– A river ran through it: Scenes from a gully-washer

Even though we live in drought much of the time, every year or so we get enough rain that our homestead becomes waterfront property. Of course, by the time the thunderstorms pass through and we get out to the flood plain, there’s not much left of it …
We were fortunate this time around that we didn’t get 7 inches, as we did during the Halloween 2013 flooding. Even so, 4.3 inches of rain is enough to fill a copper dye pot …
freshen up the windfall lichens … 
beat down the “bad grasses” and leave the little bluestem standing tall …
wash all the acorns down the driveway …
where they can be gathered along with the oak galls …
and douse the burn pit, readying it for another day …
There’s so much promise in the land, just waiting for the seeds to fall …

– Cutting to the chase: Progress on dyeing

I’ve been taking pictures as I go and realized today that I have a fair bit of catching up to do. So I’ll cut to the chase …

Rust, red onion, and windfall lichen on linen

The picture above shows samples my more successful dyeing attempts, including vinegar-induced rust on Don’s grody road-find

Grody road-find to the left is 3″ in diameter
Love Potion #9 alum and red onion “preserves” …
I wanted to see if fresh cut onion works as well as onion skins.
Turns out it does as long as the onion is firmly in contact with the cloth
and India Flint inspired windfall lichen bundled in linen and poached for an hour in a hotpot full of tap water (after which it was left to cool overnight) …
Note: I gathered well over two quarts of windfall lichen on our property in less than one hour
The canning jar to the left has water added to it, the one to the right has clear household ammonia
The acacia cassia pod dyeing was far less successful, as the three end products shown below were absolutely not worth the gag-inducing stench that accompanied opening up the canning jars …
Original sheeting color (top)
Copper wire wrapped (1), Steel wire wrapped (2), and alum mordanted (3)
So, the grody thing has already been restaged with some indigo cotton and a rusty metal cap (found yesterday in the side yard, it nests into the grody thing like they were made for each other). Next time I won’t get soooo excited about the results that I forget to put gloves on before picking up the cloth (my black-edged fingernails will be around to remind me for a while, I’m afraid).
I also went ahead and cut my 60-count linen weaving experiments off their shadowbox frame, since I now have a bead loom that is much easier to warp …

and because one of the bits is needed for another dyeing project. More on that later …

– Considering Weave: Grace Forrest’s Underlying Order

I’ve alluded to Jude Hill’s class Considering Weave quite frequently over the past several months … but one of the coolest parts of her online study was the opportunity to meet other kindred spirits.

There were at least 80 people in the class (not everyone posted to the open forum) and of those, 50 had their own blogs. It was overwhelming just keeping up with Jude’s posts and all the forum posts … but then some of those promised even more details on individual blogs … and one of those was Grace.
Grace from New Mexico hooked me early with her blog Windthread (see the KINDRED SPIRITS link to the right). And the posts that stuck in my mind related to a cloth she started on July 4th and ended on July 11 … the time it took her to create “Underlying Order.”
I also noticed how incredibly generous she was about commenting on others’ work in the online class forum and she became a role model as I learned how to fit in with a well-established community of textile artists.
Throughout the summer I read and read … trying to absorb all the new ideas and possibilities … virtually abandoning my own blog. However, as the class wound down I began to follow other blogs … and was delighted to find that some in turn were following mine.
So it was that Grace and I began an exchange of posts and comments on compost. Recalling her woven cloth from the summer, I looked back at the original posts, one of which mentioned putting it in her online shop. Against all odds it was still available and I laughed out loud when I read the title: Underlying Order. 
“Like compost,” I thought. 
I sent Grace an email asking how to buy Underlying Order,  setting in motion its journey to my hearth …
There is nothing like seeing a cloth in person … to touch it, peer at the stitches, turn it over, discover the finest details … like the incredible hand-dyed backing cloth that inspired me to take the copper pot out of my hearth (just visible on the lower left edge of the first photo) and fill it with cloth, tea, acorns and windfall lichen (when I really did have other things to do) …

But the very best was seeing, as if for the first time, the diamond … 

not just on Underlying Order, but on the mug that sits by my chair every morning as the sun shines in …

Kismet