Catherine Carney

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since Nov 10, 2016
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duck books fiber arts building sheep solar
Ohio, United States
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Recent posts by Catherine Carney

How do I save this to my computer for future reference?

Not a big fan of the cbook format as it loads slowly, and pages have to reload if you're going back and forth. Much prefer pdf formats, and I wish you'd go back to them.
Here are some things I took into consideration as I started planting hedgerows to form windbreaks and (hopefully) living fences for my sheep:

1: Chosen species must be hardy and adapted to local growing conditions.
2: They must be relatively fast growing.
3: They must form a dense branch structure close to the ground (Shetland sheep can be escape artists).
4: They must be able to tolerate sheep browsing on leaves and twigs (Shetlans also think they're goats and love to nibble brushy stuff and tree leaves).
5: They must be cheap/free to source as seedlings/small whips.
6: They must either naturally form multiple trunks or sucker easily in case I need to cut them back to produce a thicker stand.
7: Preference for species that produce blooms and fruit.

Taking all of that into consideration, most of what I've put into my hedgerows have been tree seedlings that have shown up in their own in my planting beds: crabapples, honey locust, mulberry, red osier/dogwood, and hawthorn. I've also got a few hardwood (mostly oak and maple, with a couple of osage orange and buckeyes) whips I've planted in for larger shade trees, and a few non-natives (russian/autumn olive, nanking cherry). And I've let things like black raspberries grow up and around the seedlings as they've gotten 3' or taller. I'm only a few years into the process, so I have a long way to go before the hedge is tight enough to contain the sheep, but it already provides some benefits to wildlife (food. cover). and I keep adding to it (length and width both--ultimately I plan for a 4' max width, especially where I need a windbreak) as I find more seedlings in places where they shouldn't be.

Bottom line, a hedge has to meet the needs of YOUR property, so look at what grows well in your microclimate and meets your needs for food/fodder/flowers/habitat.
8 months ago
One thing I learned on a historical sewing vlog on Youtube (Bernadette Banner--she specializes in hand sewing and recreating historical costumes) is sewing thread before machines became common, was 2 ply. The individual plies were spun with a z twist and plied s, which is the opposite of how most modern yarns are spun (s twist) and plied (z).

It's just something she mentioned in passing, and I don't recall which of her videos that comment is in any more....Hope it helps.
Thank you! I'd seen the mushroom dye thread earlier and loved it. I also have a book on mushroom dyeing, and I've been wanting to try the colors as many are substantive and as colorfast as modern commercial dyes.

The problem is finding and ID'ing the mushrooms as most fungi look at lot alike to me unless they're morels or oysters.

I'm hoping to put together a pits only avocado bath after this weekend and I'll post more pics if there's a noticeable color difference.
I finally got an undyed skein of Shetland/tussah silk done and put together a picture of the colors I've gotten from avocado. The picture was taken in indirect light on my shaded porch.

From top to bottom they are: Knit sample (catspaw pattern) Shetland/tussah silk dyed with avocado pits and peels after knitting; undyed Shetland/tussah silk skein; two skeins dyed with avocado pits and peels; one skein dyed with avocado peels only with longer immersion and gentle daily heating and cooling; knit sample (moss stitch pattern) light grey Shetland dyed with avocado pits and peels after knitting.
I can't wait to see your results!

I am especially pleased with the darker skein since I used my high mineral content well water and wasn't sure how the calcium and iron dissolved in it would impact the colors.
For comparison, here are the lighter skeins (under indoor lights which darken and yellow the colors) with a skein of the undyed yarn.
Thank you for your kind words about heathered yarns and photography!

Luminous is a good way to describe heathers, especially those from natural dyestuffs. There's a subtlety and depth to the colors that can't be duplicated with commercial dyes....

I haven't tried chopping the pits yet, but may do so on my pits only batch.

I've attached a picture of my first dyed skeins. They are two ply yarns, one ply of pale grey/cream Shetland wool and the other of tussah silk. The top three skeins in the picture are from the pits and peels dyebath and were only in the cool bath for one day. The bottom skein is from the peels only dyebath, and spent three or four days soaking, including daily gentle heat and overnight cool down cycles.
I'll upload pictures in a bit, though I will warn you they were taken on my phone and I'm not much of a photographer.

Here's how I did it:

Preparing the bath:
1: Collect skins and pits, and clean as much of the flesh off of them as possible for brighter colors (not that I've found the colors to be particularly bright).... I find a quick scrub under the tap works pretty well.
2: Add cleaned skins and pits (either both together or in separate baths for different colors) to a pot and add water plenty of water--not just covering, but enough that they float freely.
3: Add gentle heat to bring the water to barely simmering. This is important as too much heat will brown the dye, so never let it approach boiling. I heat on the lowest burner setting and turn off the heat as soon as the water starts to steam.
4: Allow pot to cool, longer is better (I usually let it sit overnight). Decant cooled liquid into your "official" dyepot (it should be a deep burgundy/claret color), reserving the skins/pits.
5: Repeat process with skins/pits until color is no longer burgundy/claret.

Dyeing the fiber:
1: Soak fiber (I've only tried it with wool and silk) in cool water until thoroughly wetted (I often skimp on this step because I rather like the uneven/heathered colors that results from uneven dye uptake), and add to the cool dyebath.
2: Heat gently to barely simmer/steam (remember that issue about browning the dye--not to mention felting wool).
3: Remove from heat and allow to cool at least overnight.
4: Check color....The color seems to take a while to develop with avocado dyes, so leave the fiber in longer for deeper colors, even for several days. You can gently heat and cool the bath repeatedly with the fiber in it....

Once you're happy with the color, remove from the cooled bath (squeeze out as much of the dye back into the pot as you can), rinse until the water runs clear (wash if you want--I've found that soap and water do no seem to change the color), and hang to dry.

I hope this all makes sense! Let me know if you have questions. And happy dyeing!