Friday, September 23, 2011

New Mother Nature Taking Over...

It seems once my husband and I made the decision to give up city life for country life, we started travelling on a high-speed train headed for some sort of weird "off-the-grid sustainability, back to nature, healthy" lifestyle and mind set aided by all sorts of new gadgets like wireless Internet, cell phones, and social media. It seems like an oxymoron.

Don't get me wrong, we spend plenty of time getting our hands dirty cleaning barns, shearing animals, cleaning barns, putting in fences, cleaning barns, chopping get the picture.

Truly, it is a peaceful life with bouts of madness and one in which I am surprised by or learn something new almost every day. Most of my daily joys are little things that have occurred for generations...I just happen to be experiencing them for the first time: a lamb nuzzling against my leg, a swarm of monarchs resting in the trees, or an Indian Runner Duck (named Little Red) that lays her first egg.

Lately, my simple-minded bliss has been focused on NATURAL DYES! Many of my farmer's market customers want handspun yarns dyed the good old-fashion natural way. People have used natural dyes for centuries, but I'm just getting into for the first time.

I just finished experimenting with goldenrod, turmeric, and tea:
Collected goldenrod blossoms in cheesecloth.

Goldenrod seeping in a pot of boiling water along with alum for the mordant.

Generic tea bags ready to be put into another pot of boiling water.
Wool batts in dye baths. From top to bottom: tea, turmeric, and goldenrod.
Finished wool batts. From top to bottom: tea, turmeric, and goldenrod.
I will spin yarn from all the wool batts pictured above; however, I have one more color I want to do: POKEWEED RED! Yes, much to the chagrin of my neighbors, I have huge pokeweed plants around our tiny acreage. As soon as I get some washing soda (for the mordant), I hope to achieve a lovely reddish, berry color. I also read on another blog that you could freeze pokeweed I can dye all winter long!!

See, see what I mean? That's why I call this post the "New Mother Nature" because not only is it a new "back to the earth" experience, but one that is aided by blogs and other online information and sharing.

Have you been bitten by the same bug? You know what the song says about the New Mother Nature taking over: "She's getting us all."

I'll be sure to post pics of the spun yarn from these batts, so check back!


  1. I think we have been bitten by the same bug :)

    I love it and I'm so glad to have met you and so many other like minded people who make me feel less weird and appreciate experiencing things, little things, for the first time. I have always thought if I were going to die my own yarn I would do it the "natural way". One thing at a time though- I'm not there yet. In the mean time I will enjoy looking at your lovely stash of ever growing fiber and admire your talent.

  2. Thanks, Kathy. What is really neat is that all these people we meet are doing something different from foods to wool to whatever! It's a real eye opener.

  3. I'm pretty sure I've been bitten... that's ok. I'm completely embracing it... now the trick is to get the same bug to bite my husband. ;)

  4. I don't dye wool but I've always been fascinated by natural dyes. You'll have to try some elderberries some time- I hear they make blue. And dandelions make yellow or red. I can't wait to see what you come up with!!

  5. Your new batts are just beautiful! You are living what we think is the REAL good life!