Sunday, July 30, 2006

Auspicious Beginnings

Thursday our workgroup went out to celebrate July birthdays in Ellicott City:

The restaurant wasn't open yet when we arrived, but there was a used bookstore in the house next door. The owner of Gramp's Attic Books was sitting on the porch and we exchanged hellos and went in. I could have spent the afternoon there - there were shelves budging almost floor to ceiling with books, books spilling over almost every available surface, books with familiar authors and titles calling my name - but time was short. I asked the owner if he had any craft books and in a very small bookcase near the front I found what may have been the only knitting book in the store: "Susan Bates Presents 101 Ways to Improve Your Knitting". It was quite small but in good shape, published in 1949 and the dust jacket was intact, so I bought it and joined my friends at the restaurant.

While we waited for our tables, I had to take another look. I was pleased to find that this book was written by Barbara Abbey.

Today I did some Kool-Aid dyeing.

My first dye experiment was an attempt to salvage a large skein of teal yarn that I'd bought from a local spinner. The ties on the skein had been too tight when it was dyed. When they were removed there were splotches of the yarn's original bright pink. I re-skeined the yarn, tied it loosely, covered it with water and simmered it in a large pot with a bit of vinegar. A half hour later and all was well.

Natural dying came later at a weekend class at The River Farm in New Market, Virginia. We used marigold and bark among other things. If I can find my little sample skeins I'll post them later.

And today was Kool-Aid. Everybody does Kool-Aid dyeing. It's cheap and easy and safe enough to do with the kids. And since I didn't know if I'd like the results, I decided to go with some old not-so-nice roving that's been sitting in the basement for years.

I stuffed three glass jars with roving, added a glug of vinegar to each, sprinkled in the Kool-Aid, and filled the jars up with water. In more less that order.

Here are the jars at noon:

And at 3:00:

This evening I'll bring the jars in and let them cool off overnight. I'm feeling pretty iffy about the blue, but we'll see...

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