It is the first time I have felt so excited about this magazine that I ordered a copy before it was released.
This issue has a focus on natural dyes, a topic which fascinates me.
Living "in the wilds", I have no shortage of dye sources on my doorstep and it has long been my plan to get out there with my wicker basket and start foraging.
There has been resurgence of interest in natural dye-ing recently, with the publication of The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar, of A Verb For Keeping Warm. I love Verb yarns, but they are rather elusive in the UK: my only skein came to me in a sock club. I am (allegedly) using it to knit P-Rex.
|Verb yarn on the right|
Pompom Magazine arrived and I immediately cast on the Iara stole by Renee Callahan.
I am using some organic merino from Queen of Purls in Glasgow - dyed UN-naturally (tsk!) a stunning shade of violet, with contrasting natural silver grey Gotland from Guthrie the sheep, who is cared for by Hooligan yarns.
I do not have enough superlatives to describe how I feel about this yarn and this pattern.
The sample copy is knit up in naturally-dyed merino DK by Anna of Gregoria Fibers, now based in Spain.
Oops - I appear to have bought the three skeins required to knit this cardigan (insert innocent face emoji here!)
There was a typo in the instructions for the mock cable, which caused me some confusion, but I contacted the designer and she was quick to help - I have added her reply to my project page on Ravelry.
So that is ongoing...
There are several other patterns in this book I intend to knit.
But it doesn't stop there.
I had an urge to hit the cauldron.
I consulted The Herb Book (mine is an older edition - I didn't realise it was back in print - woo hoo!) and from all the dye-stuffs in the immediate vicinity, the one that jumped out at me was the tansy.
Shilasdair uses tansy flowers to produce a beautiful golden yellow, but she uses an aluminium sulphate mordant.
I was excited to read that you don't need a mordant when using the leaves... though rubber gloves are advised, as this is a powerful medicinal herb, not recommended for use by women in their reproductive years unless they have something they want to lose.
So off I wandered into the adjacent field, gathering the local crop.
The lushest leaves were of course deep within a nettle patch, in clear view of the neighbours.
Oh dear :)
I filled a 5 litre bag with leaves, which weighed in at one and a half pounds.
I chopped the leaves, boiled them up and brewed them for an hour.
I then strained off the leaves and added my pre-soaked yarn.
Noodle soup anyone?
I allowed it to simmer for half an hour, as the Herb Book suggested.
Next time I would probably leave it for longer, in hope of a stronger colour.
I rinsed until the water ran clear, and was delighted that the wool retained a beautiful sunny glow.
On the left: the undyed yarn.
On the right: my tansy-dyed version.
For my first experiment, it has turned out really well.
I intend to have another go with my second skein, brewing for longer in the hope of achieving a deeper colour.
I would like to use both skeins together to knit an autumnal shawl.
There are instructions in Pompom to dip-dye using rhubarb - I've got some of that!
And there is a bag of black kale in the fridge (though I want to eat that).
It has reached a pretty pass when I assess the contents of my fridge for eating versus dyeing!