Monday, September 15, 2014

moonday disappearing acts

Today is a waning half moonday in Gemini. That means half the moon is visible now but in less than a week's time, it will disappear into darkness once again. Nature has begun her disappearing act, too -- the winds are already scattering leaves and other dried-up plant debris. Everyday something different in the garden completes its life cycle -- there are fewer tomatoes ripening now, the peppers are done, the cucumbers are done and gone, even bean production has come to a halt. I'm happy that it's time for some cozy autumn home-keeping projects though -- I even like fall cleaning -- way better than spring cleaning.

I could not bear to work anymore on that dyers coreopsis eco-printed wool for September's moondala. It was so busy, it made me dizzy. Even though I stitched on it for several hours before realizing it wasn't right, I decided to go ahead and switch it out with different piece of dyers coreopsis wool, but this time a solid. Things are moving along much better now.

Almost two quarts of elderberries were harvested and popped into the freezer, enough for a few batches of elderberry syrup. And I don't know how I could do such a thing, but I accidentally put a hank of Japanese indigo-dyed wool yarn into the washer and the dryer! Oh dear.

The smudge sampler basket is ready to work some magic, part of my fall house-cleaning/clearing maybe? xx

Monday, September 8, 2014



Today is a full moonday in Pisces. In that way that regular life often seems to emulate moon life if one notices -- we too are at a pinnacle of fullness and ripeness and beauty. Elder branches are laden with hundreds of tiny black berries and raspberries bow deep, so heavy their load -- they remind me of my own visions coming to fruition.

Like candlelight and moonlight, September daylight makes everyone and everything look more beautiful. The buddha garden and the goddess garden draw me in -- and remind me to see, really see, to create a sweet memory for later. The colors of flowers and chairs and cloth are more brilliant than ever. From the indigo vat, a white blouse has emerged the finest blue I can imagine. And a September moondala ritual begins with imprinted dyers coreopsis wool and a little onion skin moon.

Circling 'round, I'm taking it all in, as much as I can. I wish you the same with your season.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

september things

I'm having a grape time around here. St. Theresa grapes always ripen earlier than Concords -- and I say it all the time, but they are the best homegrown grapes I've ever had and the juice (that I freeze) is so sweet we usually add water before drinking it. I look forward to the winter day when we thaw that first jar from St. Theresa. Today I picked and processed a little over one gallon of grapes and will probably be doing a batch a day for the next couple of days. A gallon of grapes doesn't really make all that much juice, unfortunately, but it's a pleasant pastime. You can see I've learned to cover the counter tops with towels for this project.

I've been wanting to sew but didn't have anything front and center going -- ended up with an older piece, one that stalled out, and immediately I knew what it needed. More circles, of course.

Going up on the wall -- the September calendar cloth from last year's drawing down the moon sewing ritual. Black and white, always easy on the eyes.

Today's waxing half-moon in Sagittarius helps lift self-imposed filters -- we can be more positive and better able to express ourselves . . . free and footloose.

I love September, it's sort of dreamy outside today. Every time I step out to do something, I feel myself being drawn to do nothing. Enchanted almost.

To a really nice week. xo

Friday, August 29, 2014

love and learn

I used my yarn swift and ball winder to wind about half the yarn for the hitchhiker. Either the ball winder or I had an off day, we haven't decided yet who's to blame -- and what should have taken about five minutes took an hour. What a tangled mess. I finally gave up and just wound the second ball by hand. The swift fits on this outside table better than any table in the house so that helped make things more pleasant, being in that little patch of shade right by the garden, listening to the blue jays honk and holler all the while. 

The hitchhiker calls for size 3mm (US2) needles. It's going to take a while and I'm glad -- slow knitting, you know.

One of the indigo vats from last week still had pigment so I dipped a pair of faded blue jeans the other day and again today, they look so great now. This is the life. 

I've been interchanging the words live and love to see what comes up Love and learn. Love for today. Love your life. Live it. 

Thanks for visiting and happy weekending. Live. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

clothesline strung and blues hung


I was thinking of sunflowers while I stitched the August moondala, my monthly mandala sewing ritual. There was only one sunflower plant in the garden this year -- and it was a volunteer at that -- its yellowing leaves are tattered from hail and the seed head bows to the ground but still it remains. Sunflowers are considered guardian plants and I like that it chose a spot near the center to grow right behind Buddha to watch over things. Both the background and the moon on this seventh moondala are wool dyed with red shiso.

