Nanny's choiceLast year I had knit myself a pair of plain socks out of some light blue Koigu. I loved them... and then, they dropped off the radar. As it turns out, mom had done some laundry while visiting me last fall, and had accidentally shrunk my socks. Shrank them so much, in fact, that they wouldn't have fit a little kid (and I have BIG feet). She felt so badly that she just didn't mention it, until it leaked out tonight! I had a good laugh... moral of the story being that Koigu does not do well in the dryer!
And now for a final bit from the farm...
Chris is really into natural dyes. She has a dye "kitchen" in the back yard, where she holds workshops and dyes her yarns. One afternoon, she was running a Shibori workshop for a local weaving and knitting guild. Shibori is basically an ancient Japanese form of tie-dying, in which fabrics are stitched, tied, and folded to create a resist, and then dyed with indigo. Indigo is the only naturally occurring blue dye, and has an interesting mechanism of action. Indigo "vats" have to be reduced using something like uric acid. When an item is dipped in the vat and then removed, the dye becomes oxidized, and the molecules form a mechanical bond with the fabric. The fabric comes out looking lime green, and then transforms into a deep blue over then next minute or so. I tried to take a video of this happening while remaining unobtrusive...
There is also a lot of interesting folklore surrounding dye vats. In some areas, fertile women were thought to be able to 'spoil' the vat, so only women past childbearing age were allowed to tend to it. Anyhow, the workshop was fun, and I got a neat wall hanging out of it. Honestly, however, I don't really have the patience or interest to get into the dyeing end of things... but it was educational nonetheless. We dyed some merino roving with the leftover vat, and I was able to spin 100g.
Untying the goodies
Finished silk scarves and fat quarters
Wetting the roving before dyeing
Fresh out of the vat
Conditioned roving, waiting to be spun!
Finished indigo skein