Saturday, January 7, 2012

Dice Me some Pineapples

Arms tingling, head hazy, but life is good. 

Yesterday was Epiphany Day in Italy. I knew that's when the Three Wise Men arrived with three not very useful gifts, and modern day Christmas celebration finishes in Italy.  I didn't know, though, that there is a lost witch involved.  I like that.  Besides, I always held a Joycean understanding of "epiphany", of understanding one's destiny/vocation, rather than deity; though in Joyce's world they were inseparable and now I wonder if my university's un-Catholic, pale Wesleyan view influenced me, or was I hearing only what I wanted to hear, because I still carried a lingering guilt for no having had The Calling. No matter; just don't grow up Catholic in Japan if you can help it. 

This year, I am going to make, either for myself only or for Ben and me, Christmas stocking/s shaped like Italy.  Sicily and all.  

I had another Blah day, dyeing some more stuff in walnut husk solution, but I finally started using the Grown-Up's Dye Urn, and, well, doesn't that make things easy!  As with so many things in my life I wait for before I try, why didn't I do it earlier?

I'm accumulating a whole lot of brown wool yarns of different sizes and softness in different shades and strength of coffee-browns, because I thought dyeing is less taking on the old arm. Most of it is overdyeing, mostly various gray wools, but also a variegated "regret" brown/green/red/yellow of the loveliest quality merino, dark charcoal grays and a black merino warp.  I'll show them all to you in the next couple of days because I think the walnut husks just about had it and I can stop now. 

The dyed wool, when wet, has a faint smell of dusty, walnutty, (and a fainter but definite cheap white vinegar) smell, which is nice.  The browns are mostly blue-browns, between milky-coffee and hot chocolate, which I like.  I've learned that the same yarn from the same cone wound in different skeins, washed together, rinsed together, dyed at the same time and handled about the same can end up looking quite different, which worries me about overdyeing pieces woven with different yarns to accentuate the structure, as that's one of my final destinations in dyeing.  I knew dyeing is difficult; it involves a lot of careful measurements and planning, and this is why I resisted it for so long, but I still think it's a great way to give my arms a rest, or at least a variety of movements. Besides, I've had everything I need to dye wool and cotton for ages.

I do like this slightly longer relationship with the yarns, and I do like handling my yarns in the dye pot.  With the walnut shells and husks I've been handling the solutions and yarns without gloves, and I love wool's weighty, sexy, shiny, slinkiness when wet; they're like [insert favorite female sexiness] soaking in a marble tub filled with honey or milk or [insert favorite bath flavoring].  They're more like cats than dogs, and I'm a complete dogaphile, (I don't like caninophile - they sound like wolf-lovers,) to the exclusion of cats.  (Whoa, that's a good way to say I don't like cats!)  But in this case, I don't mind!

I have one problem, though;  I am so not a brown weaver.

The great thing about Epiphany Day was, I had a flashing glimpse of a woven piece, I think in the afternoon, supposedly woven by me, a decorative piece. It was quite big, a lot of mid and dark grays, but it was just a flash.  Still, La Befana's gift to me.

Today I'm going to have a go at weaving. 

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