The last day


September is for some the last summer month, but if you look at nature it’s autumn. The air is different, night temperatures drop if not also in daytime, grain harvest is usually done unless it rains too much, berries ripen and flowers wither or make an effort at a second round, not quite as showy as the first.


The kale has survived the onslaught of tiny critters I think, my weld is looking miserable and the batch I cooked up yesterday did not give very much colour compared to the small samples I did earlier. So yes, you can drag your feet too long. I haven’t gotten round to my blues either, but the temps are supposed to stay mellow, so I’m still hoping.

I’m thinking whether I want to make myself a hat this year and which fiber to use.


My back is getting back to normal after last weekend’s ordeal, just a bit of tension in my neck, still. Now of course it’s time to haul in the firewood before it gets wet again…. We get a pile delivered every feb-march, stack it to dry outside and then keep it in the shed over winter. (mind you, if we stay in this house I believe the foundation size for said shed, the original farmhouse from the 1840’s, would make a quite ok studio size for me and not too far to go to work in)


I’ve been making fresh yarn sample cards for hanging in the open but not sun for xx months, perhaps a year? And getting the solar samples paired with non-faded yarn, numbered and all sorts of organized, it took me DAYS, and I’m so proud of myself for persevering. Just have to crochet little squares to go in the wash for sampling detergent effects and then I’ll put it all in a binder. 3 years of natural dye experiments.


Next year I’ll do just a few new plant experiments if I can remember which ones have come to mind over the last few months, otherwise I’ll focus on getting as many shades as I can from just a few, lightfast plants and not bother with the fugitive ones.


The rest of my week has been spent nursing the small brown pony who came down with an abscess in his hind hoof. Treatment for such is hot soapy baths to draw the infection out and clean the wound once it’s popped open. He was quite cooperative about standing with his foot in a bucket as long as treats were forthcoming.

Some fade, others just keel over…

Den sidste sommerdagdanish

Selvom september kan give nogen fine, lune dage, så er det alligevel for mig den første efterårsmåned. Luften er anderledes, det føles anderledes indeni, jeg begynder at længes efter at lave vintermad, overveje garnvalg til den hue jeg vil strikke, blomsterne er enten visnet ned eller giver det en sidste krampetrækning med 2. generation lidt mindre farvebomber.

Jeg er endelig nået til at høste min farvevau(-reseda), men desværre er det vist lidt sent, den gryde jeg satte over i går har godt nok ikke meget farve i sig i forhold til tidligere på sæsonen, ja blot for en måned siden. De lover heldigvis lunt vejr, så jeg håber stadig lidt på at jeg kan nå at gøre noget ved mine blå planter, vaid og japansk indigo.

Jeg har brugt ugen pÃ¥ at være rigtig disciplineret og lavet garnkort til min mappe med farveeksempler, solblegede sammen med originale, nummerering af alle fed gennem 3 Ã¥r osv. Hver plante fÃ¥r sin egen side i et ringbind med noter og halløj! Jeg er ellers ikke til den slags administrativt arbejde, sÃ¥ jeg er meget stolt af mig selv. 😉

Min ryg er ved at være i orden efter halmweekenden, blot lidt nakkespændinger tilbage. Nu er vi sÃ¥ kommet til brændestablen, som skal i skuret inden det begynder at øse ned i ugevis, sÃ¥ det trækker fugt til sig igen. Det foregÃ¥r med trillebør 50 m frem og tilbage gennem en smal port, ikke noget med at bare læsse det i traileren og dumpe det foran døren! Brændeskuret er det oprindelige bondehus fra 1840’erne og ved at falde fra hinanden. Jeg gÃ¥r og tænker pÃ¥, hvis vi bliver boende her, at fundamentet vel egentlig har en ok størrelse til et lille atelier….

Og ellers har jeg bare gået og ordnet varme fodbade til den lille brune bisse, som ragede en hovbyld til sig på det ene bagben. Heldigvis var han yderst medgørlig, bare der blev puttet noget i den anden ende samtidig.


22 thoughts on “The last day

  1. I think September is my favourite month, it is just that transition into autumn that I love. A bitter sweet feeling.

    I hope the pony is okay now – good thing she’s amenable to treatment 🙂

    That’s a great hat, I might knit myself one of those!

    You should feel proud of yourself for those experiments and especially for recording them all. You’ve worked hard and the colours you’ve created are truly beautiful. It’s good to celebrate and appreciate achievements and good to read of someone else doing that. We can all be hard on ourselves but it does get a bit dull occasionally reading over and over how someone feels they could have done this or that better!

    I hope we can appreciate ourselves and what we achieve more and more often.

    1. “I hope we can appreciate ourselves and what we achieve more and more often.”

      Yes. Let’s remind each other every now and again.

