Summer Dyeing and it feels so good

20140721-104643-38803737.jpgOkay, yes I was the original audience (13yr old girl) for the summer the movie Grease came out. And yes, those songs will be stuck in my head forever. haha

Oh blog, you are wondering where I’ve been? Well sometimes it behooves one to just live life without sharing more than photos on Instagram.

Instagram I enjoy adding photos there as I can send them along to Facebook or Twitter. And sometimes that is all I have the energy to do. Over the last 8 months life has been busy, stressful and then after some brain healing time I have been fully in the garden (hence the title) this summer. I have really gone back to my beginning interests in gardening–my herbs. I love growing absolutely every vegetable, flower and useful plant I can here on my bit of Mt. Hood. However, if I could only grow one family of plant it would be herbs! I grow culinary and medicinal. This year I have the time to make herbal teas, tinctures and syrups from my mature herbs. I’ve been making flower essences as well (something I’ve been interested in for a while). In addition I am sample dyeing yarn with just about every herb around our property.20140721-102306-37386653.jpg 20140721-102305-37385567.jpg

I am teaching a Plant dyeing class at Winslow Forest Farm in August (there are still spots available).  It has me energized to see what colors I can get from every plant on my property. It’s fun to sample dye, keep a dyer’s journal and plan for future sweaters and sewn skirts (yep, I’ve fallen down the sewing rabbit hole). In fact I’m really interested in the art of traditional Japanese Indigo dyeing. Next year there are plans for a big patch of Indigo in a new garden spot next to my new (old and reclaimed) greenhouse. I am in a stage of life where I am playing while I figure out what’s next. I love this stage! It won’t last, but I am going to enjoy it immensely.

I have been writing quite a lot as well. Mostly for myself, but I feel like it’s time to write a bit for you as well. Thank you Cynthia Morris! and the Free Write Fling for helping me find a new voice. Cynthia is a great guide to help you play in life as well as figure out what you want to say with your writing and other creative endeavors. The next Fling begins August 1. Come write with us. The community is great and very diverse.

I’ve been finding some very interesting blogs and websites lately as well. Here are a couple I keep returning to for inspiration on living and creating– Cold Antler Farm ( loved her last book!), Rowland and Chinami Ricketts .


Posted in 52 weeks of happy, Herbal, In the garden, Natural Dyeing | 1 Comment

Onions in the Dyepot

It’s cold up here! We had such a nice long regular summer leading into an Indian summer that didn’t want to stop. I knew fall would be a millisecond and I was right. All weekend we gazed at white tipped trees that told us the mountain was getting ready to welcome skiers. Yesterday the snow clouds threatened here, but failed to deliver. This is the point where Sunday Supper becomes a hardy soup and salad affair. And I have the opportunity to do crossover posts.

Click to read the soup and salad post.

While my kitchen exuded fragrances of fresh baked bread and simmering onions the rest of the onions (their golden skins) were simmering just outside the door. In the spot where our future outdoor kitchen will preside my dye “studio” lives. I have been dyeing a lot this fall with mushrooms foraged from the mountain above us. But today I want to share a “whole plant” story. Over the summer I’ve been gathering the skins of all the onions we cook with. I was waiting for the tipping point–french onion soup. I cook down ten onions for create the caramelized onions that are the base of that soup. It also creates a nice pile of skins to add to my other cooking pot. IMG_1336 I’d been getting this pot ready with some natural mordants (tin lined pot, copper pipe sitting in water for a week, cooked down rhubarb leaves). While the onions simmered inside they simmered outside as well IMG_1339. I added the yarn and fiber as the color began to pull out from the skins. A skein of sock yarn, a few of lace weight mohair, 4oz of Polwarth fiber. All simmering softly so as not to felt any of the fibers. When I saw that the fibers had picked up quite a lot of the color and that the water was once again turning back to it’s beginning color I turned off the heat and let the “soup” sit over night. The merino sock yarn grabbed that color and held on. I had layered the onions all around it so that it would have a mottled look.IMG_1340 Both the mohair and fiber took the color straight on giving each a golden hue.IMG_1345 IMG_1346 The mohair will be part of a striped cowl paired with some mushroom dyed yarn from last month at the dyepot. Still deciding about the other two items, but I have an entire winter ahead with which to play with my ever growing pile of projects.

This post definitely falls into the 52 weeks of happy posts:)

Posted in 52 weeks of happy, cooking, Natural Dyeing, spinning | 2 Comments

Get an education!

