Naturally my goats would start kidding just when I have to be four hours away in town or a workshop that I’ve been excitedly thinking about for weeks.
Not to mention the very cranky, very teeth-y kid of my own who had spiked a fever of 39 C the night before.
I’ve talked a little bit before about how impatient I’ve historically been about acquiring and honing all the necessary skills for knitting. The idea of one day having my own flock of sheep that produces the wool I then process, spin and turn into clothing or perhaps a pair of mittens…it’s a dream. A dream with a lot of work attached to it, but a dream I have nonetheless.
So when I heard that there was going to be an Indigo dying workshop with Brigid Weiler who happens to have more than thirty years of experience in the field…I was more than a little thrilled to immediately get in touch and sign up.
All of my kids settled and in Scott’s great care at home, I set out to the workshop where I was greeted to a group of women all very keen to learn but with (thankfully) varied levels of previous experience in the fibre arts. Everyone asked great questions and got their hands dirty (dyed?) throughout the workshop…that is except me because naturally I was having too much fun capturing all the beautiful colours as they came to life on my camera!
That’s truly the only way to describe when you witness the chemical reaction that makes Indigo such vibrant iconic shades of blue. Or a skien of bright magenta yarn to a rich, humble eggplant purple. Or canary yellow to a deep forest green.
Brigid was a fabulous instructor. Informative but flexible about enjoying the process and relishing what shades of beautiful colours would appear when the yarn was gently removed from the Indigo vat. There are some tidbits of information that were and are critical to the success and safety of natural dying (example: never ever pour water on lye. Gently stir the lye into your water. Otherwise you risk a serious explosion)…but for the most part, the anxiety around getting it ‘right’ or being ‘perfect’ about dying yarn couldn’t stick around in the room for long – there was just simply too much acceptance, even reverence, for the amazing bounty of colour that evolved throughout the day as various skeins were dipped and re-dipped.
The yarn I took home is now drying, a cluster of beautiful blues, lavenders, deep purples and greens. Not only am I excited to see what sort of treasure I make with this little bounty, but I’m equal parts looking forward to preparing my own Indigo vat, but also participating in the next workshop Brigid runs on Cortes. Or most anywhere I can be there for that matter.