Copper Continued

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I spent some more time last night farting around with copper colors. I love that green on the left. I really love the copper that’s second on the right. In general, I wish I were getting slightly better coverage. The pattern I want to make calls for twenty skeins of yarn and I’d like to feel confident in my ability to dye a whole skein the colors I want.

I also tried to put my first poppy in, but I fucked it up somehow. I’m going to try again when I’m feeling more awake.

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Still, fuck up and all, it looks really good! I really love how beautiful this afghan is.

I think the work shit is finally hitting the fan. I mean, I have felt like we’ve been through the fan and covered in shit for some time, but I think now some things are going to start coming to ends and I’m afraid it will be some good things as well as some bad.

I’m just so stressed out and tired of being stressed. I think I’m sick in part because I’ve just been in a heightened state of what-the-fuck-is-going-on-and-what-can-I-do-to-mitigate-it? for a year.

Also, I broke my yarn swift. I think it can be fixed, if I can find the part that went flying, but damn.

And Aretha Franklin died. I am incandescent with rage about it. Not that she’s dead. Death comes for us all. But that she was such a genius and such a great talent and she was that while being fucked with, deeply fucked with, her whole damn life.

And yet, even in death, it comes down to how she looked. Like, here she is, one of the best artists the 20th century produced, and the Washington Post gives that much space to the fact that she got fat. But it can’t even talk squarely about the abuse she endured and survived.

I “love” how much work is being done by the part where she had two children by the time she was 17. Yes, and by that time, one of those children was five years old. Someone was doing real bad shit to Aretha.

But she got fat, so you know. Priorities.

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Copper

I really want to make a copper afghan. But I can’t find the yarn I want for it–something that will look like an old penny. But last night, I decided to experiment to see if I could get something I liked with just the tools I have in my house–in this case, vinegar and food coloring.

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I hand-painted the wool, but had way, way too much liquid. Oh, well, live and learn. Those little blue and green specks looked awesome. None of them survived.

Here’s what I ended up with:

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So, what I love about this is that the brown part has the exact right weirdness of pink in it that copper has. I also like that I got some really good tonal variation, which makes the yarn look shiny. I might wish it were a hair darker. And I think my patina is good, but also, might have wanted it a hair darker. Also, maybe greener.

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But I keep going in to stare at it. I really like it.

Slow

I’m ready to have my brain back. But it seems slow in coming. The join for this afghan is a lot simpler than I thought it was (at least so far; let’s not yet consider the poppies), but it looks really great. I’m just really pleased with how this is going, even if it’s going there very slowly.

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I can’t remember if I said where this came from, but it’s a Janie Crow pattern. I would say it’s about a medium on the difficulty scale. It’s not incredibly difficult, but you wouldn’t want it to be your first afghan, or even your 10th, I don’t think. On the other hand, if you’re a beginner, but you already have your decreases down, I guess, go for it.

Magic

Nothing like being sick to put you in a state where you don’t feel like leaving the couch, but you also can’t sleep. I have all my motifs for this afghan done and even all of the millions of tails tucked.

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The colors of this afghan are just so beautiful I can’t stand it.

Now I’m working on the joining round, which is a kind of lacy blue thingy. I have the first row done. I think it went all right. I’m more curious about how easily, or not, the motifs attach on two sides, instead of just on one. And I am curious/terrified about how the poppies go in.

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But so far, so good.

It’s Not Allergies

It’s a cold. Not the worst cold I’ve ever had, but not a cold that seems to have any interest in moving along. I had three goals for today–walk the dog, water the plants, do the dishes. I have gotten the dog walked, on a half-assed walk that at least let him poop.

We’ll see about the other two things.

I did finish my whole poppies and have started work on the half-poppies.

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Lavender

I use Tom’s, which is supposed to be a “natural” deodorant, whatever that means. Usually I use the unscented, because I tend to be allergic to scents in things. But the last time I was at the store, they were out of unscented, so I grabbed the lavender scented stuff. Friday, I used it for the first–and only–time.

I had an allergy attack the likes of which I might have mistaken for a summer cold except for, other than being stuffed up and sneezy, I feel fine. Plus, I felt noticeably better after showering and scrubbing my pits.

So, hot damn, I poisoned myself. That was dumb.

And I’ve finished all my sunflowers. I don’t know if I should put them together and then start on the poppies or do the poppies and put everything together at once.

