Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Far Out

I don't know why I pulled back the fronds of the Kimberly Queen fern when I watered it, but I did, and look what I found. ORANGE fungi. Like, totally far out. I think I hear the Sorcerer's Apprentice. I think I see a new quilt.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Hot Fun In The Summertime

Just when we thought it was safe to go outside, summer arrived in Double Oak. Not great for gardening, but perfect for dyeing fabric. I'm glad Mike put a cover over the porch of the dyeing shed, f/k/a the potting shed, so at least I've got some shade in the 100 degree heat.

I found a small outdoor table and chairs in the "AS-IS" section at IKEA. They are the perfect size for the porch. Here you can see a clear plastic bin filled with my favorite containers (Gatorade bottles) for dye concentrates. A larger container holds the dye fixative, which I add to the concentrate as needed. Sitting on the porch is a recycled container full of water for rinsing spoons or containers. On the end of the table is the lid to a rubber tub with two yards of fabric wadded on top.

The lid is a convenient size for dyeing one or two yards. I've found that eight ounces of liquid is usually enough for one yard of PFD cotton if I am careful about applying it. I typically use this method (the lids) when I am using only one color of dye on each piece of fabric. After the dye is applied, I stack the lids on a plastic sheet to batch. Each of the lids has a two-yard piece on it, so there are about 26 yards of fabric stacked here.

I HATE wearing a respirator when I am mixing dyes, so I made a mixing box. I trimmed one side and a portion of the top off a sturdy box. I split a couple of plastic bags along one side, taped them together lengthwise and taped one edge to the top of the box. Inside are layers of newspaper and a spray bottle full of water to dampen the newspaper so that the runaway dye particles stick to the paper and don't float into the air. After I mix the dyes inside the box, I just fold the damp newspaper and throw it away.