Sunday, January 13, 2019

Dyeing Days - Winter in the Havencroft Farmstead Kitchen

Art Yarn from Havencroft Farm
Havencroft Homestead Handspun Art Yarn -
Grown and spun with love.
This wool (purple and yellow), mohair (hot pink) and alpaca
(natural white and berry) art yarn was all grown by critters here
.on Havencroft Farm and dyed by me, before being
picked and spun into this wild art yarn. I was concerned
that my goal of using only fleeces grown on our farm
in my fiber art might be limiting my color and texture
palette. I'm not worried any longer. 
Life and work on the farm is seasonal.There are the obvious things. Most planting is done in the spring. Hay is harvested in the summer. But there are many other tasks that may make total sense for those who live the homestead life, but may not be so apparent to others. Right now it is winter. Winter in the Ozarks is unpredictable weather-wise, but it always brings shorter days and forests without leaves.
Washing dyed mohair.
In the winter it can't be confused
with kale, chard or collards from the garden.
So, winter is the time we harvest broom handles. The sap is in the roots of the trees. We can cut sassafrass without harming the thicket. We can see the handles we want. And best of all, there are far fewer ticks and bugs in the forest in the winter.
Winter is also the time I run my dye pots. Colors are more subtle in nature in the winter, so I love to add some bright vibrant color to my life, my fleeces and my yarn during this season. Also, dyeing takes heat and water. While I do my dye mixing on my back porch, I do heat my dye vats on the kitchen stove. It helps to heat up the house in the winter. I do much of my washing of fleeces to prepare them for dyeing in the bathtub, which also heats up and steams up the house, which is appreciated in the winter, not in any other season.
I also have the time and space to dye in the winter, because I don't make cheese in the winter. Goats are seasonal breeders, as are the sheep. So even if I manage to stagger their breeding dates so that one or two of them are always milking,  in the winter there is only enough milk for me to drink, not the gallons I need to make cheese. My cheese pots and dye pots look similar, but are stored in very different areas and are not mixed in any way. However, it is good to have the two activities separated by seasons, too.

My back porch is where I mix dyes and dry the dyed yarns and fleeces.
It doubles as my potting shed and plant starting room.
Winter is the time we are increasing the feed to the ewes and does as their fleeces grow long and their baby-bellies get bigger. We are looking forward to lambing and kidding. That means shearing season is coming soon. I need to finish weaving, spinning and dyeing the rest of last years fleeces to get ready for this year's on the shelf. So I'm weaving, spinning, washing and dyeing what's on the shelf. 
After it is processed, washed, picked and dyed fleece is stored in cedar trunks for use through the upcoming seasons for spinning and weaving.
So, I'm off to start a fresh dye pot. I've been dyeing natural stone colors for a project, so I think I want something bright. How about more florescent pink?

For practical matters, I do use some natural dyes, but I mostly use acid dyes from Dharma Trading. I've been buying from this company since before there was an internet. 
If you are looking for any of my Havencroft Homestead Handspun art yarns for your next project, check out our Havencroft Farm etsy store.
Leading today's music playlist in the Havencroft Farm Fiber Studio.
To Everything There is a Season
adapted from Ecclesiastes 3, 1-8, by Pete Seeger
To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep
To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven
A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together
To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven
A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing
To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven
A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late

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