dyeing yarn and getting a babysitter

dyeing yarn with dock seed

dyeing yarn with dock seed

dyeing yarn with dock seed

dyeing yarn with dock seed

dyeing yarn with dock seed

dyeing yarn with dock seed

dyeing yarn with dock seed

dyeing yarn with dock seed

dyeing yarn with dock seed

dyeing yarn with dock seed

(The creative title of this post is courtesy of Jonny because I couldn’t think of one.)
Jonny is one of those people who works really well under pressure.  He can put everything off to the last minute, and then when things really have to be done, he does it.  It’s kind of stressful, actually it’s really stressful, but that’s how he operates.  I operate a little bit differently.  When pressure sets in, I avoid whatever I am supposed to be doing at all costs.  It’s best for me to get things done ahead of time to avoid major anxiety, but I am not always able to.  Sometimes I procrastinate even though I know what it’s going to do to me.  I’ve been known to start sewing in the last moments before leaving for a trip, or stopping everything to knit when I know good and well that I’m supposed to be doing something else.

Last weekend, Jonny and I attended a charity event on Saturday evening.  This was an adults only affair, and we left all six children with a babysitter, leaving Silas for the first time.  I was supposed to spend Saturday cleaning the house and making dinner ahead of time for the kids before getting myself ready.  I was a little nervous about leaving Silas, and especially the fact that someone else would have to put him to bed.  It’s a little nerve wracking in general, leaving so many kids in someone else’s care.  So, I did the normal thing: went outside and started gathering the seeds from dock plants, deciding that what I needed to do was dye yarn that weekend.  There wasn’t time for more than gathering the seeds on Saturday and placing my yarn in a pot of water to soak, but that was enough to ground me, and help me relax about the evening (in addition to worrying about the kids, I am introverted, and big events are a little overwhelming for me.)

We had a great evening.  Our kids loved their babysitter.  Silas went to bed just fine, rocked by his big brother Keats.  We need to get out more often.

Regarding the yarn:
My yarn looks very similar in these photos to the black walnut dyed yarn I have been knitting with, but it is actually a more golden shade of brown that I don’t care for as much.  I was hoping it would look like this yarn that was dyed with the seeds from plants of the same genus, but it doesn’t.

The bottom line is that I enjoyed (and maybe needed) the weekend long process of dyeing this yarn, and I wasn’t too invested in the final outcome.

Some links for you:
Wild Color is the book I use as a guide for dyeing yarn using plants (you know, the two times I’ve done it.)
Cynthia talks about dyeing yarn naturally on her blog.
If you are in need of a drying rack, and would like a handmade wooden one (from a lovely family business) that will eventually be handed down to your children, this is the place to buy it.  I have the midsize rack, the “Pioneer.”


  1. Sorry we missed it. We will be there next year.
    Kinda random..I just looked back at my blog for some reason and an old Yarn Along post came up. It was in 2010..holy cow. I have been ADORING you for that long?? How fun?
    Plus I was the 2nd person to post on that particular yarn along post of yours…can you imagine the luck of me getting 2nd spot now a days…There are like 150 people linking these days. People who are much more on the ball than I am. I am going to try to make a post this week for Yarn Along…
    miss you..see you soon!

  2. I love your pictures, and sounds like you and Jonny are a good team.

  3. Congrats on the Date Nite! Hope you and Jonny had a great time.

  4. Makes perfect sense to me! I’m also a pro at “productive procrastination”.

  5. oh, gosh—those first ‘letting go-s’!! And it never seems to get any easier (my son will be 40!!!! on his next birthday— how this happened is still a mystery since I really don’t feel any older than 35 myself—and I still worry when he–and his wife and 5 children!!!!– travel home after a visit). Bigger worries–less control over them. sigh. passages.

    love your dyeing helpers!!!!

