Thursday, November 17, 2011

Spinning and knitting my own yarn!

I have been experimenting with my dyed roving. Spun two small skeins and I'm knitting a sweet pattern- Cedar leaf shawlette.
You may follow my project on ravelry. It feels is so exciting to start from scratch and be close to a finished project. I like my hand-spun yarn. I like the colors. It's magical!
Local and from our garden--Fall squashes. I also tried madder and got several really exciting results. I think the goal was the color red. However, I love my locally dyed local wool! I had picked some elderberry and made a dye bath with these. I got a nice soft lavender. But, it was confirmed that the lightfast on Elderberry dyes is not good. I will probably over dye with Indigo.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Joy that is felt when we know we've connected...

Many years ago I lost my momentum to wake up and paint... believing that I did not have an audience. (Although, I am extremely creative-I have not been commercial with my art for many years) My audience seemed very very small. (I was counting the people who talked with me or purchased my art as audience). I admit that I was not spending enough time at Marketing. As many artists may admit...It was not my favorite. My last real attempt at marketing my artwork was a show in Grass Valley, CA. I was not feeling very outgoing on this day. However, I had one woman get so enthusiastic over a small painting (with a style often found in my work at the time)with a type of journaling or words surrounding the subject. Otherwise, I really got very little feedback. Many of the people walked by or through my booth without speaking to me. Thinking back...maybe, my mood/emotional inner wellbeing was detracting them.

A few weeks ago, Linda Miller, a artist and yoga teacher practicing somewhere in Southern
California emailed me. Years ago a friend of hers, who had seen my work (Prayerflags-watercolor)@ a local Studio Tour in Northern California, asked me if she could give my information to Linda(who was beginning her prayer flags project). You can read more about her by clicking her name and going to her blog. She was reminiscing her archives and took the time to let me know. She reminded me that I was part of her project. With an email, a "Blast from the Past", she connected with me again. I had contributed to her 'Prayer Flag' project in 2007 and she
was reminded me. I had not forgotten that I contributed. But, the time she made to get in touch with me via email to share her post touched me. I responded to her email and Thanked her. She responded back to me something like, "And your blog inspired me to start my own blog." This feedback was enormously important to me. For some days it seems I do not touch anyone...let alone inspire them. I was happy to know I'd connected and been inspirational for her.

Another person who recently voiced that I had done something to touch him added to this awareness. When I expressed I'd seen my photos on his office walls(he had asked me before if I would mind if he used them). Recently, I had walked into the office at Four Wheel Campers
and seen several photos of my camper in beautiful scenery's that I'd visited. I had sent FWC's , Tom Hanagan, these photos and he had somehow found value in them. Several photos I'd sent were blown up to about 16x20 and behind glass and hanging in the main office hallways. They looked fabulous! The spots I found of beauty were obviously important for him also. When I acknowledge I had seen the photos. He said, "Remember the card you sent me a few years ago?...It is being custom framed." My artwork, a painting in the NW woods of my new red truck and Four wheel camper, had touched someone. Someone that I really admired was touched by my work!

I felt joy by the acknowledgement that I had contributed something to inspire or bring joy to others . I felt valued for my energy and contributions to my world. It made me recognize the value of my ideas. But, mostly it made me recognize that acknowledging a person's contribution OUT LOUD to that person makes it real. It made me aware that even though a persons contributions might seem obvious to him/her or others...It may need to me said out loud.
When we share our positive reactions to someones contribution out loud we are connecting and telling that person they are special. What a joy!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fall Sweater with memories of summer knitted in!

Finished my 'February Lady' Sweater pattern. I changed it a bit. Modifying the garter to stockinette. It's very cute with faded jeans. I used glass buttons that are from beaches all over. Some I've found on North California Coasts. And others I found on ETSY. Love this crafter's site!
The yarn in the sweater is local Full Belly Farms yarn. Dyed with local plants(Indigo, marigold, sage and coreopsis ).
Knitting is time consuming. But, rewarding when 2-3 months later I have a finished garment. It definitely is more time consuming than a painting. At least for me. Most of my paintings did/do not take 2-3 months to finish.

The shades of red orange and orange are dyed with a plant called madder. I grew madder in my garden this summer. However, it is not ready for harvest for 3 years. I bought the madder I used for the dye pot from Dharma Trading co. The yarn is local Currow Hill Ranch perendale light worsted.
The lavendar is a elder berry dye.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Knitting in Kauai

Of course I did more than knit in Kauai!However, this was probably the oddest thing I did
while visiting the 'Garden Island'.
When it is 75-88 deg and humid-"Why?", I asked myself would I need to knit a wool garment.
Let-alone even wear anything at all! However, as I sit in my home(town)...I discover Fall season has brought reason to my sweater!
My husband and I traveled all over this Island. However, my favorite area is on the North Shore. I could hang out here for more than a few weeks! Discoveries beyond Keye and Tunnels snorkeling, hiking the Kalalua trail, following shell trails on all the beaches, camping on
Anini and Polahale beaches...etc... We found a few really interesting finds. Including papaya and bananas w. lime almost every morning for breakfast! We found The locals Farmer Markets in
many towns-were we tried Jack Fruit and Wild Pig. I found a new favorite radio station I am playing it tunes in my Mountain home! Can you

believe it? Also, found a delicious drink called mead. Nani Moon Mead.
Fruity light passion fruit and guava....Need I say more. Also, met Felecia @ Alaimai backyard when looking for avocados and papayas @ her fruit stand. Really wonderful project and Felecia gave us a tour of her place that was as informative as going to a Botanical Park.
Java Kai in Hanale was our stop for cafe! Coffee on the Island is not suppose to be very good. But, this stuff is good!

