Wool Maker Lane

knitting, spinning and life with alpacas

Dyeing with flu

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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.

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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:

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Dyeing attempts

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Albie’s Eyesore

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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.

Solidago Socks

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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.

Author: woolmakerlane

I live in a small cottage in rural Ireland with my family. We care for two lively alpacas and two sedentary cats. I love all things "textile" but particularly knitting aran patterns and spinning my alpaca's wool.

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