Scattered, a Lesson. With a Loquat Dye.

Saturday morning I stood at our table preparing skeins for a mordant bath, lost in thought, when my 12 year old broke through this spell to ask:

“Mom, why are you wearing only one shoe?”

My response was similar to a “Huh? Hmmm?” followed by a quick glance down at my feet, where I noticed he was correct, I was indeed wearing only one shoe. I looked up at the ceiling, took a breath, and tried to retrace my steps of the last hour.  A wisp of memory floated through. That’s right, I was looking for my shoes… and I found one …did I ever find the other one? Apparently not.

Without a reasonable explanation, I smiled at him and replied “Are you surprised?”

The obvious answer is no. They know that Mom does these types of things, like an absent-minded professor, except I’m not a professor. I’m a creative person who squeezes in as many ideas/projects/experiments into not-enough free time, which leads to multiple things occurring simultaneously. At that specific moment, I was working on three.


I dropped the skeins and resumed my hunt for the missing shoe, which I decided was likely on our front porch. No shoe, but tucked in the corner near our bench, I noticed the small leafy branch of a loquat tree my Mom dropped off the previous Monday. Oh right! I forgot about that! And without much thought to my still missing shoe,  I carried the branch back inside, past the skeins left on the table, to do a dye. Just a quick one.  What’s one more project added to my project pile?


I found this dye while flipping through Natural Color by Sasha Duerr. A loquat tree, many years older than my 40 years, still grows at my childhood home. I ate its fruit each summer and dodged the seeds from stellar jays as they ate their own share. And its leaves were sitting on my porch waiting to be processed into a new experiment.

With about 8 ounces of leaves, I went through the basic dye process while glancing at her book to make sure I wasn’t skipping an important note. I tore up the leaves, let them boil for over an hour until the water turned a dark apricot-pink (!!) and then threw in a sample.


From top to bottom: alum mordant, no mordant, iron mordant

I sent a text to my Mom with the attached photo: Your loquat tree does this. I need more.

By Saturday evening, my skeins were off the table and happily soaking up an alum mordant, my new dye plants were planted in the garden, a different blog post was almost complete, and an avocado dye was prepped and ready to go. My wildchild creative side was satisfied. My reasonable side was in a panic as she woke to find a house of chaos.

Every morning I begin with one goal: focus, be present, don’t try to accomplish all items on your mental to-do list. (Make that a few goals.) I put so much pressure on myself  to produce, and complete, that at times I wonder what the hell I’m doing it all for. As I sit here typing this, I can feel a glowing ember of impatience, a physical burning in my chest.  To the right of my laptop is a new knitting pattern that I wanted to start several days ago. My mind is itching to pick up my needles.  It never, ever ends.

At least today I’m wearing both shoes. Small steps.






  1. Lovely post! You are a great writer! I’m inspired by your dye experiments and have a couple skeins of alum mordanted yarn ready to prep into mini skeins. Next some iron and then copper. Not sure I can grow loquat in Oregon, but it’s interesting. Thank you!

  2. Oh my! I just read this post and had to laugh and roll my eyes! It sounded like me on most days! Do I have to parent my children, clean a house, or meal prep when all these thoughts are zooming around waiting to be turned into real projects! And the list grows as the day progresses 🤪. Have fun filling your next day!

  3. I just saw this and wondered if the dye was stable over time. Beautiful colours and lovely to find a fellow traveller

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