I was doing some writing this morning and this idea struck me. It comes partly from a survey I participated in earlier in the week. A question asked if I was going to be seeking any formal education within the year. I seek education every day! I do realize that I live a fairly unconventional life…I don’t go to a workplace on a regular basis, I make a lot of my own foods (foraging, growing, raising), the television I watch has been recorded so no commercials, I make a good 25% of my clothes. But, while I don’t consider myself “normal” I would challenge each of us to try not to fit into a trite little category.
Please, do get an education! Every day! This fall I am completely immersed in everything mushroom. I am reading about them, hunting them, questioning experts I know, eating them in a variety of ways, figuring out the best ways to preserve them and I’m dyeing yarn and fiber with them. This is a wonderful education. A hands on education that will stick with me and inform how I approach my winter months:)
I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned (I’ve been documenting everything).
So this of course also leads to why haven’t I been blogging? Or podcasting on a regular basis? or really participating in much social media or in person activities? Part of it is of course that taking care of a parent is draining and time consuming. Also, I am out in the forest, in the garden, in my kitchen, spinning and knitting and reading. I finally feel like my writing mojo is coming back (the draining part has really wreaked havoc in this area).
I miss sharing my adventures with you! But right now I think I just need to have the adventures on my own:) I’ll share lots of the photos and recipes when the weather changes. Cause right now? I am in love with this true “indian summer” we’ve been having. And right now? Right now I am going to steam some apple juice, taking yarn out of mushroom dye pots, cook up some wild mushrooms for the freezer and finish plying some gorgeous Polwarth fiber for a shawl.
What have you been up to? IMG_1255



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Dreaming of Shetland is ready!

You can now purchase the ebook project I told you about here. So excited to see this project get out in the world to help Deb Robson continue her research into the Shetland breed of sheep. I ran off and purchased my copy both the help her and so I don’t miss out on any of these amazing 30 patterns and the stories included.

Since there was such an out pouring of patterns donated to this project the organizers Donna and Anne decided to break it down into sections. I am very honored and excited to have a project in the ebook. You’ll find my Shringar wristlets in part VI of the project. I love that the presentation of the ebook is staggered so that you have time to appreciate each section and group of patterns. I had a sneak peek of photos early on so I already have an idea which ones I can’t wait to knit.

Here is a little sneak pic of my wristlets from Dreaming in Shetland-


Posted in Designing, knitting, Projects from other Creatives | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

A Creative Break

DSC_0093 DSC_0095 DSC_0075I posted on Twitter early last week that I was going on a creative break. But what does that mean when I’m trying to live an intentionally creative life? I thought about that while out at the coast last week. I’ve really tried to create projects I can work on anywhere. Last week was different. We had our yearly vacation with our god children. I really wanted to spend creative time with them. We hiked in the forest, walked on the beach, hiked in a forest/beach setting and hiked in a bird sanctuary. In the evenings we all participated in reading or drawing or played quiet games. It was lovely! Coming home with them to our house we wanted them to have a farm experience. Working on enclosing a porch, weeding in the garden, cuddling baby chicks. The week was peppered with movies and the Alpine Slide and the Long Beach fun games. For all that we offered a very quiet week. I was worried that they were bored out of their heads. However, when asked by their parents in evening phone calls they both (16 and 11) exclaimed what a blast they were having.

It warms my heart to have a different creative time. One where you share your values and a life not attached to the city. In the end I asked a certain young lady to document her time with us. For the coast trip we saw so many animals she decided to make a list. I suggested one that shows where those animals reside (I’m going to make that list as well later today). After a few days up here I suggested a documentary movie. I am just about finished with the upload to Vimeo so that her parents can see what they’re missing;) I’ll edit a shorter version for you to see a snippet of our life viewed through a visitors eyes.

In the end, this was supposed to be the weekend of the Mt Hood Retreat…and it was.

Posted in 52 weeks of happy, Mt Hood Fiber Retreat, travel | 2 Comments

Come Create With Us!

This is the motto for a new website called iCreateFlix. Artists and crafters will be inspired by the workshops, tutorials, ebooks and patterns available. They went live on June 14 for a summer beta release.

I’ve been working towards putting content on the site myself. Very soon you’ll be able to find me teaching spinning classes (Hand Spun/Hand Knit series), gardening and cooking classes (Garden to Kitchen series) and natural dyeing of yarn, fiber and fabric (Color from Nature series). I have several workshops planned in each of these series, as well there are a few short tutorials in the works and you’ll find knitting patterns and my upcoming ebook available here as well. I’ve got a busy summer planned! I am so happy to have created a life that can be lived anywhere. Here are a few photos representing some of the classes you’ll find this summer:

DSC_0057Beautiful Socks DSC_0109Your first lace shawl

DSC_0070Five essential herbsDSC_0078Five herbs for tea and dessertDSC_0081Companion planting

In addition to what I have planned you really have to check out the line up in both the craft world and fine art world that are just starting to appear on iCreateFlix. More will be added quickly as we all fine tune our projects and upload them. Keep checking back.

I am just waiting on a very cool camcorder to arrive in the mail and then you’ll find my workshops available. Really excited for you to share in my summer garden and visit my spinning studio up here on my bit of Mt Hood.

Posted in cooking, Herbal, iCreateFlix, In the garden, knitting, Natural Dyeing, spinning | 2 Comments

A walk in the garden

I needed some promo photos for an upcoming project so I took a little walk around the yard. Care to join me?

DSC_0084 radishes up first; beets arrived just behind and now we have markers so that we can anticipate the carrots. DSC_0102 a peek over the garden fence as the flowers take over. DSC_0080 DSC_0079the climbers are finally old enough to climb as well as shine in the main garden. DSC_0097buddies DSC_0103the watcher and protector

Posted in 52 weeks of happy, In the garden | Leave a comment