So, the next morning the sheep rather excitedly had a peek in the pan to see how it looked...
Well, it looks black in the bucket... but oh dear, when we got it out, the dye just dripped off and it turned out browny yellow. Hmmm 'But I'm not yellow said the dog waiting for his coat"
Panic set in. Quick email to Helen and shrieks on facebook for help from woolly friends and back in the pan for another boil up. Bubble bubble, oooh looking good! Certainly looks black and the spoon was going black and so was the sling I'd used to tie up the oak galls in. But it just went brown.
Two days of boiling up and waiting overnight and boiling up and waiting and advice from adding rusty nails to soaking more to starting again and using walnut shells to just keep trying (I did put a rusty nail in the last batch) and I got the most beautiful array of browns and the most lovely of choklit browns. Wonderful and perfect Welsh Mule sheep colour for knobbly knees and noses but not sheepdog colour.
The lovely Cecilia came to the rescue by pointing out to me that Welsh sheepdogs are often brown. Hurrah!! even better! I looked online and sure enough there they were. Oh but they were ginger brown not dark choklit. But it was too late now, I'd used up my oak galls up and the mordants and time was ticking and a choklit dog seemed appropriate for Celestine. So, a frenzy of making and squeeing and growling and muttering as my process goes from oh that's so wonderful to oh my goodness looks like a donkey felted it to oh squee to oh no its going in the bin to oh um maybe maybe it might do....
and then on my page, when I finally posted a pic of the dog a lady said oh he looks like my choklit collie. Hurrah! They exist.
So then we got a choklit lamb too.
Welcome to Welsh Mule ewe, her little lambs and the choklit brown Collie Welsh sheepdog. All made entirely from the Welsh Mule Cambrian Mountain wool and dyed with oak galls collected in the region. The only thing not Cambrian is the pipecleaner legs and glass eyes... but I'm sure there is a pipe cleaner tree growing in the Cambrian mountains somewhere.... you just need to look....
I am now sitting looking at them wondering if they are good enough to send off or not.... the hardest bit of all!