Poking at It

We had a disaster at work yesterday. It was already not going well and then our big project arrived and it was utterly fucked. I am giddy with despair. We’ll see what happens today, if it can be unfucked in time for all the events we have planned. Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, I have been dying with my first batch of walnuts.


This is how it went in the oven.


This is how it came out of the oven–brown but not the deep, rich brown I was hoping for.


This is it back in the oven, trying for a darker brown. The thing about food-safe dyes–like Kool-aid or food coloring–is that they’re going to look very similar dry to how they look wet, just lighter, perhaps a little more muted.

But with the natural dyes, there’s a whole oxidation stage. Like, with food-safe dyes, once the yarn is cool, you can just wash it. There’s nothing to be done between “dyeing” and “drying” except waiting for it to cool. But natural dyes can change dramatically–as we saw with the cabbage dyes–once air hits them. Same is true with indigo. Same is true with walnut.

I assume the same is true with pokeberry. I mean, I didn’t see any dramatic changes, but I left it hanging for a while in the air in case it was doing something.

When the walnut oxidizes, to me, it looks like there’s a stage when it takes on kind of a silvery sheen and then gets a little lighter, a little darker, and then a little lighter again. In other words, you basically have to let it dry, unrinsed, to see what color you’re going to get.

It’s pretty fascinating.