New Calf and Dying Fabric

We got a phone call this morning from our neighbors.  This is what she said:

“Aunt Gayle, this is _______ .  Tell Uncle Steve that he needs to go get his calf.  The kids said the new baby calf is laying in the field and the mama is trying to drag it to the barn”.    (What???  now cows treat calves like kittens??)

So, we went out.  Steve scooped up the newborn calf, took it to the barn.  Then HE spent the ENTIRE day trying to get the mama to come in too.  She is totally barn shy.   I came in after an hour.  I went out several times throughout the day, but really, he has way more patience than I do about a stupid mama bellering at her baby.  Standing under the dripping roof to boot, gettting icy cold water down her neck.  Did I say she is a stupid cow?  This one really is.

Anyway, they are finally in the stall together.  She really is our dumbest cow and we aren’t sure she will successfully feed him.  We hope she will, but are waiting to see.

Here he is.  And yes, we are sure he is a he.  We both checked!




NOTE TO SAMMI:  No, I really didn’t smell him.  I petted him, held his neck and head for about half an hour.  I really couldn’t smell him.  And I really didnt want to stick my nose on him.  He was still slick… his mama hadn’t finished cleaning him off when Steve picked him up.  Steve had toweled him off before these pictures though!  (Sammi likes the smell of newborn calves she told me)


So while Steve traipsed from barn to fence, back and forth, trying to “bait” that cow with hay and feed (resulting in everyone else …. all 10 at some point or another)  coming in for the party except stupid mama, I stayed in and dyed fabric.

I had never done low immersion dying with fiber reactive dye before.  I bought all my dye and supplies at Dharma.   I have had them here for months, just never had time and energy to start.  I even bought gloves for this project at the grocery store, even though I really dont like them.  I decided to use the directions from my very talented friend Judy.   She teaches this method in her area and was nice enough to send me her handout.  I read it.  The WHOLE thing…. TWICE.  Made perfect sense.  (and yes, her directions say to use gloves)  Called Judy to ask her a quick question.  (directions say glass, is plastic ok?  good, cuz I dont have a gallon glass jug, but I do have a gallon plastic bucket)  Then the calf fiasco.

When I came in I skimmed the directions.  Quickly.  Too quickly.  Mixed my water.  Got all the jars ready.  Went to check progress in barn.   Came back in read directions again.  Oh shit.  Mixed wrong chemical in the bucket.  Start over.  Call Judy again to make sure I am right.

Making progress.  Get all the beautiful colors mixed with correct chemicals.  Only about an inch of liquid in bottom.  And scrunch the fabric in now?  Or add more water/chem mix first??  Call Judy.  Ok, fabric in, scrunch, add water/chem mix, scrunch, shake.

Thank goodness Judy was so patient with me.  And she was home!  I promised her I wouldnt call again, even though she said I could.

Aren’t they pretty? I feel as good about these jars as I do when I can fruit or vegetables.  I can hardly wait to see what they will look like tomorrow.


I turned the jars over so you can see the colors better too.


Oh, and those gloves?  Still in the box.  Did I say I hate gloves?



And that is after multiple washings, including with Reduran, and a shampoo and shower!   Good thing I am a low maintenance gal who doesnt give a flip about a manicure huh?

I even made an attempt to “paint” (read slop with dye) a sunset or 2.



I am hoping one of them may work for one of my Triptych projects for the MQR Triptych challenge.   If not, it will become some type of art quilt project.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Deb Levy
    Dec 22, 2007 @ 21:41:03

    Wow Gayle, what a day! The calf is so cute! Hope Mama smartens up some and takes care of him.

    And your fabric looks yummy! My hands always look like that(or worse) after a dye session…even when I do wear gloves 🙂 Can’t wait to see them washed out and dryed.


  2. Vicki W
    Dec 22, 2007 @ 22:26:33

    When I was in high school my Dad decided it was a good idea to raise some cows. I thought they were absolutely the dumbest animals around. I learned to negotiate myself out of “farm days”! I’m so glad to see another fabric dyeing addict!


  3. Gayle
    Dec 22, 2007 @ 22:38:49

    They really arent all dumb. But this one sure is! Normally I enjoy their antics and how nosy they are. They are peaceful critters for the most part, and interesting to watch out my window. But this one could be shipped off and I wouldnt miss her!



  4. Judy
    Dec 22, 2007 @ 23:00:43

    Looking forward to seeing how they turn out…..and you know you can call anytime! ;>)


  5. freda1951
    Dec 23, 2007 @ 08:25:56

    A newborn calf for Christmas. How cool is that? I love your fabrics Gayle. So beautiful to go along with your hand. Have a Merry Christmas.


  6. AllenQuilts
    Dec 23, 2007 @ 10:14:16

    Tell Steve to call me when he needs help standing in the rain/snow, trying to lure animals…I go through this on a daily basis with Bunbun…lol…And I love cows & baby calves…Lovin’ what you are doing with the dye!


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