Saturday, August 17, 2013

Thank yous

Last week we finagled our way over to the Western Slope to harvest some of the Japanese Indigo my grandparents were growing for me (thanks, grandparents!). Getting there turned out to be an adventure. Both of our cars' brake systems stopped working by the time we were supposed to head out there and my mom ended up driving up just to drive us back to Grand Junction the same day. And then, after the indigo project and a trip to the Mesa with the Grandparents Holton, she drove us home. (Thanks, Mom!)
This was my first attempt at growing my own dyestuff from seed and I've been psyching myself out a little. There are just so many steps to it and alkaline dyebaths seem to be a little more chemically than more acidic ones. Plus, there is that whole thing where I try to read directions, I really do (sometimes), but in the middle of everything I tend to just go for it and hope for the best. That works for me about 90% of the time. The rate of success tends to go down the more steps there are and this indigo process has quite a few. In fact, in the future I think I'll be taking a combined note from India Flint and Rebecca Burgess and use fermentation vats. There are fewer steps, bran and corn syrup aren't nearly as icky as Spectralite and heat doesn't play quite so big a role.

Everything turned out fine, if a little pale. Next time I'll know better than to stuff so much fiber in the pot. And to slow the heat down Dad lent me one of those propane powered set-ups you use for deep-frying a turkey and it was actually pretty perfect for dyeing on the road. I also claimed one of the old camping backpacks he had in the garage. And a tent. And discovered he has a polishing tumbler thing that might come in handy if I do end up making my own copper toggle clasps for woven cuffs. He caught me eyeballing it and said I could bring the clasps to him if it came to that. Thanks, Dad!

The kids are still asking about when when we'll go back to the cabin. It's my Uncle Milo's (Thanks, Milo!) set up a little ways up Grand Mesa on some property my Dad's parents own. They've had plenty of rain so there were lots of mushrooms and, to the kids' delight, frogs! Not to mention mud. Toby lost his shoes shortly after breakfast. I found a bonus crop of stinging nettles in the woods to toss into the dyepot when we got home. I have scabs on my hand from the itchy blisters they gave me as I was picking them, but (thanks to all that rain?) they hadn't flowered yet and the color looks pretty deep so far.
All weekend I felt supported and encouraged by my family. I usually do on trips back home. We aren't a touchy-feely bunch of people, generally speaking, but actions speak louder sometimes and I feel really lucky to have them all in my life, putting up with my black sheepy ways.

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