One of the things I'll be eternally grateful for are the love and support of my children and husband; they are quite simply the most wonderful people in the world and my life was so empty before I met them/had them. Mothers always feel guilty for one reason or another, but I have to say I think my kids are pretty happy at the moment. It's been a tough time recently for my son - he's apparently 'talented and gifted'- at school but things are starting to look up there. My daughter is completely obsessed with High School Musical (I think I can probably sing every single song in the three films off by heart now), just as I was with Grease at her age. It's lovely sometimes when history repeats itself and lovely to share it with my daughter, through a mother's eyes.
In the madness, I do find times to spin, knit and dye. I've really enjoyed spinning some Bluefaced Leicester and (British) Merino that I got from the wonderful Bluefaced.com , which I then dyed with tea and turmeric (mordanted in potassium alum). It's fantastic how easy it is to dye with tea and the vibrant yellow you get from turmeric is fantastic (it reminds me of daffodils for some reason).
Bluefaced leicester: top dyed with tea, middle natural, bottom dyed with turmeric
Here are some more that I did a few weeks ago...
Another experiment with concentrated cake dye! Poppy Red & Navy Blue. Yarn (absolutely delicious Falkland Wool, purchased from World of Wool) was soaked in warm water & white vinegar for approx 1 hour and then I painted on some of the food dye (I didn't rinse out the vinegar on purpose). Then it got zapped in the microwave until it was good and steamy, and left to cool overnight. The result from only painting a few sections was that it ran and mized together, to make soft pinks, purples & mauves. Such good fun!
And here's one I'm super happy with. It's BFL/Tussah Silk (again from World of Wool), dyed in Poppy Red food dye with some tea bags thrown in half way through (it had gone almost fluorescent orangey-red). This was spun one evening after a long day which is probably why it's not the best spinning I've done of late, but I really do love it. The photo doesn't do it justice. It's such gorgeous soft stuff.
In the post today I got a fantastic package which has prompted me to write this post. It's from Debbie, the Mulberry Dyer:
It's part one of Debbie's dye club. This month: Weld (also known as Dyer's Rocket). I've had the pleasure of dyeing with this stuff before, and my word does it stink! It smells like cabbage, really stinky cabbage. But it dyes the most beautiful yellow you can imagine. I plan to tinker around with the acidity of one of the dyebaths (by adding vinegar) so it will be interesting to see what it turns out like.
One of the things I LOVE about natural dyeing is the time it takes. It had given me such a profound respect for our ancestors. It takes a long time - soaking the yarn, scouring it, mordanting it, soaking the dyestuff, preparing the dyebath, dyeing the yarn, leaving it to cool (always the worst part for me!) and then rinsing and drying. Can you imagine how difficult this was in the olden days?!