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Dye, Dye again

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I love dyeing so much it’s silly. It just makes me happy and I like to see how stuff turns out. Here’s some of the pokeweed. Just plain. No modifications.

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And this is some of the pokeweed variegated with yellow food coloring. Look at the cool orange it made! And all my awesome speckles. I was worried because you need heat to set food coloring and I knew pokeweed will turn brown if you get it too hot, but everything worked fine.

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The rest of the pokeweed yarn is sitting in a bath with the rest of the black beans. You’re not supposed to let the yarn touch the beans, because something in the beans will turn the yarn gray where it touches, but I’m trying to make a multicolored yarn. What the fuck do I care if there’s some gray in there? I don’t know how long I’ll let this sit, but it’s sitting for now.

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Then I took a good hard look at my cabbage and blueberry and blackberry dyed yarns and decided to give them a little help looking okay once the natural dye starts to fade.

I bought myself a yarn swift and a ball roller and I’m a little in love, I must tell you. I don’t think I’m in desperate enough need of a knitty-noddy to buy myself one, but I am putting it in my letter to Santa.

Pats

One of my favorite things about this dog is how he seems wholly to believe that, at any moment, I might need to pat his head. Like, I throw my hand over the side of the bed in my sleep and I wake up to the dog putting his head against it.

Today, on our walk, he got tangled in his leash and I was trying to get him untangled, which was thwarted by him turning so that I could get in some head pats, you know, if I needed to.

I had a dream last night that I heard some rustling coming from near the dog food and I went to investigate and discovered that “they” had transplanted Sonnyboy’s brain into a dachshund and I was so happy because now he was a size I could manage. So, we were happy together and we went for walks and one day he got tangled up in his leash and I went to untangle him and he was helpful and cooperative and not a wiggly silly mess.

And I realized that I had been scammed. Of course they couldn’t put Sonnyboy’s brain in another dog. Someone had just stolen my dog and given me this better dog, who I suddenly didn’t like as well.

In other news, I bought myself a ball winder and I spent way too much of last evening winding yarn into balls just to see. It is pretty awesome.

Surprise!

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Even through I’m following a pattern and using a kit, meaning, if I do things right, there’s no way to not end up with something that looks like the thing the pattern is supposed to produce, I was still surprised to see how gorgeous the finished motif is.

A thing I’d like to get better at is understanding color theory better. Like, why does that teal bring the whole thing together. So, obviously, blue and yellow are complimentary colors, so they should look particularly nice together. And I think there’s something about the vibrancy of the teal and the orange and the red and the purple that makes it all look like it belongs. And maybe the green of the teal makes it seem like it goes with the leaves?

But I really only feel like I can put that together in retrospect. I don’t know how to know that ahead of time and use it in my planning.

Also, I pulled the yarn out of the pokeweed bath. So far, so good. But I put the blueberry and blackberry yarn next to it for contrast, and look how much color those have already lost.

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Makes me wonder how that cabbage is doing. Some of this may be destined for redyeing sooner rather than later.

How the Pokeweed Dyeing is Going

Let me be clear, for those of you wondering if you can attempt this at home (me, too, at this point), very little of this color is coming from the berries. As you can see, I have quite a few green berries in there. But once some berries on the cluster turn black, there is enough red in the stem of that cluster to get color out of.

I know many dyers use only berries, but in Me vs. The Birds for who is going to get the ripe pokeberries, it’s not me.

So, I had been collecting poke parts and putting them in vinegar and keeping it in the fridge. Then I mordanted my wool in eight parts water to one part vinegar (I ended up using 12 cups of water and a cup and a half of vinegar. Plus a teaspoon of alum. I heated that all up and simmered it for an hour and then let it sit until it was room temperature. I also brought the pokeweek vinegar bath out of the fridge and let it sit until it was room temperature. Then I put the yarn in the bath and used the water/vinegar mix to top it off.

Last night I moved stuff around so the plant matter was on top and the yarn was on bottom. I have also been adding pokeberry clusters as they ripen on my weed.

I don’t know how long I’m going to let it sit for. I’ll admit that part of it is just based on smell. I don’t want another situation where I have a yarn so stinky I don’t know how I’ll use it. So, basically, I’m going to let this go until it starts to smell bad or until it gets a shade darker than I think is really beautiful.

I am very, very nervous that it will all wash out. Like, what is setting it, if not heat? But the black beans didn’t wash out. That’s a lovely blue. So, cold dyeing can be done. But, man, if this works, it’s magic.

