Visit to the Lake District
All has been quiet on the blog front recently. I had the joy of attending a beautiful wedding in the Lake District in Cumbria in the north of England. What a gorgeous place. I’d never been there before and I’m so grateful that I went. Here’s a picture of sunset on Lake Windemere.
The wedding was in a large country house in Ambleside which originally housed relatives of Beatrix Potter (who was also a local resident). In one of the rooms on the lower floor there was a display from a local knitting group:
I arrived back from the UK with flu so all went quiet for a while. I found a rosehip bush in the local town which was bursting with ripe fruit so I had no choice but to take out my carrier bag and start picking.
I soaked and mashed the rosehips. Wow there were so many seeds within them I couldn’t believe it. I mordanted ( is that a word?) the wool with alum and I made the mistake of dunking the wool straight into the seedy pithy mixture and simmered it slowly for a couple of hours. I then left it overnight for the beautiful orangey dye to adhere to the wool but alas the dream of tangerine coloured wool was short lived. As I took the wool from the mixture I also brought out lots of orange flesh and tonnes of seeds. I had no choice but to hang the wool from a tree to hose it down and as the water removed the flesh and seeds it also took the colour.
I can’t pretend that I wasn’t disappointed with the results. It is a lot of effort to go to for no outcome but I really like a word that comes up frequently when reading about dyeing and that is ‘experiment.’ It really has to be a ‘try it and see affair.’ Undeterred, this weekend I decided to go into the wood to pull up an armload of ferns as I hoped that I could be sure of getting some green out of them but a few blackberries caught my eye…and then a few more ..and then..Well I just had to get that carrier bag out again and before long I came home with a pound (lb) of fruit.
I quickly mashed the berries and soaked them in water on a low heat to release the colour and left the mixture over night. This morning I strained the mixture and put the solid parts of the berries into a small bag made from an old net curtain. Returning the liquid and the bag to the saucepan I added the wool and put it on a very low flame to simmer for an hour and a half. I will leave it overnight. So far I like what I see….but I am not getting too excited…yet.
Poor lovely Albie has a sore eye. I went to feed him yesterday and I noticed that his eye was weeping and that it had some white gungey puss like substance within it. I called the vet immediately and I picked up some opticlox from the surgery. Albie had to be held still while I lowered his eye lid and squirted more gunge into it. Unusually he didn’t protest at all. I think that he knows that we’re trying to help him. We’ll do this daily until the infection goes.
I finally finished my Solidago socks from a design by Mary Jane Mucklestone. I must say these have taken me ages as I kept putting them down to focus on other things but the joy of seeing them complete and on my feet is fantastic. This is a pattern that I am definitely going to keep handy and try with another colour scheme.