Thursday, December 4, 2014

Hedgehogs, 3D Printing and Natural Dyes

Teacup's wool fur was hand-dyed by Connie using eucalyptus.
Chance-met acquaintances and conversations about something other than your novel can add color to your writing, if you let them. If you are open to what can come from not-writing, other than an interruption to the flow.

Take Connie and Tom. We were having breakfast at Chick-fil-A (still my favorite place to write), running my laptop as well as the Bukito 3D printer from the outlet at the end of the bench. 

The printer robot was extruding away, printing a black dragon, thing 17395 from Thingiverse. My spouse was working on a needlepoint canvas and keeping an eye on the printer, while I was "off in Indigo".

Tom came over to check out the printer; Connie was interested in the needlepoint. Then she noticed my Writer At Work door-knob hanger, and the next thing, I was embroiled in a four-way free-wheeling conversation that ranged over printing software and hardware, writing, cooking, NaNoWriMo, dying wool and natural dyes. 

Then Connie dropped a bombshell: Eucalyptus, she informed us, colors wool orange. She knew, because she had made some hand-dyed wool with it.

It happens that I had just named the streets of Indigo using the names of fabrics and dyes, but was coming up short by one dye-named street. I immediately added "Eucalyptus" to my novel notes, and told her so. Then, because Connie had mentioned baking, my spouse picked out a red plastic hedgehog meant to hold toothpicks out of the samples we had printed to give away, and gave it to Connie, explaining that it was ideal for the back of the stove, toothpicks ready to test doneness of baked goodies.

That was Monday. Today, Connie walked up to our table at the restaurant and laid the sweet little wool hedgehog shown above in front of me. She had made it from the eucalyptus-dyed wool in the intervening time. I named it Teacup, and gave it a place of honor on my writing desk.

And how appropriate an orange color this turns out to be for Indigo—dark pumpkin!