Today I dye some wool with madder.
These handspun singles are part of a much bigger projects I'm working on to produce an 100% homegrown wardrobe. Fibreshed taken to the extreme
It's taking a lot longer than I expected, but so does knitting sweaters. Single stitches. Small steps... it all adds up
Isn't it pretty.
The video goes into details about the method I choose and why I wanted to stay away from the more scientific side of natural dyeing. Whatever happens, madder makes pretty colours. It was just a matter of finding out what it wanted to become.
I love washing wool in the summer. I can do it outside, the weather is warm and the wool dries quickly.
The problem is, we have very dry summers. Everything wants water. The sheep want to drink it. The ducks want to splash it. The garden wants to hog it all for food production... Everything wants what we have only a finite supply to give.
So I have to get creative
The key is to choose a soap that is non-toxic and will quickly biodegrade in the garden. If it has insect repellant qualities, so much the better.
The chickens love that I'm spending time with them. The garden loves the nutrition from the wash water. I get my vitamin D dose and some clean wool.
This yarn is the reason I have so many Cotswold sheep in my flock.
A stunning novelty yarn that doesn't require plying. But it does teach the spinner a lot about yarn structure.
The fibre doesn't need any fancy prep. No Carding. No combing. Just your finger, and clean longwool locks.
If they are dyed pretty colours, so much the better.
I hate these posts. So so boring. So irrelevant to future readers. And yet. Here we are.
But where have I been?
Busy. Happy. Working hard.
I've been obsessed with learning YouTube. I'll be sharing those slowly on this blog. But for easier access to my videos, I encourage you to pop on over to my Crowing Hen YouTube Channel and press the subscribe button so you can get instant updates when I add something new.
As much as I love having a business website and pay a tonne of money to keep it going. I am not enjoying this interface.
It's too much like wordpress and just as buggy. I had 3 bugs just getting to a place where I could start this post, then another to add these photos. Who knows how much more frustration I'll get through to finish this post?
This website does everything possible to make blogging a chore from not being compatible with my spellchecker (instead, using the computer spellchecker which quickly shuts off for "no known language detected"). But composing it in another place then copy paste doesn't work seamlessly and has yet more bugs... and it seems to do everything possible to interrupt my train of thought.
I am just not compatible with this webhoast and if I was a little less lazy, I would be looking for somewhere else.
I'm not entirely certain the email contacts form is working either.
Hey Squarespace - I see you sponsoring lots of youtubers. Wanna give me money to switch then (if you are as good as you say) tell everyone how awesome you are?
Didn't think so.
(that's bug number 5 or 6 that came from adding a spacer than not being able to click back into this text box then when I did, the curser jumped around several times - but with the lag I had already started typing and now I have to go through and remove all the extra letters now scattered throughout the text box.. ) Scrap squarespace - hey Weebly? You want to pay me money to document these bugs? (not to mention the half a dozen accessibility issues - aka, making it difficult for people with disabilities to use the website).
Anyway, can't remember the hugely insightful thing I was about to say. Understanding this is sounding like a negative post - all the more horrid because I'm not actually going to do anything to fix the issue. There are reasons, it is complicated, it's easier to just stick with what I have for now.
If you are looking for me, I've been posting on my old blog Trampled By Geese.
And enjoying my youtube adventure at Crowing Hen Youtube Channel.
Be seeing you.
(yet another glitch adding the links... hmmm. Se why I don't hang out here?)
As part of my sewing journey, I am learning how to make the most out of fabric. For this project I used a technique called piecing which combines smaller pieces of cloth to create larger.
I adore this fabric, but it belonged to a pair of trousers that were way too small. I also needed a new jacket, so I deconstructed the trousers and combined the fabric with cabbage (cloth left over from sewing projects) to see if I could do it.
I read about this technique on Foundations Reveled which admittedly is the reason why I'm needing to be so frugal with my fabric and clothing budget. The paywall isn't ... well, let's just say even though it's pricy, I'm getting way more out of it than I'm paying. It's worth spending my clothing and crafting budgets on this membership! The resources, the people, the inspiration! Learning about historical frugality! Just look at the coat - I never would have made that without the articles.
The pieces of fabric are sewn together, attempting to match the flow of the pattern as there isn't enough fabric to match the pattern seamlessly.
But you know what, it actually worked.
I lined it with some roughspun silk fabric from my cabbage stash. I probably should have done more to finish the edges, but it was an experiment and there were a lot of edges. I can see this being hand-wash only, wear in to town, not mucking out the chickens kind of clothing.
I am excited to announce Flax to Linen: the movie. A small documentary film I got to make with a few members of the local Flax to Linen group.
It's been a rough year and not being able to do public demonstrations hit us pretty hard. When the Victoria Handweavers and Spinners Guild asked us to do a virtual presentation on how linen fabric is made from tiny little flaxseeds, we said "Sure!"
Knowing almost nothing about making a video, we dived in. Had fun. Did a little dance (stay tuned to the end to see the dancing) and devised a COVID-19 safety plan to keep everyone safe.
I'm very happy with how it turned out. I learned a lot about video editing. I learned that I have a lot more to learn and with what I know now, I would have done everything differently. But you got to start somewhere.
If you enjoy the video and would like to see more like this, pop over to our video on YouTube and clicked the thumbs up. Or better yet, leave a comment. I've got some nifty ideas for 2021 and your encouragement helps keeps the momentum going.
The following was published in my old blog, Trampled by Geese 2011
Hidden underneath a shiny silver face plate is a shuttle and bobbin. These magical treasures are what makes the sewing machine stitch lock in place. Two threads, one on top, one beneath, working together to make sewing happen. What could be more wonderful than that?
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Now that the grass has turned a disgusting shade of brown and summer has arrived with a vengeance, we're entering the next stage of water conservation on the farm. No water on the garden unless it is reclaimed water.
Most of the year, I've been using reclaimed water from washing wool or dying. However, at this time of year, it's no longer sustainable to be using water in crafting every week. We need to reserve water for human and livestock needs first. Although I am expecting to get an indigo vat going this year as it doesn't require as much water as regular dyeing.
Usually, I let the garden die, but this year, I'm feeling food insecure, so I want to get some winter crops planted to see us through the cold months. For this, I'll need to find water. What necessary household activities can I reclaim water from?
That's where this vintage washing machine comes in!
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A quick series of images to show the process of transforming a cotton boll into a puni ready to spin.
first published on my old blog Trampled by Geese in 2015
Leave a comment if you want me to make a video or more in-depth tutorial on working with cotton.
We have two little greenhouses; old cracked glass things just tall enough to have to stoop and a footprint of 8 foot by 10. They are cute as buttons and really, for the amount of hot stuff we eat, it should be enough.
Some years I plant my seedlings in the soil, and they grow like stink. Other years, like this year, I do everything right - I amend the soil with various manner, let the chickens in over winter to eat all the bugs, do all the thing - and everything fails. This year's peppers were planted with care after the last risk of frost, on a cloudy day. The next day the sun came out and scorched the poor little seedlings. The day after, it was nearly frost.
But that's the way our weather goes - hot during the day, cold during the night. And these tropical plants (mostly hot peppers) don't seem to thrive in these conditions.
Some years it works, but this year, it's been a dismal failure!
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