Friday, June 05, 2009

A Natural, Zesty Enterprise

Many dandelions were gathered yesterday - about 1/2 lb of flowers. I boiled them for about 1/2 hour then simmered for another 1/2 hour. The smell was not for those with allergies - just a word of warning. I strained out the flowers and added about 20 pennies to the pot. I had heard that the copper in pennies could serve as a mordant if you just drop them in the dye pot, so I took my chances. Then, a quick scan of our cupboards revealed some alum, so I put in about 2 TB, maybe a little more than that. It was all a bit hit or miss. While I admire those who can take on their dyeing with a scientific attention to detail, for me it is like drawing a straight line. I just can't do it, even when it is what I set out to do.

Anyhoo, I simmered 1/2 lb of BFL fleece and some mohair locks for about 1/2 hour, then let the pot cool off the stove. Voila! (The colour is actually much more intensely yellow than this photograph indicates - for some reason yellow is so difficult to photograph accurately).



The colour is especially welcome because all my dyed fleece is still in transit and I have had only white, morrit and black to work with as I prepare some yarns for the first ever Farmer's Market in Corner Brook this Saturday. The West Coast Craft Collective, as we are unofficially called, will have a table of wares. Islandsweet will be there, as will Knix Hand Knits, along with some others as well. Stop by any time from 10 am to 2 p.m. and say hello!

But back to the limited palette....it did inspire a very late entry to the etsyFAST team's May Challenge (is this a weekday?). The challenge was to make something based on a movie. One of my all-time, #1 favourite movies is The Big Lebowski. Pure genius, every minute of it. I made a yarn based on the Dude's sweater. If you are not familiar with the movie, I urge you to see it, but do not let a first viewing put you off. It often takes about three times to really understand the many layers of subtle nuance. My brother-in-law, who is completing his Ph.D. dissertation in education as we speak, has compared it to Shakespeare with a straight face.

What in God's holy name am I blathering about? Well, I'll tell you what I am blathering about...man...sir...





I also made a super twisty yarn using a Border Leicester/Alpaca blend. Both are in my etsy shop, or stop by the Farmer's Market on Saturday.



This is a yarn that is made from two bobbins of singles that Lucy spun and never did anything with. After making a couple skeins of my limited palette, I was jonesing for some colour (where my kool aid at?) and I found these two bobbins. Desperate, I asked Lucy if I could ply them together, come what may. She agreed, although I am not sure if she is selling this skein or not. It was actually very inspiring to take more chances with colour - the random plying experience worked out so beautifully.


I happily await my packages of dyed wool. Please come soon!

4 comments:

angella said...

ah, the dude!
or duder, or the duderino...

*grin*

i, too, just tried dandilions this week- got a lovely greenish gold from them, and the smell reminded me of asparagus in a way- very intense and, well, green.

love your B.L. yarn. as snuggly as the dude himself. it's in my top 3 flicks, my fave cohen movie of all time!

Patti Blaine said...

What a frenzy! :) And I agree with David! great film. Must see again and again.

xo

dorina said...

welcome back to newfoundland robyn! your dyeing activity sounds so great. it's what i need to get cracking at. janet got me a dye pot and i'm supposed to be dyeing a tunic . . sometime in the next few weeks. (i need to make the tunic first--yeah i've been puttin' that off for awhile.) i think we're going to try onion skins and indigo . . we missed you in prospect park may 30th, but i'm glad you're happily ensconced in gillams!

Brenda Stratton said...

Great post Robyn. Look forward to seeing you again now that you are safely back on the Rock. Brenda