

      Like bells

Super Seed Starting Containers



After years of experimenting, I've found the perfect containers for starting seeds. Grapes, strawberries, and tomatoes are sometimes packaged in small plastic boxes. These are excellent homes for germinating seeds.

They have holes for drainage in the bottom.  I use a layer of broken clay flowerpot pieces, bits of styrofoam packing peanuts or little twigs first to prevent the potting mix from washing through the holes.

The lids can be closed to hold in moisture and offer a bit of protection from wind, and heavy rain, The lids have air holes providing some ventilation.

Woad in bloom

The woad plants are in full bloom. The masses of flowers are as bright as sunlight. To me they smell like honey.





Woad is bold in every stage. The large seeds are colorful, with hints of purple and green.



Woad seeds    


Happy volunteer


 


Top-heavy with yellow

Lilac

The month of May is filled with promise and beauty. The lilac bushes bloomed early, perfuming the garden. Two grand daughters are expected this month. It seemed right to make their welcoming quilts with fabrics that reflect the purples, whites, cream and pinks of the lovely lilacs.


Basted baby quilt


Almost finished!



 

My very first blog post

Hi. Thanks for visiting!

This is my very first time writing a blog post. Please bear with me as I overcome shyness and learn to use at least some of these editing tools.

I hope to share some of the beautiful, sometimes perplexing and always interesting aspects of my adventures with natural dyes, fibers,textiles and life. I'd also like to share some of  the inspiration I gather from the backyard garden.

I''d love to hear from you.

Laura


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