Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Dye Day!!

The 4th of July was Dye Day. The most successful dye days are gatherings with no more than 2 people per burner and dye pot. Don't get me wrong, I have been to Everyone's-Invited dye days and workshops, and they are a lot of fun, but from those you go home with enough dyed material for maybe a sock or hat. A true working dye day is one that ends with pounds of colorful stuff filling all your clotheslines and sweater dryers. Yesterday was just such a day. Despite it being hot, windy and dusty out at Sage Creek Farm, we spent almost 8 hours immersing and painting and anything else we could think of doing to fiber. Sharon even tried some natural dyeing with lupine that she collected from the desert around her farm. We only stopped for hot dogs and rootbeer (Thanks, Ian!).

Unless you are terribly disciplined and math-inclined (which I am not on weekends and holidays) dyeing can yield all kinds of surprising results. For instance, on past dye days I have tried to achieve wonderful reds and oranges, and ended up with pink. Lots of pink. Several friends of mine have been the happy recipients of cheery pink roving. Have I mentioned that there is only one color that I don't like? Pink...ick.

Here are before and after shots of some handspun merino that I painted dye on, wrapped tightly in clingwrap, and steamed for about 30 minutes.
Yesterday's color of the day was teal. I had brought along a large Aquafina bottle filled with dye liquid from a dye day several years ago. It had been cluttering up my garage since then and I wanted to move it along to a better place (anywhere other than my garage). This turned out to be amazingly giving dye. When we mixed it with other colors, the teal overwhelmed. When we painted it on roving with other colors, it spread to dominate. And when the finished fiber was rinsed it bled teal and bled teal and bled more teal. At the end of the day there was still lots of teal dye left. I strategically left it behind to occupy Sharon's garage for future teal fun.

Here is a group shot of my dye-day booty:
The pea-mush stuff in the colander (not the color I was aiming for) is alpaca, and it is taking much longer to dry than the wool. Perhaps I can blend it with some other color...

I'll be sure to let you know what these now-colorful fibers grow up to be. At the end of the day I had a bunch of new (mostly teal) stuff in my stash and a teal ring around my bathtub.

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