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Blogging in the kitchen

No, not about food. Why would you think that? I’m dyeing some cotton, and since it’s at the stage where it needs to be stirred almost continuously, I brought the laptop in the kitchen to keep me company while I stir. Don’t worry, not next to the dyebath – I’m pretty sure that fiber reactive dyes are not compatible with computers.

I’m feeling very accomplished, if not currently capable of accomplishing much. I read a thousand pages of grant proposal in 48 hours, a feat I hope never to repeat. Tonight, no proposals, but tomorrow the hard part starts – I have to write coherent and useful reviews on four of the eleven proposals (and no, I don’t get to choose which four). That’s much more challenging than simply reading them. At least it isn’t for all eleven!

Interspersed with reading proposals, I did a range of entertaining things this weekend. There was a lot of photography, some of which will be showing up here. There was a bunch of dyeing. Adding water softener to the rinse water helps with the fastness of acid dyes on silk in my hard water, but not as much as I’d like.

I also did a batch of small skeins for myself.

Dyed skeins

I’ve gotten sucked into an online communal art project, and these are for my contribution. The theme is “Night Garden” (haunted, most likely), and Jane Yolen has contributed a poem as the kick-off piece. So far there will be poetry, prose, painting, drawing, perhaps jewelry, and… tapestry. I think. I have some technical details to work out, little ones, like “Is it possible to get string to do what I see in my head?” and “Can I mix tapestry and these other techniques without making a multicolored Gordian knot?” and suchlike.

Blue Lopi

I dyed a skein of Lopi as well, now intended for a naalbound pouch. It’s been a while since I’ve done any naalbinding, and it might make a nice change from all the knitting projects I’ve been carrying around.

The tomatoes have taken off in the past week. They’ve been leafy for a while, although the tomato jungle has been reined in with strategically-placed chicken wire this year.

Tomato jungle

The Flamme is ripening clusters of orange fruit.

Tomato jungle

Another of the heirlooms is ripening, but I didn’t rummage around in the foliage to find the tag.

Tomato jungle

Time to drain the dyebath!

7 Comments on “Blogging in the kitchen”

  1. #1 Jess
    on Aug 26th, 2008 at 9:24 am

    And there’s a little pink dianthus peeking out in the last photo! I want to plant some more of that– I had a glorious patch for a couple of years when we first bought the house, and then it disappeared. I have an ugly feeling that I weeded much of it by accident last summer. Don’t quite know my annuals as well as I should, unless they’re blooming.

    I can’t wait to see everyone’s contributions! I’m really looking forward to the textile and jewelery stuff people have been hinting about, actually. This whole thing is just so darn cool. :)

  2. #2 Phiala
    on Aug 26th, 2008 at 11:09 am

    The pots were entirely full of dianthus earlier this summer – it self-seeds very… efficiently. I love dianthus, and the wild one is one of my favorites (Deptford pink – tiny pink 5-petaled blossoms on long stalks). Buy a few, learn what they look like, and let them go to seed – you’ll have dianthus forever!

    Er, no pressure on the garden project, right? Heh. With a Jane Yolen poem as opening page, it’s already intimidating, but fun nonetheless. I’ve been very focussed on historical textiles for a long time, but am now working to apply those very solid skills to more modern and “arty” pieces. The textile piece won’t be done anytime soon, although I’m itching to get to the “sketches” because I have some very interesting ideas that may be completely impossible… and skeins of brightly colored yarn always make me want to get to work!

  3. #3 Jess
    on Aug 26th, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    The skeins are gorgeous! I love that teal one. The idea of a mixed-technique tapestry sounds really cool– I can’t wait to see what you do.

    Heh, yeah, no pressure. :D I’m still not sure what I want to do– well, obviously I’ll write… something. I’ve got lots of little thoughts swimming around, and lately I keep taking pictures of trees and tree bark when I go out with my camera (I think that’s probably Nathalie’s fault.) I hadn’t thought about combining the two at all till just this minute… hmm.

    I’m hoping a few people might blog their stuff-in-progress– it’d be fun to see others’ thought-processes at work. :)

  4. #4 Laura
    on Aug 26th, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    Love the colors–and the communal project sounds great!

    Want to establish a Mutual Tapestry Encouragement arrangement? I’ve been trying for months to get myself going on one–if I don’t weave it, I can’t submit it to the show, and the deadline is ever closer! The most progress I’ve made: examining the spindle full of yarn that happened to be next to me, and deciding that it would do for warp. Also I have been mentally designing small tapestry looms of steadily increasing complexity (presumably as a deterrent). I’ve had Experimental Tapestry on the brain for months. MUST START!

    As to technical combinations–if you stick to ghiordes knots, you’ll be fine. ;)

  5. #5 Phiala
    on Aug 27th, 2008 at 6:24 am

    Mutual Tapestry Encouragement? Sounds good!

    One good thing about tapestry – you don’t need a complex loom. A pipe loom is just fine – go get some PVC and put one together in under an hour. Then quit fussing.

    Be fine? Who says I want to be fine? See, the warp threads must turn into an openwork spiderweb in the middle of the piece, and then turn back into plain old tapestry warp. I’m thinking a cross between a takadai and one of those neat professional tapestry looms that has the warps going up over the top beam and weighted, like an upside-down warp-weighted loom.

    But yes, there will be knots, and tufts, and pile of varying heights, and plain old weft-faced repp, and… spiderwebs. I hope. This is a holiday weekend, and I really want to try this warp fiddling thing out, but I must absolutely finish the grant proposals first!

  6. #6 Laura
    on Aug 27th, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    You most definitely need spiderwebs. :) Absolutely positively. That gives me an idea…I think a handspun silk warp might be interesting for something like that. Hmm…

    I was going to have my tapestry loom set up like you suggest, but realized I could do pretty much the same thing with supplementary warps. I may do some of each. Mine will have some tufty bits, but not too much.

    Good luck plowing through the grant proposals! May you have a holiday weekend free of them.

  7. #7 Phiala
    on Aug 29th, 2008 at 5:42 am

    Spiderwebs. See, that’s what I thought. Handspun silk may appear in the weft, but not the warp. Or unspun silk for that matter. The warp-thread spiderweb may end up being wrapped with something shiny.

    I’m a structure-geek, and quite enamored of the idea of the regular warp threads doing odd spiderwebby things. I did consider supplementary warps, and may still need some. But I think with weights I can make them behave, and if it works there are all sorts of possibilities for future fun.