It is Wednesday, my brain is full of historical facts and my to-do list is as long as my arm, so that means it must be time for random wednesday, where I spew at you all the little thoughts I’ve been having instead of attempting to sound coherent or logical or even very grammatical. Go forth and be amused.
1. It’s pokeberry season!
But oddly, despite searching wherever we walk or drive, I have only found two stunted little pokeberry bushes since we moved. This is somewhat unnerving, as I have a couple of weeks to pick about 50 lbs of the things if I want them to last through all the fleeces and yarn I have set aside to become pink and purple and red. I am desperate enough that I have probably branded myself as a very weird person forever by sending out my first “campus news” item as a request for the location of said berries… and an explanation of why I want them. But who am I kidding? I am very weird, and folks would have figured it out pretty soon anyway.
2. Speaking of pokeberries, today I ran across a very good example of the difference between colorfastness and lightfastness.
The way I’ve worked out to use pokeberries as a dye, they are excellently colorfast. This means, all things being equal, they will stay the color that they were when they were first dyed and rinsed and dried, etc. The sample above was gently dyed with pokeberries, and has happily remained a vibrant semi-solid fuscia for a year. Time is a pretty good colorfastness test. However, as I make very clear on all my labels, pokeberries (and most other natural dyes) are not reliably lightfast. The above sample was discovered as a random item in our move, folded in half, and placed on a very sunny windowsill for a week. It has not been sunny every day, but the color change is every bit as drastic as it appears in the above picture.
This goes to show that if you treat your naturally-dyed yarn and hand-knits right – wash by hand in plain cold water, and store out of direct sunlight – They should stay bright and beautiful for ages. But you should be treating your handknits like that anyway. And I don’t mean that you can’t run around outside with a hat knit of this stuff on your head, or that you shouldn’t wear a sweater outside… this kind of damage really only comes from leaving it in direct sunlight for long periods of time. You would treat an antique armchair this well; consider treating a handmade piece that has hours and hours of your (and a dyer’s) time in it with as much care.
(p.s. I am not sad to lose the sample. It was just a sample. a skein of yarn or a garment would have been tragic, but don’t cry for me argentina.)
3. At the end of the first day of classes, the Chausettes were feeling very erudite, rather tired, and significantly longer.
Tuesdays are going to be chapel, class, lunch, class and chapel. I probably used my brain more in one day than I had in the previous month, so I’m still reeling a little. I am quite the little nerd, though, if you haven’t figured that out, so I enjoyed it mightily. And no one seems offended at my knitting in class quite yet; we’ll see if I can get it past the rest of my profs.
4. Jared dropped an air conditioner out of a second-story window.
It made quite a complicated-sounding crash, and the frame was bent up like a vehicle in some safety commercial where they tell you why to wear seatbelts. Thankfully this one had no passengers, and no one standing beneath it (excuse me while I cross myself). It also has very little to do with knitting, but you probably don’t really care. There must be something wrong with my brain that hears “ca-crash-crash BOOM”, runs outside to see this, and the first thing I think is “wow the way the metal bent up in the back corner looks really cool”
5. I am knitting a snake sweater.
At Cloverhill, we had a customer who came in for a little help with this same sweater pattern, which is a very popular pattern and an excellent simple sweater. To compensate us for our assistance, this lady shared a little story about when she had this project with her at work. A coworker she didn’t like very much came up and asked her what she was doing. Now, you probably know that there are volunteer knitters who knit sweaters for poor injured little dogs and things, and believe it or not there is actually a project to knit sweaters for rescued chickens. (no joke, click here.) Looking at her project, which was about at the stage mine is at, all curved up into a tube thanks to the increases of top-down sweater shaping…. she said “It’s a snake sweater. You know, for rescued snakes.”
The great part was, the coworker totally bought it.
Eventually the sweater became more person-shaped, and I’m sure the lady figured out she’d been had, and elected not to say anything further, but by this time we were all tickled to death. So as I work on this sweater I am reminded of that snarky (and delightful) customer, and Cloverhill, and my friends there. I miss you all so.
6. I apologize for my slightly overblown vocabulary. I listened to our dean & president speak for an hour and a half today, and one can only hear so much of the Queen’s English before one starts thinking in it. As he put it, in speaking on the occasional awkwardness of giving evangelistic sermons while visiting other people’s churches, “But I have an English accent; I can say whatever I want.” It’s funny because its true.