Have Ewe Any Wool?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Adventures in Nature

Sunday was absolutely gorgeous! Sandy and I went on a long walk and enjoyed all the natural beauty that surrounded us. We even ran into her buddy, Snoopy, a miniature Dachshund. Sorry that the picture is so blurry - it's nearly impossible to get the two of them to hold still for a picture...they're so playful!

Last year, I tried unsuccessfully to get a good picture of a Swallowtail butterfly...the state butterfly AND the state insect of Virginia. The main reason I "needed" a good picture of it was because I'd made the "Swallowtail Shawl" by Evelyn A. Clark and I wanted to have a record of the inspiration for the shawl. This is the best I could do....much better than last year's attempts!

We typically see several rabbits during our walks. Many are quite young and don't attempt to run away until the very last moment. Most just sit coyly in the grass like this one...waiting for Sandy to get just close enough to believe that she'll actually catch one...and then darting into the underbrush to safety. (They don't know that Sandy wouldn't know what to do if she caught one!)

We have two types of thistles. Some just grow tall, get a "tutu" of purple color, and then dry into brown spiked spires. Others get a tuft of purple "hair" on top (reminding me of "Beaker" from Sesame Street) that dry into an explosion of seeds carried by wispy white fluff...very similar to dandelions. This is the "Beaker" style of thistle. (I think the reason I like them so well is because they're purple!)

Now for the fiber related part of my post....

During the walk, I collected several handfuls of goldenrod to prep for dye. I know what you're thinking...most people won't go near the stuff! However, I'm not bothered by allergies - thankfully! I selected the dye method by going through the natural dyeing books I received from my MIL and my friend Lisa. I selected the easiest recipe.

I skimmed off the flowers from several bunches and boiled them in 8 cups of water. I then reduced it to about 6 cups.I plan to dye some roving with the dye this weekend - hopefully it will be much prettier than the color of the dye! The actual dye process will involve boiling the roving in the dye and then washing it with water containing Ivory soap flakes. Using the Ivory is supposed to produce a nice golden yellow. Look for an update on the goldenrod dyeing this weekend!


  • At 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    FYI - goldenrod is not what most people are allergic to. That's ragweed.

  • At 7:09 PM, Blogger Jinann said…

    Interesting. Since I don't suffer from seasonal allergies, I never really worried about whether I was dealing with ragweed or goldrod!

    Here's some info on the two from Vince on "Ask a Scientist":

    "Golden rod and ragweed are distinct plants that both bloom about the same
    time -- Aug 15 to the first frost. Golden rod has bright yellow flowers.
    Ragweed doesn't even appear to have flowers, only pollen stalks. As a
    result, golden rod gets an undeserved reputation for causing allergies,
    while the real culprit is the inconspicuous ragweed plant."


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