Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Adventures with turmeric

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How’s that for a mood-booster? 

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That’s the most gorgeous, vivid, spicy yellow; the yellow of summer.  Sunflowers.  The bright golden haze on the meadow.  Inspiration from the fantastic Rebekka Seale led me back to my dyepot the other night, in between episodes of Pawn Stars.  Those skeins are stash leftovers in cream-colored wool (I think the darker one might be Araucania?  I don’t even know) that I dyed on the stove using turmeric.  No chemicals are used, not even vinegar or salt, just turmeric and water and a little gentle heat, and wow!  I am so thrilled.  It was the easiest thing in the world:  Soak yarn in water.  Mix 1/4 c ground turmeric and 2 c. water.  Dunk yarn in dye.  Squeeze.  Wrap in cellophane.  Steam in colander over boiling water 30 mins.  Cool.  Rinse. Dry.  Knit.   As the skeins steamed, the house smelled like curry, which is also a plus.  Dean played the ukulele while we waited.  Very festive.  After they cooled, I rinsed them well in the sink, then unfurled them and hung them outside, where they whipped on the clothesline like prayer flags at base camp on Everest. 

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Both skeins were done in the same dyebath, so you can see how the order matters.  The dye gets more and more exhausted as you use it up, and the results get paler.  I think I like the light one even more—it’s the color of fresh corn on the cob.  Summer again.

This project took less than an hour, and the results are so wonderful, I feel kind of invincible now!   Onion peels, red cabbage, avocado pits!  Avocado pits are supposed to give a brownish-pink, like the underside of a mushroom, which is the color I spend my whole life searching for.  Oh my goodness, I want to try it all.  I’m going to the store now to get a whole bag of avocadoes, and for once, the guacamole will be just a side-benefit. 

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