Dye Garden

This natural dyeing thing is infectious. Having never been much of a gardener before– actually, not at all– I suddenly find myself wanting to buy ALL the plants. I’m even ordering plants online! The fact that they are useful, besides being pretty, is what makes it so absorbing to me.

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I have a lot of marigolds. I might have a bit of a problem here, as I can’t seem to stop buying them. They’re pretty happy on my little balcony that gets full sun all day. There’s some coreopsis and hollyhocks, not yet flowered, that you can’t really see. I’m thinking about replanting the coreopsis; it’s quite the drama queen when it’s hot, flopping around. Feed it a little water and it perks right up! I think there just might be too much super direct sun.

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This little bricked plot is around the side of our apartment building. Our front yard is pavement, but there’s a lot of room to put a bunch of raised beds and things in besides this small area. My neighbor already has a bathtub garden going.

I don’t think this plot had gotten any attention for years. I tore out all the oxalis (its little pods are still showing up in the soil, but I grab them whenever I can), watered the soil, and started breaking it up. So. Much. Gravel. So. Much. Clumps. I removed some of the top soil and worked in some new soil and compost.

From left to right: coreopsis, marigolds, and pokeberry. There’s some room still left that you can’t see; part of it I want to sow some weld seeds in.

I’ve also started a bunch of seeds: purple basil, woad, and hollyhocks. Unfortunately I didn’t label any of them so I’m not sure what’s what yet except for the purple basil– its wee sprouts are actually purple!

I’m enjoying myself thoroughly.

The Magic of Indigo

Dyeing with indigo is magical. Indigo is one of the oldest and most famous dyes; it creates a blue that is like no other. When you pull the yarn out of the vat, however, it is not blue– it is green! It takes contact with the oxygen in the air to turn it blue. You literally watch it turn blue before your eyes. I had Clayton take a mini photo essay of me dyeing with indigo last week, to show some of this.

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I’m dyeing the silk in this photo:

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Introducing Dovecote Yarns

frontpageYikes, I didn’t realize so much time had passed since I had last posted here….but there has been a lot of things going on! One of which is a new side project I’ve been working on: Dovecote Yarns, which are all naturally dyed from a combination of locally foraged and purchased dyestuffs. These will be available on Friday, March 20th.

One of my goals for Dovecote Yarns is to have an emphasis on American yarns, and although I’m researching and deciding on some lovely new bases, in the spirit of “waste not, want not” this first update will be a rather motley assortment.

Exploring the world of natural dyes has been thoroughly enjoyable; there’s SO much to discover and learn! (and books to buy, which always makes me happy.) One of my favorite parts about this whole endeavor is working with locally foraged materials; barks, flowers, leaves. The sense of excitement and discovery I get when, for instance, nasturtium clippings create a vivid deep yellow is like no other.

You can follow my discoveries and explorations more thoroughly on Instagram.

Happy Thanksgiving Sale!

I’ll come back with a bit more of a proper post later, but just wanted to say that from today, November 27, through Sunday, November 30, using the code GIVETHANKS14 will take 15% off all your purchases through the website! This applies for the website only and not the Etsy shop.

Thank you, everyone, for all your support! And for those of you fellow Americans, Happy Thanksgiving!

Luminosity Fiber Club renewals! (and Away Dates)

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So, first, I’ll be out of the country from November 10th through the 18th; anything purchased from the shop during this time will ship upon my return. I’m paying a much needed visit to my family in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico– my grandmother is 98! She’s my last remaining grandparent, plus I haven’t been there in 8 years and have masses of other cousins and aunts and such down there as well. The Etsy shop will be put on vacation mode.

Secondly, I am now taking renewals for the Luminosity Spinning Fiber club! If you were in the previous round and want to renew, please contact me via the shop. I’ll send a detailed Paypal invoice. (I’ll have plenty of internet and wifi access) The remaining slots will go up in the Etsy shop on November 22nd, at 10:00 a.m. PST.

Prices this round (they include shipping) are:
U.S. $95.00
Canada: $120
International: $130

Quick summary for those unfamiliar– the Luminosity spinning fibre club runs for 3 months. Membership is limited to only 25 slots. All shipments contain some silk blend of fibre, dyed in the Luminosity way, which is where layers upon layers of colour are added to the fibre until a truly unique and glowing colourway with amazing depth is achieved. There are only ever 2 or 3 4 oz bumps dyed together with the same colours (so members all get different colours per shipment, although same blend of fibre), and they are all unrepeatable, so they are truly special.

I hope those who were in the last round will join in for another one, and look forward to new members as well!