Tuesday, July 31, 2012


The first clear print. Not as easy to get as one would think.

This is a 17" square "hanky", silk satin.

Definitely some purple going on here

Back in June I tried a large piece of flat crepe silk on my auger which has given me such good results for scarves.  Silk was very thin but results a dud.  Not enough tea and not enough time.  Or maybe just too many layers for the rust to penetrate.  Even Darcy is questioning my effort.  So...I rusted again this time on a pipe and washed the piece a few days ago.  Will only show details here not the whole piece as this might be going to a show.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Protecting the Crop

I used to compost fabric with walnuts and berries in various locations around my yard--a favorite spot was next to a firebush not far from the patio.  Elderberry seeds made their way to the center of the bush via birds I suppose and now a very nice cluster of elderberry seedlings has grown up the center of the firebush using it for support.  Last year I discovered birds had eaten practically the whole crop--starting before berries were fully ripe.  And ripe is what I wanted then and now.  But this year I am protecting the crop.  With the help of my niece Karen, 2 ladders, a couple of broom handles, three pieces of netting connected with twisty ties and some bricks we were able to cover the entire bush.

I'm hoping the birds will not be able to land on top and feed.  They will certainly be foiled from getting the berries on lower branches. A day or two before I got the mesh, I watched a bird sit below, fly up to grab a mouthful of berries and land on the ground again.  The bush is loaded!
Berries are ripening ahead of schedule with the heat and I've harvested some, but many on top are still quite green.  The ones above look ripe from a distance but aren't quite black yet. Karen and I constructed a sort of cage with the netting weighed down by bricks on the ground so birds can't get up inside the bush to feast. The netting is so fine it can't be seen from a distance so I got up close with the camera here. You can see one of the clusters has been picked over by the birds, but don't worry, the birds won't go hungry. There are more elderberries ripening nearby at edge of my property.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Garden Kingdom was done in 2011.  I used a detail from the bottom of this piece to create the new background you see on the blog today.  More changes will come eventually. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Might Be a Record

From this...

to this in about 5 hours.

Detail of above, unwrapped and rinsed.  Not washed yet, nor neutralized.  16mm silk habotai.
103 degrees.

Twisted rusty bits and HEAT

Some lovely bits given to me by a friend.  Almost TOO much rust to control in this heat. Have made two scarves so far and here is the first wrapping and result. The trivet I haven't used yet--it just happened to be laying on the table in the afternoon sun.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Visitor

This little fellow was clinging to one of my rusty pipes.  I invited him to sit on my ladle and he stayed put for quite a while and then I coaxed him up the oak tree nearby where his camouflage works a treat.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday the 13th arrived early

It was calm and sunny Thursday evening when I was working outside. I had just used the hose next to the patio and then walked around to the front of the house to water some flowers.

When I returned to the back patio this big branch was laying a few feet from where I had been standing earlier. It fell from at least 40 feet up the tree which accounts for the whooshing sound I heard but could not identify when I was out front.  I think I'll be eco-printing some black walnut leaves.

Might be nice to do some rust resist with them too.
A long way up to the shattered limb.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Remarkable Reversal

 I've been disappointed sometimes when I get color shifts after neutralizing or washing my rusted silk.  See an example here from June 24, 2012 (only the after pic comes up). I never quite knew what was the culprit.  I've experimented with different types of soap, different amounts of baking soda, shorter or longer soaks, etc.  But I did not approach this problem scientifically.  If I'm making scarves, I'm not about to sacrifice one to being cut up to satisfy my curiosity.  I live with the results, and just complain about it afterwards, ha!

Here are two shots of the same scarf just unwrapped yesterday.  In the  post prior to this one you can see it hanging among other pieces on the clothesline where these photos were taken.  The silk is dry.  I was really pleased with the gray and black tones and hoped to preserve the light creamy and gray background.  I took the scarf inside to neutralize the rust and wash it.


Similar sections of the scarf--as you can see I have pink tones now.  I used about 2 T of baking soda, probably more than needed but I finished off an old box that had been sitting open and added some fresh in dishpan of water.  Click on the images to enlarge.  BTW, I used Dr. Bonner's hemp soap to wash.  It's not that I don't like pink--I do like the many variations of color that I can get with one method. Sometimes the color turns much darker almost maroon.  But this time I wanted the lighter grayer tones.

While I was doing this bit of laundry, I was also on Facebook where a message from a friend about the neutralization process had me going back to something that Kimberly Baxter Packwood had written to me when she and I were sorting out some ideas several months ago.  I am definitely not a chemist (and Kim has degrees in chemistry and textile science) so she KNOWS these things.  She was explaining about ph / salt vs acid.  Baking soda is considered a salt and has a higher ph than 7.  Then I found her comment about sometimes being able to reverse a color shift.

after the vinegar
A little lightbulb started blinking in my brain.  I fixed up a solution of vinegar and water--don't ask, I didn't measure.  Dipped the cloth in and viola!  The pink dispappeared!  Mind you this was after washing and pressing it.  I immediately did same with the other pieces as all were showing up pink.  I was able to restore the original color.  

The black areas have a definite purplish cast, but the overall gray tones are saved.

Not sure it will work everytime because there are other variables to consider of course, but I'm a happy camper today.  Makes me wonder if scarves I did ages ago can be transformed.

BTW, when you check out Kimberly's blog, you'll find she is a very busy lady.  She has been writing books and blogs for years on natural dyeing, and a host of other interests.  Thanks Kim for the inspiration!

The Heat is ON!

It was about 103 degrees when I wrapped up these four pieces yesterday.  I survived by using my new mister fan.  What a fantastic thing that is!  Course I was soaking wet by the time I finished, but I was cool.  Unwrapped today without aid of the fan, a bit later in the day.  It was only 100.  Was quick to unwrap, rinse and hang to dry then back inside with the air conditioning.  Whew!  The long pieces are shawls.

The shawl on the right has been washed and pressed.  Dr. Bonner's hemp soap (castile) leaves the silk feeling luxurious.

I've made several pieces now using my auger and I love the effects I get.  Would love to find a larger diameter auger for big cloth.

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