A while back, there were a couple girls who emailed me requesting special orders of some handpainted yarn. They wanted the “Kill Bill” colourway on some non-superwash wool yarn. Now, “Kill Bill” is a pretty high contrast colourway… it’s deep heavy blacks sharply painted on a bright clear yellow backdrop with distinct blood red droplets. Somehow I knew it wasn’t a colourway that was going to work on the wool yarn… the nature of the colourway and the nature of the wool itself were incompatible. But my desire to please these girls who wanted this so badly somehow overrode the part of my brain that knew this was not going to work out.
Well, it was a bit of a mess. The blacks wouldn’t take in the yarn and the excess kept running out into the yellows, making everything a bit grey/green and hazy… The red dots bled (of course, silly) and ended up being huge salmon-coloured splotches. It was devastatingly ugly. AND then I had to apologize to the girls for the yarn not turning out. All because I was too chicken to say “No” and too optimistic to think it wasn’t possible.
So the ugly abandoned yarn sat in an ugly old cardboard box with some other ugly yarn disasters, never to see the light of day.
Then this year, during the move to the studio, I excavated all my yarn from the old house… the good stuff, the undyed stuff, the old stuff, and the ugly stuff. It became so obvious that I should overdye the yarns or that I should weave them for charity things… or both. The yarn was still fabulously squishy and it was still 100% fine merino wool … in face, nothing was “wrong” with the yarn at all. It was perfect and ready to be made into something.
So, I absentmindedly dyed one skein of disaster “Kill Bill” in fuschia and another two in a kind of spruce green kind of colour. It’s kind of my fall back… overdye everything in hot pink. Hot pink saves the day. If you dye, you’ll know that overdyeing with acid dyes never knocks out the other underlying colour. It’s more like a glaze… so whatever you put on top will still allow the underlying colour to shine through. So fuschia over clear yellow gives clear red… it’s pretty exciting (to me at least). And green over yellow gives… well yellowy green. Maybe it’s the pending holiday season working its subversive and subliminal charm on me, but somehow, I ended up with the cheesiest, most cliché colour combination: holiday red and green.
Luckily, my mother was at the studio and helped me wind the back beam of the loom on Wednesday. It’s best done as a two-person job, but typically in the past, it’s been me scurrying around from the back to the front and back again repeatedly. And the back beam looks perfectly and evenly packed and solid. All my most recent weaving has been mixed up, messed up warps and so seeing this even, consistent warp has been kind of refreshing… and reminder that, yes, I can actually put on a normal warp.
Disasters can be remedied. Every yarn is still a perfect and beautiful thing. It just needs to be cared for and used for its best qualities. There are delicate subtleties in the colour of the yarn that I can’t even describe… they just have to be seen and experienced. Wonderful things can happen when you give things a second chance.