Monday, October 14, 2013

These late September happenings

We welcomed a few new critters to our family. These two lovely girls have lived on the next street over for the last 5 years. Their prior owners are moving off the island soon and wanted to have the girls stay on. Jubal and I were more than happy as Jubal, especially has been wanting chickens for a very long time. Now we've got 'em. I don't actually remember what kind they said they were, but the brown one here pecking out of my hand is Tulip. The speckled one is Olive. Tulip, I believe was laying a few eggs when they first arrived. Not sure why they aren't laying any more but we think it's due to age? They are 5-6 years old now. This spring we hope to get some chicks to integrate in. 

Elsa joined us in late July and is such a sweetheart. She's 12 and has no teeth. She seems happy as a calm though and really loved her belly rubbed and brushed. We have to keep up the brushings everyday or she'll get all matted. She's such a love though. 


As Jubal and I both work from home, we try to get out whenever we can for a walk. But we both get so absorbed with our work it's so easy to forget to stop and take a break. Every time we do though, it always feels so good. This is a lovely spot. Kind of secluded from the beaten path. 

Just a few scenes from around Peaks...


I love this time of year because I'm more apt to work outside then in the summer. In the summer I can easily become a grumpy wilted sweaty weed. Not too enjoyable to be around. But when the weather gets cool, I suddenly become inspired and hopeful for all that can be accomplished around the yard. 

This here bald spot is our goldenrod patch that we pulled out in an effort to create more yardage. It may be surprising as you know how much I love goldenrod for dyes. It can create THEE BEST YELLOW EVER!! And has been proven by historians as one of the best light fast and wash fast yellow plant dyes. So, back to my plot, it's ok because there is just copious amounts of goldenrod EVERY WHERE. And my latest plan for this little spot involves lots and lots of foxgloves. My sister gave me some apricot foxglove seeds so those will be involved for sure. The quince bunch to the left will also be removed shortly. I should really post more pictures regarding the progress of it all. 

Speaking of progress, our gardenshed----> painting studio is still underway. We're pretty hopeful I'll be in there painting by the winter. Also, this week begins the painting of our home exterior. It's been 10-20 years since the metal siding was painted and is a faded white/ grey/ green(?). But soon, it will be a soft peach pink with butter yellow trim. 

Someone really gets a lot out of my knitting marathons. 

I've been foraging for mushrooms a bit on the island and have made some interesting discoveries. I found a mass of this white fungi in out upper forest hill. It looks a bit like a club foot mushroom but white. It's very spongy and watery on the inside. 

This one I found near an oak and where hen of the woods was growing earlier until we plucked that up. It was so tasty!! But this one, I'm not too sure. It may be honey mushroom.....? I've prepared them both for the dehydrator and are stored for later dyes this fall or winter. Will report back later with results. 

While teaching natural dyeing at the Squam Artworkshops this past September, I too came away with a huge amount of samples. As always when I'm dyeing, I alway have new discoveries that I think are very important to record. The bag to the right will be made into samples to fit into my hoop for use in further workshops and demonstrations. I really enjoy this process. With the remaining samples I think I'll knit a little something for that twinkle in our eye;)The blanket in the background is the ten stitch blanket. A really easy and pleasing blanket to knit. This was also knit with my first set of samples when I first was teaching myself to use natural dyes back in 2008. I knit, dyes, and spun them as samples for the shop I was working for at the time. They then hung in the shop window for about 2 years to test the light fast-ness. We could see a difference in change. The shop owner decided she didn't want to use them anymore and offered them back to me so this was my creation. It lives on the back of our sofa now. Actually, when Jubal and I went on our first date I had the beginnings of it with me. I showed it to him when he asked me what I liked to do for fun. He didn't look bored when I told him how much I liked to knit and work with fiber. A few weeks after I moved into to his house a little over a year ago, I completed it. I love this blanket.

In late September I held a natural dye workshop here at our house which was a blast and I'll be running a few more this fall and over the winter so keep your eye out if your interested. With the left over dye baths I kept through in more and more fiber. I was able to go 3 more rounds often letting the fiber soak overnight in the baths. I just love all of those colors! 

Especially the indigo.. this indigo bath I realized I could dye with it when it was cold. I checked the color first seeing that it still looked grass yellow green and then I did my dips with out heating it up. The color was just stunning. And dyeing with fiber like this is really enjoyable to spin because a lovely heather variegation happens.


One of my favorite mushrooming spots is on my sisters land in Bowdoin. With this last haul, my two little helpers and I spotted some fascinating that I haven't seen before. My littlest nephew is really good at spotting the tiniest mushrooms shouting out "EEE-CHAL! Is this a good un?!"  

These mushrooms have a beautiful faint lavender hue and turn a solid ocher in spots. I have a feeling they could be related to the red gilled mushrooms. As they are near where I saw them last and look like they have a similar structure.   




There's something magical that happens when you give two lively boys a snack.... The air becomes soft and all you hear is little lips smacking:) 

I'm beginning a new series of embroidery involving botanicals. This here is an indigo plant. I really enjoyed working the french knots for the tiny little blossoms but I really need to polish my lettering as I can't even read when I stitched. Practice makes perfect. 

Birch and Maple fingerless mitts. Spun from madder and fustic dyed over handspun camel and silk. Soon to be in my Etsy Shop:: 44 Clovers.


I finished these Squam Lake fingerless mitts this week as well. My own garden grown indigo dyed over hand spun Maine raised pygora goat. I bought the fiber from Jenny Smith who raises numerous fiber animals and lives in western Maine. She is often at the Maine Fiber Frolic with her wonderful assortment of fuzzy things to tempt you. LOVE THIS FIBER!!

Gosh, so that's what I've been up to. In a nutshell. Stay tuned for more projects, workshop offerings here on Peaks and at portfiber and textile gatherings. I'm in the process of putting together a textile night for islanders. If your interested in joining, send me a message. 

Also, what are you working on these days? Post a link in the comments. 

oxox, r.

2 comments:

Karen Schneider said...

loved reading every word of this. So soothing.

Karen Schneider said...

Lovely to read. So soothing.