Putting one less-heavy foot in front of the other


We're easing into high summer ... plentiful sunshine,
zero rain (33 days & counting), warm temps and mornings influenced by
an abundant marine layer.

It's splendid being out on the water,
especially when someone else is driving.

The islands are crawling with tourists now but back on our own patch

it's dozing as usual ...
and chores
like watching the beans grow

and the wild blackberries ripen.

I made a little decision back in April - a decision that I didn't want to carry around
any extra weight anymore.  A monumental [gulp, or so it felt] birthday was
looming on the horizon, so I decided to give myself one of the biggest
gifts there is ... a lighter foot-fall. 
No one but me could give this gift.
It was high time. 

My mom struggled with her weight all her life.  We have similar small frames and
neither of us very tall.  She used to say that she imagined her extra weight as
holding 10 pound bags of potatoes ... and then she'd set them down
one by one as she worked towards her goal.

Here's my favorite cheerleader for most any venture.

So I've set down one and a half bags so far ... think I might continue on
till I'm back to my college size.  The  *lightness*  is addicting,
not wanting those spare pounds to have the better of me, a driving force.
'Specially when I need to push wheelbarrows uphill, heft pruners hither & yon
for more hours than I wish to count
and well, we won't even talk about that dang lawn mower ...

In the meantime, the front field is all ready for the Dog Club get-together
and the girlies are being put through their paces ...

good thing I left some of those potatoes behind.


Caught, red-handed ...


Looks like a heist from the florist or botanic garden, doesn't it?
It was a group effort of the very best kind and was transformed into

THIS ...

our first dye day of the summer and it was a BIG one for our merry band who were
practically chomping on their tongs with anticipation ... three separate baths were on hand, 
each with the promise of good, strong color:

onion skins,
and  lac.

Trying to be somewhat disciplined with our exuberance, we gathered into a circle to get some working
facts about what was in store.  I spoke a bit about lac
and then Sheila taught us about the blues.  Indigo was simpler than I'd imagined,
especially from the kit we used,
and seems to have everything to do with air  ~  in the vat and out of it.

Was my first time out of the chutes [so to speak] with this color and already
I can see how people become addicted.
If only I'd made videos while watching everyones color transformations happening
including my own ...
I was astonished!
No wonder everyone calls it 

Just showing a couple of my shibori snippets at the moment [more to come later],
since most the gals read my blog and I don't want to give away all of what I did quite yet ...
saving that for our in-person "reveal" get-together in August.

But I digress ...

Yours truly was the instigator of the lac pot.  Red from bugs - the bugs that provide shellac.
Similar to cochineal, yet different insectivorous origins and with deeper tones - closer to 
burgundy wine or the juice of roasted beets. 
I thought after all this time of using local materials as our primary color source
it might be fun to try something DRAMATIC, from farther afield.
But I confess ... while processing the powder I felt an odd disconnect [for lack of a better word].
My rational mind knew this was a "natural" dye,
yet there was something so unnatural about using this color that came from 

Still, there's no denying my appreciation for these patterns and imprints
[thanks to alum mordant on the cottons & linens] ... and I can see
my purple pansies here [blue from the alum] and the skins from the local grocery.

It was mentioned recently that someone remarked 
that all naturally dyed fabric "looks the same."
I think I must beg to differ with that comment.

The dregs of the lac bath came home with me and the following day I continued on with 
a few more experiments.  The bath looked strong in the pot, but in actuality it was quite exhausted
and had swung to a decidedly plummy range of tones ...
all that iron in our bundles definitely changed the pH.

Can't say I mind it.

: : :

Visit the online store at Long Ridge Farm for Nancy's supply of Lac extract from India

If you're a mite skittish about processing the extract yourself, 
Aurora Silks has a [much more expensive] ready-to-go powder from China

We used a Pre-Reduced Indigo Kit from Pro-Chem