Monday, August 02, 2010

Things Are Looking Up

Well, somewhat. At least I’ve stopped coughing quite so much, my voice is nearly normal and I have some energy. Yay! Now if I could stop peeling all my skin off it would be lovely. The danger is trying to do too much too soon. Especially because I am so danged far behind on everything.

Milady Daughter (and Alien!) came over on Saturday and we had a lovely day chatting and dyeing with my woad. This time we got the best and darkest blue I’ve ever seen from woad. Gorgeous.


That is only two dips each! On the left is the first skein and the right is the second one which is still impressively dark, if a little uneven. They’re both 100g of 2-ply laceweight merino from a large cone purchased at Birkeland Bros some time ago. We got that strong depth of colour plus I also dyed 125g of my Perendale roving and still got a fairly good blue – about the colour of my cotton scarf from the last woad session. We probably could have dyed even more if we’d wanted light blue but I have lots from past woad baths. I figure there’s more where this came from, so I dumped it. That’s 325g of dyed wool from about 750g of leaves. Not bad at all! And it continues to grow in the dye garden.

Today I tackled the coreopsis which hadn’t yet been picked. There were lots of flowers, of which this is just a detail shot:


I love the configuration of my new dye garden because I was able to get a chair and sit in front of the plants and pick comfortably for quite a long time. I can reach about 2/3 of the way into the bed and there is some space behind to move the chair in to pick the rest. I got an ice-cream bucket full:


Now they’re drying on bamboo mats on the big table on the deck. They take up a lot less room after they’re dried.

I also noticed that some of my weld is starting to bolt even though this is only its first year and it’s pretty little still because it was late getting planted. Since I’ve never grown it before, I’m not familiar with it’s tricks so I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing. See the one at the top-left?


I will wait to see if the flowers develop and start going to seed. That’s the time to harvest apparently. I was all prepared to wait until next year, but if it wants to give me something to play with now, I’m not going to argue! However I’m hoping they all don’t bolt right away so there will be something to try next year as a full-sized plant. Otherwise I’ll be back to square one. Hmmm…maybe I can can get some new and more viable seeds from this to start next spring? And I know not to cover them because they like light to germinate. Here’s a great old botanical illustration:


Reseda luteola


Jolene (JoboDesigns on Ravelry) said...

your woad dyeing looks amazing... I bought some seeds one time, but never got around to planting them... you inspire me to get started! I may be emailing you for a recipe next year!

Glad you are starting to feel a bit better :)

Sharon in Surrey said...

Lovely blue color!! I used to play with natural dyes - hell, I've still got tin, chrome, copper etc in margarine containers from the 70s around here somewhere!! But, I bought Mother MacKenzie's dye box instead . . . I'm not sure what my landlord would say to a fermenting dyepot!! LOL Glad to hear you're recovering from that flu - I must've coughed for three weeks. I used a good shot of my own (aged-for-a-year-Vodka-over-soft-fruit-with-sugar)liqueur concoction to sleep at night. I've always called it 'cough medicine'.

Louisa said...

Ooh, Sharon, your cough medicine sounds like it tastes much better than mine! But I'm not allowed any alcohol right now. Sniff.