Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Braids of First Fiber Dyeing Project

And here are the two (2 oz each) braids of "Celtic Heart," all dry and ready to spin!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Dyeing Adventure Continued

For my first hand-painted fiber I decided to do a colorway inspired by the Irish landscape--not the 40 shades of green, but green grass and trees, the deep brownish/black of peat and rocks, some golden browns, and natural creams and tans.   I sat down and figured out what I thought would be reasonable proportions in mixing the colors I was aiming for, tamped down the "I want to do it perfectly NOW" persona, and dove into the experiment.  The notebook turned out to be quite handy for notes as I go.

First, I put two sections of BFL (2 oz. each) to soak in warm water with a bit of Synthropol.

Then I set about mixing the colors:  2 shades of green, a golden tan (well, that was what I was aiming for), and a deep brown-black.

The soaked fiber is laid out on top of plastic wrap, ready to be painted, using the dye colors and stencil brushes.

The first 2 oz section painted.  It doesn't have enough light and unpainted areas, so plan to leave more "natural" in the second section.  The "golden tan" I had planned is much darker than imagined but... I like it!

The painted section is wrapped and rolled up in the plastic wrap, ready to go to the steamer--after I finish painting the second section.  The brown-black (which I actually mixed using purple) isn't QUITE what I had planned in my head, but it's all right.

Second section painted--better, but will probably wish that I had left even more natural, and done more with lighter tones.  We'll see what happens in the steamer.

And, because I like a couple of the colors and want to have some record of what the formulas produced (and because I have some dye left over), I use some small bits of Romney to do some samples.

They all go into the steamer, their own personal sauna.

When they come out and cool, I unwrap them.  The aqua I used to mix one of the greens has not absorbed--though every other color has absorbed completely.   The blue-green has migrated into the other green more than I would have liked, but for a first try I'm fairly happy with it.  (And the brown/purple/black is absolutely PERFECT!)   Next time I would mix more yellow with the first green, so there is more contrast between the two greens.

Now they wait to dry.  I could hardly wait to unwrap them--how will I wait until they dry to spin them???

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Woven into life

Lovely video about a weaving family whose tradition continues.  I hope we never lose such traditions and craftspeople--who are really artists.   It reminds me why I wanted to become a weaver.


Dyeing to Begin

I've been thinking about getting started with dyeing fiber for awhile now--I so admire the dyeing talent that I see out there in the spinning and knitting world.  I know, intellectually, that it will take me some time to get good at it, but I have one of those "I want to do it perfectly, and I want to do it perfectly NOW" kind of personalities, so I'm going
to have post or record little reminders to myself that it will take lots of practice and experimentation, and I should have fun with it.

I ordered some Greener Shades (no heavy metals) dyes from Still River Mill, some BFL Fiber from    Hampton Artistic Yarns (and consequently some various fibers from a Fiber Fancy de-stash) and today I embarked on the adventure.  Following the process demonstrated by  Deb Menz  in her "Dying in the Kitchen" video I prepared dye stock solutions for seven of the nine colors in the starter kit. (I still haven't mixed the orange or flame red.)

First I ran some errands to get some materials to dedicate to dyeing; the hardest to find were the syringes, but those weren't hard, either--once I determined online that my local Tractor Supply Company has them.

Mixing the dye stock solutions

Seven colors (and citric acid solution) mixed.  (You can see by the rag that we had quite a colorful adventure.)  They need to cool before I use them, but that gives me more time to consider the colors I want to use in my first try.  I'm thinking purple and aqua though, given that it's St. Patrick's Day, I might want to do something a bit Irish--but NOT kelly green.  What do you think?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Beach Crazy

My friend, John, and I met 29 years ago this month.  He's getting settled back into his home office after a rather extensive time with his desk in another area of the house.  Naturally, I think he should have a quilt in the room.   He doesn't disagree, and with a couple dozen of my quilts in their house we think that won't be a problem! 

However, until he happens onto the reading chair he wants in his office (which, given his nature and interests, is primarily a library) none of the quilts is going to migrate there just yet.  I asked, 'I think you need a small quilt, just to put on your desk, don't you think?"  "I'm sure that I do, yes."  (He's been married for 25 years, so he understands the value of just agreeing with a woman when she proposes something that he doesn't feel strongly enough about one way or another to argue about.)

I had been pondering what small quilt to make for his desk when I realized that I already had the perfect piece, albeit it not quite finished.   I'm in a bit a of a crazy craze, working especially on some smaller pieces, and a neutral-colored crazy piece has been a favorite of mine.  It's perfect for John, who is a beach kind of guy.  So, I pulled it out, quilted it (lightly) and bound it.  The photo doesn't show the stitching as clearly as it might, and you may not be able to tell the the row in the upper right corner consists of small shells.  For some reason, I especially like the appliqued circles scattered on the surface and will be doing that in some future crazies.

It's not just beachiness that he loves, but also the sea, so the backing is just a very subtly-patterned blue batik, to simulate the water--should he want a change.