Today was one of those days. Mid-March, 60 degrees, sunny, but not too bright. Several friends came over and we dyed fabrics (and napkins and shirts and underwear) with several natural dyes outside on the gravel driveway.
We had all prepared fabrics this past week by washing and mordanting them, and various people brought natural dyestuffs with them: indigo, onion skins, avocado pits, madder root, and sumac. We hauled out gas burners, camp stoves, and hot plates, and several pots and pans. We stirred our dye baths with freshly snapped sticks.
When I lived by myself in Chattanooga years ago, there was a group of women who used to gather once a week for a potluck. We'd all bring projects to work on -- sewing, knitting, bookbinding -- and we spent every Wednesday night gathered around a table or a living room crafting and spilling our lives together.
I learned a lot from those women. Not just the crafts and the recipes, but also stories about heartbreak, falling in love, moving on, starting a family. I think about that time in my life fondly, and I know how special it was to have that strong connection.
Today it felt like I was reliving that experience. Several friends came over and we spent the afternoon dyeing fabrics (and our fingers), eating sweet potato pie out of a dish on the hood of a truck, cooing at babies, marveling at the dye pots, and sharing bits of ourselves along the way.
Hopefully, this will the the first of many natural dye gatherings with these ladies!