Staining my hands. It took some scrubbing to wash it off.
Wait a minute.
Them’s protein fibers there, hon. Okay, I know you’re supposed to have so many pounds of natural dyestuffs per pound of fiber, but this is what I’ve got and I’m curious to see.
Which is how I found myself stirring at the stove, searching my stash, wishing I had just the right hank, and then checking my calendar: the 18th. Third Friday of the month. YES!!! Richard and I very quickly found ourselves (he’s a good sport) driving together over to Purlescence, where they were having their monthly late-night movie night: come bring your knitting and watch the show. I was telling him, “We’re having a yarn date!”
“If this is a yarn date, I get to have radio dates.” Okay, I’ve gone to a few of his ham radio meetings already, and I threatened to (again) bring my knitting to those if he said that. We called it a truce, and pulled up to the store.
I snuck in on tiptoes (while various friends waved silently hi) and whispered to Nathania, “I have a yarn emergency!” Okay, me whispering is a bit funny, because I can whisper but I can’t hear whispering back and I can only guess how I sound because I just plain am totally deaf to it. But I didn’t used to be, so I think I can guess reasonably okay. She was patient with me. They all were. I didn’t need words in answer anyway, just a nod that yes, it was okay to buy yarn on movie night. She laughed. Bottom cubby at the end, I knew, I went right to it.
I knew how much yardage I wanted, I knew what I wanted to make, and I knew I could never make it with anything thicker than laceweight–there just weren’t enough blossoms, and I sure as heck wasn’t going to break off any still in full splendor.
Not that I didn’t think about it. The Lady Jane looked right back at me and declared frantically, You don’t wear orange and you know it! …Okay, you’re fine.
And thus I had spent the afternoon boiling old flowers, checking Google–let’s see: the bulbs are poisonous. For cats. In large quantities. I decided I was leaving it in my dedicated dyepot to be safe, which ruled out various other methods of dyeing. I debated with Richard as we drove home from Purlescence with my prize, some baby alpaca/silk white Fino (they had one skein left! YES!!!) Do I soak the hank first, or let it dye “blotchily pretty?”
“Pretty and blotchy don’t normally go together.”
“Oh, but in a handpaint they can. But if I do that, people will think the blotches are from the amaryllis. But if I don’t–will more of the dye take up if I put it in dry? But whatever hits the water first will soak up most of it, thus the blotches.” He put up with my working it out out loud.
I decided I was going to have to wash the hank first anyway, just to make sure there was no leftover mill oil that might keep the dye off. So that means it would be wet and would take up color evenly. Fine.
We got home, and I fished all the flower parts out of the now-cool water and turned the heat back on under it. I put the Fino in and the yarn kind of put its hand on its hip and went oh, yeah? So what? Oh. Right. I fished it back out with my dye spoon, glugged some vinegar in while holding it aloft, swished it around a good one with my free hand tipping the pot back and forth, and put the hank back in.
Alright! That’s more like it!
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