Last week at this time I was on a bus, traveling from Hackney to Barking, an area of London I’ve never visited before. Barking is a rather odd little place, about as far east from the center of the city as it is possible to live, and still call yourself a Londoner. I was in Barking to assist my friend, Katie, and about five hundred other committed souls (plus our fifty from Hackney), with a process known as “leafleting.”
Leafleting is an incredibly easy, if somewhat messy job that involves walking through someone else’s neighborhood, and sticking something which they didn’t ask to read through the mail slot of their door. It’s a dirty job but, especially in this case, someone had to do it, and that someone was me.
The leaflets in question were eight page newsprinted papers denouncing, quite rightly, a far right political party known as the British National Party, or BNP. And just who are the BNP? Well you may ask. They’re the party who would like to return Britain to its all-white roots, by kicking out everyone in the country who was not born here. They would like white people to be given first priority in housing, jobs and education. They would very much like to outlaw mixed race marriages. They are, in short, racist nutbars, and I am happy to say that they are a very small minority party here in Britain. Except in Barking, where they actually have a very real chance of gaining control of a council and getting their hands on a £200,000+ annual budget. And that would be bad. Which is why I spent a beautiful Saturday morning in London getting my hands dirty for the cause.
I haven’t forgotten my promise to share the best damned passport photo I’ve ever taken, and full details of where you can go to get one too, if you’re so inclined. I will do that, as soon I’ve scanned the image and can share it with you. Plus the Kinkos version from last time, so you can compare the two. That will have to wait for Monday, however, as I’ve a few fibery things on the go at present and am just itching to get back to them.
Last year I scored a number of cones of Welsh wool singles from the Wool Museum. The folks at the museum are trying to get a yarn spinning operation off the ground there, using all the old machinery and actual Welsh wool. It’s early days yet, but the last time I visited, Keith gave me some cones to bring home and try out. They’ve been sitting for months, and this week I made the time to ply it up as slightly-lighter-than-Aran triples. The stuff was covered in machine oil, and lanolin, and took some serious scouring to get clean. The last batch of newly plied yarn is in the sink, as I type.
It’s a fairly coarse wool, not really soft enough for next to skin wear, but I’ve got about 800 grams of finished yarn, more or less, and it will make a nice top down raglan cardigan someday. Since I didn’t spin this stuff, I only plied it, I’m totally not attached, making it the perfect yarn on which to experiment with a little natural dyeing. I’ve been saving onion skins for over a year, and today’s the day.
The skins are simmering away on the stove, but I don’t have enough of them to dye the entire stash of newly plied wool. However, I did notice today that there are a lot of bracken fiddle heads in my garden, which means there are plenty more to be had in the woods.
Other than leafleting for a good cause, I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning than gearing up for a spate of natural dying. Results to follow. Stay tuned!