Monday, March 31, 2008
And here she is this morning celebrating her birthday, sheepishly avoiding the camera.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Below is a blender (not my kitchen one, mind you!) full of raw madder that has soaked and is ready to blend before adding it to the dyebath. Yummy!
The resulting skeins from the madder root which did just as I desired! I added Calcium Carbonate to the dyebath for the left skein to richen the red orange of the right skein to a deeper red. The silk pieces were treated the same way....love the silk! Love the wool actually!
These are 5 dye tests cooling after dyeing. Left to right: Cochineal, Chestnut, Cutch, Fustic and Lac.
Here are the same tests after cooling but still wet. There are 7 variables within each dye test. When dry, each substrate will be labeled as to it's variables and dye % used and a sample will be placed in a journal for each dye. Laborious but SO useful!
Friday, March 21, 2008
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Sunday, March 09, 2008
I would be happy to explain Emily's project.
She used 100% silk and 100% nylon pieces of fabric (weights of fabric varied from 11 grams to 14 grams). Distilled water only.
The mordants used were aluminum sulfate, iron, tin and as an extra experiment she used a bronze (copper and tin combination) bearing. She also did a dye bath using no mordant.
She did separate mordant and dye baths for each piece of fabric; which came out to a total of 17 individual baths. Very time consuming due to the fact that she gave herself very specific time lines to follow. She brought each mordant/dye pot to 180 degrees; once reached she then simmered for one hour and let sit for 24 hours. She pH tested each pot. Her notes were awesome.
Due to such cold weather, Emily did her dying in our basement on an electric hot plate, with the exception of the tin mordant and dye baths. I felt the tin had the potential of being too toxic, so she had to brave the cold and mordant/dye on our screened in porch. She also wore a total face respirator when doing the mordant baths. Not happy with mom when out in the cold or wearing the respirator but oh well. I did not want her to use copper or chrome. I felt that they were far too toxic to risk a chance of inhaling. Of course latex gloves were used at all times. I do have to say that the cochineal/tin combination on both the silk and nylon were my favorites. To further the experiment, Emily used a solid bronze bearing in a mordant bath to see if any bronze would leach into the water. It did. The result was a light lavender tone to both fabrics, actually similar to using no mordant except those fabrics came out light pink tones.
Emily felt her biggest challenge was using the concentrated cochineal extract on such small pieces of fabric. She ended up putting one gram of cochineal extract in 100 ml of water. This gave her percentages less than one gram to add to her dye baths. She used a baby medicine dropper to measure out the number of milliliters to use.
Emily wanted the actual cochineal insects for her display but wanted to use the extract for dyeing. I really feel that the cochineal extract is well worth the investment. The variety and vibrancy of colors were absolutely amazing. This truly turned out to be a chemistry experiment.
So off we went to Home Depot at 5PM, bought a pump that would push 1750 gals and hour through a 1" hose! We got back at 6PM only to find the package was missing the hose adaptor! So back to Home Depot. We got the pump going by 6:45 and at 9:30 the waters had receded. Thankfully the rain had stopped around 8PM. At Home Depot there were a few of us huddled around the sump pump section making our decisions and a man we know arrived to buy his third pump! He too, owns and old house and we all just sort of laughed and went our merry ways.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
This condition is know as cast and once a sheep gets on their back they cannot get up without assistance and will die within a matter of an hour.
It occurs when the sheep gets into a position, usually after lying down where they cannot get righted. It occurs more often when they are full with fleece or before lambing when they are quite heavy. Presently Crystal is sporting more than 12 pounds of fleece and she is already a large sheep, weighing 200#!
Jack swiftly rolled her over onto her knees and after a few minutes helped her to her feet. She was covered in straw around her head and visibly shaken as you can imagine. By the time Jack put out the hay she did eat some.
We had a lot of cleanup to do after the last snowstorm and while I worked getting snow off the barn roof and Jack removed snow from their loafing lot, I watched Crystal. I wanted to see her drink water and chew her cud. I didn't want bloat to set in and as an extra precaution I gave her 3cc of liquid simethicone, like you give babies for gas. It wouldn't hurt and seeing as she had been on her back, unable to process her feed through her rumen I thought it an easy treatment.
Here she is eating snow which satisfied my concern for drinking water.
As we finished up the snow removal, I looked over from the lane and she was standing on the rocks chewing her cud. She was back in the land of sheepdom. Close call.