Thursday, January 29, 2009

It was I who spelled “dyeing” wrong yesterday, Fishwife. I was uneasy, but didn’t look it up. I think I’ll let it stand, as a grim warning.

I’ve been reading about woad in “Dye Plants and Dyeing”. The process of using the leaves for dye sounds extremely complicated, whether you ferment them (with or without adding urine), or extract the dye chemically, or just boil them and then treat the extract with caustic soda and sodium dithionite. (The spell-checker which continues to complain about “woad” has no trouble with “dithionite”.) Google produces this website, which may or may not be the farm I heard about on “Farming Today”.

So, with many thanks, Fishwife, I don’t think I’ll try.
Lisa, thank you for the tip about Victoria Finlay's colour book. I'll look for it.


I’ve finished the neck plackets, joined the shoulders in the three-needle bind-off using the pink Calcutta Cup yarn – I’m a bit uneasy about that. I looked up the two-row method in Gladys Thompson’s book, as you suggested, Tamar, and did it that way. Now I’ve started the collar, and am relaxed about having enough grey yarn.

Here’s my new treasure. It’s really rather good. There’s no introductory paragraph – just “Vogue-knits add style to service”, and off we go. No date, as usual with Vogue, but the Red Cross ad on the back cover mentions the “War Charities Act 1940”. The ad asks for a penny a week to help prisoners of war (and “a quarter of every Penny-a-Week contribution goes to Help Russia”). The text says that “demands will grow as the fighting increases”, so I think we can assume that this was published fairly early on.

There’s a rather tempting pattern for gloves knit sideways on two needles.


Yesterday Helen and I took the plunge and booked ourselves a room at the Comfort Inn, Old Saybrook, for Theo and Jenni’s wedding weekend. Clearly not Olde Newe Englande, and all the better (and cheaper) for not being.

We spoke briefly by telephone before taking the plunge, which was nice. She had been a bit doubtful about Obama during the campaigns, and is absolutely blown away by the first eight days. As am I. He is exceeding expectation.

Helen says that her husband advises holding off on airline reservations for a while, in the hopes that international economic misery might produce some bargains.


  1. I noticed the dying/dyeing mixup yesterday and thought to say nothing about it. Because I often deal with death in my line of work, it's a distinction to which I'm quite sensitive. Grim warning, indeed!

    I've thought woad dyeing might be fun, but I'm fairly certain David would object to a fermenting vat of urine on the property. Can't say as I'd be overly thrilled with it myself. I've often thought about the use of urine in the traditional process of waulking tweed and wondered if it didn't retain some of the aroma. Would make for a rather smelly hike, I'd imagine.

  2. Jean, I'm already seeing great deals from airlines on international travel - I think they're right and deals may get better before summer.

    Like Helen, I, too, am blown away by his first week. It makes one feel almost giddy with relief.

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