This time I was careful to keep them cool, so the dye wouldn’t turn brown. I dyed two samples each of yarn and cotton, and dipped one set in a mild vinegar solution, as I’ve read that can sometimes increase the brilliance of a dye.
Not what I hoped for, but still.
Again, I can’t call the experiment a failure. These are nice yarns, and are, for the most part, very pretty. Both copper-mordanted yarns are a lustrous, sterling silver that I really like, surprisingly metallic for such a matte yarn. And the vinegar post-mordant gelatin, soy, and urine yarns* are subtle, elegant lavender and pink. Water hyacinth. Cherry blossom.
The vinegar-dipped fabric was particularly interesting. This mottled look has exciting possibilities, and I really like it, particularly the iron, gelatin, and soy versions pictured in closeup at left. The gelatin and soy are more of a textural success than a color success; the iron-mordanted swatch is just fantastic.
And yet, no recreation of the vibrancy of bougainvillea.
In a sad way, these three experiences reflect the evolution of my relationship with Teri. After she moved away, we had only two or three brief reunions. Although we’ve spoken here and there on the phone over the years, we’ve never been able to recreate the natural vibrancy of our youthful friendship. This is mostly my fault.
It would be easy to blame the situation on my parents. I was emotionally timid by that age. They didn’t think about how much I would miss her, how young I was, how I might need guidance in reaching out to her, reassurance that it was okay. Possibly they should have. But it isn’t fair to blame them.
My parents had their own issues. Neither one of them was raised to reach for something they longed for, something just out of reach. They were both raised, rather, to forget. To let lie. To be satisfied with what is at hand. And so, therefore, was I. And if they had known what I needed, if I could have told them, they may have responded differently. At that age, I did not yet have a voice; I could not yet speak for myself. That took twenty-five more years.
Teri reached out during our adolescence and early adulthood, but I never reached out in return.
Then I was neck deep in alcoholism, and when I surfaced, sober, I was incapable of real relationship, wrapped up, for several years, in staying sober at all costs, in healing my broken mind, and becoming the kind of person who could have grown-up relationships. I am still not great at them, but I am better.
By the time I was healthy enough to reach out to her, Teri had moved on. I called her after her mother died, and she sounded like she couldn’t care less to have me on the phone. I’d disappointed her so many times, she’d stopped trying.
I don’t blame her, but sometimes I miss her, and wonder, what if I just tried. One more time.
*A short note on the use of urine as a mordant: A traditional mordant for possibly thousands of years, urine is also known as a “conditioner” for wool, in that wool mordanted or treated with urine is softer than that not so treated. My urine-mordanted yarns are amazingly soft and supple. Interesting, no?!