Friday, October 30, 2015


 Teeny tiny shop update this week. Just a pair of gloves. Also, this is officially the last blog post before I switch to Woad Spindle. There's technically a new site, but it's more website than a blog. I've decided that I'd rather do a few weekly posts from Instagram than one long one every week, mostly, on here. I may convert this space to writing, but eh, I really have no idea. The purdy new site is over here.

There was a big, fat full moon a few nights ago and I couldn't resist dragging out the telescope and the kids to go see. A small snow storm had just blown through so it was pretty chilly and breezy but the sky was crystal clear. I tried using a camera and tripod to get a cleaner image but I know nothing about the technical aspects of night photography so I was mostly just messing around. My phone got the best, only really, image. Every time I pull off this trick I think of Galileo and those first drawings of the features of the moon. Here I am, not especially a genius, achieving photo-realism.

I'm putting the finishing touches on my squirrel stash of plant dyed fibers. I started a madder bath the other day because I didn't think there was enough representing from that span of the spectrum. I might try to revive the indigo before I settle in for the winter and overdye some of the madder and the yellows so I'll have a really full range.

Friday, October 23, 2015


Years ago, when majoring in photography was a thing, I realized I had slipped into this space where I had no idea what season it was. I lived in Denver at the time and it's not like the climate is mild there, but somehow I consistently lost track of whether it was winter or summer, spring or fall. It just hardly ever came up, unless I needed to spend a larger that usual chunk of time outside. Which I hardly ever did. 

Now that I live in the urbane middle of nowhere (as opposed to the actual middle of nowhere) I feel it. Each space of time, their beginnings and ends. Right now it's all slowing down. Snow is falling seriously for the first time and I've got a fire going. The hat and gloves boxes have come out of the closet and live next to the door now. The garlic has been planted and mulched over.

 The irony is that this is supposed to be the busy time of the year for me. Sweater weather, knitting season, There are Christmas decorations hiding behind the Halloween costumes in Target. But that whisper keeps telling me to go deliberately, to wind down, breathe more and just pay attention. It doesn't care that I've got a market on Saturday. Or that I need to get back to my loom. Here's a book, it says. Take a nap, take a hot bath. I'm trying to find a middle path for now, taking advantage of the autopilot of routine to carry me through those times when I get all glassy-eyed otherwise.

Friday, October 16, 2015


   I just finished unraveling this sweater I found a few weeks ago. Cream colored, handknit silk/cotton/linen blend. I wasn't going to buy anything that day but when I found it, I kind of had to. It was knit with a double strand of yarn and had cables all over, so I ended up with a big chunk of yardage. At least 2,000 yards, maybe even 3,000. I'm currently giving the resulting fat skeins an extended soak in the mordanting bucket.

I'm used to sage and rabbitbrush giving me a distinctive bright yellow all by themselves, so I knew I'd get something similar by mixing the two. After giving the pot a few weeks to hang out, heating it up a few times in between to take advantage of that awesome deserty aromatherapy, I called it and took the fiber out. Then I dipped in my new wood ash bucket for about ten minutes. It's pretty strong and I didn't want to damage the fibers. Acid yellow quickly turned to a deep golden, almost mustardy color.

 The next dyepot I'm adding fluff to is the aspen leaves. Another yellow, but one I'll probably shift at least some of into greens with an iron afterbath. I'll put a bit in the ash water, too, just to see. Updates to the shop will include some yarn and a few pairs of gloves. I'm trying to build up my stock of small finished things for the last market of the the year in a few weeks.

Friday, October 9, 2015


     The ratio has officially flipped. These last few batches of handspun contain a higher percentage of naturally dyed than synthetics. Something like 70/30 or even 80/20. Its been a goal of mine for while now and this summer, in between some heavy thinking about where I was taking this whole fiber art thing, I built up my stash of natural dyes and fibers.

