Archive | May, 2016

3 days makes a difference!

28 May

Here is a comparison shot of my suffruticosa indigo Tuesday evening and 3 days later after sitting with a shot of fructose added. There be indigo! I am going to feed it again on Sunday, stir it up and add some pickling lime to see if I can get my indigo to strike some silk. 

After 3 days…

Where we started…I am happy to take suggestions from any indigo grandmother out there for alternative paths! Trying to avoid thio…

And here is my rigged anti skunk/raccoon or armadillo cage device to keep the critters from digging for grubs between my Japanese indigo & indigo suffruticosa! Evil creatures!

In the dye garden

25 May

Today was spent trimming and planting…

Trimmed back the indigo suffruticosa and put it in a fructose bath to sun soak, more to come on that…I already see blue, just need the sun to kick in.

Planted my Japanese indigo

We’ll see how the madder root & the indigo suffruticosa share space! 

Looking elsewhere in the garden my cota or Navajo Tea is struggling back after an irrigation line failure…

And my weld is almost ready to cut for yellow dyeing, it too suffered from irrigation line failure.

And finally the Texas Persimmons are coming on line! 

So with red (madder root), gold (persimmon), bright yellow (weld), orange (cota) and blue (indigos) how can I be bored at the dye pot this summer? I will be on the elusive search for a black by overdyeing some of these colors. Always a lesson in acceptance! 

Lecture for Master Gardeners – Roots, Wood, Bugs and Berries

17 May

Sample plants from my garden & acreage for this afternoon’s lecture 

Master Gardener Association

Marble Falls Church of Christ 

3:00 on the 3rd Tuesday: May 17th 

Natural dyestuffs fall mainly into the following broad categories: Leaves and stems, twigs and tree prunings, flower heads, barks, roots, insect dyes, outer skins , hulls and husks, heartwoods and wood-shaving, berries and seeds and lichens. This is one of the breakdowns provided by Jenny Dean, a noted colorist in Craft of Natural Dyeing.
I will talk about how we get those colors to “bite” with mordants. We’ll consider how you use different “assists” to push the colors different directions such as vinegar, iron and even the impact the type of water used, rainwater versus well water, has on your colors. We’ll look back in time at what was used historically and talk about safety today. I’ll have some examples of the colors produced by cactus tuna, cochineal and Texas ball moss plus more. I won’t make a natural dye expert of you in one day but you will start looking at your garden plants in a new light. What color will your valley provide?

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