Weird Elders
Extraordinary DK

65% Swiss Mountain silk, 35% linen

249 yards (228 meters) per 100 grams

5-6 stitches per inch on US 5-7/3.75-4.5 mm

.:. dyed in a batch of five skeins using Black Walnuts .:.


Perhaps I should ask for a drumroll, yet the ethereal wispiness of this color begs me not. The very subtlety belies the import, for these are the very first skeins of naturally dyed yarn we've offered.

The hue was sourced from the incredibly prolific black walnut in our yard, and believe me, there's plenty more where that came from! After all my research into mordants and fibers, I'd been convinced that I was going to get a deeply saturated chocolate color onto the silk and linen, yet as you can see that wasn't the case. However, I did add two small 25gm skeins of vintage mohair into the pot and they emerged a lovely deep chestnut, which you can see in the third photo, and which I utterly adore. This leads me to a few ideas, one of which is to dye one of our merino bases with the walnuts and see how that turns out, for it appears that the protein fibers will take the color much more readily than the cellulose did.

Yet I digress away from the beauty that these skeins are! For the color, if your eye can discern it from the photos, is a very misty fawn that shines beautifully off the silk/linen combination. I see it being used as a base or accent in your making, as it will combine well with rich and vibrant shades. And if it languishes for awhile, we'll just pop them back in the kettle for another go-around and see what happens.

If you've read this far, perhaps it's because you're wondering about the source of the name chosen for this batch. Brought to my attention by the iconoclastic Rob Brezsney, here's the excerpt he provided in this weeks Free Will Astrology:

"In old traditions those who acted as elders were considered to have one foot in daily life and the other foot in the otherworld. Elders acted as a bridge between the visible world and the unseen realms of spirit and soul. A person in touch with the otherworld stands out because something normally invisible can be seen  through them.

"The old word for having a foot in each world is 'weird.' The original sense of weird involved both fate and destiny. Becoming weird enough to be wise requires that a person learn to accommodate the strange way they are shaped within and aimed at the world.

"An old idea suggests that those seeking for an elder should look for someone weird enough to be wise. For just as there can be no general wisdom, there are no 'normal' elders. Normal bespeaks the 'norms' that society uses to regulate people, whereas an awakened destiny always involves connections to the weird and the warp of life.

"In Norse mythology, as in Shakespeare, the Fates appear as the Weird Sisters who hold time and the timeless together.

"Those who would become truly wise must become weird enough to be in touch with timeless things and abnormal enough to follow the guidance of the unseen. Elders are supposed to be weird, not simply 'weirdoes,' but strange and unusual in meaningful ways.

"Elders are supposed to be more in touch with the otherworld, but not out of touch with the struggles in this world. Elders have one foot firmly in the ground of survival and another in the realm of great imagination. This double-minded stance serves to help the living community and even helps the species survive."

– Michael Meade, *Fate and Destiny: The Two Agreements of the Soul*