Monday, November 25, 2013

Slipped Gears; day dreaming with lichens, family, and baby booties.

I say 'day dreaming with' because in these joyous moments of new lichen dye discoveries, seeing a growing rooster, and talking with my sisters, I'm day dreaming too. Mostly about new projects, some very big and some very small, on the horizon. Day dreaming is fun and it's useful! I should know, I've been doing it all my life. And here I am. Inside my very day dream I've had since I was in Mrs. Veno's 1st grade class. The first teacher who wrote my name on the board. I was caught talking in the bathroom which meant I was not paying attention when she told us during our bathroom break there was to be no talking.  What I remember most about that year was with every report card, was sent home a disapproving note to my parents; "rachel day dreams too much." I didn't really know what fuss was all about. I just knew it was so much more fun to be thinking about milk weed pods and why that silk was so silky. And why was goldenrod so yellow.

On and off for about a week now I've felt myself happily gliding into a holiday mode. Day dreaming about the meals, plans, projects I'll create. Just when I feel I've established a nice buttoned up, all my ducks in a row house is cleaned and projects are complete organized routine, that's when it happens. A gear slips. I get so excited about an idea and before I know it I've collected all 24 of my dye books for note writing. Or I've started sorting my yarn again and five ideas emerge.  I end up pacing trying to decide what to start first and why it's more important than the others. I bring down 3 prepared embroidery projects, 2 knitting projects and park myself to watch my latest series and then the cat starts begging to be brushed by pulling my arm towards her with her too hard to see and too sharp to tolerate claws.  So, this past week, I glided and floated happily along enjoying what ever came my way. It was quiet and restful as I did a lot of sitting back, thinking and planning.

The few things that kept me busy:

My latest lichen jars. While in Prince Edward Island a weekends ago visiting my husband's aunt, I discovered this lichen, Lobaria pulmonaria. Also know as tree lung wart. I found two slightly different shapes of it but looking very similar in two different spots. I harvested maybe a fourth of what I saw. Back home, I set up my ammonia method for fermentation. Within a day the liquid turned a bright orange. I'm have some left in my bag that I will also try with the boil water method. Reading in my lichen books, this is suppose to give a dye ranging from peach to orange with the boil water method or BWM. It doesn't say anything about the ammonia method but I'm trying it anyway. I also tried the orchil acid test by dipping an exposed inner white flesh edge of the lichen in bleach. If there is orchil acid, the white bit will turn pink to red. It did nothing and stayed white. So I thought I would continue to experiment anyway. When I actually dye with this lichen, I will of course post results. Look how orange it is!

Speaking of day dreams, back in 2006 I first opened up my etsy shop. Back then it was Bosco44. Named after my sweet dog I had as a kid. Etsy has been changing a lot over the last few years, increasing all that you can do and how you manage. There are tiny companies and studios all around the world doing the etsy thing full time. I manage my shop completely by myself. I am the sole creator for everything in the shop. A while ago while checking out my shop stats, I realized that my biggest year for sales was 2009. I remember thinking to myself, "ok, this needs to turn around now and I need to surpass these numbers soon." It had been too long. I then noticed that since 2010, my views, listing favorites, and sales have slowly but steady climbed. Then I noticed the third thing. Since the time I left my full time working for someone else grind at the end of August 2012, sales have doubled, shop and listing views have doubled, and my favorites have more than tripled. 

This past week hit a special mark for me reaching the first time since 2009 when I had a serious influx for sales during this particular season. I hit my fourth sale of the month pushing me into beating my highest sales year from 2009 going over by 4 sales so far. 

In this little package was my first rainbow roving. You can see the whole series there at the shop. Having 3 orders in a week really did a lot for my self esteem I have to say. And to wake up on a Sunday morning to be greeted with a notification on my phone or to hear that heavenly "CHA-CHING!!" from my phone or ipad while cooking or tending to other things, there's nothing like it.  

My sisters and I try to get together often usually meeting at one of their houses for an afternoon with our lunches and knitting. It had been a little bit since I had been to this sister's house and had forgotten about just how fast chickens grow. I took a few minutes checking out their coop set up. They have roughly 8 or 9 (?) chickens now and they all look good. Like tweens sporting their new haircuts and outfits just before the 7th grade. In that stage of still cute and nearing handsome adulthood. But more on the cute side. And wanting to be noticed. 

Check out Ralphie's du. The rooster. 

I collect clothes lines, remember. I can't help it. I see one and my phone is clicking away before I've thought about it. 

I love this window door thing and the hanging feeder. 

So here I was just kind of slowly day dreaming about next steps in life and I found myself sorting all my natural dye samples from classes and workshops I've taught. I've had this sweet little pile of kid mohair and silk yarn that I've been r e l i s h i n g in experimenting with. I realized I had just about all the colors of the rainbow plus brown. 

And as always, working with mohair always makes me think of baby booties. For a few years now, I've been knitting several pairs for my shop, friends and family with what ever mohair I have. I've been using this pattern. It's so easy and I've made so so many. I love knitting it because it's very quick and you kind of knit a tiny ravioli to start- by double knitting. Can I call that double knitting? It's ok, correct me if I'm wrong. 

As the yarn is SO tiny and strand like, not like the old mohair I use to work with that had a sizable loft to it. I used US 1 double pointed needles. This is also the first time I've knitted this pattern with stripes. It was interesting and I figured it out along the way. 

They are just too CUTE! and I'm pretty happy with the colors. Which include from toe to cuff- all dyed with plant dyes by me, madder root light, madder root dark, goldenrod, onion skins (the green!) garden grown indigo, indigo extract, logwood purple, alkanet, lichen, and black walnut. I still have plenty of sample yarn left over so it's very possible I'll be knitting a pair for the shop. Maybe slightly bigger as these could be for a newborn. But these little things will be tucked away for when the time is real.

Obligatory cat picture. A very friendly wandering cat I noticed from my window while washing dishes who in my mind is named Henry.  

Thanksgiving and Chanukah is this week. As you celebrate how ever you do this coming holiday season, do your self a great big favor and take time out to just day dream. Look out a window and just let your mind go. And do it often.  

ox, r

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your blog posts make me so very happy. Love you, my friend.