If it works, I’m going to be really tempted to redye my blueberry and blackberry yarn using this method.

I Know Politics Bore You, But I Feel Like a Hypocrite…

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I met Gladys Girgenti yesterday.

And I really liked her.

I don’t know what to make of that, but it seems like an important component of trying to understand why these bombings weren’t solved. I’ve never been to a Klan rally. I don’t, as far as I know, know any people who deliberately set out to hurt or scare others. And I’ve never talked to a convicted terrorist before.

She was funny and charming. She had big round eyes that made her either seem perpetually surprised or perpetually delighted. She lived in a big old assisted care facility over in Madison. The place was spotlessly clean, but dark and kind of industrial seeming. The hallway to her apartment was dark and there were pipes overhead. It smelled like people used to smoke there a lot, but hadn’t in a long time.

Her apartment was small and cheery. She had a large window she sat beside and sunlight flooded the place. She had an amazing crocheted afghan draped over her loveseat. She had a cat, who seemed about a third longer than a cat normally should.

Her son told me the cat would bite, but once he got some head pats and sniffed my bag, he settled in on the cat tree and paid us no mind. Once her son seemed to ascertain that I was harmless, he went upstairs to his apartment.

And there I was, alone with one of two known racist bombers to come out of Nashville.

She was very matter-of-fact about things. She launched right in to telling me about Klan rallies and who she knew and how she had met them—J.B. Stoner, who she met through Ed Fields, Robert Shelton, David Duke. Folks I had only read about in books or, in Duke’s case, seen on TV, and they were her friends and she spoke about them with the fondness you have for friends.

She didn’t use any racial slurs or launch into any lectures about the evils of the Jewish people. And, honestly, I didn’t ask her about her beliefs. I wanted to keep my focus on getting my questions answered.

But it’s easy to see how, as a white bystander, you could seduce yourself into believing that a white supremacist like Girgenti isn’t “that bad.” Yes, she was talking about the Klan and talking about people who did really terrible stuff, but she was talking about it in the matter of fact way you might talk about your Sunday School class or the Rotary club. The signals that tell you that this is dangerous shit aren’t present or they’re muted.

So, as I was sitting there, listening to this funny, charming woman tell these stories that were sometimes hilarious, sometimes sad, I could feel something happening to me, mentally. It’s not even been twenty-four hours yet and it sometimes takes me a while to figure out how to understand the things I experience. But I came into that apartment knowing some really terrible things about Girgenti and having heard credible rumors of worse. And I had been warned not to underestimate her, that she was very smart.

In other words, I was as prepared as I could be.

And I still felt this overwhelming urge to just go along with what she was saying. Not just for the sake of the interview—that I could understand and not fret over—but for the sake of our rapport, for the psychological reward of having this woman I found funny and charming finding me funny and charming.

That scared, and scares the shit out of me.

Listening to her stories, it’s very easy to see that the FBI took the absolute wrong approach to her, over and over. It seems like they thought the button to push with her was her family, which, after talking to her, I agree that her family is very important to her. But threatening them never caused Girgenti to break and admit to crimes. It just strengthened her resolve to not cooperate.

Not that I got much farther. She wasn’t in town for my bombings. She didn’t want to tell me anything she, herself, didn’t know as a fact. So, no gossip on who it might have been. But I definitely and firmly got the impression that there was gossip she had heard. I just didn’t have the skills as an interviewer to overcome her reluctance to gossip with me.

But this was my first time interviewing a person with known ties to a terrorist network. Presumably the FBI does that shit all the time.

I had told a handful of people where I was going and that they should call the police if I didn’t get back in touch with them by dinner. I was done long before dinner. I did my best to make sure I wasn’t followed home. I felt stupid for worrying about it.

I couldn’t sleep, though. I found excuses not to go to bed and then when I realized I was just sitting on the couch staring at nothing, I forced myself to go to bed. And then I laid there, in the dark, in the quiet, afraid I would hear someone in the house with me. I had this thought that I should not have met her, that I should not have let her know what I look like, or given her my phone number. That, obviously, anyone with dangerous friends could still be dangerous.

But the thing that kept me up was that I wasn’t having these thoughts until almost eight hours after I’d interviewed her.

The thing I’m trying, but struggling to put into words is how far down the path I was before my gut instinct to be afraid kicked in. I had already done the interview. I was already home. I had already assured everyone I had jokingly asked to avenge me if I was murdered that I was fine. While I was with her, I wanted her to like me.

