… is that you do talk about Dyeing Club. Ceaselessly. Promise I’ll shut up at some point!
We had summer last week – well, four days of it. And so a friend and I seized our chance, packed up dye pots, odd bottles and packets of stuff, skeins of cream yarn, spare wooden spoons, a hot plate, some frozen elderberries, the kitchen sink, and went up to visit another friend, the indie dyer Artis-Anne. She’d not been able to come to our Guild dyeing picnic, so we took it to her instead.
Soon an indigo bath was stinking away in a corner, and various other pots of natural dyes were simmering on any available heat source. We went bonkers space dyeing – dipping one end of a skein in one colour and the other end in another. I cannot tell you what this dye is, because of the second rule of Dyeing Club.
The second rule of Dyeing Club is that you should never, ever make a record of what you’re doing.
It would be far too helpful. It’s also impossible if you’re me because I get too excited. I know what the bath above isn’t – eucalyptus, because that was not good and we threw it away and overdyed the insipid skeins that resulted. We overdyed things a lot and then we ran out of yarn, so Anne retrieved an old cone of commercial yarn and we skeined it off and dyed that too. We dyed our hands, the path and quite a few work surfaces. It’s a good job the dogs kept out of the way, because I feel they’d have dyed up quite well too.
The third rule of Dyeing Club is that you need a dryer where you can hang your dyed wool up for others to see and experience skein envy.
And colour envy.
Remember that I cannot tell you what these are, because of the second rule of Dyeing Club.
I know that onion skin featured, but so did weld, indigo, elderberry, cochineal, madder, a strange old packet of something called ‘natural green’,
logwood, more eucalyptus, and many other things I have forgotten. It’s all a blur. And they all looked lovely and multi-coloured and delicious hanging up:
Except for one area.
The ones on the back strings are mine. I managed to create black. Well, very, very dark brown and a very, very dark purple. And a few other purples. And then a bit more dark purple.
Because the fourth rule of Dyeing Club is that, when dyeing yarn, you really need to send your Inner Goth off into a corner to read a vampire book in peace and quiet.
I got them home, rinsed them off and set them to dry outside, and they didn’t look quite so dark and ominous. Some of the deeper shades washed out considerably, especially the logwood. (I love logwood – it’s not just the colour; it’s also the pirate connection. Really.)
Admittedly they’re in full sun which cheers them up a bit, but they’d still look good drooping around churchyards in Whitby at three in the morning, and I can feel a shawl coming on. Perhaps not. Oh dear, how these things do come back to – appropriately – haunt you!
Still, now they’re fully dry and wound into balls, they’re not so oppressive. Possibly even veering towards pink (agh), which was not what I intended – even if it is a sort of greyish, faded pink.
Shh – I rather like it. But maybe not in a shawl; that would be too much.
And I did put some things in the indigo bath, and they’re not purple. Or pink, thank goodness.
Admittedly there’s an almost black in there, but there’s plenty of blue too – perhaps they could go into a shawl. It would be interesting trying to do something with the commercial 4 ply and also incorporate the small amount of handspun. I’ll have to come up with something soon, because
…the fifth rule of Dyeing Club is that you get together and do it again.
And next time, I’ll remember that fourth rule, and send the Inner Goth away for a holiday. Then, who knows, I may even end up with turquoise, yellow, orange, green, red…