Saturday, June 30, 2012

farm blues

the day began with the promise of blue...
as I readied to teach a class of eight
dyeing with indigo here at Long Ridge
last weekend
through the morning students learned
how to make the indigo stock and prepare
for dyeing.
then the gloves went on,
vats got adjusted,
and the dipping was copious,
from yarns to fabric to clothing.
Anne dipped while Rita ran the timer.
one of the perks of smart phones...a stopwatch

Rita decided to dip a strand of hair.
it's protein afterall.
and yes it took the blue.
Luna, as usual, was in heaven
under the dye tables with
a group of happy students

a thunderstorm came up rather quickly and
after a mad dash to move tables, dye vats and dyed
fibers under cover, the dyeing resumed.

the blues acheived were breathtaking.
teacher and students most happy

this piece of fabric was in early stages
of multiple dips for intentional
areas of saturation
there was lots of discussion as work
progressed through dips

and in the garden my indigo has sprouted
and is doing quite well. It had a late
start getting planting due to the excess rain this spring
but I will get one harvest, for certain.
and it's a good learning experience
before planting a larger area next year.
and the woad is looking great as well
I am not thinning too much
as it doesn't mind a bit of squeeze play.
the blues are thriving here on the farm!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Indiana indigo

down a country road in the heartland of Indiana
and up a long driveway to Trading Post for Fiber Arts
where even the livestock love the blues
a fabulous group of folks from Indiana, Illinois
and Nebraska converged June 9th and 10th to learn  
how to dye with indigo,
the only natural blue dye
in the world.
fifteen in all, plus a very happy, smiling Charlie pup.
Peter spun this yarn, a two-ply, and then dipped it
to a smashing blue hue.
I was delighted to meet and work with Kate Larson
who came to dye with indigo and also landed the cover of the
Spring issue of Spin~Off plus two feature articles
in the Summer issue of Jane Austen Knits
With the help of Benita, who ran the wood fires
all weekend so the indigo vats hummed along,
I was able to focus on teaching the students how to keep
their indigo vats balanced so they got the maximum blues time.
you can see Benita's posts for more pictures here and there.
the blue hues were stellar.
Kate's sweater had been a dreary gray upon arrival.
never is destined for many new occasions!
here is the result of a fold and clamp on fabric
Shawna came Sunday and worked until the last
minute putting a few pounds of roving
through her indigo vat.
the pool was a beeeautiful blue and
with the temps in the high 80's it was a welcome
relief for swimming and toe dipping.
Peter modeled his own handspun, hand knit socks.
guy time poolside, Peter and Charlie take a break.
  I had the very best time taking the blues to Indiana. everyone
absorbed the instruction to perfection and the results were magnificent.

from high above on the homeward flight, blue captured my view.
it is in the sky, the rivers, the oceans and beyond.
blue is precious.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

knee deep

seems I took a few sharp corners that swung far afield but things are
progressing despite the rocky course.
it's good to take pause and just feel the days.
"doing" is not a requirement.
the weather has been reasonably wet and rainy.
yet the flock is floating through some of the pastures.
there has been so much rain the past 30 days that one field is simply down for the count until we dry off.
they are more than knee deep which is a blessing over potential drought conditions.
due to the mild winter we are over run with small mammals.
chipmunks, red squirrels, gray squirrels. it's out of control.
but Luna is at the ready to pounce.
here she is on the rock ledge listening for a squeak.
she and Kalie spend most of their waking hours
patrolling the stone walls.
they have actually succeeded in removing (polite word)
a number of the unwanted.
we are knee deep this year.
new NH Red chicks arrived a few weeks ago
today they are already starting to roost.
little birds growing up fast
the woad is sprouted in the plot and on the way
the Polygonum tinctoria (Japanese indigo) below is
up and healthy.
 just waiting for the warmth of the sun to spur the
summer plot so I can transplant the seedlings.
knee deep in tears.
the past few months Trinity had started to decline.
she fought the good fight but couldn't
beat the odds.
here she was the day she asked to go.
I tested for every possible issue from here to Cornell.
I became even more adept at injections and diagnosis.
in the end it was out of our control.
it took me awhile to accept that.
sweet girl. we'll always miss her.
it's been a long few months since February.
knee deep in a river, dying of thirst.
the fog has lifted.
it's clear now.