Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lies and Ties

When you were a kid, did you ever accidentally break or lose something of your parents, grandparents, or friends, only to not mention it in the hope that they wouldn't notice it was missing? Tonight the truth came out, and I had a good laugh over it (maybe because today was the 16th straight day of rain we've had, and I'm starting to feel stir crazy). My grandparents were visiting, and Nanny was gushing over how she adores the little ankle socks I knit her a while back. I hauled out my sock yarn stash (it is a bit of a beast) so that Nanny could pick out some yarn for a future pair of socks. Grampy was examining the yarn, and inquiring about washing directions. Mom was explaining how some yarns can go in the washer/dryer while others can't.... and then looked guiltily at me.

Nanny's choice

Last 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...

Untying the goodies

Finished silk scarves and fat quarters

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.

Wetting the roving before dyeing

Fresh out of the vat

Conditioned roving, waiting to be spun!

Finished indigo skein

I have a FO and a new project to show... maybe tomorrow!


Don said...

Hi Jess,

Glad to hear that your mother came clean on your socks. She'll be able to sleep much better nights now that she has that off her mind. Thanks for the education on yarn and stuff.


Yarndude said...

Haha, that's funny and terrible that your mother would do that. I agree with you about not wanting to get into dying, but I do love the indigo color and think the process itself is really interesting.

Heather said...

Ack. I feel so relieved that the truth is out!
may I point out that I didn't HAVE to confess? I did it of my own free will.
Do I get forgivemness points because the yarn had been a gift from me? (smiles fetchingly)

Marie said...

Tch. Sneaky, sneaky, Heather! :) Seriously, it would be so much easier to confess to shrinking a pair of purchased socks, wouldn't it?