Tag Archives: natural dyeing

Measuring the Progress of Plants

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On Saturday, I went into the garden fairly early.  It was going to be hot and humid (imagine that Minnesota!) and I wanted to make sure all of my plants were in the ground and watered before the mini heat wave came.  Then another bright idea came to me.  I would measure the growth of some of my dye plants to see their growth weekly.  Plus, seeing their growth would allow me to understand how these plants grow, the rate at which they grow, etc.

These are my first measuresments taken on Saturday, June 9th.  The next measurements will be on Saturday, June 16th.  Plants with an * by them were planted by seed.

Anyway, on with the show:

Gypsywort 4.5”
Indigo,   False 9.75”
Dyer’s   Knotweed 8.75”
Dyer’s   Broom 10.75”
Indigofera 2.5”
Baptista   Australis 3”
Amaranthus   Hopi Red Dye #1* 3.5”
#2* 1.5”
#3* 2.75”
Woodruff* 1.5”
Safflower   #1* 8.5”
#2* 7.5”
#3* 9”
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Let the Games Begin!

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Let the Games Begin!

Today is the start of something beautiful.  I am going to start planting my seeds with the help of my wonderful assistants, Emily, Jason and Lanie.  We’ll see how long they help out, but they sound really excited to help!  I have decided to do a few experiments while creating my dye garden.  I am using two different seed starting mediums, made by two different companiesMiracleGro and Schultz, both bought at Menards.  I am also going to try out peat pots in different sizes as well as more traditional plastic black pots.  I think it will be interesting to see if the more expensive MiracleGro helps seeds have a better start then the less expensive Schultz seed starter.  It will also be interesting to see how the plants do with peat pots as opposed to plastic pots.  How much can I actually control all of the variables that go into this?  This isn’t a serious experiment, but more of a casual interpretation of how I used variety to obtain different results.

One of my first purchases with my Kickstarter project was seeds from the Woolery.  I purchased gipsywort (black), henna (red), dyer’s woodruff, indigo (blue), safflower/false saffron (red to yellow), amaranthe (red), bugloss/alkanet (red), lady’s bedstraw (red).   I bought the rest of my seeds from Menards.  Many of these I have researched on various sites and in books about natural dyeing, but some will be experiments.  We’ll see what colors they make and if they are a dye that will stick.  My list of seeds include carrots kaleidoscope mix, true lavender, red giant mustard, spearmint, common sage, rosemary, detroit dark beet, purple coneflower, foxglove, hollyhock, butterfly weed, scabiosa, zinnia, sunflower, sweet pea and envy zinnia.  The seeds all come from Burpee, bought from Menards.

I will be including an update after my helpers come inside from our gorgeous Minnesota, March 18th weather at 70 degree plus!

Holy Moly(is that spelled right?)

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Soooooo….I went to a local crafty craft store and began looking for books about punch needle, rug hooking, dyeing and found this wonderful book.  I thumbed through the book, looking at the beautiful projects that this women had completed.  I started to read a little bit of the book.  That is when it hit me.  I have barely scratched the surface.  I really have no idea when it comes to punch needle design.  I feel so blind.  So heartbroken.

Here I thought that I had taught myself.  I was a bona fide artist.  A person that taught myself how to do an art.

Then I found a book about dyeing with natural dyes.  Again…Here I sat with my eyes wide open, not realizing how little I really know.  I realized how little I had dug into the natural dyeing world.  I thought I had dove right in, right into the deep end.  I had found ways to dye yarn with plants.  I knew that I hadn’t gone into the full spectrum of colors, but I had found great resources for yellow and green.  Going through this book, I realized that I hadn’t even realized the potential of some of the plants that I had in my yard (that are now shriveled up and hiding for the winter).  I am at the super novice level, not even close to calling myself an emerging artist.  That’s what I want.  I want to be a fiber artist.  A dyer.  But I can’t even call myself that.  I can’t even try to be a fiber artist poser.

Why?  Because I really don’t know what in the hell I am doing.  I draw pictures on fabric.  I use different floss colors or yarn colors to create a desired effect, but there are so many other mediums that I can be using.  There are so many other materials that I could incorporate into my work that would greatly enhance it.  I suppose I just need to take it step by step.

I will have some new work to show very soon!  I am actually trying to do a time elapsed sort of slide show to show the way that my work progresses over time.  I think it will be really neat!  I would also like to put on an artshow at some point in the next six months or so.