And I had years of research about her and her friends in my head.

There’s something psychological going on here that seems important, if we want to truly understand how we’re in this situation. Something about how your brain will push you to find connections and common ground with people, to find ways and reasons for you to like each other and see each other as being on the same side, even temporarily.

I keep thinking about that lyric from They Might be Giants, “Can’t shake the Devil’s hand and say you’re only kidding.” You become like the people you like. You can’t have a racist friend and not be, at some level, okay with her racism.

And yet, if that person is charming and funny, smart and insightful, isn’t it so very tempting to overlook her flaws?

No, no. More than tempting. I would not have been tempted to overlook Gladys Girgenti’s flaws.

This is something deeper and more fundamental to how white supremacy works, I think. Something so deeply ingrained in me, so deeply trained, let me like her and suppressed the warning signals I should have been getting. Obviously was getting, if my terror that night was any indication.

I came as prepared as I could be. I was raised to try very hard not be a racist asshole by people who have tried very hard their whole lives to not be racist assholes, and I still had that psychological reaction to her. And I didn’t even recognize that’s what was happening until way later.

That’s deeply troubling to me. But it also feels to me crucial for understanding why these bombings were never solved. I think there’s a very good chance that the white people in a position to investigate these bombings had the same bad training or psychological shortcoming or whatever this is as me.

I think a crucial component of why these bombings were never solved is that the people who could have solved them were not seeing them for the huge red flags that they were.  And I have to allow that one of the reasons I haven’t solved them is that I also am not picking up on obvious cues and am, instead, reacting in ways that work to thwart my end goals.

Friday

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The second I finished my first leaf, I could hear clearly in my head the way that sunflowers rustle in the wind or when you walk by them. Funny how memory works.

Sunflower Humor

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The round I’m working on now on the sunflowers makes the sunflowers, when in a pile, look like something you’d get at Taco Bell–nine layers of crunchy shell and eight layers of lettuce.

I ordered a bunch of yarn yesterday because I decided that Kool-aid dyeing with my niece would be the best time. So, when she’s up for Labor Day, we’re going to do it. She doesn’t know that yet, but I am so excited!

Files Trials

Long story short, I just have to wait for the Looby file. At least Rep. Cooper got them to admit it exists. And I have complete faith in the National Archives eventually getting it to me.

I’m just frustrated that this means pushing the book back.

But just as the archive gods take away, so do they giveth. The National Archives sent me the J.B. Stoner file from 1958 that had been mixed in with later stuff. As I suspected, it mostly pertained to his bombing of Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth’s church down in Birmingham.

But holy shit.

My money is still on the Looby file revealing either that the FBI had an informant in the car (and that’s why they weren’t very forthcoming with the information that it still existed) or that they knew about the plot ahead of time and didn’t do anything to stop it.

But I am moving a few coins to the idea that it could have been a Birmingham police informant in the car, based on this Stoner file.

Sunflowers

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I’m also working on this beautiful sunflower afghan from the designer, Janie Crow. The flower part (except for the leaves) is pretty straight forward, but it has this lacy join I am so excited and nervous to try.

I also think I just about have my pattern figured out for the hand-dyed yarn, so now I’m just waiting on the pokeberries to ripen and walnut season to arrive.

After doing a bunch of research online, it seems like the thing about pokeberries is that, if you heat them up too hot in the dyeing process, you get brown, not pink or purple or red.

And, also, the trick seems to be to use just a fuck-ton of vinegar.

So, my plan is to harvest the berries and stems as they ripen (there’s color in the whole thing) and stick them in vinegar to start extracting color. Since we’re early in pokeberry season, I just have enough to fill a quart jar, but I bought a gallon jug this weekend to be ready. Once the color is exhausted from the plant material (i.e. when the stems turn white), I’m going to strain it out and put the yarn and the vinegar all back in the gallon jug. And let that sit… I haven’t decided where. Maybe in the fridge, maybe just on the counter.

In other words, just do a cold dye in an incredibly acid bath.

If it works, I’m just going to make this my go-to berry dyeing trick.

More Colors

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Here’s everything I have so far that’s dry.

And here’s everything I did yesterday, which is still somewhat damp. That leaves the pokeweed when it’s ripe and all the walnut, when it’s in season.

My fight with the FBI, such as it is, has turned incredibly stupid and aggravating. Last year, when I asked them for the Looby bombing file, they told me it had been destroyed in ’96. Period. End of discussion.