I held a natural dyeing workshop for The Herb Society of America, Rocky Mountain Unit, members and guests last weekend. Flowers and leaves were chosen from the flower mandala to create eco-printed silk scarves. Frozen pansies and Dyer's coreopsis demonstrated ice-flower dyeing and onion-skin solar dye was discussed. Labeled samples were passed and guesses were made on unlabeled samples. Cloth soaked while freshly-picked Japanese indigo, Polygonum tinctorium, from the garden brewed. A delicious herbal brunch was had, my favorite books were passed including India Flint's most inspiring Eco-Colour and Second Skin, and sky/cloud cloth was prepared. Silks and cottons were dipped into two vats -- the home-brewed Japanese indigo and an Indigofera tinctoria kit. Clothesline was strung and blues were hung. It was a wonderful day with beautiful plants and lovely people.

We are having some rainy days here now -- in between rain showers I found and picked enough dry plantain, Plantago major, to make a jar of plantain oil. Good for healing all kinds of skin issues from insect bites to infection, this oil will make its way into a soothing skin salve.

The red orach, Atriplex hortensis, is going to seed -- there's one seed in each little red round. I harvested Angelica seeds to share so just had to try making origami seed packets -- directions here. I was thinking about the harvest of seeds being the ending and the beginning.

Yesterday was a beginning -- of a new moon phase -- so conjure visions and make wishes now. xo

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

dyeing with the moon

It was another magical day with indigo. I made a double batch of the recipe in A Dyer's Garden by Rita Buchanan using one pound of Japanese indigo leaves, Polygonum tinctorium. I dipped eight ounces of fiber -- a white silk top, a skein of Plymouth DK wool, a skein of perle cotton thread, two silk scarves, a stained white cotton napkin and a few smaller pieces. I wanted light blue and light blue is what I got. Just when I started dipping, it started to rain but that only added to the dreaminess. Everything is still damp in the top three photos, the silk top dried considerably lighter -- it's the one piece I liked better darker.

The napkin came out great so I've decided to carry on and make a complete set using all of our old white napkins, probably a dozen or so. This is #1 -- embroidering a number on each one will be a good way to keep track of which indigo vat does what and when. I've begun Shibori Girl's indigo class and between the Japanese indigo growing in the garden and the recommended indigo vats for the class, there will be different paths to the color blue.

The August red shiso moondala is coming along, blues and greens are very much in favor with me lately. Well, except for that new Lorna's Laces yarn up there for a Hitchhiker -- when I untwisted the skein, it went from nice to gorgeous.

The moon is waning now, getting smaller, letting go. In the garden, it's time to weed and prune -- I notice when I weed during a waxing (growing) moon phase that the roots do not come up easily, but during a waning (shrinking) moon, they do. This waning phase of the moon's cycle is a reminder for us to let go -- not that we can't let go during a waxing moon, it's just easier to go with the flow. I'm thinking the plants may let go of their color more easily now too and want to continue exploring this idea of dyeing with the moon.

Going with the flow.

Monday, August 11, 2014

red shiso moonday

The knitted shoulder cozy has been done for a while but other than trying it on in front of the mirror, I haven't worn it yet -- cooler nights are fast approaching though. I like it a lot and am thinking about the heavier winter version now.

I've had my head in the dye-pot lately. Three little wool scraps got their "green on" with red shiso, Perilla frutescens! I'd pinched back my potted red shiso plant (to stimulate more bushy growth) so thought I might as well do a color trial with the leaves. I dropped those six or seven red shiso leaves into a small dye-pot, added about a half inch of water and a scrap of alum-mordanted wool, and simmered them all together for less than five minutes. The dark green was the amazing result. Then I added another alum-mordanted wool scrap for about a minute -- the medium green was that result. Finally a tiny scrap of unmordanted wool soaked up the remaining water to become the lightest green.

New red shiso leaves are dark burgundy in color and as they grow larger, begin to take on a bit of a greenish cast, but not very much. It was a big surprise to see green come of it -- even the water was pink. I'm learning a lot in my garden this year and writing notes to my future self for next year's plantings -- red shiso, it is.

Today is a still-full moonday in the sign of Pisces. If you saw the full moon in Aquarius last night, you might have noticed it was a super moon -- meaning it was the closest full moon to Earth for the year 2014. I'm not so sure I could really tell, but it was crystal clear and shone brightly, enough to make night shadows which never ceases to amaze. Pisces makes us feel more sensitive and intuitive and we might feel like taking time off from regular life. It also affects our feet -- kicking back with feet up sounds pretty good to me.

And if you like delightful surprises like I do, I'm wishing you a week full of them!