Sunday, 5 September 2010

autumn = rich pickings for natural dyers

the weather has finally changed. after 10 lovely days, warm and sunny and dry, we are back to more normal irish autumn weather - it started raining this afternoon. it's not cold, but pretty windy and a lot of the leaves are already coming off the trees - mainly the maple leaves, as they suffer from blackspot disease over here and fall earlier than in germany. I just made it in time today to pick a small bucket of rhamnus frangula berries - not for eating (they cause severe diarrhoe) but for dyeing. on wool they give a lovely grey-green with a blueish tinge, but on silk they give a dove blue! and they seem to be pretty lightfast, there has been very little change on the dyed fibres from last year, even though they were kept in normal daylight with occasional sunlight on them. I stopped picking when the rain became heavier - but I hope I'll get a dry spell again tomorrow to pick more - there are plenty on our 3 small trees! they are odd really - the trees are full of unripe and ripe berries - and at the tips they start flowering again! they are easy enough to pick - if you don't mind the occasional spider running all over you in its attempts to get away from the rude picker:))

I also rinsed and dried about 200 g of a tussahsilk/wool blend I dyed with reed flowers yesterday - the green is difficult to catch in a photo, the real stuff looks less flat and livelier somehow, it's "greener", not as grey as this:

I also did a small cross stitch project - an insert for a birthday card, with a summery theme - but when I worked on it we still had lovely sunshine:)

the aida is white of course - but I took the photo inside and couldn't avoid a bit of shade on it. I hope it arrives ok; I put a piece of bubble wrap on top of the charms, which should really be enough to keep it from poking through the envelope....
I also finished the green spring leaves shawl - with a few problems at the end:(( I weighed the yarn into two equal balls - or so I thought. of course there might be a very slight difference in length - but I didn't expect it to be enough to work a whole pattern sequence! or rather not to work another sequence... I did 11 plus the last finishing pattern on the one side - but had to frog the 11th on the 2nd side, because I ran out of yarn. after finishing 10 repeats plus the finish on the 2nd side I am left with just 3 or 4 m of yarn! well, it might not be perfect, but it's quite a long piece and as long as the two sides aren't put exactly on top of each other nobody will see the difference (but me, which annoys me of course:)). I have to block it first though - a bit of a job with this long band - pix to follow.

and being sunday today - we had the first plumcake of the season. with our own plums! yummeeh - I tried a new recipe, where the base is made with quark (a kind of soft cheese) and oil instead of the usual yeast dough. and on top of the plums are lovely streusels (a topping like crumble) made with brown sugar, almonds and butter..... half of the baking sheet is already empty:))


Delighted Hands said...

Fun stuff going on! I love your little pic of the x stitch-very nice job. The green roving is beautiful, green is my fav color. The fruit is pretty to look at-minus the spider part-hate those things! The plum dessert is to die for-no wonder it goes quickly!

Sabine said...

Jetzt mußte ich doch erstmal nachschauen, was das für eine Beere ist. Ich glaube diese Pflanze würde ich nicht erkennen, wenn ich daran vorbei liefe. Tolle Farbe, da ich die Grün-Problematik beim Fotogrfieren kenne, kann ich mir vorstellen, wie schön sie in Wirklichkeit ist.

Woolly Bits said...

Sabine - das mit dem gruen ist wirklich komisch - wieso wird das fast immer viel grauer als es ist? ich hab schon alles versucht - am schlimmsten ist es, wenn ich naeher rangehe.... aber mogeln mit bildbearbeitung ist auch irgendwie doof:))
hast du einen garten mit etwas platz? dann koennte ich dir samen vom faulbaum schicken. es dauert ein paar jahre, aber sie tragen schon frueh, allzu lange muss man nicht warten. und sie werden auch nicht enorm gross - bzw. man kann sie ganz gut stutzen!

Leigh said...

I'm trying to get caught up on my blog reading. I love the green from the reed flowers. And your plumcake looks divine. Makes me think I need to plant some plum trees!

m said...

We had to cut back our Victoria plum tree earlier this year, and only had a couple of plums ripen properly. Hopefully next year we will get a good harvest and I will be able to make Pflaumenkuchen. I always make a yeast dough base with added lemon juice, and sprinkle the plums with slivers of almond and a bit of demerara sugar. Your recipe sounds a great one to try.