That always nagged at me, but what could I do about it? I asked around over time trying to find anyone who might have gotten a copy of the file before ’96 or trying to find someone who could help me understand why the FBI would destroy their file on the assassination attempt of a sitting US politician.

Long story short, I finally talked to a retired US attorney about it, who simply did not believe that the files would have been destroyed. I asked for my U.S. Rep’s help.

Truncating a lot, the FBI recently sent me another letter saying files had been destroyed in ’76, but some had made it over to the National Archives.

And leaving even more out, for the sake of getting to my point of anger, the plan is for the book to come out in April of 2020. The wait time for getting a file from the National Archives that needs to be vetted for classified information is about twenty-four months.

So, if the FBI had told me there was a file at the National Archives last spring/summer when I asked them for what they had, I could have requested it and already been a year into my wait time. I would have had it by next year and had enough time to incorporate it into my book.

But by dicking me around, they’ve basically either ensured I won’t have the file in time for my book or that I’ll have to push back the pub date. Both of which suck.

I’m still hoping there may be a solution. (So fingers crossed!)

But it really pisses me off.

And the worst part is that I can’t even say that it’s some deliberate effort to sabotage my story. I truly doubt, before my Rep got involved, that my name or my project had even registered at the FBI.

They just dicked me over so fucking hard as a matter of course, as an impersonal non-deliberate side effect of how they work.

Colors

I opened the solar dyeing jars. That was unpleasant. You know what happens when you put a bunch of plant matter in water and then heat it for days? The same shit that happens when you stick a bunch of plant matter and water in an elephant and let it work its way through the system: a smell from the outskirts of hell.

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These guys live in the garage until I’ve decided they don’t smell too bad to include. The idea that I might have to overdye them with Kool-aid just to make them smell okay is cracking me up.

Anyway, in my neighborhood, it seems the easiest color to make is yellow. I keep making it almost by accident. And it got me thinking about the outfits people wore before commercial dyes, what folks’ clothes would have looked like. And I have to imagine, for the people who had to make most, if not all, their own clothes, there was probably a lot of yellow.

And it got me thinking about the colors that have magical properties. There’s an old African-American hoodoo belief that to sleep under a blue blanket will bring prophetic dreams. And to get a blue color that stays? The person who can get that for you has to seem like magic, that blanket or quilt has to seem like magic. Blue is hard to get and hard to keep, until you have indigo.

Red, black, and white are also tricky colors to get (and to keep) with plant materials available to most people.  Yes, madder, but look at how much skill it takes to get red out of madder if you have to do it yourself. Black is… I don’t even know. I think you could dye a lot of things for a long time to get a dark, dark, dark brown that might pass for black, but pure black naturally would be hard. And white, a clean white, requires a lot of processing as well. So, it’s no wonder you find so many charms that call for thread or yarn in those colors.

If magic is about gathering energy and expending it in directions it doesn’t normally take (think of the sailors who kept winds they needed tied in knots in yarn they kept in their pockets), then red, black, and white have a lot of energy put into them.

But I live in America, so I also can’t wander around with the dog thinking about color without thinking about race and I got to thinking about how much of a fear of the “secret” black person there has been in American popular culture. And smarter people than me have written about how “black” is seen as corrupting and spoiling.

Corruption and spoilage are both powers. And black, in color, is hard to get.

Yellow is common and easy to make.

And I feel like there’s a revelation about a facet of American racism right at the tips of my fingers that I can’t quite articulate yet.

But it’s commonly accepted that words have meanings and associations that color (ha) how we see the things those words are describing, meanings and associations pulled in from other uses of those words. So, saying that a bad person is blackhearted or has a black soul or has a dark morality or that these are dark times and then saying that person is black or has dark skin can lead us to associate that person’s skin color with all the ways we think of black as meaning bad.

So, I wonder how much to an 18th or 19th century white American, black would have also resonated as powerful (much to the eternal tragedy of black people) and yellow as common and easy to get. And I wonder how that shaped the expressions and their own understanding of their racism?

Also, speaking of black, look what black beans gave me!

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Who Am I?

I’ve just kind of been in a weird daze since Monday. I don’t regret quitting. But I do feel so sad about it. Partially because I wonder how many people will find me interesting without it.

Which also pisses me off at myself.

But it’s just been a part of my identity for so long that it’s hard to imagine what my life looks like without it.

