Thursday, May 30, 2002

I have to giggle at myself... I did finish the buckwheat pillow last night, but it's cockamammy. I had it all sewn up, 9/10 of the hulls stuffed in, and *then* discovered I had sewn the end pieces wrong. The end pieces were 4"x9", and I had rotated one ninety degrees. By that time, I was tired and just declared it a DESIGN ELEMENT, dammit. Funny thing tho- it felt ok to sleep on. Like the rotation of one corner made the pillow more moveable- I tend to scrunch my head around.

The jacaranda leaves are steaming on the stove... I took an empty soda can, wrapped it with aluminum foil. Maybe it will act like an alum mordant, and I was a little afraid the paint on the soda can might get onto the fabric.

I took a length of cotton muslin, laid the jacaranda blossoms and some pomegranate blossoms on it, folded the fabric over, wrapped the fabric around the can, then tied with a strip of cotton.

Then, I put it into a stainless steel saucepan, with a copper potscrubber in the bottom. Hey, couldn't hurt, and it holds the can up out of the water. So far, it's been steaming 30 minutes and I don't see any color seeping through. hmmm. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Tonight I'm having the usual frustration about *GETTING STUFF DONE*. Too much to do, and too many roadblocks, makes for many false starts and lots of UFOs. (UnFinished Objects)

Enough whining. Tonight's goals are: cut fabric for the buckwheat pillow, post more to the blogger about CC2002, and vacuuming.

I've decided to throw a Dye Day on 6/8/02 to share techniques with friends in the SoCal area. Let me know if you're in the Diamond Bar Calif area...

I want to collect some jacaranda blossoms and try them in a steam bath. Karen Diadick Casselman talks about a technique where you wrap leaves tightly in silk and steam them for 20 minutes to see what color you get. Hey, it's worth a try! (I'll use cotton tho) I'll also try them in a wrap-and-ferment technique. Gotta get this done before the blossoms are gone.

Carol Lee showed her results with avocados in the dyepot. They need to be soaked for at least 3 days if not longer. I'm so lucky to have 3 trees in the back yard- tho no fruit currently. Funny how the fruit disappears, without a fallen peel or chewed pit left behind. Maybe the neighbors will save me the peels and pits if I ask.

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Found it! The title is "Ethical and Ecological Dyes: a Work Book for the Natural Dyer" by Karen Diadick Casselman. I don't see an ISBN, but it says you can order it by email to, or write to Studio Vista Publications, 2018 New Cheverie Road, Cheverie, Nova Scotia, Canada. My copy was $18 at CC2002.

It's a scholarly treatise, but still a good read. Karen is generous with her praise and citations to other sources, many new to me. Don't let the self-published format fool you. It's definitely not a picture book- if so, it would probably be 200 pages instead of 59. It's a *technique* book, what to use and how to use it SAFELY; and I found information on lots of techniques previously unfamiliar to me. (and I took my first dye class in 1983!)

We're back- and Colour Congress was great!

I took a workshop on No Pot Natural Dyes, taught by Karen Diadick Casselman on 5/17. Talk about fun! It's not for the control freak, more like the mad scientist dyers like me. Basically, you take things like leaves, flowers, spices, rusty nails, whatever, and sprinkle them all over your fabric. Roll it all up, and beat the heck out of it with a rubber mallet. Then, sprinkle just a bit of something wet on it- like catsup, soy sauce, yucky wine, vinegar, whatever. Don't use too much, or everything will bleed together. You're going for color blotches.

Get Karen's booklet (will post the title when I find where I packed it). She has a lot of good information in there, like the basic differences between dyes, pigments, and stains, and how to use them to your advantage.

Highlight of class- finding out that Karen had sent Reverend Bob (reputed to be a Methodist minister in good standing!) into the men's room with a bottle to pee in. Hey- it's historically accurate. Just nobody wants to deal with it any more. I noticed that even Reverend Bob avoided actually *using* it.

Coming soon: details about archeological digs investigating First People's dyes in New Mexico; dyeing with avocado, dyeing with aphids (!), and John Marshall's technique using soy milk as a dye fixative.

These descriptions will be reviews, not trade secrets, more like teasers to make you want to take these classes too!