Tuesday, May 27, 2014

it's a wrap

It's a wrap -- one purple February Lady Sweater is ready to wear. The pattern, well-written but still very much a challenge for me, had been inspired by Elizabeth Zimmerman's famous February Baby Sweater in her book, The Knitter's Almanac -- thus the name.

I used a Rowan linen/cotton that I didn't like at first but grew to love. Isn't that the way it always works? My button choice was inspired by these African violets over a year ago and I used green-tea embroidery floss to sew them on.

I might change the name to the African violet sweater.

Friday, May 23, 2014

february lady sweater

Finally! The purple February lady sweater is finished and ready to be blocked tomorrow morning. I want to stretch it a tad longer, hope that works. Otherwise it fits perfectly. Yellow buttons are all ready to be sewn on and with the weather being coolish, I might even get to wear it before the heat sets in. The learning curve for this pattern was high (for me) but I'm so excited to have finished it at last and wonder now what my next knitting project will be. I sort of like this shoulder cozy.

The photos are glimpses of the past week or so. I added a honey super to the bee house. We ended up having three consecutive swarms which was pretty scary. I was worried they'd just all pick up and leave. But what remains seems strong and hopefully content with the added space.

We've had hail (last photo) two out of the last three days. It wasn't as large as other places in the country and hasn't caused all that much damage, but still makes me hold back on planting and I haul everything under shelter every time it starts to rain, including those flower pots up there.

One 3 pound onion bag full of yellow onion skins weighs all of 3.5 ounces!

Thanks for visiting and happy weekending! xo

Monday, May 19, 2014

nettle-dyed moonday

The spring snows we've had this month really delayed things and now it's catch-up time in the garden. We are being richly rewarded for our "suffering" though -- the green-ness is intense, almost blinding -- I hope it foretells a good growing season.

Speaking of, I made up a nettle dye-bundle last week in search of more green. The photos show the progression -- I started with a simple nettle leaf dye-bundle, but was disappointed with the outcome so decided to make a paste with the mushy nettle leaves, working it into the wool. I rolled it back up and will give it another day or so but I have a feeling this is going to do it.

I also boiled nettle leaves to make a dye-bath. Again I was let down so I added some iron water before putting in a piece of unmordanted cotton. The black-as-night dye-bath sat for five days -- I think it's a success, enough to make me go another round with more white wool. It's a good thing I stocked up on white wool.

A few weeks ago when I blanched nettles leaves before freezing them, I spread them out onto a big white towel to squeeze out all the moisture. I thought the green stains would wash out but the towel came out of the dryer full of green blotches. The message here is that dyeing happens when it wants to!

Today is a waning moonday in the sign of Aquarius, the individualist and the reformer. Now is when we like to tweak things and make unique improvements according to the beat of our own little drummer.

In the green. xx

Monday, May 12, 2014

yet another snowy moonday

Today is a snowy, waxing moonday in the sign of Scorpio. Scorpio days can feel moist and cool, and that pretty much describes it here. I don't even know what to think anymore about the weather.

The May full moon is fast approaching so I'm musing over my next mandala/moondala. One thing I know for sure is that a nettle dye-bath is in short order, trying for green again.

After only a few rounds of kantha stitching on the indigo leaf patch, I feel a nice long stretch of hand-stitching coming on. Scorpio does that, it gives you feelings about where you're headed and then draws you there. Have a beautiful week. xx

Saturday, May 10, 2014

making willow water

A little eco-dyed patch surfaced on the sewing table this morning -- that happens once in a while, things get lost in piles and then somehow they're not lost anymore. Anyway I take it as a sign. I'm liking the ease of simply stitching down the edges of the indigo oak leaf. And then maybe kantha stitching around these same edges again and again.

There was an article in the newspaper about using willow water to stimulate rooting in cuttings. Willow contains two root-stimulating acids, indolebutyric and salicylic, that can be leached into plain water. I've already lost the article, probably in a pile somewhere, but it was by Barbara Damrosch who suggested buying just one tomato plant and rooting cuttings off of it to make many plants. This idea sounded like fun plus we happen to have a willow tree that very much needed a haircut. 

To make my willow water I used yellow and green stems, stripped them of their leaves and cut them into one-inch pieces. I chose the hot water method which is to pour boiling water over the cuttings and steep for 24 hours before straining and refrigerating for up to two months. The other method is to use room temperature water and steep for a few days before straining. Once made up, willow water can be used by soaking cuttings in it for a few hours before planting or to water cuttings with, two times, in their propagating medium. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks for visiting and happy weekending -- we're expecting rain and possibly snow with freezing temperatures! xx

Monday, May 5, 2014

a dandy moonday

Today was dandy. I rolled up a dandelion and wool nine-patch. I made a dandelion dye-bath for scraps of cotton and wool. I ate dandelion leaves. And I found the missing dandelion book cloth that I made last May Day during a snowstorm -- it was in an old herbal marking the artemisia section.

Today is a waxing moonday in the sign of Leo. Ruled by the sun, Leo boosts our self-confidence, and just like the dandelion we, too, can stand brave and strong to shine in the spotlight.

Leo's symbol is the lion and dandelion is also known as lion's tooth. I like beginning a new week with a touch of synchronicity, don't you?