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Osage Orange

Running along our side property line, the one directly behind our house, is a bit of forest.  The trees are densely packed and woven together by extensive grapevines.  The patch of forest isn't very wide - maybe 25 to 50 feet - and it all sits on our neighbors property.  I'm happy to say we have had no indication they might decide to cut it all down.  It forms a great barrier between our property and theirs. There are some trees that over-arch our fence and could do significant damage to said fence if they toppled down.  Enough of the trees are dead that this is a specific concern and we have had to repair the fence several times after cutting up...

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Peggy and I had a great time at the Knit at Night Out West meeting this past Monday night.  We were invited to give a talk about natural dyes to the group at their regular monthly meeting.  What a hoot!  We knew lots of the folks in the group from Yarntopia.  It was our favorite local yarn store until Sheryl Means decided it was time to move on.  We miss the shop but change is inevitable and Sheryl is currently having lots of fun not owning a knit shop.  Some of the ladies at KNOW had already taken our Natural Dyes Workshop and had brought some of the yarn they had dyed there.  It was so wonderful to see all...

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A Catch Up Day

  I have been working hard all this last week and weekend on a special project.  My new favorite plumber, Kenneth Amador, asked me to make his wife Donna a warm blanket for her birthday since she is always cold.  It's not a blanket for the bed but a lap robe for cuddling up with on the couch. Her favorite colors are pink and purple so pink and purple it is.  I'll show you lots of pictures when it's finished.  For now, know that I've been working hard on it.  Her birthday was yesterday and we didn't quite make it by then but Kenneth and Donna came out here on Sunday to see what I was doing and to watch...

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Natural Dye Workshop

What a hoot!  We had such a great time this past Saturday foraging and dyeing some wonderful colors. We started off foraging for natural dye materials.  We picked up oak galls knowing they would give us a great soft beige/tan. We dug up madder roots from my garden bin.  I planted the madder about 9 years ago and this is the first time we have dug up roots.  I had some ground madder roots to add to the brew but we wanted fresh roots also.  We are always on the hunt for the perfect madder red although the perfect madder red/orange is a wonderful color, too and well worth the effort. And we gathered soft yellow coreopsis blooms from along...

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Natural Dyes

I love working with natural dyes.  I love picking the plants - marigolds or goldenrod or whatever else grows around me.  I also love working with the natural materials that I can't go outside and find - like cochineal for example.  Then there are the plants that can and do grow here but require a high level of commitment to produce yourself.  Various plants make indigotin, the initial form of indigo, but the process is precise even after you have grown the plants.  Osage Orange trees grow around here but to get the dye out of the heartwood requires grinding up the wood into sawdust.     Sort of looks like raspberry and lemon pop, right?  It's actually cochineal and goldenrod. ...

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