Friday, April 10, 2015

catkins, cat eggs, averting catastrophe

I can see signs of things waking up, even up here at 9000'. The aspens are spreading out their catkins, robins are starting to give the jays hell. We experimented with plant dyes on easter eggs this year. The kids especially loved how bright pink cabbage juice makes for blue and green. I wondered how much better they'd absorb dye if you hollowed them out and soaked them in vinegar or alum first.

Sometimes I take the scenic route when working with dyestuff. A while back my aunt and uncle
obliged my request for a few boxes of pruning leavings from the fruit trees in their orchard. After soaking this pot-full of the fruit wood twigs for a week I set them on the stove to steam one day and added yarn to the pot the next.  After a cold soak over another day or two I put it back on the stove and repeated the steaming. What had been a decent pale yellow deepened into an almost rusty ochre.

 And then I thought about adding iron water. So I did. Looking back now I wish I had left this first batch alone. But the resulting cool medium gray that developed on those middle skeins of silk is a color I've never gotten before. I keep thinking of things I'd like to knit them up as. With the weather warming I keep thinking of camping, fishing in the early morning hours and the perfect hiking hat. Maybe this one, or this?

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