Posted on November 23, 2004 at 8:46 am

I am blessed to have an old white enameled sink in my kitchen.  It is a deeply double-tubbed thing of pragmatic beauty that we found in a salvage yard after an 18 month-long hunt when we re-did the kitchen.  Like many prized antiques, it is signed and dated, Kohler 1954.  It has a few chips and a patina that no amount of bleach can erase.  But that is part of its charm.  It lends an air of authenticity to a six-year-old kitchen in a 220-year-old house.  It is the prize piece in the room.  So it is hardly a place where I can wash fiber, because wool is loaded with one of two things:

1. sheep shit, and I might add, other ripened field souvenirs gathered haphazardly over a year of living in the open.  My husband does not believe that it is possible to wash all evidence of the animal out of the sink, nor out of the wool.  Like a child who balks at hamburger once they learn where meat comes from, he has begun to look at all sweaters with suspicion.  He even thinks that his commercially-made wool socks smell funny now (I promise you that no sheep should be held responsible for that).  He is concerned, perhaps rightly so, for the health of the family, and since he gave up meat because of his concerns over the cleanliness of the slaughter process and the fun new element of mad cow, I respect his concern that washing something loaded with who knows what in his food prep area is like flirting with disaster.

2. dye, and not only that, but dye in a colour that is unsympathetic to our colour scheme.  A pink sink is simply out of the question.  I know what you’re thinking: you’re thinking "gee, doesn’t this moth woman know to exaust her dye solution before she dumps the water down the sink?  The she woudn’t have to worry all that much about the dye staining her enamel, since all of the dye would be in the wool."  You forget: this is me.  Do I ever read a pattern close enough to get to the end and have the correct number of stitches?  Do I ever have the right amount of yarn to finish a project?  So do you think that I measure well enough to reach that perfect balance of dye, water, and wool so that the dye is clear after simmering even for hours? 

Dye_sinkFortunately, the laundry sink in the basement is a place I am permitted to use for the washing of fleeces, but I am not allowed to use it for the rinsing of dye because it is also a white enamel sink and original to the house.  It’s the kind of sink you could wash your dog in.  Even if your dog was a Saint Bernard.  So my husband, the inveterate trash-picker and flea market fiend, came home one day with this sink he found on someone’s curb and set it up in the driveway.  Note that he didn’t even put it on one of our "good" trashcans, but on this little number that doesn’t have the credentials of a lid, so he won’t worry that the dye water would "ruin" it. 

Ruin a trash can. 
I repeat: ruin a trash can?

He has suggested that maybe in the future, that he might set me up in the basement with a dedicated sink where I can muck about with all the dye and sheep shit and mudpies I want, behind a level 2 decontamination shower and air lock of course.