Monday, May 26, 2008

Socks and crops

The first Crosswalker sock is finished. It fits FL perfectly. My son tried very hard to get it on - and succeeded, but at such strain to the sock I feared for my stitches! So instead I invited him to choose a skein from the stash – pick a colour, any colour! Instead of carrying on with sock 2 for FL, I have cast on for an entirely different pair for my son, using his choice of yarn, which is unexpectedly bright – pictures will follow when there is something to see.

And on Saturday, Roo’s package arrived – woo hoo! The Jitterbug is so like the much-missed Piece of Beauty merino – the same tight “round” spin. And the dye-ing is gorgeous! I know it has a reputation for short yardage, so this will definitely be socks for me, to avoid disappointment to others. (Sounds convincing doesn’t it?!) And naughty Roo included a bar of Maya Gold in the package – I shared this with the kids, honest!
Most of the weekend was devoted to weeding the herb garden – finished! And I dug over and planted my veg plot: courgettes, golden beetroot, ordinary beetroot, salad mix, sorrel and a special variety of broad beans which can be eaten like mange tout. This seemed like a good idea given the short growing season up here. Now my window sill has a new set of pots as I start off the second set of seedlings: black “cavalo nero” kale, purple sprouting broccoli and some sweet basil. As well as penstemon for the herb garden, to go among the lavender for contrast.

I was also about to sow another batch of woad, as it is a biennial and this is year 2 for the plants I already have.

But then I found this on the web:

“Dyer's woad (Isatis tinctoria L.) is a devastating noxious weed … Dyer's woad displaces native rangeland species and has been observed to reduce forage carrying capacity by an average of 38 percent. Dyer's woad frequently invades dry, rocky soils on rugged terrain making control difficult.”

Oh crikey! What have I done?! Apparently two acres multiplied to 100 acres in the space of two years in one instance in Idaho. Don’t forget that I live on a farm, so there is considerable potential for spread. The critical issue seems to be the seed – let it develop seed pods, and you are doomed. But then again, this “weed” spread because people valued the deep indigo blue dye you can make from it. Time to think about harvesting my crop before it goes to seed, I thought!

So I went here:
http://www.woad.org.uk/
and found out that I am too darned late to harvest my plants – the dye is extracted from the leaves of plants in Year ONE! What a classic error! So I will not be hand-dyeing yarn this year from my own crop of woad… unless I start all over again from seed. And I had better start digging out the current "crop" before it turns into a major agricultural incident! Mutter mutter mutter.

2 comments:

Bryony Ramsden said...

Oh no! But at least you have pretty things :)

RooKnits said...

How rubbish about the woad. Glad the parcel arrived safely. Love the crosswalker too....