Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dyeing with Black Walnuts - Part 2

I did a couple of "dip tests" while the dye was simmering.  ie. I keep a few locks of fleece in a container where I'm working and dip them into the dye to see what the depth of the colour is.  When I did that, I found there was a LOT of sediment collecting on the locks.  That is not something I want to have to comb out of the fleece afterwards.  Therefore, a straining process is needed.

The walnuts have sat in the pot for about 24 hrs and cooled to room temperature.

Straining is not a quick process, kind of like watching paint dry.  If you've ever made your own almond milk you'll understand what I mean.

See how there's a stream of dye flowing from the filter?  When that changes to just a slow dripping, you know the bottom of the filter is covered in sediment

You can use coffee filters, layers of cheesecloth or even paper towel.  Whatever works for you to get the results you desire.  I started with coffee filters, but I had to change them often - think, after every 2 cups poured.  The sediment was that dense.

Then I switched to paper towels.  They gave me a little more surface to utilize, as when one end was full of sediment, I could just pull (carefully so as not to rip the towel) towards me and expose the other end of the paper towel.  This way I was able to run about 4 cups through the process.

See the sediment collected?

An even better picture.

I didn't use cheesecloth because I knew that even with about 6 layers, I would still end up with some sediment getting through.  Found that out the hard way with almond milk.

In the end, I think I've ended up with about 7 litres of somewhat concentrated dye from 3 pounds of walnut husks.

I've put the dye into my cooking pot and added some more water.  I'm not worried that the dye has now been diluted a bit because it's still there, and I need 'swimming room' for the fleece.  That way the dye will penetrate through all of it.

I'm dyeing a pound of British Milk fleece first.  Bringing it slowly to just under a boil, then I'll let it simmer for about an hour, and sit for the rest of the day and night.

If the dye hasn't exhausted by the end, I may throw in about 1/2 a pound of cotswold that I have.  Even if it isn't a really dark rich brown, I think it'll still have a nice golden/tan/beige colour to it.  We'll see.

This is why I love experimenting!

Results to come....

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A loom lives!

The loom lives!

Backstory:   A couple weeks ago, through our guild (OVWSG), an offer was made for a Leclerc Inca Loom, for free. Since I was the first one to respond to the offer, I was able to obtain it… 2 days before my 47th birthday! Happy Birthday to me! 
The lady who owned it thought she might like to get into weaving a few years ago, so her husband had purchased it from an acquaintance of theirs. Needless to say, it was never set up/assembled. She didn’t get around to it. The 2 side frames are assembled, but all the other pieces are in a box.
It looks like it’s in beautiful shape, finished nicely with a light stain and varnish. The husband had even gone to Leclerc’s site for his wife and printed out all the instructions and specs on the loom and put them in a binder.
Unfortunately, the last couple weeks I’ve been so busy with guild events and demos and personal life that I haven’t had time to set it up… that is, until tomorrow 
I’m sure I’ll be up super early to get started on putting this together.
I’ve read through all the documentation I can find on this loom, it’s 36”, 4 shafts, 6 treadles, it's a counterbalance set up.
I believe these were made in the 80's and were sold as a "kit" loom.  Sold unassembled and unfinished, in order to provide people with a more affordable option.

It took approximately 3.5 hours and numerous trips up and down the stairs, back and forth from the garage - that's where the box was with all the pieces, and it was too damn heavy for one person to haul up to the spare room (Jim was at work), and I was determined to get this assembled today. (I'm going to be sore tonight) 
She's missing a couple minor pieces.  One of the strings for the top counterbalance roller (I substituted with a piece of rope tied the same length) and a hook for one of the treadles - it was supposed to have 6, only 5 were attached to the treadles.... not sure how when they packed it up they didn't realize one wasn't there. Oh well. I'll contact Camilla Valley Farm - from all reports, they are excellent to deal with and have all the parts available.


See, missing one hook on the far right treadle.

I'm sure I can still use her without the hook for now.

Nest job is to sort out the apron/beam strings in the front and back, they're a bit of a mess.  

And then dig through some of my yarn to see if I have anything I can use as a warp to start playing. :)

Dyeing with Black Walnuts

Thanks to Judy in our guild, who is a complete and utter “enabler” LOL, I gathered, I’m figuring about 50 lbs of black walnuts this morning.
I’m definitely not using them all myself. I’ve got a batch simmering on the stove right now, the rest I’ll share with the guild.
I weighed out 5 lbs. After husking them, it netted 3 lbs.
I threw the seeds over the fence behind our house… it hadn’t even been 30 seconds before a squirrel was there and had one in his mouth. I’m pretty sure they smelled them while I was husking and were just watching and waiting, little stalkers!
I couldn’t believe the colour of the liquid within a couple minutes of putting the husks in the pot. A nice brown. By the time it came to a boil, it has become a greeny-brown. Now it’s simmering for an hour or so… I’ll keep an eye on it.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Tomato Sauce 20lbs

When I was at the Metcalfe Farmers' Market yesterday for the demo, I made sure I did some shopping.

20 pounds of nice roma tomatoes for $20.

Today, Jim helped me prep them and now we have 15 500ml jars of yummy tomato sauce and a nice batch left in the pot that we used on spaghetti for dinner, and there's enough for leftovers tomorrow. 

While puree'ing, we added in some onion, a whole head of garlic, fresh basil and fresh parsley, a little bit of salt and pepper and a few bay leaves for good measure.  It made the whole house smell wonderful while it was simmering.  A water bath processing and now they're good to go in the pantry.

Homemade is sooooo good!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Sept 5, 2014 Storm Surprise

At approximately 4pm today, a severe storm hit the end of the city where Jim and I work.  It lasted a half hour.

I heard reports on the radio of power outages, trees and branches coming down and traffic issues.

We never guessed we'd find this when we got home.

 You can see the dark area of the trunk where it looks like it may have actually been struck by lightening.  Thankfully, nothing was on fire when we got home, and the power is still on.  We're lucky it hasn't really damaged the fence, or that it didn't go through any of our windows or the neighbors.

I've placed a call to the landlord's repair line, and of course left a message, because it's after work hours now.

Who knows how long it'll be before they can send someone out to remove it.

Poor Jake doesn't know what to make of it... his backyard isn't the same now. There's a tree in the middle of it!  :)

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