Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Great Avocado Disaster

Twilly & Abbey went to the vet yesterday to be spayed while Mena and Asterix enjoyed a peaceful reprieve from the otherwise non-stop action. I went in and picked them up this morning -- when I walked into the vet's office I could hear "yeeeooow, yeeeeoooow, yeeeeoooow" coming from the depths of the building -- Abbey the free spirit was not happy about being caged overnight. The pitiful noise continued all the way back home until they were released from their carriers in the living room. This evening Twilly is a bit lethargic and Abbey, who is begging attention by purring, alternately rolling over to have her little shaved belly scratched and walking all over the keyboard, says she's FINE. I somewhat regret that her genes will never be passed on!

Liz at Pocket Farm has been experimenting with natural dyeing -- go check out her results with onion skins! And because I am a terrible enabler, I sent her a surprise! Once she receives it, I'll post on what it was....

And now (drum roll, please) the reason for the title of today's entry. Since Liz has been dyeing and I have been reading about it, I, of course, had to get in on the action and decided this evening to finally try the avocado dye (featured in the Fall 2002 Spin-Off) which I have been eating guacamole and saving pits and peels for forever.

Too long, as it turns out. Did I follow the directions? Oops, well, um, noooo.....Upon re-reading the article, I found that the recommended procedure involves chopping the peels and pits and preserving them by soaking them in water for a few weeks before making the dyebath, occasionally boiling them to release the color and kill any mold. The directions DID NOT, unfortunately, recommend to put the pits and peels in the freezer (because it might preserve them longer), then soak them in water for several hot summer months, then leave them outside for most of the fall and winter to freeze again, then bring them in and essentially leave them to putrify for another few weeks before making the dyebath. I meant to get to it sooner, I really did. But I tried it this evening anyway, just in case...

Suffice it to say the whole project was a complete bust. It smelled SOOOO bad (the whole kitchen and my hands still stink). The dyebath was a pale orangey-brown, not the vibrant red promised in the article. The cats vacated the area. With head hung and breath held, I washed the tea-colored yarn several times to get out the stink. I should be arrested for abusing a fine merino sockweight by subjecting it to a horrible, nasty, stinky failure of a dyebath. At least I can overdye the yarn with something else...indigo maybe? This is surely my punishment for attempting a dyeing project alone while Laura (who is at archaeology lab night) and other fiber artists in general were not present.

I still really love the idea of an avocado dye, so maybe I'll try again and be a little more careful this time.


Blogger Liz said...

Noooooo!!! I'm so sorry to laugh at your pain, but I'm just shaking my head at the thought of the SMELL!!!

I guess the directions are there for a reason. ;)

12:52 PM  

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