Monday, January 02, 2012

I've strained all of the birch bark out of the dye pot and added some fabrics.  As I suspected, the brown has a pinkish tinge to it, not the deep brown or grey that I wanted, but I've have some other options for those pieces.

I love the way the birches shed their beautiful bark.  I used birch bark in some fabric art pieces about five years ago; flattened and treated the bark (which has a kind of paper layer to it), then sewed it directly on to batting and backing for fabric postcards.  It quilted nicely after being treated with either gel medium or ModgePodge.

Below is the red cabbage before going into the dye pot.  I have some silk dupioni and gauze mordanting in a plastic bucket.
We will see what happens.  Hard to imagine getting the blue I want from the purple/red of the cabbage.

I've been reading lots of resolutions and goals on various blogs, and one item that crops up in the top 5 or 10 pretty consistently is organization.  And I, willing but not able, read them all with fervent good intentions.  I particularly like the ones with titles like "20 (or 15 0r 10) Ways To..."  If you could see me, nodding like a bobble-head, at some of the excellent ideas, you would most likely be snickering to yourself at the very idea of me following through.

In the same way that I love reading about neuroscience and quantum mechanics, I find the complexity and methodology of organization fascinating, and yet am unable to incorporate the concepts into my own thinking in any meaningful way.

 Yes, yes, nod, nod.  I understand this sentence, this concept, this technique! then 5 minutes later... Say what?

Not that I don't make lists, have good intentions, and frequently tackle the problems of organization.  I do.  Usually with some short term success, but never with consistency.

Nevertheless, I'll give it a go...again.  And, of course, I'll fail again, but here's the thing:  I always feel good about the effort!  First on the list?  Our bedroom closet.  Last on the list?  May be our bedroom closet.  This project has to be done at least twice a year because I start using the closet as handy storage space.  The larger the closet, the more junk can accumulate.

I love this little postscript on today's Notes from the Universe:  Why not just celebrate that you're alive, Jen, every single day? After celebrating that you don't need a bike to get email, in January.

My little stack of prayer flags are awaiting the announcement of the first Take a Stitch Tuesday 2012 Challenge embroidery stitch.  Tomorrow!


  1. Jenclair, you have been really ambitious with your dyeing! I hope the red cabbage brings up the blue you want!

  2. I am with you all the way re: organization, and, um, the closet thing...=-) What are you using for mordant?

  3. Love your newest dolly, Jenclair! How'd the red cabbage turn out? Have you tried grape juice? It sure worked on the kids' clothes.... I can sure relate with the closet thing, and not just mine!

  4. Sherri- I just keep trying. I'd really like to try Indigo dyeing, but I'm still learning on the more basic end. I'm hoping for that blue from the cabbage, too.

    DebbyMc - Oh, yeah, the closet thing. :(

    I'm soaking the silk in cream of tartar right now because I don't I don't have alum, and I'm hoping that adding aluminum strips to the bath itself will work. I'm using two books as guides, and India Flint often uses the pot itself as mordant; I've also read that adding aluminum foil strips to the dye bath will work. Shrug. I'll let you know!

    Judy - Thanks, Judy! I'm glad to have finally finished her! I think the red cabbage might work, but I haven't added the fabric to the cabbage dye bath yet.

    As for the grape juice,I want blue, not purple :). Been there done that! Now I buy white grape juice for the grandkids!

  5. What a great post! I'm right there with you. I Used To Be much more organized than I am these days. :} I'd add motivation to my list...I seem to have lost that!

  6. I look forward to seeing your dye bath results. This year I hope to live by a "less is more" theme and cleaning the closets is a good place to start!

  7. Nancy - Motivation--exactly. I'm not as motivated as I should be to get organized!

    Valerie - The cabbage dye bath is a beautiful shade of purple when heated and a lovely deep blue when it cools. I'm going to leave the fabric in over night, but right now, some looks blue, some purple.

    Less is more is a good way to look at the closets. Less stuff, more room!


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