Autumn Goddess Moon done!

A celebration of fecundity and the feminine, this indigo moon bears the rune “Jera”, a symbol of harvest, and meaning “Peace on the land, peace in the heart”.

Hand embroidered in cotton, silk and wool threads, naturally dyed with oak, osage, privet, walnut, madder, pomegranate, cochineal, indigo and sandalwood, on an ecoprinted and indigo dipped cotton, background madder and indigo on cotton. Some metallic threads are also featured, because even natural likes a bit of bling once in awhile!

Available in the shop!Β Β  SOLD

Moon number 12, almost done!

(Although, if i count the two Rabbit Moons, this one is number 14!)

Again, all natural dyes, threads and fabric, except for that teeeeeny bit of coppery glitz on the “stars”, a gift from Karin. Even naturals like a bit of bling once in awhile πŸ™‚

I figure about another 4-6 hours, and “Harvest Goddess Moon” will be done.

gah, winter is here

Really, we have had very little autumn this year!

Good thing i collected the last of the oak leaves yesterday! Hopefully we will have a melt because i still want leaves from the cottonwood/poplars.

Today, i’ve filled up the bird feeder, put out their suet blocks, and shaken some apples off the tree for the deer and squirrels. Part of the tracks in that snowy photo are the deer wandering through the patio area πŸ™‚ I’ll shake the snow off those bowed down raspberries, because the deer love them too! I’ve already been out getting it off that crabapple so it doesn’t snap the power line to the garage. And the dog can’t make up her tiny little mind if she wants to come in, so she can have a towel rubdown, or go out so she can come in—- for a towel rubdown. πŸ™‚ I think we’re up to a foot now…….

It’ll be a good day to stay in and play with post mordants and modifiers for the oak leaf experiments!



foraging, part 2

Mysterious chemistry πŸ™‚ These are the oak leaf results.

Quite chocolate coloured on its own!!! I’m sure the first extraction, the first thread in the photo below, proves that more WOF is needed, as i’d love to get that ON fabric or threads! Even though the pot was positively solid with the leaves, i’ll do extraction by soaking/simmering for two days, then remove and add new/more leaves and repeat the process.

Oddly the UNmordanted silk took the colour better, whereas the uptake on previously mordanted cotton was expected.

I have also discovered that my thread skeins from this batch were looped too tightly to either be scoured properly, or mordanted thoroughly, hence the “variegation”–even though i loop quite loosely, it still had an effect. (lesson learned there: DON’T loop)

The colours are softly pretty but not terribly exciting, however they are good base colours for overdyeing, and are obviously *all* mordanted now, as that’s what oak does πŸ™‚ I still have to do post mods to see what colour changes i can get (nothing earth shattering expected), but it *is* good to see what colours one can forage locally.

I’ll still collect more of the oak leaves as they are plentiful and falling anyways. And no one else uses them, just bags them up and sends them to the city compost facility! Also on the list is Cottonwood (a poplar species), very prevalent in my neighbourhood.


As much as i love the “Grand Teint” dyes, the historically accurate tried and true, there *are* other geo-centric plants that are still considered dependable methods of colouring fibre. I’d like to use more of these in my studio, with the proper applications and methods used. (No beets, beans or berries in this Dye Dungeon!) You could call this one “loakal” πŸ™‚

The only oak that is indigenous to, and survives the hard winters of Alberta, is the Bur Oak.Β  When i first started ecoprinting in 2010, i couldn’t find any, though i figured someone had ONE in their area somewhere, since i saw one of the leaves floating in the river πŸ™‚Β  In the last three years however, they are aplenty, due to the city’s replanting along boulevards and green spaces. My neighbourhood now probably has at least 20 of them, but none on my street!

Recovering from ‘Snowtember’ 2014, Recovery and restoration of Calgary’s urban forest

In September 2014, a late-summer snow storm affected Calgary’s urban forest. Trees that had not yet lost their leaves were heavily weighed down by snow, causing trunks and branches to break. Of the 227 communities in Calgary, 148 with mature canopies were particularly impacted by the snow.

It is estimated that 50 per cent of the 500,000 public trees and 1.5 million private trees have been impacted. This means there are three times as many damaged trees on private property as there are on City land. Recovering from this storm will require us as a city and a community to look after our trees.

Out of this disaster, The City created the ReTree YYC program to work on the recovery and restoration of the urban forest. This recovery work started immediately after the storm and will continue over the next three years. This work will ensure we have a strong and resilient canopy for generations to come.

This is the snowstorm took half of our 90 year old apple tree!

I know that oaks give colours from beige, to yellows, to various greens and browns, depending on what part it is (leaf, bark or gall/”oak apple”), and what mordant or modifier is used, and that those can be base colours for overdyeing, or warm earthy shades to be used on their own. I don’t have a lot of these shades in my naturally dyed thread box bin yet, as i’ve been concentrating on brights, deep rich rainbows and exciting greens, all of which is kind of funny now, since when i started on the “natural” kick, i had to use commercially dyed browns….

Oak is also rich in tannins, from any part of the tree. I collected a few galls as well this fall, something i’ve never seen before here. At the very least, my fabrics will be pre-mordanted correctly!

Yesterday, the DogFaced Girl helped me stuff a large grocery bag with fallen oak leaves (faded to brown, not like the green above from several weeks ago). That girl is such a help on these walks πŸ™‚ I didn’t weigh the amount, just stuffed a 16L pot, with about 12 litres of hard tap water, simmered them for 2 hours, threw in a skein of thread and left it overnight to stew and cool. (I just realized too the thread had already been premordanted, so will have to try one that hasn’t been…)

Because the pot is so full of leaves, the thread was somewhat constricted, so the dye job is a bit patchy in uptake, which is okay because i love variegated threads πŸ™‚ This is still wet in the photo, but isn’t it a pretty gold?

Yeah, yeah, i know, the number of plants that give this range of colours is humungous. The point is though, that it IS an actual dye (and tannin), and as i noted, a good base. And i did it.

I threw the skein back in the pot, wanting to see if i could get an even deeper shade with longer soaking, and will add more premordanted and unmordanted threads, and a couple of hunks of fabric as well. Tests at the end of the week will be overdyes, post mordanting and post modifying.

And Nessie and will be going on another long walk with more bags, as the leaves can be dried and stored for later use, during out long cold hard Calgary winter.