Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fiber Dying - Painting Colors Everywhere

I spent yesterday playing with color.  The first superwash roving I call  "Sunset".  It is similar to a colorway that I did last year that produced the spun yarn pictured on the right.  The colors may seem garish in the fiber before it is spun but will blend into something totally different when spun.

This one is three colors of blue.  It makes a medium to dark yarn when spun.  The picture below shows what it looks like when it's dry.

Then I dyed some Silver colored Shetland from my ewe, Velvet.  The first color is Mountain Aqua.  The picture on the left shows it wet in the dye pot and on the right after it dried.

I so enjoy playing with color.  It's so exciting to see how it looks once it's carded and spun.  Colors pop out that you never expect.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

First Transparent Apple Harvest

Today I am so excited!  After 5 years of waiting, I was finally able to harvest my first Yellow Transparent Apples!  I used to be able to get them from the you- pick orchards when we first came here.  But like many varieties of our produce, these were phased out in favor of the Lodi Apple that had a longer shelf life.  Then even the Lodi was phased out in favor of Jonagold or Early Gold apples.  I have to say here that I liked none of the other apples for applesauce like the Transparent.  They may not have a very long shelf life but they make the BEST applesauce of all in my opinion.  An heirloom apple that cooks down into perfect applesauce with no pureeing necessary and a tart under flavor - yum!
Some of my first adventures in canning were with this humble  apple.  We were living in a tiny, one room log cabin with a wood cook stove that made the interior almost unbearable in the summer when we had to burn the stove to heat hot water for a shower.  So I did my canning in the front yard on an old wood cook stove that my cousin had found in a miners shack in the desert in Nevada and had hauled up and given to my Dad when he was setting out to build the cabin when he retired.  It was definitely a no frills model, with six holes and a water jacket sitting on concrete blocks.

I would sit on an old camp chair and hand peel each apple with an old potato peeler and slice and core each apple and float it in a bucket of lightly salted water to keep them from turning brown.  The yellow jackets would swarm - so much sweetness and moisture to attract them in their end of summer frenzy.  My daughter - just a year old at the time,  took great pleasure playing with the apple slices in the bucket, poking them with her little fingers and giggling as they would pop up again to the surface.  Such adventures we had!  Amazing how the smell of a box of apples can bring it all just flooding back like it was just yesterday.....

So today I climbed up the ladder and picked.  I got about 22 pounds - not bad for a trees first shot at producing fruit.  At least I don't have to can with the yellow jackets anymore but sometimes, I miss that old cook stove.  It now resides in a homesteaders museum.  Heirloom apples....YUM!!!


Friday, August 17, 2012

Dying and Wool Washing Adventures

Wee One

I know it's been awhile since I last posted here but that's how it goes in the busy season.  It may be still in the 90's outside but the angle of the sun is already transitioning into fall like patterns.  When the angle of the sun shifts, I always feel like I need to hurry up and get anything done that needs to be taken care of outside.  So I have been picking and washing fleeces like a crazy woman.  As of today I am half way there.  Three down and three to go.  Picking and washing isn't my favorite part - I prefer to get on to the fun part which is the dying.  So.....I kicked myself in the behind and got an early start this morning and got "Wee One's" fleece washed and spread on the rack to dry.

So I figured after all that stinky hot work I deserved to reward myself with the part I really enjoy.  Even though it was later in the day than I'd usually begin a hand painting dye job I weighed out a goodly amount of Merino Superwash top and had it soaking while I finished up the last batch of Wee One's fleece.  By the time I had it rinsed and spread on the rack, I was already visualizing what colors I'd paint with today.  Since I had been listening to a version of a Prince song performed by Michael Hedges, I figured that purple would be the order of the day.  So here it is.....Purple Rain.

It's been a long day.....this gal is ready for a cuppa tea and put my feet up!  Here's to hoping that it gets completely dry by the time it gets dark!