Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fall Gardens II

The sedum plant always adds color to the autumn display. This presentation will last late into Fall and will survive several minor frosts.

The perennial garden has been cleaned and cut back for the winter. The bayberry at left will hold color throughout. Some plants will receive a layer of mulch to help them survive.

The Japanese anenome are the last late season prolific growers. They will show off for another month or so, and they overwinter year after year.

The red apples and green foliage make a pretty picture this time of year. One of our horses likes these apples as treats very much, while the other one wishes they were a sweeter, sugary variety.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Apple Harvest

We have several mature apple trees, and Bill is harvesting some McIntosh apples. The tree allows some reach from the 8-foot step ladder.

Marcia picks up some drops. Bees inhabit some of the fruit and poison ivy is present. Gloves, long sleeves, and boots are necessary protection.

Marcia works from the bucket of the old tractor, which provides both elevation and a wide platform. She enjoys this very much.... We can always tell by her big smile upon return to the ground!

Bill's long arm comes in handy as he picks from the ground on the Mitsu variety. We used to press our own cider, but now use the apples as horse treats. We abandoned the rigorous spraying schedule necessary to produce clean, clear fruit. The horses don't seem to mind a few worms!

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dyeing Results

The fabric has been washed, line dryed, and ironed. This is a 1 1/2 yard piece of rayon/linen. Navy was squirted on first, followed by turquoise and intense blue, and then fuschia.

This rayon/linen piece is 3 1/2 yards. Navy mixed with turquoise was put on first. Then other mixes of intense blue and turquoise followed. Finally, fuschia mixed with a little navy was added.

These fat quarters were used to mop up the dripped dye.
Some of the left-over dyes were used to do a couple of gradations of 1 1/2 yard pieces.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fall Gardens

Our garden harvest slows down. The long drought continues to limit the late crops. The berries will continue to produce until first frost, while the tomatoes and string beans are about done.

The entrance to the herb and perennial garden has been trimmed. Left to right, the alberta spruce, varigated euonymus, and Korean boxwood are framed by the concrete globe and the sundial. Now if we can only get some rain to save the grass!

The pergola provides a sheltered spot for a rest. The flowering Clematis is the prolific "Sweet Autumn" variety. Not visible, but adding a nice touch, are some dark blue morning glories that adorn the ground and part of the lattice.

The eyonymus has overgrown the fence, but trimmed into cascading heads, the shrub adds texture, dimension, and color as nature works its fall magic!

Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 24, 2007

More Dyeing

Another day of pole dyeing is underway, and Beth Brandkamp and Barb Seils are here to play and experiment.

Beth's fabric has been soaked in soda ash, and she is trying some of it squeezed (but not spun in the washer) and some of it dryed on the line.

Barb is working on a piece that is about 1 1/2 yards and should be big enough to make a bog coat from.

Barb's second piece is about 3 1/2 yards -- enough for a jacket from a pattern. She's adding some orange over the blue dyes.

We're using squeeze bottles today -- better than pouring the dyes that we tried before. We also tried squeezing/squirting the dyes down the length of the fabric. We think that pouring all the dyes from the top of the bar may have caused the "faded" colors we got in the middle of our pieces.

We're anxious to see what all the pieces will look like once they've been washed and dried!

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Studio Visitors

Beth Brandkamp came for a sewing day and to help me with finishing the sewing on my vest. She's designing new quilts based on pictures she took during her recent trip through the national parks in the West. She's following a cut fabric technique from her class with Cynthia Corbin.

Tad returned to work on the "punch list." He installed the screen door in the studio only to discover some flaws in the screen. He's returned the door to the vendor for repair or replacement.
The "Mighty Hunter" Suki discovered a small snake intruding on the outdoor dyeing area and jumped to defend the turf.

In the ensuing interplay, it was not always clear who was chasing who. Suki managed to drive off the intruder and secure the space as being safe for human activity.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 22, 2007


We brought a more comfortable chair into the studio for visitors. Suki, of course, has adopted this space for her needs. As with all cats, she assumes that any human effort is directly related to her happiness and enjoyment.

The outdoor dyeing project employs several pieces of plastic sheeting which are used for catching drips and for places for dyed fabric to dry. Inspector Suki checked out the underside of the pictured piece. She reported it ready for use!
Suki was concerned that the back of Barb's car might contain contraband. She carefully eyed the contents.

A more thorough search was called for, and she crawled into every nook and cranny in her quest of discovery. Maybe we should send her to look for Osama bin Laden! My money is on Suki.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 21, 2007

Dyed and Discharged

This is the 4-yard piece of rayon/linen that has been washed and dryed. It was dyed by dripping the dyes over the fabric while it was hanging from a pole.

Turquoise and Intense Blue were poured first and then followed by Fuschia and Navy.

I expected to see more Navy and am wondering if the fabric was over-saturated with the other dyes before I poured the Navy.

These pieces are from our Discharge Day and were all done using black fabric. I used a 50% solution of bleach on the five pieces across the top and a bleach pen on the two pieces at the bottom.

These fabrics were originally all hand dyed.
The blue fabric on the left discharged to pink and the red fabric on the right discharged to yellow from being sprayed with a 50% solution of bleach.

The two pieces in the middle were wrapped on a pole and dipped in Thiox.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Discharge Day

Beth Brandkamp hosted members of the RAFA gang at her house for a Discharge Day -- a chance to play with various bleaches and discharge agents to see what patterns and colors they would create on various fabrics.

Beth and Caris are setting up materials at the bleaching table, and Caren is spraying a design on her fabric with a 50% solution of bleach.

Linda and Donna are working with Thiox and wearing the appropriate masks for protection from chemical fumes.

Linda is ironing fabric on which she painted a design with Thiox Discharge Paste that Beth made from Print Paste and Thiox.

Barb and Caris are monitoring the heated pot of Thiox immersion solution. Fabric is wrapped on the poles "shibori style", and then left in the pot til the desired color is reached.

Everyone had created lots of wonderful fabrics by the end of the day, and a great time was had by all!

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dyeing Day

Barb Seils and I decided to try the some dyeing the "Marcia Murphy" way, following the tutorial on her blog (

We decided to practice first on a piece of cotton dyer's cloth. Barb is applying some blue over the fuschia.

Marcia is squeezing out the excess dye prior to laying the fabric out to dry.

Marcia is applying turquoise and intense blue to a 4-yard piece of linen\rayon. This was followed by applying fuschia and then some navy.

Barb works on another 4-yard piece of the linen\rayon. She applied blues and yellow and a splash of orange.

We're anxious to see the pieces after they're washed out and are already planning to do some more!

Posted by Picasa