Wednesday, December 24, 2014


May we all find many ways to be kind to each other in the coming year!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Many Thanks to the Squirrels

Years ago we decided it would be fun to use the black walnuts falling from a local tree. After hours of work and very few nutmeats to show for our labor, I understood why black walnuts aren't a staple of our diet. And I can still remember the stain on my hands that took over a week to wear off--nothing would wash it off.

So I knew black walnut would be a good candidate for natural dyeing even before I kept seeing it mentioned as I did my research. But for two reasons I kept putting off adding it to my list of items to experiment with:  I did not relish ripping that outer husk apart and I did not know of any nearby black walnut trees. And then one day as I passed by a back window, I saw a squirrel sitting on the corner of our neighbor's deck railing and what was he chewing on? His sharp little teeth were quickly turning that tough husk of a black walnut into a pile of pieces just right for throwing in a dye pot. Over the next couple of weeks I found a number of such piles on our own deck and patio and even got our neighbors to give me the piles from their deck.  They graciously told me I could gather nuts from the tree (which was in their yard) but I decided I would make do with the preprocessed  husk chips I was collecting.

Finally I had enough:

At first I was a bit disappointed in the cotton, which you can see below, but it has very interesting gray brown veins, which don't show up well in the photo, and it would make a great neutral background for something.

The silk, as usual, won the beauty prize with its rich brown mottling.

And just so you can see that I am not just creating more fabric, but actually stitching some together, I will add a snapshot of one of the new projects I am beginning

And if you are still with me, thanks for the company!