Sunday, May 13, 2007

Dye Day, Blooming Broom, and More Socks

Yesterday was a Guild meeting, followed by a natural dye workshop. It was SO much fun! Being still unable to spin, I only had three ancient, beginner spun skeins that I had dug out of the bottom of a bin. I'm glad I brought them because I now have the makings for a very cute hat! Linda was both hostess and instructor, and she did a great job. Her back yard has a great view of the mountains and a lush lawn to sit on. Lots of folks had lent dye pots, crock pots and burners so there were all kinds of dyes to try. I can't remember them all, but they included cochineal, walnut hulls, moss, brazilwood, madder, onion skins, tulips, and a bunch of others. And after dyeing, we could try using modifiers to shift the color. Those included ammonia, iron, tin and copper. My favorite bit of magic was when I dipped my dull-salmon brazilwood-dyed skein in ammonia and it instantly turned deep purple. Sharon, being more methodical than some of the rest of us, ended up with this fabulous set of colors. I am now enthusiastic to fill up my freezer with all kinds of potential dyestuffs in preperation for the next natural dye day.

Along with the great spring weather has come the flowering of Scotch broom. Uck! Yes, they are beautiful to behold while blooming, but they stink. And since they have planted them all over Reno, including along the Interstate, it is impossible to get away from the thick, cloying stench. The one in my front yard is no exception. I have tried several times to eliminate it, yet it just comes right back up.
I'm afraid to dig too agressively, since its roots are mingled with one of my favorite plants, my Lena's broom. Both are explosions of color right now. I had intended to plant several more Lena's broom this year, but alas, no digging holes until my elbow fully recovers. The white patches on the Lena's blossoms are frost damage.

On the knitting front, I have started a new pair of socks. The lace pattern I had planned to use will have to wait, since the gauge could not be met with the yarn I had. So I am knitting Pembrokeshire Pathways Socks using the yarn Sharon returned to me. This is the first time I have done cables in anything other than a swatch. They are coming along, but the cabling is slow and I think I would like to make a pair of socks using just the eyelet columns. Still, I press on and with each row my elbow gets a little stronger. Tonight I may try spinning a little.


Sharon said...

How ironic that your dye results are Lena's Broom colors, since none of knew what our outcome would be.

Birdsong said...

I am envious of your natural dye results! I am working on putting in a dye garden, now that most of the veggies are in the ground, and have always preferred plants to chemicals; just never had the most predictable results. You have the makings of a great hat.

Beryl said...

Dyer's broom is a good natural dye. I'm wondering if you can use either the Lena's Broom or Scotch broom for dyeing. You might be able to cut back that Scotch Broom to within an inch of it's life every year and use it to dye yarn -- just a thought!