Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Okay, okay -- so blogging seems to have taken a back seat to enjoying late summer in Southern California where I live. It's been a while since I blogged, but oh, well! High on my list is enjoying the beach as often as possible by taking a picnic dinner down to the sand to watch the sunset. And since it was Labor Day yesterday -- the official last day of summer -- the crowds have thinned, I say with my fingers crossed.

My garden abounds with gold finches, little twitter birds (?), Monarch butterflies as well as Swallowtails. My tomato bushes are in their last stages of producing lovely fruit. We have tomatoes in just about anything and everything we can put them in. Eating homegrown tomatoes spoils you.

And with the Artistic License arts and crafts show fast approaching, I dusted off my loom, warped it up and wove a couple of scarves this past week. This is one of my favorite patterns, Star Twill, woven with laceweight yarns from Toots LeBlanc. The white is a merino wool/angora blend and the brown is a pygora/blueface leicester blend.

And I so loved the Morning Surf scarf that I knit a couple months ago, I decided to knit another one. Like the last time, I used my hand-dyed handspun yarn which seems to knit up so beautifully in this pattern. The fiber blend here is a superfine merino wool with tussah silk.

The other fun thing that has been occupying a good deal of my time lately is natural dyeing. Shortly after I returned from Golden Gate Fiber Institute, a wonderful book arrived from Australia: "Eco Colour" by fiber artist, India Flint. Unfortunately, this book is not available in the US (yet). If you want to read more about India, visit her blog and her website: http://prophet-of-bloom.blogspot.com/ and http://www.indiaflint.com/

This is an absolutely great book. India got me motivated to go out and forage around the area where I live and collect some eucalyptus leaves for dyeing. I tried both windfallen dried leaves and leaves right off the tree. I also had been collecting the coreopsis flower tops from my garden all summer, so they went into a dyepot. Here is the outcome of a day's worth of dyeing. Most of these were done in the coreopsis pot. The two skeins on the top and middle right were from eucalyptus brewed up by my friend, Karen.

These little exemplar skeins are from fiber I dyed with coreopsis. The two middle skeins were put in the coreopsis dyepot, one full strength, and one diluted a bit. The butter yellow was from the same dyepot after vinegar was added -- it turned the dyebath yellow. The bottom skein is from Karen's eucalyptus dyebath.

Here are some pretty skeins of the natural dyed yarn, half with coreopsis and half with the eucalyptus I foraged. These are for my own consumption since I am not sure how light fast these colors will be. They are gorgeous and I can't wait to knit or weave with them.

Friday, September 19th: Spinning at Common Threads in Encinitas.
Friday/Saturday, October 24th and 25th: Artistic License Fair at Estancia Park in Costa Mesa. I will have a booth with my handwovens, handknits, beautiful hand-dyed yarns and handspun yarns.
Sunday, November 2nd: The Torrance Fiber Fest put on by the Southern California Handweavers Guild. I will have a booth with my hand-dyed yarns and handpainted spinning fibers. www.schg.org
March, 2009: Assn. of Southern California Handweavers conference in Riverside, CA. For more information and registration, visit: http://www.aschsite.org/


tumbleweed said...

Hi Lori, thanks for your visit! lovely to see your eucalypt samples...try the experiment of putting small amounts of fibre in the pot, and then say at 20 minute intervals adding more...you'll get an amazing range of colours starting with quite deep (for those that have been in longest) but often also a change of shade, as some dyes 'pick up' more rapidly than others...so if you were using Eucalyptus cinerea, for example, you might (depending on the water used) get shades from dark rust red to orange, yellow and sometimes even a pale green...
best wishes

Sandy said...

Lori, these natural dyed yarns and fibers are truly beautiful and inspiring!!! Kate took a natural dyeing class at BSG, and i know when we finally get together in Duvall this is something we'll be trying. Must remember to plants lots of coreopsis next spring!

Kim said...

I really love your star twill scarf. Is there someplace that I can find this pattern? I am doing a weaving demonstration in a few weeks and this might be fun!