     Venus and Jupiter. Castor and Pollux are in there too, too faint to show up though. Astrophotography is starting to become a new hobby, too. The kids and I have been using the telescope my dad gave them to find Saturn and Jupiter's moons. I'd love to get us set up to take shots of deep space objects. There is something magical about being able to name and locate and see these places. This simple shot was taken on my phone just before sunrise, on the road to the Longmont Farmer's Market last Saturday.

     Someday my studio will have walls, walls with insulation even. I'll probably have figured out a better storage system for the fiber by then, too. For now, for the next two seasons, I'm going to focus on making with the stash I've created this summer. Probably mostly wovens big and small. Because that's what calls to me. I might mix everything into one big batch or go all monochormatic with three or four. Either way, these colors and textures are going to be the making up the majority of my palette.

Friday, September 25, 2015


I took a weekend off last week, heading over to the western side of the state to gather dyestuffs and write. NaNoWriMo is a few months away and I came so close to finishing last year that I want to give it another, more planned out, try. I have a few new ideas about how I want to format the story. Maybe as a zine? I'm also narrowing the physical range of the main character, making it more local.

 On the way up to Grand Mesa I stopped briefly in the desert, up above the canyon where I grew up. I followed a hawk down this draw and found several patches of rabbitbrush, one seeded juniper and horehound. I didn't realize it was horehound until I got it home and was able to look it up. I thought it was a prickly sort of mint. Now I wish I had picked more, but at least I know where it lives. It felt like stumbling across a whole glass bottle from the 1800's.

 When I got home I put all of the plants in the dyepot together. It smelled amazing! The rabbitbrush can be overpoweringly medicinal on it's own but the rest of the plants balanced it out and it was like having a giant potpourri crock going on the stove all day.

Friday, September 18, 2015


I've been turning a bit inward lately. Spending less time in the studio and more thinking about projects I've shelved, playing Catan with the kids and listening to lots of music. I'm still producing, just at a reduced pace. I think it has a lot to do with the renaming and wanting to take the opportunity to be more deliberate rather than doing all the shoulds. What does this hybrid artform of mine look like when I take away all the expectations? What do I make when I just...make?

What's got leaf peepers thinking twice about driving up to the mountains this year has got me curious. There was a tree fungus that thrived from the unusual amount of water we got in the spring. The baby trees look like they were set on fire but the most established ones just have lots of funky leaves. Some with spots and some with burnt looking edges. Aspen makes one of my favorite yellows and greens. I'm wondering what kind of shift I might see in this years dye pot.
 I've been craving a new tattoo. Two actually. That Danielle LaPorte is a fantastic influence. She's putting out a range of gorgeous, shiney sacred geometry temp tattoos. The Metatron's Cube is calling to me. It contains all five platonic solids, reminding me a bit of that disc on Voyager that's supposed to be a crash course in what humans are. Only from the past instead of flying through the universe. The second tattoo is one I've been wanting for a few years now. It combines a Mollisonism and an image from Nausicaa of The Valley of the Wind. A stylized Ohmu with the phrase "everything gardens" underneath.

Friday, August 28, 2015

expect change

I'm getting ducks in rows in preparation for a big reveal. Blogging, for me, has increasingly been about the visual. Words sometimes fail me but articulating what I'm up to with pictures feels more intuitive and direct. With that in mind I've been hunting for a way to blog that focused more on images than text. While I was searching it occurred to me that I could incorporate a name change and why not just do the rebranding thing while I'm at it?

Consider this my two months notice, then. Because in searching for the visual solution to my blogging druthers I realized it meant a move to a more flexible platform. Namely, wordpress. I'm currently tweaking and playing with themes and layout but by November I plan on officially moving over there. Eat Agar Handspun will transform into...The Woad Spindle. Those new spinning kits inspired the new name.

So much for nightshades keeping the fauna at bay. 
Did you know that voles will eat potato plants. All of them. Or maybe it's just my voles that do. This pitiful handful is all I managed to rescue from my garden/their buffet. They made a delicious addition to some breakfast burritos last night, though.