Friday, January 30, 2009

Decisions, decisions

Things I learned last year:
  • how to make a quilt (pictured is my first -- and so far, only -- quilt)
  • and . . . I know there's more, but it's not coming to me right now!

Things I want to learn this year:
  • how to naturally dye yarn or wool roving using Illinois plants
  • how to properly compost (instead of just throwing stuff together and waiting for it to rot)

Plan of action:
  • Attend half-day composting seminar February 8.
  • Plan needed for yarn dyeing. Can't afford a $2,000 trip to Mexico or $800 workshop in Oregon. Will probably have to do some research on my own. Any suggestions?
Other possibilities:
ALBC is hosting a heritage-turkey-raising seminar in March. It's a six-hour drive from here to central Missouri, but it's very tempting. The instructor is a mentee of Frank Reese, who is legendary in the world of heritage turkeys, so no doubt I'd learn a lot. Almost all of my turkey knowledge has been gained through trial and error -- lots of error. Luckily the seminar is during my spring break. I'd probably learn more in two days with this man than in another few years of tripping along by myself.

I've said it before, but I never stop being amazed at how much there is to learn out here. It's sad that so much knowledge has already been lost.


Tammy said...

For some reason I thought you lived somewhere 'away' near mountains or something, but instead you are a next door neighbor in Illinois. (I'm in Missouri) Geesh. I got a book for Christmas called Colors from Nature, Growing, Collecting and Using Natural Dyes by Bobbi A McRae. Not sure how helpful it would be to you, but it is rather fascinating reading. Take care,

Deborah said...

It doesn't feel like Illinois. Although there is a flat cornfield across the road, a creek zigzags through our property, which makes it hilly and tree-covered, so a lot of pictures don't look like Central Illinois.

Claire said...

I bought books too! I bought "A Dyer's Garden" and "Natural Dying" and another one I forget at the moment. I've been reading up and want to buy seeds specifically for plants for dye this year. I already have some things that appear to be good dyes, including goldenrod and onion skins. Hey, let's do a Midwest Learn to Dye weekend getaway!

Deborah said...

That sounds like fun, Claire! We have PLENTY of goldenrod here! I never thought of using it as a dye. I'm sure I have plenty of other great stuff too; just need to find out what is used for which colors.

melanie said...

If you get stuck, you are free to drop me a line...I do lots of natural dying with plants, albeit NY ones...but our list of natural plants is probably not too far apart...

So far all the books mentioned are good - and there is lots of on-line info.

One of my favorites is Butternut nuts/rinds. Do you have Butternut trees there?

Deborah said...

Thanks for all the book recommendations. I'll check Amazon for them.

Butternut trees? I've never heard of them, but I know a bio professor who is really into Illinois plants, so I'll ask him. We have Osage orange on our property, which I've heard makes a good orange color.


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