Monday, October 16, 2006

Some knitting and some dyeing

After a busy week away being home again feels so right (even though there is LOTS of laundry and other work to do to set things on the right tracks). I took a walk in the morning with the dogs. Tina was full of energy, she chased away a herd of reindeer but old Miina is really showing her age. She is getting slower by the day and it makes me sad. I know the day when we have to say good bye can't be very far away. She is not sick, she is just old and tired. We first heard and then saw swans on the lake. They are leaving. It is winter time soon. Today I had winter tires put on my car. No sight of snow yet.

I had Katarina's sleeve with me while away and almost finished the second sleeve. There is a Red Sweater KAL and I joined it. Thank you Anne for inviting! This should not be too hard since my red Katariina is approaching the last quarter. Sometimes no matter how good my intentions are I seem to fail KALs... I am dreaming of dyeing. A lot.
I have some good books ("Craft of the Dyer" - color from Plants and Lichens - by Karen Leigh Casselman and "Lichen Dyes" by the same author) about dyeing to read. Thank you Niina! You have given me more than you realize.
I have been waiting to build up the courage to jump right in dyeing with natural dyes... but have been at the same time a bit worried of turning my yarn and fiber into these not so nice pale brownish colors.
This morning I did not have a bag with me to collect any plants but I intend to do it later this week. So far I have been only admiring different plants without knowing too much about them. Now I'm growing an interest to know them or rather to know what colors they are hiding. I guess there is no other way than just to go ahead and do the mistakes and then learn... and join another KAL. I have looked at my stash with new open eyes. There are lots of yarns in colors I don't care of any more. And now I know they can have a second chance... they can dive into a dye pot and be reborn. One of these skeins is going to dive tomorrow. I have some chopped root of krappijuuri (Rubia tinctorum) soaking...


  1. Hi Lene - I just had a 3 day class in natural dyeing, and with rubia tinctorum (madder, as we call it here) the important thing is not to let it get too hot. Do not boil it, but rather let it simmer (almost a boil but not quite). When madder gets too hot it will give those brown colors that you do not want!

  2. Hi Lene - good luck. I believe Karen Casselman is Canadian, but I could be wrong. Those bits of roots look interesting and so beautiful. I will await the new 'dyed' wool. I also joined the Red Sweater KAL. We are waiting for the Trumpeter Swans to return to our Valley for the winter. We are warmer than the land above the Arctic Circle!

  3. I'm sorry to hear of your Miina feeling more tired. It was that way with our Kneeshonden but he was at the point where he wouldn't walk any more than to the driveway. So sad when you have to say goodbye to your best four legged friend.

    Your dyeing plans are wonderful and good for your KAL's I just joined my first one as well the other week.

  4. Please do come and join us in the Twisted Knitters. Many of us are learning new things from each other and having a great time!

  5. Ooo, I can't wait to see what colors you get out of that!

  6. Dyeing with madder--how exciting! You're going to get some beautiful yarn from that dyepot. Even if you get brown, it will still be a lovely reddish-brown with lots of character! But I will hope for red. ;-)

    Poor Miina. I've been in that situation before, and it's never easy. I hope she still has many good days left to spend with you.

  7. I lost my old labrador on the May long weekend. Dogs really are your best friend, and it's so hard to say goodbye. Give Miina a scratch around the ears for me, and a tummy rub if she likes it.
    I can't wait to see how your dyeing project turns out.

  8. With you on the dyeing, Lene - I too am looking at lichens and leaves and tree roots. And listen, sweetheart, don't write Mina off too soon. My Tasha has had her goodbyes three times in the last three years and is still with me and wicked as ever. It's not over till the fat lady sings! (or the old dog finally decides to give up the biscuit. She decides - not you!)
    Celtic Memory Yarns

  9. can't wait to see what the roots will yield! they look great in the pot.

  10. Looking forward to seeing the dyed yarn!
    Sending warm loving thoughts to Mina.

  11. Two or three years ago my husband, who is extraordinarily fond of our dog Bear (Best Dog in the World), suddenly panicked about how old she was getting. I don't know exactly what provoked his anxiety, but he came home from work the next day with another dog, an intact male Siberian husky that we named Inuk, the Inuit word for man. Inuk was a beautiful dog but turned out to be far too active for our sedentary family. Back to the humane society she went and Lucy, a neutered female shepherd/ collie/ chow/ mutt came to live with us. Three years later and Bear is still going strong, although a bit slower, at 11. She still loves to go for walks, though. Eventually she will leave us, but having Lucy will ease our pain a bit.

  12. You are giving me quite an education here. I just read that copper dyepots can yield a brighter red when dyeing with madder. Chemistry makes my head spin.

    Swans must look so majestic on your lake.

    Miina could not have a better friend. She knows how you all love her.

  13. Anonymous04:38

    That dyestock looks like bugs! I hope you have fun with it. Even the yuckiest brown can be overdyed to make something you prefer, if your natural dyeing doesn't go the way you expect. I bet it will all be lovely!
    Give Miina a scratch and a pet for me. I will think good warm thoughts for her. (Maybe her old joints are just getting stiff with the approaching cold. Does she have a sweater?)

  14. Lene,

    I have been following your blog for a while, but have never commented before. I am a veterinarian, and I get asked this question a lot; when is it time to let my furry companion go"?
    My answer is always the same. Pick 3 things that signify this particular animal. It could be that he/she always sleeps at your feet while you watch tv, or whines with joy when you get the leash to go for a walk, or gets up to greet you when you return home. It could be any number of things. When he/she no longer does those thimgs, then you know the time is there.
    Letting your furry companion go is a very hard thing to do, but it is the greatest gift we can give them. Having them pass on with dignity is a gift of love.

    That said, there might be a medical reason that may or may not be easily remedied. Please make a visit to your regular veterinarian to find out if there is something you can do to help her out. I gather from your blog that you go on frequent walks with your dogs. That is excellent! As soon as an older dog becomes a couch potato, he will start to go downhill. Fast. Keep up the good work, and please let me know if I can assist you with any advise.

    Take care,

    ~ Ellen

  15. Your dyeing project looks like fun; it will be nice to see the results.

    Mina sounds like such a sweet girl. I bet she really enjoys wandering about with you.

  16. Elizabeth D05:38

    Welcome home, Lene! I didn't know there was a red sweater knitalong. I will be sensible and not join, but I do have the yarn (what a surprise).

  17. Welcome home! How about using a yarn you least like, use small amounts of it to experiment with your dyes, then if you don't like the color, you won't have "wasted" too much yarn.

  18. Michele17:22

    So good to have you back, Lene. I look forward to the results of your dyepot.

    Hugs and scratches to Miina. Thank you Ellen for your wonderful e-mail on when it's time to let our canine friends go.

  19. Your natural dyepot looks great so far. Glad you're going to do Twisted Knitters.

  20. Can't wait to see what your colors look like. Anne tagged me too for the red sweater KAL.

  21. Look at all that gorgeous yarn ready for the dye! Grignasco tango in particular is lovely.

    Sorry to hear about Miina... sharing your life with a dog is the best thing, the worst is that their lifespans are so much shorter than ours and there's the inevitable sadness.

  22. Oh, I have been dreaming about dyeing but haven't done anything about it... your posts are inspiring.

    I have just read an essay in the Best American Essays of 2006 about living through the old age and death of a dog. It was a poignant piece written with love and pragmatism. Your thoughts remind me of it.