Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Dye Don't

Well, that was fun but I didn’t get the results I was after. To explain, for some reason I got started winding half of my huge skein of Alpaca Lace yarn and dividing it into two 110g skeins. There’s over 1200 yards to each of those skeins so that was a lot of winding. I also found 2 smaller 50g skeins of similar alpaca yarn lurking in the stash and decided to mordant all 4 skeins in alum and cream of tartar. So far so good. But then I got the brilliant idea to use comfrey to get green on one of the larger skeins. Big mistake.

Of course T-Man had already pruned off the comfrey plants on Sunday and it was all in the compost. I fished out a bucket full of leaves, plus a few spiders and sowbugs who were hanging on. After removing the wildlife and chopping it all up I had about 4.5 times the weight of my 110g skein. Plenty I thought. I set the comfrey soup to simmer for about an hour and had a deep burgundy “tea” in the pot and a bunch of cooked greens to go back in the compost pile. I entered the rinsed skein of yarn and got…beige. A darkish beige but not green. So I tried a bit of copper mordant in the pot as a “modifier” towards green. Now I have a slightly more greenish and darker beige. Eewww. Not even close to what I wanted. Jenny Dean was just teasing me in her book.

What went wrong? Maybe nothing. Maybe that’s all the colour my comfrey has to give. Maybe it’s the time of year. Or maybe I got the temp too high in my extraction process. Whatever, now I have to overdye it because it’s butt-ugly. If I remember, I’ll take a photo of it before I do anything else to it so you can see what I mean. I think it needs some woad but I don’t have any more. So maybe indigo?

So after that disappointment, I weighed my precious dried coreopsis flowers and realized I had enough to try dyeing the other large skein. So I put them to soak and brought the pot up to just under a simmer. Then I turned it off and walked away. I’ll get back to it tomorrow. I also left the rest of the alpaca skeins soaking in the alum/COT. Can’t hurt and probably will be good to get as much as possible absorbed into the fibre.

In one of my usual right-turns of subject, I have to tell you a funny story from yesterday. My son The Ninja called saying that my grandson Stargazer wanted to talk to me. As usual I got a little jabber and a lot of heavy breathing and then he wanted to go watch TV. So The Ninja and I chatted for awhile and then we hung up. About 20 minutes later the phone rang again and after I said hello, I got a cheerful “Hiya” from Stargazer. Remember he’s not quite 2 years old. He babbled at me for awhile and then all I heard was the TV. I asked him where daddy or mommy was but no answer. I eventually hung up because he was obviously distracted elsewhere. I’m sure he phoned me himself so I’ll have to tell his parents that he knows how to hit redial! Hopefully Stargazer won’t be calling Japan or something. It’s quite possible. The Ninja has an old friend and his wife who are currently living near Tokyo. He’s even heading there himself next week to a ninjutsu conference and staying with them. This will be his first time in Japan so he’s very excited. Too bad the rest of his family can’t afford to accompany him this time but I’m sure he’s concerned about how the economic situation will affect his business. Like everyone else, hey?

Well, we have yarn and we know how to use it. We will be fine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's almost exactly what I found myself saying just a couple days ago, contemplating the mini-shifts in the climate and big shifts in the landscape that I can't seem to help seeing and taking to heart. "There'll always be yarn."

We used to live near some splendid banks of tafoni rocks. One of my favorite artists, Susan Bennerstrom, did a series. She posed one of those plastic stacking chairs that used to be everywhere with them. The chair was bright blue. Too bad it's not on her website, but you can imagine from her other stuff why she'd like the rocks.

I hope you're feeling better.