Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Go buy a sheep!

I went grocery shopping with my firstborn Sonja yesterday. She only lifted her eye brows when I collected onion peels into a plastic bag when all the other people around me were collecting salads, tomatoes, carrots and such. I told her to get some greens for our salad while I was treasure hunting by the onions. With a happy grin on my face I told her that the peels would make beautiful colors. She was not impressed.

Today early in the morning when she came into the kitchen she saw this:She took one long look at me and said in a sarcastic voice: "Go buy a sheep! Wouldn't that be neat?!"

I was given a piece of advice not to use my best yarn for these dyeing experiments. But being the one who dances with fool, I did not take the advice. Instead I took out of my closets some natural white Gems Pearl and Opal. And turned them into these:

On the top is Gems Opal after being dyed with madder with some lemon added to the dye bath. Actually Opal went to the after bath but the color is stronger there because when preparing the first dye bath I did not let the madder roots boil enough to let out good color. So Pearl is a lot lighter. I used alum with Pearl but not with Opal.I'm fine with these colors (the colors in the photos are sligthly off), not thrilled but fine. And have plans already for Pearl. What I was worried of a great deal beforehand was turning the beautiful soft yarn into stiff and hard material but that did not happen. I have tried the yarn already and it is still very soft and nice.
There was some snow on the ground in the early hours. It was gone shortly but winter is creeping closer. Warning of slippery roads was given to the areas north and east from us.Some of the trees look sort of sad. Very little of summer is left...

Yesterday while I labored with Katariina (she has become a big and heavy girl) I listened to podcasts. I just love this internet. I have admired BrooklynTweed's knitting and photos for some time and now I got to "meet" him. He was interviewed by Purlman. Warm thank yous to you both. And finally I got to meet Yarn Harlot as well. Have you seen Cat's Let's Knit 2gether? Go and see her site!

PS. Miina sends her sincere thanks for each one of you for being so caring. She does have a coat, it is pictured in the archives in October 15th, 05.


  1. Oh, you are my great comfort! I recognise the ENTHUSIASTIC teenage comment, allways trying to kill a mothers joy.
    You are brave to start dying the best of yarn. Usually the result turns out well. But be carefull not to stir the yarn when stiring the coloured water/soup. As soft yarn felts easier than the hard spun.
    I fortunately had a very good result with dying an already knitted lambswool sweater in lichen. It turned out to be much prettier after the second try as it got a little felted(to get a stronger brown colour).

  2. Well you can't expect your children to undertsand... :-)

  3. When I was a child, my granny used onion skins to dye the Easter eggs. That's in Scotland, in the 1950s. Nobody seems to have heard of this any more, so it's nice to find it in your blog.

  4. Joyce T.15:15

    Oh no, for some reason, I can't get your beautiful photos anymore! Anyone else having this problem? Help!

  5. Ruby18:20

    Your dying results are spectacular! Reading about your getting the onion skins reminded me of my mother showing us to dye Easter eggs with onion skins (here on the west coast of USA - although my mother was raised in the Great Lakes area of Canada). I think like the colors that onion skins creates.

  6. The colors are turning out so beautifully-- Have fun experimenting.

  7. Anonymous19:27

    Oh my goodness, Miina is beautiful, and the coat is stunning! That is one lucky dog. The yarn is wonderful. You got very even results and the colors are very pretty. My mother always dyed Easter eggs with onion skin, and I always thought she was nuts. (Who wants brown Easter eggs?) Now I love them and wish that I could make them come out as well as my mother did. I can't wait to see the onion skin yarn. Fear not, in 10 or 15 years, the sarcasm will fade and she will realize what a special thing it is to have a clever mother who can make such beautiful things.

  8. Your dying experiments are fabulous. I have tried dying only with Easter Egg dye, and only with some children! I'm afraid that I don't have time to dye, but perhaps when this semester is done!! Your teenager sounds just like mine--are teenagers the same worldwide?? Summer is definitely gone here in Wisconsin, as well. My flowers froze last week. No snow yet. I hate the early sunset. I'm afraid that I would not survive north of the Arctic circle in the winter.

  9. Ellen in Conn22:44

    Joyce - if you are using FireFox, go to "preferences", then "content", then make sure "load images" is checked and "for the originating website only" is UN-checked. That worked for me recently. And here with Lene was the first place I noticed the problem. Best wishes.

  10. Children just love to be a killjoy. The dying is beautiful

  11. Onion skins, I never would have thought before, but now it makes sense. The colors on my monitor are beautiful. I'm so happy for you that the yarn is still soft to the touch.

    We just went for a walk after dinner, before hockey, and even though it's definitely Fall here, it is soooo warm out right now at 7:30pm. It's amazing what the weather is one day to the next.

  12. heidi11:01


    The tradition to dye easter eggs w/ onion peel is alive and well in Finland! I don't think there are a lot of people here who would not have heard of it. How about you re-awake the tradition in Scotland? The light-yeollowish eggs taste perfect on Easter Sunday!

  13. Glad that Miina has a coat but I want to know Ms. B has warm bedding ,a Christmas coat ,mittens,a hat ..sorry carried away buy my complete adoration for the little black and white sweetie. I'd love to know how tall she is what she likes to do etc.I havn't see your bird for a while?

  14. Thanks, Heidi, I might try next year but I think my nieces' children would just think I was a mad old woman - although they probably think that anyway :)

  15. Your colors a beautiful! Teenagers, aren't they fun?

  16. Hey Lene! I'm glad you enjoyed the interview... it was a lot of fun meeting up with Guido.

  17. Oh well, Lene, is there any way at all to have a sheep? Wouldn't that make the lass's eyes do a roll...maybe rent one for a day or two? I'm all for 'getting' the teenager who pulls those tricks. Kids may be 'funny' but adults can have more fun at it.
    The dyed wool is beautiful, and looking forward to seeing more that you've played with.

  18. Tell her to watch out... you just might take her literally!

    Enjoying your dyeing experiements.

  19. I am delighted you are using onion skins, Lene. Another old tradition that you probably know about already far better than I do is using the lichens or 'crottal' from the rocks - those which look green or orange. The weavers of the Hebrides used to use those for their tweed.

    If I had your address I would send you some beautiful light lavender laceweight mohair for your winter shawl...
    Celtic Memory

  20. Anonymous02:20

    Easter eggs : My grandmother used onions skins too to dye eggs. My mother still does it. And that's in North Italy ! Gloria

  21. Thanks so much for mentioning our Knitting Video Podcast!
    I love your blog and have been following your experiences.

    CAT at Lets Knit2gether