Years and years ago, a fellow blogger, Freecia, was inspired to buy me something at a local fibre fair and send it to me as a gift. This was completely and totally out of the blue. She wrote me this lovely note and sent it along with a bit of the most divinely smooth and glowing cultivated bombyx silk fibre. Bombyx silk is still like the caviar of fibres to me. Absolutely delicious. I was very touched by her thoughtfulness and saved the silk package in my A-list stash… and sadly, it stayed there for years.

Late last fall, when I came to the supposed crossroads (why do I keep meeting this crossroad?) about whether or not I could continue to dye, I happened to find this gift and the note that accompanied it. And after my year-long hiatus, this was the first thing that inspired me to dye. I ventured down into the cold, dark laundry room and randomly dyed the package of silk in turquoises, blues, greens and browns. Distraught and sad at the time, I absentmindedly continued to pile on colour after colour… until I realized, “hey, this doesn’t look good at all”. The whole pile of silk seemed like it had been covered with murky, black dye and looked like a disaster. What a waste of a beautiful gift? I had ruined it! I was angry and disappointed with myself, even more convinced that I should just give away all my dye stuff and walk away.

Anyway, I set the dye with a bit of steam and then let it cool and exhaust. Days later when I finally went back down to the laundry room, I poked a bit at the crinkly dried silk roving and all this lightness came pouring out. I had been so absentminded that the dyes hadn’t penetrated all the way through the silk! I really was a dumbass. What I thought was a complete disaster, ended up being this beautiful, subtle mix of blues, warm greys and light. I spent a long time going over the roving, looking at the transitions between colours and values. Maybe I see things where there isn’t anything, but to me this was all about how things really are never as bad as you think they are. There is light in everything. Sometimes, I just need to be patient and I find light where I least expect it.

Spinning it up now. And sitting by the light of a giant, open window no less.

Thank you Freecia.

* Okay, honestly, my mistake was dousing the silk roving in too much vinegar to begin with. So as soon as I put dye on it, it would strike and fix to the outside of the roving. If you’re going to dye silk roving, use less vinegar in the soaking bath OR work the dye through the roving really well OR gently spread the roving apart so you can access all the bits of silk that need to be dyed. Personally, I don’t really mind undyed bits because it’s like “whitespace”. It offsets and makes the colours more interesting.