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May days

May 4, 2020

another week – another hexie in the window

the book is a favorite with stunning photos of Mexican textiles

cochineal — my natural dye choice for the month of May

Mexico is the second largest producer of cochineal

a picture in the book shows a Mexican dyer crushing the bugs with a rolling pin

and the cactus the insects feed on

my dye colour on handspun wool and silk, mordanted with alum and cream of tartar

commercial cotton scoured, mordanted with myrobalan and then alum

they were all dyed in the same pot, amazing the range of colour

a walk in the ‘hood – first down my back alley

alleys must be an old planning idea – the land is too valuable now to be “wasted”

I met these two along the way – they hadn’t heard of social distancing

the euphorbia (commonly known as spurge) blooms on and on – the individual flowers are interesting

a neighbor’s wisteria is magnificent

the laugh of the week – “we stand on guard for thee”

home again, the Solomon’s seal in my back yard

warning – this plant is poisonous, especially the berries


17 Comments leave one →
  1. Heather Cameron permalink
    May 5, 2020 6:34 pm

    Your work is always so lovely. Your knowledge, skill and dedication are inspirational, I always love reading your posts, even if I don’t respond. Bad manners on my part!


    • May 5, 2020 11:09 pm

      Hi Heather – thank you, so great to hear from you. Hope all is well on your island and you have lots of stitching to keep you happy until this is over.


  2. Going Batty in Wales permalink
    May 5, 2020 3:09 am

    In the towns of Lancashire where I grew up every terrace had a back alley. It enabled coal to be delivered and bins to be collected without them having to go through the house. On Mondays my Aunts used to hang their washing on lines strung from back fence to back fence across the alley.

    Your cochineal dyed yarn is beautiful. Did you dye them for a particular project or just to have in stock?


    • May 5, 2020 10:05 am

      Sue – I still hang my laundry out – but not across the alley, love that idea. This is the fourth year that I have challenged myself to choose one technique and create/sample a new piece every month for the year. This year it was natural dyes. Last year backstrap weaving and the year before that one small tapestry each month. The first year was a stitched/woven prayer flag each month. Will there be a next year??

      Liked by 1 person

      • Going Batty in Wales permalink
        May 6, 2020 3:27 am

        What a brilliant way to learn something new! There will be a next year and I sincerely hope we are both here to enjoy it and still blogging about our adventures!


      • May 6, 2020 10:16 am

        Sue – the yearly challenge is a commitment to myself and then of course I announce it on the blog. Occasionally it has been all consuming so every year I have to decide if I want to do it again. And it is important to find a subject/technique that I can maintain an interest in for the entire year.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Going Batty in Wales permalink
        May 7, 2020 3:15 am

        I can see that it is important to choose carefully – not so demanding it takes up all your time but not so esy it becomes boring. Announcing it probably makes it easier to keep going.


      • May 7, 2020 10:07 am

        Sue – I don’t do boring – the challenge then becomes “how to make it interesting”.


      • Going Batty in Wales permalink
        May 8, 2020 1:14 am

        A nice bit of positive reframing! I will look forward to more of your projects and experiments.


      • May 8, 2020 10:56 am

        Sue – trouble in the sunshine – I’m running out of ideas, and enthusiasm. Just digging and weeding most days.


      • Going Batty in Wales permalink
        May 9, 2020 1:46 am

        It has gone on rather a long time and no real end in sight. I think the novelty and enthusiasm for being creative with solutions has worn off for most of us! I was very tempted to do a supermarket shop for myself just to get in the car and go somewhere diffeent but have been sensible and asked my neighbour’s daughter to do it when she does her Mum’s.


      • May 9, 2020 12:32 pm

        Sue – yes, and as people get fed up and angry (like in the southern U.S.) the second wave will start and it will all go on longer. I do my grocery shopping at 8:30am on Mon. morning once every 2 weeks and can’t wait to finish and go home. But I am running out of creative ideas.


      • Going Batty in Wales permalink
        May 10, 2020 3:18 am

        I don’t normally enjoy shopping – it is only attractive because I am not allowed to do it! Loss of creativity is serious – I hope you find it again soon.


      • May 10, 2020 10:42 am

        Sue – it is so true, how humans seem to be fatally draw to anything we are denied and how in difficult times even more so. I too hope the creative urge will return soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      • May 6, 2020 10:22 am

        Sue – the yearly challenge is a commitment to myself, and then of course I announce it on the blog. Occasionally it becomes all consuming/almost overwhelming- I almost quit (several times) with the backstrap weaving. It is essential to choose a subject/technique where you can maintain an interest for the entire year.


  3. May 5, 2020 12:03 am

    It’s all looking very pretty. I wonder why they alleys? Must be a reason- maybe for access when house were built back to back?


    • May 5, 2020 10:09 am

      Cathy – I think Sue (in the comments) has the answer, the coal delivery probably didn’t apply here it would have been a practice carried over from “the old country”. Walking every day I have found more back lanes and alleys in my neighborhood than I ever knew existed.


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