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On beauty….and not

rain on melon leaves

We have been dry, dry, DRY this summer. Add a winter with less-than-average snowfall, and you have a not pretty picture. So when we do get a bit of rain, the beauty is doubly appreciated. My melons are growing, and I’m hoping their taste is as thrilling to me as just watching them grow is.

melon growing

I planted a bunch of kale in the spring, and am pleased that it’s still going strong, despite our hot and dry conditions. When I pick it and bring it in the house to soak in a sink full of cold water, it is totally stunning. A photograph can’t capture it.

kale in water

The kale leaves don’t allow the water to grab on to them at all. As they repel it, the surface tension turns the area a bright silver, like liquid mercury. (Not only do I remember mercury thermometers, and recall playing with mercury in science class, something that would never happen today.)

And look….my first pepper is starting to turn red.

1st pepper turning red

So is my first full-sized tomato.

1st tomato turning red

The local fauna has miraculously ignored my garden patch. No idea why, but I’m thankful.

The less-than-beautiful is a new batch of handwoven scarves. First up is a scarf I wove on my rigid heddle to demo at a show. It’s a rayon warp with rayon chenille weft. Thought I’d give the combo a try.

rayon and rayon chenille scarf

Once is definitely enough. The chenille is so understated it’s hardly worth it. Plus I didn’t have enough warp left on the loom so the scarf is short. I may be willing to use it as a donation, but I won’t sell it.

Next on the rigid heddle I wove a scarf from that thick and soft Pima cotton, this time sett at only 12 ends per inch, and with hand manipulated leno lace blocks for accent.

Pima cotton scarf with leno lace

My plan was to do some more ombre dyeing with this scarf, this time with the chemical dyes and hand painting as opposed to Rit dye and dipping. But I like this scarf so well as it is that I’m not going to dye it at all. Since I have few neutrals in my stock, I think that’s the best course to take. I may put some beads on the fringe, which I’m not going to twist, to add some interest. Or I may not.

Now for some more learning by doing. In my first dye class I dyed some 8/2 rayon that’s been sitting and waiting for me. While I was waiting for my first home-dyed yarn to dry, I thought I’d weave off this rayon. The good news is that I learned a ton in those two classes and made some mistakes I’m not likely to repeat.

So here’s the first scarf on that warp. The best of the three, for sure. Since my hand painted warp didn’t have many threads in it, I fleshed out the warp with some pink and navy rayon. At least this scarf has three color transitions and no huge, glaring goofs.

HP-rayon-pinks-greens

I threaded and treadled for rosepath, which was fine, but I didn’t want to keep going with it. So I re-threaded the loom for an all-over huck lace pattern. That was fine, but the next scarf only had two colors, not three because I’d painted in sections that were too long. That would have been not good but okay, except that I’d clearly put dyed pink fingers on the yellow section. Sigh.

hand painted rayon scarf 1

Then came the third scarf. Really only one color that just gets glaringly bright. Might appeal to someone, I thought. But can you see the beginnings of transition to yellow on the fringe on the right ends? I could theoretically make the fringe shorter to eliminate that, but I don’t really like shorter fringe, don’t think it looks good. Sigh again.

hand painted rayon scarf 2

Finally, although I haven’t taken a photo, I’ll share that I have gotten back to the pants failure. I spent 3 hours taking out machine stitching, and didn’t even get all the way around the waistband for the last “stitch in the ditch” sewing. Sigh. I don’t think the side seams or center seam will be as tedious, but taking out those pockets carefully might be. Double sigh.

But now I’m going to reward myself by weaving those undulating twill scarves with the watery-colored silk I recently painted. I have several weft colors to audition.

7 comments to On beauty….and not

  • Judy T

    I love your beautiful garden photos Peg and relish in your good news. Hooray on your lack of critter damage to your gardens! Despite the lack of rain, the heat has made it a great year for many things that ordinarily struggle, and we’ve been blessed with an abundance of the sweetest cantaloupes possible, so many cukes (from just 2 plants) that I can’t even think of making more pickles, etc. I think that some of the usual garden bad bugs are way less prevalent this year due to the hot dry weather we’ve had… certainly the mosquito population is waaaaay down from it’s usual and makes sitting out in the evenings quite lovely. Hopefully the good bugs haven’t suffered as much.

    I agree that you should NOT die the ivory colored scarf – it’s quite lovely as it is and will be sure to appeal to many. I can’t wait to see how your newest painted fibers work up.

  • Amanda

    Some fringe ideas: cover with beads? Or metal tubes? Or add additional yellow embellishment/accents to make it look intentional?

  • Alma

    Is it the weather or the ferocious attack Jack that has run off the varmints?

    Absolutely I agree with Judy on keeping the ivory scarf in its natural state.

    Peg – What do you do with the kale? Just steam it or saute it? Have you ever made kale chips? Are they worth it?

    • Peg Cherre

      No idea what has kept the varmints away, Alma. I sure see plenty of rabbits and squirrels in the neighborhood, although I think the chipmunk population is down. For me, kale is best raw in salads. Chop it very fine and massage it to soften it some. Add some type of fruit (apple, peach, pear) and some kind of nut/seed (sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds), and the dressing of your choice – I like a simple oil & vinegar along with a bit of the lemon thyme from my garden and a dash of salt & pepper. Or leave out the fruit and use a maple vinaigrette dressing. Or leave out both fruit and seeds and add garbanzos and carrots with a peanut dressing. Or….the possibilities are endless.

      I have tried making kale chips – waste of time & kale from my perspective.

  • Another vote for the natural scarf. Pretty as it is. Oh, gosh taking apart anything to re-do is a pain and handwoven fabrics even more so. Requires patience and a good sharp seam ripper!

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