The title of this post says it all. I am, indeed, all over the place. I have managed to get something done on my frighteningly long craft to-do list. I dyed some yarn all by my little self! I am very proud of this. I actually DID something I set out to do; the autistic component of my personality won out over the ADD component for once.
On a recent visit to my dear M-I-L in upstate Washington, I, in my typical BIG IDEA fashion, culled some plant material from her yard. I got a grocery bag of stinging nettle and also a bag of bloom/berry candles from her sumac tree. I realize I could have gotten the nettles at home, but BIG IDEAS cannot be held back, so I went with it.
On the way up, hubby and I stopped in Crescent City because I needed a tiny crochet hook, and Sylvia's Attic was a) open, and b) had them cheap, and I needed it. Needless to say, I bought several in various sizes. I also found and bought a stockpot for $5, expressly to use for dyeing. So now, I had a pot. I had yarn that needed dyeing. Ready to go right? Well, sort of.
We ended up staying in Coupeville longer than planned due to car issues, but that was OK. Hanging with MIL is always a good time! It also gave me a chance to think about dyeing, which is possibly dangerous. I realized that I needed to just go for it and the plants were my excuse. I dutifully stuffed my bags into the overfull trunk of the car and hoped the plants wouldn't rot on the slow drive home. (Yes, I do know that fresher is better, but I embraced my novice ignorance and took the plunge.)
We got home and a meeting with my local Spinning/Weaving guild put me in touch with my dyeing instructor, who told me where to get alum. I bought some plastic bins and buckets from the local hardware store and went for it. It took two weekends due to a lack of pots--soak overnight Friday, mordant Saturday, then dye Sunday. The nettles were old--one small rotted bit--but still OK to use. I got a camel tan not yellow, but it was pretty so it's OK.
Nettle dyed yarns. 30 and 90 minutes. I steeped some overnight, but they only got a little darker and duller.
Today, I am finishing up the sumac. I broke it up, removed the stems, simmered about an hour, and steeped it overnight before using. The skein here was dyed for 45 minutes and has an alum mordant. I have two more skeins soaking, but I doubt they will get much darker. I also bought some ferrous sulfate to treat the yarn with, but I won't do that today.
Sumac dyed yarn
I am mostly feeling perky because I actually DID something I had set out to do. My projects are currently very scattered and disorganized. I can't find pieces to finish at least three knitting projects that I want to work on and that is truly frustrating. The fact that I cleared the craft slate of something is especially rewarding because of the other roadblocks I have run into.
Our trip through Oregon and Washington was also a lot of fun and a much needed vacation. I will post more about it in the next few days, especially since P has done his pictures. Good times!!