      Rollo seems to be fine again, those dartmoor ponies are resilient.

  2. And I forgot to mention, you have taken some fabulous photos – those berries and leaves against the sky are stunning

    1. 🙂 I love the golden/red/green colours against a deep blue sky – another bonus of this coming season.

      I took this on Wednesday, and it was truly a magical day. The golden morning light seemed to linger, not a wind, in fact it was so quiet it seemed everything was holding its breath. Warm and soft feeling, the kind of mood you wish you could bottle!

      1. Yes there’s so much to enjoy in autumn. We’ve been getting amazing sunsets the last few nights, unfortunately they don’t photograph so well!

  3. Your dye colors are beautiful and I feel very inspired from looking at your blog to start dying some handspun yarns myself. My mother who is now 94 gave me a large bag of handspun natural wool hanks that she had spun. How wonderful is that?

    Love your 1840 shed!

  4. lovely to read about how the season is changing at Colour Cottage! September is one of my favourite months, I love its crispy sunny days when the autumn is very much in the air. And your shed would make a beautiful studio!

    Also interesting to read how your dyeing is progressing from trying lots of different types of plants to making more colours from fewer plants – this is exactly how my thinking about dyeing is evolving at the moment. I haven’t yet tried quite as many plants as you, but I am beginning to think I’d like to start learning about combining dyes from different plants to extend the colour range, whether in successive baths or in a single one. Something to think about for next summer!

    1. I’m actually tempted to draw some designs and floor plans, just for laughs. Someone in this house hates changes and gets his undies in a wad when I mention it, because where then, to put the wood?! 😉

      I have a draft sitting in my WP list about mixing dyes – just to remind me to work on it, not that I have yet. Going to go over some old books and check out their suggestions. THEN of course, we get to the subject of mushrooms. Can you believe it, not so long ago I suddenly remembered that while living in Sweden as a teenager, one winter my mum and I took part in a class about mushroom dyeing. Not only had I forgotten completely this ever happened, I also have no clue why she brought me there and I can’t recall if I actually learned anything. I do remember the colours were stunning though, deep purples, orange.. I’ll have to ask her about it. Funny how life cycles round, isn’t it? It probably was a lot easier to find mushrooms up there with the forest being just that and not small patches of cultivated wood.

      1. Funny you should mention mushroom dyes, I just had a go at my first mushroom dyeing last week using some dried mushrooms I had bought from Finland (I’ll blog about it as soon…) and I got a most beautiful rosy red colour so I am very excited about this topic right now. The first Finnish language mushroom dyeing book was published earlier this year and my dad has just sent me a copy and now I’m all inspired to try all these mushrooms… that grow in Finland, not here in the UK 🙁 Over here we are a bit short of pine and fir tree forests! It seems most mushrooms give you the usual yellows and browns that you can easily get from other plants, but there are a few that give you beautiful blues, blue-greens and vivid reds. I think one year I will need a very long autumn break back at home in Finland so that I can go mushroom hunting!

        And, my new book also talks about making water colours from mushrooms 😉

        1. WHUT!? I can’t believe you haven’t blogged about it YET!

          Btw my watercolours have been sitting on the dining table in jars ever since and they’re still good. Did another attempt at adding iron yesterday and all they needed were: more. And then I plunked some yarn in there.

        2. I’ll be shopping for chemicals soon. Does it mention any helpful substances you can add to make it more inklike or better lasting?

          1. By popular demand, I will making it a priority to write about the mushroom experiment

            Re: the water colours: this is the binder recipe my book recommends:
            50g arabic gum
            100ml water
            300 dl runny honey

            This binder only lasts for a few days, but apparently you can use alum to make it last longer, that’s the only preservative she mentions.

            She recommends you first make the dye solution with as little water as possible, then place it in large shallow dishes to evaporate the liquid completely. You grind the dry dye pigments and then add the binder. You can use this straight away or else let it dry into a dry tablet (for example in an old tea light holder).

            The book also gives a recipe for making mushroom ink, using alum, oak galls, ferrous sulphate (= the same iron you use in dyeing) and arabic gum.

      1. oh, can’t believe it, I still got it wrong – my brain is clearly way too foggy for any kinds of maths or unit conversions today. The recipe says 0.3dl of honey, and that’s 30ml, not 300ml.

        And that’s the final answer. 😉

        I hope…

        1. I get those wrong all the time. I can do math if I have to, but I’m not a natural by any means. It just doesn’t stay put, so I have to reinvent the wheel every time.

  5. Your blog continues to intrigue me. How fabulous to have a space of your own…I say yes to drawing up those floor plans! My guy just makes me count to ten to really make sure of what I want! 😉

  6. What a lovely post. I have nothing much more to add except happy sighs over firewood, ponies, hats, and colors.

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