First, if you’ve been having trouble downloading some episodes of the podcast, you will be pleased to know that the issues have now been resolved. The problem only affected episodes from a year or so, and earlier, so if you’re up to date with your listening, you probably won’t have noticed anything. My apologies for the inconvenience. It took a few days to figure out that something was actually wrong, (and thanks to the many knitsibs who wrote to tell me of the issue) a day to convince tech support that there was, indeed, something actually wrong, and then about five minutes to fix it. Rob, at Wizzard Media, is responsible for the speedy resolution, and he is my new hero.
Okay. Now for the good stuff.
In Dodie Smith’s first novel, I Capture the Castle, Topaz Mortmain finds some green dye, and spends several days “refreshing” her impoverished family’s clothes. It works. Everything looks new and different, but then the neighbors wonder why everyone in the family is wearing green.
It’s been a little bit like that around here. I’ve been dyeing again. This time it was black walnuts going into the Burco, and a very pleasing range of brown shades coming out. The walnuts were a gift from Felix, back in October. They’ve been soaking in a covered bucket of water on the back porch for most of the winter. As Felix was here this week gathering audio for the new CD, and we needed sounds of the Burco boiling anyway, AND we had sterling weather for dyeing, it seemed a good time to break out the walnut sludge. I rummaged through the stash, found some likely candidates for browning, and we were away.
Usually I am so excited to get going with a project that I forget to take before photos. Just as I was about to dive in, Felix stopped me and took some lovely photos of the yarn before dyeing. Unfortunately I screwed up in a big way this morning, and clicked a button in Picasa without thinking. The program imported all the images I hadn’t selected, and deleted all the ones that I wanted to save. There is no “undo” button for this process. So they’re gone, and you’ll just have to take my word for it that the yarn was natural white before we started. (Other images from this week, cleverly saved by Felix, can be seen here.)
From left to right, two skeins of Great Northern Yarns (70% mink 30% cashmere), was salmon pink, now a rich shade of taupe; two skeins Alpaca With a Twist Fino 100% alpaca laceweight, was natural white, now soft taupe with a slightly greenish cast; one skien of hand triple plied wool from the Wool Museum, the very last skein of natural, now a lovely golden brown; a big ass skein from Meskills Woolworks in Australia, was natural white, I left this in the dyebath longest, now a very rich dark brown. Oh, yes, and sweater I never wore, but couldn’t part with because it’s super fine merino, and I paid just £5 for it, was an insipid shade of rose, and is now a deep red brown that I will actually wear.
And that’s not all! Walnuts are, apparently, a gift that keeps on giving. There was still so much dye left in the bath that I “refreshed” three pairs of linen trousers (two of mine, one of Tonia’s), and a cotton blouse belonging to Felix (I had her permission). The black trousers aren’t that different, but the olive green ones are now a dark khaki.
But wait, there’s STILL MORE! A double sized duvet (100% cotton, from IKEA, white with dark red flowers) and four matching pillowcases are in the dyebath RIGHT NOW and currently coming up to temperature!
It’s official. I have become Topaz Mortmain. Neighbors will soon be wondering why everything drying on the line is the same colour, and when you see me next, I will surely be wearing brown.