And I know it’s early yet, but I want to acknowledge that it’s hard, and that I am not sure what my value to others is, if I don’t yell and make people hear me.

One Less Muddy Path to March

I quit the Scene today. There was a lot of weird stuff going on, but then there was some bullshit, and, well, either I mean the things I say or I don’t. And if I mean the things I say, then I don’t work for a guy I think is a dumbass lacking in good judgement.

I haven’t really processed it yet. I don’t know what it means for me. I’m sad but also relieved. But a lot sad.

I love the people at the Scene and I have so much respect for the hard work they do. And I’m going to miss the fuck out of being their peer.

My Delighted and Confused WTF?!

Okay, so yesterday there was red cabbage at Kroger. I bought a head for dyeing. I read up on how non-colorfast it is. I fretted some. But I’d already bought it, so… I mean, this is a long-term project. If the colors start to do something funky before my dyeing is done, I’ll just redye.

I split the dye bath into three and made one acidic, left one neutral, and made one basic.

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There they are. The pink is the acid, the purple the neutral, the bluish-gray is the base. That makes sense to me.

But, as I picked them up out of the water, they began to turn colors. The blue became a weird mint green. The purple became a Band-aid pink. The pink became… and I’m not even shitting you… yellow.

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Note, this photo makes the Band-aid color look almost like a pretty pink. It was not in real life. I ended up throwing it in what was left of the basic bath to turn it greenish.

Why did this happen?! Could it be something in the acrylic yarn I used to tie the skeins? Something having to do with the pots? I washed them, but the yellow was in the pot I used for tumeric.

Also, I am a mix of delighted and chagrined that I am some kind of “dyeing things yellow” savant.

I’m going to have to pick a pattern that works with these colors and also takes into account that many of them will fade. Or possibly change color over time. It needs to look good with these colors and look good with the antique versions of these colors.

Yellows

Y’all, I had a revelation yesterday. I hate crocheting figures. It’s hard and I hold my hook wrong to make it easier. I hate that, by the time you realize something isn’t quite where you want it, it’s too late, because you’ve sewn it down. And, if you don’t like it in the end, you can’t fix it. You just have to make another one. But I didn’t like making the first one! Now I’m suckered in to doing it twice?!

Anyway, this is the last figure I’m going to be making for a while.

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Sorry about your boobs, Venus, but I suck at figures.

In happier news, I spent the day dyeing (and finishing up the afghan for my cousin and making that thing and doing laundry). Queen Anne’s Lace smells amazing at every step of the dyeing process. It made my house smell amazing. Why that’s not the go-to for potpourri, I don’t understand. I followed up with turmeric, which smelled fine, but not as surprisingly wonderful as Queen Anne’s Lace.

Here are my four yellows–fruit tea, Queen Anne’s Lace, turmeric over Queen Anne’s Lace, and plain turmeric:

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Ha, I love how the camera can pick up the slight variations in tone between the two turmeric bundles, but has made the two lighter yellows just look like beiges. The one on the far left is actually a light gold. And the Queen Anne’s Lace is a light greenish yellow.

I don’t know if I could have gotten it darker with more plant matter (though I didn’t really have room for any more in my pot) or if I had plenty of dye, that was just the color it was. That’s the thing about natural dyes–there are a lot of variables you don’t have any control over.

On the other hand, I really love the idea that I can point to that yarn and say, this is the color I could get on this day, with these plants grown in this spot.

I want to make something unique to this spot at this time. So, that’s what these colors are.

For Solar Dyeing, You Need Sun. Just Saying, Mother Nature

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Yesterday, I rehomed all of the fruit-tea dyed yarn I didn’t like into these jars for solar dyeing. From left to right we have black tea, the last of my day lilies, willow leaves and twigs, a mystery bark I found in two big strips by the fire pit, oak bark with lichens, sumac sticks and leaves, and motherfucking privet sticks and leaves.

If anything comes of the privet, I am going to laugh and laugh. God, I hate that shit. If it turns out to be a useful dye, that would be amazing.

I also learned that sumac smells good. It’s got kind of a spicy smell. Not spicy hot but kind of like Indian food smell, like just something with a lot of different spices in it.

But then I look at the weather and we’re not going to break 90 all next week. Which is wonderful for people trying to live their lives, but it’s July in the South! I expected the sun to unmercifully beat down upon the contents of these jars.

Anyway, today I try Queen Anne’s Lace.