Saturday, 18 July 2015

All The Dyed Yarn

It took me a week to get the pictures of last Sunday's dyeing off my camera and onto the computer so I could post them to show you all. But here they are at last. It was a busy day; I think about 7 dye baths, two of which (cochineal and indigo) had multiple batches of things going into the bath, with over-dyeing and such going on.

First out of the baths were greenweed yellow (which I actually did Saturday night, and left overnight to cool) and orange from dried coreopsis. I usually get a gold from the dried coreopsis, so the orange was a bit of a surprise, albeit a nice one. One coreopsis skein was done with sections in multiple mordants, but the results weren't as dramatic as I hoped; it just looks like a splotchy orange and brown-green (furthest left), not very pretty. That may end up getting over-dyed at some point to try and improve it.

While the coreopsis bath was simmering, I braved the heat and mosquitos and filled pots with sumac leaves for grey and goldenrod plants for olive green. The sumac greys are always interesting because you get a slightly different cast of grey on different fibres and yarns - all three greys in the picture are on different bases, and you can see the difference.

There was also a bath with madder, but I accidentally overheated it and it came out a dull salmon-y rather than the tomato-y red-orange it should have been. Not bad, but not the best. One of the coreopsis skeins got over-dyed with cochineal to fill that gap in my palette. 

The cochineal, indigo, and walnut baths finished the day. Besides the solid skeins that were either plain or over-dyed, there was a dip-dyed greenweed/indigo skein, and a tie-dyed one with bits of coreopsis and cochineal showing through the walnut brown.  But I think the purples and greens from the indigo over-dyes are still my favourites.

Today I'm dyeing just a couple more skeins. A tan with tea, and a gold with onion skin, to fill the gaps in the palette. Altogether a lovely pile of colours, if I do say so myself.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Eye Candy From The Country

Wild and wooly, warm and wet. That pretty much describes my Saturday this week. I'm out at the parents' for the weekend, and it's been a hot, sunny, breezy day - to me, that makes it a good day for fibre, since things will dry well. So laundry and dyeing and fleece washing have been most of the day.

 I started the day with a quick blocking of the hat I finished last night. Ribbed, in a cushy handspun Jacob wool I had a few partial balls of to use up. A post on the little porch proved a great place to put the hat to dry, and incidentally, provided a nice background for the photo.

In between loads of laundry, staying with the Jacob breed, I washed about a fleece and a half that I had gotten a while back and not done anything with yet. This is where the wet and wooly part comes in, since I wash stuff outside, which means hauling hot water in buckets from indoors to fill my tubs. A few old sheets went in a sunny spot for drying, and Mom said it looked like I was working with skunk pelts. Definitely smells nicer than skunk, though!

Cooled wash water from tubs was re-bucketed out and onto a bunch of plants that needed a water and fertilizer shot. More buckets of water came outside in the meantime for the next project, which is a batch of mordanting and dyeing. At this point the clothesline was full of laundry, so I hauled out a big wooden clothes-dryer, because something like 30 skeins got mordanted today.

In the little gaps between waiting for a mordant batch or a fleece batch to be ready for the next step, I got to shell peas. Result, a true green thumb (or at least thumbnail) and a lovely bowl of fresh peas.

Only had time to start one batch of dye after that - greenweed yellow, which will sit overnight - but there will be more dyeing tomorrow, and hopefully pretty pictures of the results. Although I'm planning mostly solid colours, a few of the skeins to be dyed will be multi-coloured, using different techniques, so I can show them as samples for a class I will be teaching at L'Ourse Qui Danse in a couple months. Ran over to the OQD ranch this afternoon to borrow some thiox for tomorrow's indigo dyeing and talk to Johanne about the date for the class - tentatively Sept 19 or 20 at this point. The road going to Johanne's is lovely; gravel road with maple bush along part of it, opening to fields of corn and soy, dark-green and silvery against the late-summer olive of the trees, with the Adirondack mountains misty-blue to the south.

Barbecued local sausages and homemade strawberry shortcake for dinner, and now the last thing before bed will be to go outside to turn off the burner under my dye-pot for the night, watch the fireflies winking for a few minutes, and smell the scent of the lilies in the air. Life doesn't get much better than this.