Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Strange Brew: A Good Day to Dye

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
2 Witch: Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog (Wm. Shakespeare):

Well, not quite.  That's a cauldron, all right, but there's only one witch (me!).  No snakes in the pot, nor eye of newt or a frog's toe, although this is a kind of frogging, in that I'm overdyeing a knitting project.  The "wool" is angora (insert inappropriate "bunny boiler" joke here, if it strikes you) not bat and the tongue remains firmly planted in Morris's mouth. (He's using it quite vigorously, scolding because his dad is not home and he's not allowed in the kitchen near the dyepots.  This seems terribly unfair to him because his arch-nemesis, Mick, has joined me.) The dye is cochineal; I'm perking up a walnut-dyed cowl, which our weather tells me will soon be needed.

The Witch's Cat, Mickey, is assisting and although he is the World's Most Beautiful Cat-Sorry, Ali and Lex!-he hates to have his picture taken almost as much as I do.  Here he is, stealing the show from the afterbath remnants of a pomegranate skin/cochineal pot. (If anyone loves eating pomegranates and is looking for a use for the skins, I'll be happy to take them.  They dye a screamingly bright yellow with an alum mordant-yes, yellow.  Try it out for yourself.)

The fleece is Gotland lamb's wool; the top/roving is BFL and the yarn is hand spun Merino/silk previously dyed with dried marigold blossoms.

This is a closer view of the marigold/cochineal/pomegranate dyed yarn.  I'm very pleased with both the spinning and the dyeing.  The colour is not accurate; the skein is more brick red than the photo shows, but it's cold outside and I'm not standing out on the deck in freezing weather to take a photograph this morning. The colour is more accurate in the first photograph of the "cauldron:"

While the pot simmers, I'm untangling a skein of yarn attached to another project, which I can't show you because, if it works out, it's a holiday gift.  I created the mess while at my godmother's bedside and it's taking a bit to straighten it again, but undoing the knots bit by bit requires thought and contemplation, something needed this day, and every day, if the truth be told.  There's another writing project about spinning and knitting at hand, a fresh cup of coffee brewing, warmth in my house and in my heart as I think of my loved ones.

(For Delia M., May 28, 1919-October 23, 2013.  Safe journey, my beloved.  You are the kindest, most open-hearted person I know.  It was an honour.)

1 comment:

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