Saturday, July 28, 2007

jelly or dye

I was on my way to the farm today to help sell trees.

On the way, I stopped at a small town library. In the lobby, there was a cart with books and videos for sale. There was a poster with prices, among them hardbacks for $1.00, coffee table books for $3.00. I glanced through and found two knitting books. Two of Barbara Walker's treasuries in hardback. The first and the third (charted). I grabbed them up and tried to stay calm. I went into the library and approached the desk to pay. The woman who wasn't busy said $6.00. I started to take money from my wallet and the other woman said "no, it's $2.00, those aren't coffee table books." I'm thinking you guys are nuts, these are classics, why are you selling them, they should be on the shelves (this library has a knitting book shelf that is, shall we say, lacking. I kept my mouth shut, gave the woman $2.00 and was on my way.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

There are no library cards or library marks so I'm guessing they were donations. Lucky for me. Squee!! The rest of this story is that one of the maple man's friends helps occasionally in her church's thrift store. I understand there are were several knitting books on the shelf. I don't know what books they are but I'm certain that I, or one of my Sisters Of the Wool, will enjoy them. (He thinks one of the books may be a Barbara Walker?) Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be getting them until he sees his friend at the fall rhodie meeting.

On to the jelly or dye part of this post:
After lunch, there weren't any customers so I decided to take a walk in the back "field". Usually in early July there are wild grapes, probably muscadines, along the fence line. This is late July but I thought I'd check. Actually, I hadn't planned this adventure, so I wasn't dressed for it. Normally, if I plan to pick grapes, I go early before it gets really hot, and wear double jeans (a pair of dh's over mine) and a long sleeve shirt and boots. The "field" I walk through is quite overgrown with briar and bull nettle and misc. other weeds. With the rain we've had this year, there was a bumper crop of weeds and I had to high step to get over and through them. The first couple of spots where I thought I'd find grapes were bare and the grape vines had a dried leaf look so I was afraid I had missed out. A few hundred feet back, I found some vines hanging heavy with grapes. I had to pass on some as there was a very healthy crop of poison ivy growing below the vines up to almost waist high. On back I found more, and my bag was soon filled with plenty of grapey goodies. So late in the season, all the grapes were well ripened so I didn't have to pick grape by grape. I could grab for whole clusters. Not the clusters like the domesticated supermarket grapes but clusters of 6 or 8. The result was about 7 pounds, weighed roughly by difference (me with grapes, and me without), on the bathroom scale.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

They've been picked over, stems removed, rinsed and simmered. Now they're dripping through the jelly bag, making juice which will be ready for jelly making tomorrow.

Now if you've made grape jelly before, you may know about the mush that is left. It is mostly skins and seeds and if you splash it on your clothes it stains. It normally goes in the compost pile but just now I'm thinking natural yarn dye. And I'm kicking myself for throwing out the plum mush from a couple months ago. I'm saving the mush and plan to dye some yarn, probably some superwash sock yarn because I have to able to wash the mush off. I'm not sure what I need to use with the grape mush to make the dye "stick". At Heritage Arts, the yarn was soaked in vinegar water, and a glug of vinegar was added to the dye cup. White vinegar. In my pantry, we have apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar. Maybe more, but no white vinegar. So I guess I'll try the cider vinegar. And I brought home some well water from the farm. The water from the shallow wells that we primarily use for watering the trees has a high iron content. Which I think has a mordanting character. And a high sulphur content. Not sure what that will do to grape mush and wool yarn. I will hope it can't hurt. Stay tuned.


Blogger bookgrump said...

You might also test a little bit with alum. It's a commonly used mordant. Check out

7/29/2007 8:36 AM

Blogger Angeluna said...

And remember the color you end up with may be changed by which mordant you use. Fascinating experiment.

7/30/2007 4:18 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home