Cochineal dyeing was another whim my daughter and I had this past summer, which was really fun - but our favourite was hydrangea blooms - a lovely green. I have had second thoughts about dyeing with cochineal - something like 5000 pounds of the bugs are imported from South America a year - I really wonder if this is a good idea....would love to hear some comments on this.
The darlings of Eastwin Farm - aren't they so beautiful? I have to say, they are my favourite fleece animal. They have such dignity. My friend Sandy makes the most amazing little needlefelted goats that capture their sweetness - she also makes wonderful alpacas, sheep (Shetland, Churro, Romneys...). I remember reading in my old goat husbandry book that mohair could protect you from nuclear fall out!!!!
And a beautiful Queen Anne's Lace which is one of my favourite natural dyes - with just a handful of pennies to bring out that lovely green.
Gates, windows, doors - I love the symbolism of which they portray......Eastwin Farm again......
During my days in the studio or working at The Loom, I am often visited by shepherds, especially my favourite shepherd, as I call him, my own personal shepherd - he brings gifts to me, like a truck load of Churro sheep, the Navajo rug sheep - my goodness they are lovely and the fleece colours are remarkable. I have quite a lot now, and although it is long and seemingly soft, it spins up coarse - a rug one day I am hoping. The history of these sheep leave me in awe...spinning this fibre connects me to the past.
Ann and I love to 'talk' weaving and pushing the structures into different perspective - don't know how to explain it, but between us we have about 75 years of weaving experience. We have both done sampling until we look like those samples - great little squares of weaving. And if you have studied in Banff, we all have those green binders full of samples that dear Mary Snyder made us mount and of course in the days that I was there, there were no computers, just hand written and well, some of the samples are pretty ugly.........when I teach, I encourage my students to sample, but the samples are project based. So Ann and I wanted to push the envelope around corduroy - instead of rug weaving, we were heading for towels............using cottolin and and linen naturally - our favourite fibre after mohair....this is my sample - when we were 'sampling', everything around us took on the look of corduroy - Ann phoned me on her way home one day to tell me that she was passing the vineyards and they looked like corduroy - we were obsessed - what better thing to be obsessed about, eh? I challenge all of you to take your samples and mount your favourites. I mounted the vineyards onto a painted canvas - used french knots to attach the little piece and the sample is there, a pretty little piece mounted - some of the corduroy is cut and some not. By the by, we made some face mitts, washed and dried and they are very soft and held up well. Now the next little 'sample' I am still working on after making a few scarves, is just a 6 shaft basket weave, but my sample is yet to be woven - I want to use text as the weft and just haven't figured out what to use - lots of ideas, just have to step into it - crossword puzzles are part of it though. It was an interesting little bit of weaving - used alpaca and silk and alpaca blend with a little ladder yarn and then Mini Mochi as the weft - the blend was quite lovely - sold in a heartbeat of course - hadn't had quite enough of it.
Anyway, it is time to end - I have lots of pictures of the last few months, but I will add them to the next blog - which should be soon, due to the sale at the Loom. I will endeavour to bring everyone up-to-date. Spring is on the way, it is getting lighter every day. Still have bulbs to plant, however!