Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Feathered Friends

    Late February and early March is an excellent time to clean out those bluebird houses and make ready for the arriving bluebird pairs. Our houses can be opened from the top by a couple of screws and put back very easily. The houses are about 4 feet off the ground and about 100-200 ft. from our garden. Behind the houses is a woods and in front open yard and pastures. Many times I can see them perched on the fence around our garden or on an electric line directly over our  fruit trees. We also have a Baltimore Oriole who builds it's nest in our walnut tree every year. This year I also plan to put out more houses for the wrens, because last spring I counted 5 pairs nesting near the house.

Feathered Friends

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dyeing to Dye

What to do when there are 10-12 inches of snow outside? DYE! I had some cochineal in my dye stash so I dug out my recipes and found one that I thought would suit my need. Skeins from left to right: cochineal, indigo overdyed w/cochineal, indigo overdyed w/weld. The recipe I used was from a handout I got from Carol Leigh at Maryland when I purchased the cochineal. The same basic recipe is in Liles book on scarlet red with cochineal. I used cream of tartar and tin as mordants and put them right in the dye bath. The dark reddish, purplish, ground cochineal turned scarlet as soon as I added the cream of tartar to the dye bath. This recipe was easy and I would recommend it for a got scarlet. The indigo skeins were some I had from last spring and since I had a cochineal bath going I just added the two skeins of indigo. The third skein of indigo was from an appalachian vat recipe, probably 6 dunks and the weld was grown in my garden two summers ago. I had dried it for just this purpose. I used two ozs. of dried weld simmered it for and hour, strained out the weld and added the wetted skein with no mordant. The green is more forest than kelley which I  get when I use black oak bark dye over indigo.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wonderful Wool

With all the snow we have been getting, it has left me with alot of inside time. Last spring I spun up a three ply light worsted yarn from my BFL roving with intentions of knitting a cardigan this past fall. Well here it is! I started knitting on it in September and fininshed it last month, and is it ever warm. Just in time for all the cold and snowy weather. I am not a fast knitter but I am persistant. Hope this winter has you happily knitting too.