Friday, September 9, 2011

First hand-spun skein of yarn

I am learning to spin and ply my first 2 spools of handspun into a 2-ply skein. I made a 'Lazy Kate' with a box and a few straight metal knitting needles. My first skein came out...not perfect...but, not to bad either. I've been reading Maggie Casey's book--Start Spinning...

Creative Juices are flowing with the process of Plant Dyeing

First of all dying with plants entails that I gather enough quantity to dye a skein or two--and/or a handful of roving(raw wool used for spinning or felting). So, I drive a short distance to find beautiful places...and on the way I find enough plant material (mostly on the roadsides). I am drawn to the mountains and forests and this has given me more excuses to go out into nature! I gathered sorrel, goldenrod (large quantities grow on highways), bark from lodgepole pine(dead from pine-beetles) and a small amount of lichen from ground.
I had made a batch of Iron mordant and that is what I used as a mordant before dyeing with Sorrel. I used copper mordant(not sure the recipe for making my own with copper pipe worked)and alum. I bought another yarn from Currow Hill Ranch (Actually purchased at Local Harvest)a local farm in Shasta County. It is nice light worsted perendale yarn. Much of what I dyed was raw wool from the local shearer-I plan to spin. Anyways, the Sorrel dyed the same color as sorrel example in Rebecca Burgesses' book, 'Harvesting Color'. It is a khaki green. Alittle bored with all the yellow greens--so I thru the golden rod dyed yarn into the sorrel to see if it will darken. I used the recipe for copper mordant and GoldenRod in Rita Buchanan's book.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

High Desert

Spent Labor Day weekend in the High Desert.
Herd Dog Heaven--as Pema demos here ability to fly thru the grasses.
The dogs are sticky from walking in the grass. They smell so yummy!
Also, found a dye plant called 'Rabbit brush' near the Little truckee off 89.
It produced another lovely yellow dye.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Gardening this year has been fun!
I planted later...due to late frost...
My Nieces made this years garden extra special by painting signs for me at the beginning of the season. This got me thinking about how if I left the easel, paint and canvas out in the garden...I'd be likely to spontaneously paint! It's worked. I've finished several paintings I enjoy! I also planted a Goji Berry last year-which gave me fruit for my pancakes...and mostly I eat them(and strawberries and cherry tomatoes) while I'm watering in the morning. I was inspired to plant dye plants. Now this is really fun! And they are really pretty! I have been more tied to home due to the garden(and the timer/water system is challenging me!)

Summertime in the Sierra's

I have really gotten very behind in posts! So, I will play catch-up.
I have done several small trips this summer. My home garden tends to make me more of a home-body. We have taken the Four Wheel up to the local access of the Sierra Nevada's, Mendo and Olema beach trips and more of the backyard camping.


Bought an Ashford 'Traditional' spinning wheel. I plan to spin local fibers. (I want to do so much in this life-time.) I have washed 3 fleeces I bought from a local shearer. And have begun to use a prepared roving to practice. I'm not to bad at spinning. BJ Forester is teaching me some. As well, as I am gathering information with 'Start Spinning' by Maggie Casey.

By the way...

By the way....I'm a Grandma now. Izaiah is 4 months old. I'm still not sure of being a Grandma already! However, he is the cutest little cherub a Gma could ask for! When I see makes my day. When my daughter shares her experience with me I feel much joy! It is beautiful to witness love!

Natural Dyeing and planting dye plants

I planted many dye plants in my garden this spring. Some of the plants are: madder, marigold, zinnias, fennel, coreopsis, black eyed susan, indigo, sun flowers....
I have started to harvest Indigo, marigold, coreopsis, black eyed susan, sunflower, fennel. I have also gathered local a Desert Sage and used Rebecca's recipe for dyeing.
I found local yarn-Full Belly Farms. I'm getting some very interesting results and the process is kinda like chemistry.
A few photos of garden and dye process included for the Indigo, coreopsis, and marigold. I am reading books on plant dying such as: 'Harvesting Color'
by Rebecca Burgess and 'A Dyer's garden' by Rita Buchanan. I have 'Wild Color' and another book on plant dying. However, the first two books are my favs. The final yarns Indigo=blue , Marigold=yellows, Coreopsis=orange/burnt sienna. I really like the coreopsis result best!