Gosh, it's just like I plan the puns, isn't it?
Amanda (of the comments) and her sister Christy helped me collect about 50 of Christy's black walnuts today. They humor me, I keep them amused.
With kids at soccer practice and jazz band practice, I hulled the cursed things. Many of them had little worms in them, and I can't imagine how the worms can live in such an astringent environment. Symbiosis, I guess. And Evolution. You didn't think I could work something politically sensitive into a piece about dyeing wool with natural dyes, did you? I'm special like that. (Ok, and I can't find out what kind of worm it is because, apparently, black walnut hulls -- more specifically a tincture made from the same green hulls I'm using -- is a treatment for intestinal parasites more of which I'd prefer not to view.)
If you embiggen the above picture, you may be able to see the worms in the bottom left. If you want to that is. The gal in the magazine didn't mention the wrigglers in her description of hulling the walnuts.
So here I have the walnut hulls in a zippered fine mesh case in a plastic 10 gallon tub. I started out using that hammer in the upper right hand side of the picture, but soon left off with it and just split them by hand. The hammer was too splashy.
Now, according to the magazine, all I have to do is wait a week and I'll have dye. Not that big of a deal, really. Pick up the nuts, hull them, put hot water over the hulls, and wait. I wonder if the smell she talked about in the article (actually she just said that her family objected to her simmering the yarn in its dye bath indoors and I extrapolated stink) is related to the worm carcasses or if the astringency of the hulls and the dye nullify that component. We'll see, won't we. Next Tuesday or so in fact. And if you want to throw any thing dyeable in with the yarn, let me know by then. I think there'll be plenty.
Next time? Double up the gloves.