April 6, 2009
Idaho Fescue frames the foreground of a set of skeins drip drying in the side yard. This side of the house is 9 feet wide, and 40 feet long, and adorned completely with natives many of them dye plants. I’ve planted california sage, coyote brush, sticky monkey flower, figwort and mugwort, to frame the pathway, so their fragrant limbs reach out as I walk past.
I finished the dye work just as the sun was setting behind the tall incense cedar in the neighbors yard. This lot of skeins were generously dyed with the help of native toyon, coyote brush, and walnut, an imported indigo, logwood, and cochineal.
From left to right, on my handspun local wool yarns….Coyote brush; Toyon; Cochineal; and Logwood. The plant species from California yield colors familiar to our summer grasslands, and chaparral hillsides. The cochineal reflects the pink of the prickly pear cactus, where so many cochineal insects spent their whole lives eating. Logwood’s rich purples have the character of a warmer climate, a more tropical locale- in this case, the Dominican Republic.