Chemical Magic in Large White Pots

I have a large rya wall piece planned, my homage to Robert Motherwell – roundish abstract shapes under pressure, in dark saturated colors.  It needs a black warp and weft base, so that any possible ground yarns peeking through the pile will be dark, not light.  The problem is that the base, which won’t even be visible, will take so much wool.  Purchasing that many skeins of my usual Norwegian Rauma yarn would mean serious deprivation in other areas, like groceries.  Even my dealer, Syvilla, understands this!  The visible pile will be only the best Norwegian yarn, but I searched for an alternative for the base.  I found some good-quality, reasonably-priced wool from Henry’s Attic, but it only came in a natural shade.  I haven’t done much dyeing, but thought I could figure out something.  Months later, the yarn remained heaped in a paper bag, hopelessly pale.  Then my wonderful friend Jan Mostrom said, “You can come to my house some afternoon and we can dye it.” (!!)  What a gift – the offer and then the sunny afternoon we spent in her kitchen with pots of water and wool and deep black dye.  Even though Jan and my friend Elizabeth both cautioned, “You know, it’s hard to turn white wool black,” it was a total success. It was a great dyeing review and inspiration for me, and a reminder that what weaving success I have enjoyed is only due to the help of friends and teachers along the way.  Thanks Jan!

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