You know I think I'm becoming a bit anti-social in my old age. I see friends for a quick chat at the school gates and go off home to do my bits and bobs. Occassional dinner parties, talk to my sisters at least once a week, the odd hour long conversation with prairiemouse on Skype the other day and that's it. I'd forgotten how lovely it is to sit with my girlfriends and have a long chat, moan about our lot, laugh about our expanding girths, talk about our dreams, show them my dishcloths and get their reaction. You know the sort of thing. It's even nicer if they come round to do some dyeing with you or make gnomes - the only trouble being that you do more talking and drinking tea than the craft.
That's exactly what three of us did yesterday afternoon. We'd been trying to find a time to suit all of us and Thursday afternoon it was straight after teaching. Someone brought some lunch, another had made a cake and we eventually got started about 2 o'clock. As you can imagine we only had time to try two dyes and they were padauk (an exotic wood) and brazilwood. The padauk was a bit like madder and made a pale orange/brick colour but the brazilwood was amazing. Here are the results - the padauk is on the right:
The brazilwood was soaked overnight and then simmered. We placed the wool and blanket in the pot and simmered for an hour. The first result was a nice pinky orange. As I didn't have enough stuff to dye I tried an experiment. Some of the books said that brazilwood was ph sensitive like hollyhocks. So I poured a little bit of washing soda in the pot and simmered some more fleece and I put in some indigo dyed fleece and some cherry bark dyed blanket. Brought the pot up to simmer and left the whole lot in the garden for half an hour. Well, the white fleece came out pink (middle of pic), the indigo had a tinge of purple about it and the blankets were a plum colour. I was very pleased with the pink and then I put the whole lot on the Aga to dry. Imagine my surprise to see the pink fleece become purple as it dried:
You can still see tinges of pink but can you see the purple too? Isn't it amazing? How did it come about though? It literally changed colour as it got hot on the Aga. Must go and look on google or get my dye books out.
The blankets came out like this:
The two skeins on the left are brazilwood. The pink one is with washing soda. The blankets on the bottom are all brazilwood too.
I had a lovely afternoon and we got all this done too. We're going to meet again in a fortnight and try cochineal and maybe indigo. But mainly I've decided that I'm going to get together with a friend/friends regularly. Maybe have someone over for lunch or tea. It's nice, a time to catch up with people and their lives and a time to connect - even more important as I'm on my own a lot at the moment.
Meeting up with my physical friends is nice but contact with my blogging friends is really important to me too. It's so nice to open Outlook in the morning or evening and see the e-mails or comments I've received from you all. Nice to 'chat' with you, share stories, give and receive advice. Yes, I do so love blogging ... it's a cliche but it has changed my life.
I'll leave you with a hottie I made this week. The pattern is from Rowan book 28 and the wool is Rowan Kid Classic. Sorry it's perched on the window ledge but the lighting was awful inside:
Must go. I'm having trouble concentrating as Amber has come home and needs my undivided attention! I'm worried that I'll start typing my answers to the questions she's asking...Yes, you can. I've said No already. Yes, it does look nice but not with those tights!
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend and thanking you for being in my life.