Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Time for a new look over here at Herself. What do you think? I like it. The old harbor background had nothing to do with anything, other than not being a plain blank page. I'm also home today with the latest version of a stomach bug that's going around school. I think I started coming down with it Sunday; as soon as I started feeling wonky, I stopped eating (except for Saltines and Vitamin Water). I believe this has kept me from kneeling before the porcelain god, but the constant waves of queasiness are not conducive to productive teaching. Yesterday I survived because my afternoon is all small-group lessons, and I could stay sitting down. Not so today. Sitting still seems to be helpful, and when updating with Blogger, you know there's plenty of that.

The picture in the header is yarn that I dyed with indigo, cochineal, walnut hulls, and such. I plopped it in a basket and trotted it down to my LYS to see what happened. With pretty much no effort, over the course of a year, I sold almost all of it (which is fine, because I didn't need to pay the electric bill with it). I was mainly interested in recouping the cost of the yarn plus a little, since it was all experimental. I promptly spent the profits at the very same LYS.

Like many kitchen dyers, I'll admit I harbor fantasies of a little naturally-dyed yarn empire springing forth from my efforts. However, I fully realize that this is a fantasy, at least during the school year. Whether you use acid or plant dyes, dyeing rather chains you to the stove/microwave/crockpot when you do it. I just don't have that kind of time until about July.

I do love the process of natural dyeing. I love not quite knowing what's going to come out. (Have I talked about this before? I should read my own archives.) Just because the dyestuff is one color doesn't mean that's what you'll get. Red onion skins don't give you that purple-y color that they are when you peel them. You can make an educated guess, and then you can even temper your results by adding mordants. I haven't played around with those much yet. I've been too happy with what I've gotten, doing what I'm doing. I need to experience the joys of test skeins. Remember the "Perfect is the enemy of the good" post? Right there. Test skeins are not wasted materials.

I probably have more stockpots in my collection than the average bear, and I need to get a couple of smaller ones for testing. Luckily, I live just up the hill from the Corning-Revere-Corelle Factory Store, where things like that turn up all the time, for not much money. I need to bug a glass artist to set me up with some glass rods (though Pyrex would be even better...hmmm...I know they aren't at the factory store, but I know people who work in the labs at Corning Inc.) for stirring. Spoons + wet yarn = nightmare. Even spoon handles. Even plastic spoon handles. (ESPECIALLY wooden spoon handles.)

Some days, the planning is as good as the doing. Well, almost...but particularly on days where you know the doing would probably make you barf. Off for more Gatorade...


booksNyarn said...

Looks great! I hope that you feel better soon.

Marcy said...

I like the look! I like the yarn!

And the phrase "walnut hulls" pleases me for some reason.