Daedalus had guessed well: that I would like the whole business of it, the simplicity and skill at once, the smell of the wood, the shush of the shuttle, the satisfying way weft stacked upon weft. It was a little like spell-work, I thought, for your hands must be busy, and your mind sharp and free. Yet my favourite part was not the loom at all, but the making of the dyes. I went hunting for the best colours, madder root and saffron, the scarlet kermes insect and the wine-dark murex from the sea, and alum powder to hold them fast in the wool. I squeezed them, pounded, soaked them in great bubbling pots until the stinking liquids foamed up bright as flowers: crimson and crocus yellow and the deep purple that princes wear.