  6. Oh, this yarn does indeed look lovely. I know photos never do an accurate job of showing the real soul of the colour, but whatever, this is warm and lovely. I just dyed with tansy, too, and posted yesterday (here is a link, just in case you have a moment amidst your busy day http://alittlecraftynest.typepad.com/a-little-crafty-nest/2012/08/tansy.html
    And as far as working under pressure, I do it better than my husband, but I’m still a spaz. I wonder what that makes him?!
    xo Jules

  7. You make dyeing yarn look so easy. So far I have not been lured into this craft, I will keep knitting all the lovely yarn that someone else dyes for me. We rarely had babysitters and when we did I would be so worried while I was out (before cell phones and constant tethering). Every time we arrived home everyone was fine and I swore I would not borrow trouble the next time I was out. But I still did it!

  8. Ginny,
    I didn’t know you could dye with dock seeds! We have dock plants going to seed here, now I’m inspired to gather some. I’m going to mark down that book. Did you use a mordant?

    Love, Taryn

    P.S. Jeff works well under pressure. I don’t.

    P.P.S. Large events often overwhelm me too.

  9. It is so wonderful to get away isn’t it? – just for an evening – with Emmy turning one soon, perhaps Mike and I will be able to by the spring.
    I also start seemingly unrelated projects when I really should be doing something else. Your yarn does look very nice.

  10. Your yarn looks deliciously like hot chocolate with a lot of milk 😉
    But it’s part of the fun, not knowing exactly beforehand what the color will look like in the end, doesn’t it?
    Greetings from Austria, Maren

  11. That yarn does look similar to what you were knitting with. It’s pretty…I love shades of brown. I have dyeing yarn in my just if to do’s with the kids, but I’ll need more wool yarn first, and I’ll probably use kool aid instead of natural stuff. We could really use a night out. Maybe Sunday will be our day.

  12. Good for you for getting out alone! I’m an avoider too… the yarn is beautiful!

  13. gosh, i thought i was the only one with the tendency to sit down at the sewing machine when i really ought to be packing for a trip. it is nice to hear that i’m not the only one with this quirk! i have really been wanting to try some natural dyeing–it looks like such a rich, creative activity and a good way to join my love of gardening with my love of knitting. i wonder if you could dye the yarn again with a related color (a deeper brown, perhaps) and end up with something more complex that you would like better?

  14. i really like that color. i think it is so neat to be able to have enough wild plants around that you can just go out and pick your dye. that is amazing.
    i have felt blessed to have a much older child (two actually) in the family. when mike and i wish to go on a date we just leave all the kids with themselves. it makes leaving miss fiona so much easier knowing big sister and big brother are taking care of her. LOL
    funny my husband is like yours. he always puts stuff off and then powers thru it. it makes me nuts. i am so much a list maker and planner. LOL

  15. I love the color that came out.

    Growing up in a family of seven children, my parents didn’t go out a lot because trying to find a sitter willing to watch all seven of us was hard. I did, however, love the girls that used to babysit us, though.

    Glad your experience went well.

  16. As a mother of a disabled young daughter, I know how hard it is for me to leave her with someone, while my husband and I go out for a few hours. It is nerve wrecking, but it is also necessary, both for me and for her 🙂

    I am glad that everything went well and you were able to enjoy the time away.

    The yarn looks wonderful. I was gifted a pound of cream fleece, which I am now realizing, I can dye! I don’t know the colors that I want to try…probably not this year, but once I put more dyeing plants in the garden 🙂

    Thank you Ginny for sharing…


  17. You know…I completely forgot when I started planning my garden that I wanted to plant some things that would make good dyestuffs. I’m so glad you reminded me before it is too late! 🙂

    I think the yarn you dyed looks lovely. I always find projects to do, to settle my mind, when I should be preparing for a trip or an event. Drives George up a wall, but it keeps me sane so it’s all good. I’m glad Silas did well with the babysitter. We are yet to leave either of ours with a sitter; we have to find someone here we trust before I can think about it… xo

  18. I’m impressed that you actually dyed the yarn. I’m fabulous at gathering dye stuffs and even at making dye baths but for whatever reason I rarely dye the yarn. There are exceptions of course. I too am a pre-departure sewing project girl. The last trip we took resulted in a pair of shorts for Lupine and a new bag for me. Utter denial of the to-do list is just my speed. xo

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