The kindness of strangers

That’s a lofty title for a simple blogpost, I admit.

There isn’t a philosophical commentary on kindness and people to come, sorry…. I don’t think my boring style of writing would be up for the task.

Anyway, what I’m meaning to talk about today is natural dyes. And incidentally mention Freecycle.

The natural dyes have been kindly donated by a sweet elder lady through Freecycle (a site where one can offer or ask for free things). Freecycle is “a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and neighborhoods. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. […] Membership is free”. Isn’t Freecycle a wonderful thing? And there are local groups across the world, I believe. I’ve used it to give and get items countless times – it’s fabulous. Go check it out, maybe there’s a local group near you?

The lady was offering quite a few of colours, dyes and art supplies. I hope she didn’t have to relocate or downsize, but she was just tidying up her home. I didn’t want to be nosey and ask…

Back to the main topic, I’ve long been curious about natural dyes. The only experience with them was in my teens when I used some walnut powder to dye the dark squares of a chess board I was making.

I’d love to try them again. Two things hold me back though: lack of space and the desire to avoid any harsh chemicals. So I’ll need to do a bit of reading on the best way for me to fast the colours. And then I may need to wait to have space somewhere at some point to do the process.

This is what I was kindly given:

  • madder
  • quebracho red
  • pomegranate
  • logwood purple
  • teal
  • indigo? (unlabelled blue powder)
  • woad
  • Brazil wood chips
  • cutch
  • sorghum
  • old fustic
  • cochineal
  • some unused packets of tannic acid and cream of tartar

If you have advice on easy and gentle dyeing, please do let me know 🙂

PS I’ve just learnt that off Freecycle (wikipedia link), a new non-profit organisation was born in the UK: Freegle (wikipedia link). I think I’ll join them too!

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knitting work in progress…. and other projects

My small market bag has gotten further to the point where the red pink ends and the green handles start. But before I knit that, I want to pass a “security thread” through the current row, which will help unravelling in safety, should that be needed 🙂 I’ll post some pictures when the bag gets to the next milestone, to avoid cluttering up the blog with photos of mini-progresses…

Along working on the items currently on needles, I’ve also been thinking further on the large knitting project I briefly mentioned in my previous post… pondering details and whether to undertake the project at all… it would be such a long-term task that is a bit scary, to put it mildly! A little teaser photo:

Small sample in Shetland wool

Small sample in Shetland wool… It may become a long-term project.

Finally, I undertook a home de-cluttering project – it’s not knitting related but I’m proud of making some progress in tidying things up! I brought donations to local charities and passed on stuff through Freecycle to new homes. I love that things can get new homes and a new life, instead of going to landfill!