textiles · exploration · misadventure

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August December March August

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Red apples on the tree, dark green leaves, darker, scary lichen, and a light green fluffly lichen/moss.

In between all the sickness, house hunting, and anxiety, I actually have been working on textiles here and there.

Last August, Matt & I visited the Lost Coast and spent some time in Humboldt with our friend Jim.

While there, I harvested lichen and moss from Jim’s gorgeous eighty-year-old apple trees. (Of which I am pea green with envy. Apple pie, right outside the door, migod.)

They’d never been harvested. I asked Jim’s permission, and consider it a one-time experiment in dyeing. (Please read my earlier posts, here, here and here,) which contain more information on harvesting lichens for dyeing.)

Since those early, happy experiments, I’ve wanted to try again with these lovely materials and use the rest of what I’d harvested. I got my act together sometime last spring… right before I noticed my neck swelling.

I took pictures at the time, but the post got lost in the swelling and nausea and anxiety and depression. Maybe it’s a good sign it’s getting exhumed and primped now. (The post, not the neck.)

I used handspun wool and silk, and some cotton and wool fabrics I mordanted back in December.

Preparing dye plants and pots is a large part of the fun for me. I love even the simple handling the materials, and how the pots look, boiling away. There’s something about the rich, abstract color endlessly moving that somewhat hypnotizes me.

I used 100% weight of dye goods to dye stuffs, boiled the dye stuff for an hour to extract color, then added my dye goods straight into the pot without removing the dye stuff.

in the pot

I set the pots low for an hour, then set them outside for a day or two. After straining the dyed textiles from the liquid, I let them sit on a rack for a few days to dry and cure before washing.

Instead of the time-consuming-individual-jars-in-the-sun method that I used last August, I rinsed all the mordanted materials as thoroughly as possible, then combined them all in the same dye pot. I don’t think this turned out to be a good idea, because as you can see below, the wool and silk yarns are all very close in shade.


Boo! I’m out of time right now. I have to go to another doctor appointment, yay!

More on mordants and the wool and cotton fabrics soon.