Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It was a good day to Dye!

It was a wonderful weekend, even though it started Thursday with a migraine that lasted through Friday. However, on Sunday, LindaLou came down from Kelso to do some dyeing. Linda and I met in Reno, and then I moved. She was pissed! She grew up in Portland, and wanted to get back, and finally did about a year ago.

Preparations for dyeing were interrupted because my washer died. It’s really nice to use the washer to presoak and spin out the fiber.

Sunday, we started out by soaking the warp she bought from me when I moved up here from Reno. Its rayon and cotton mixed, and takes the fiber reactive dyes. It’s been eons since I’ve done any of that kind dyeing, so I had to read up. I found the notes and instruction sheets from a class I took many years ago in San Diego. So, carefully following the instructions, I mixed up the dye.

Then we realized that we really didn’t know how long the warp was, because it had been chained. So after we took it out of the activator soak, we measured it – 16 yards! What was I thinking! Anyway, decided it’s probably enough for 6 shawls with fringe. Because it’s boring to weave 16 yards all the same, we decided to bag up the soaked warp, and Linda would take it, the dyes and accessories home to measure out each shawl on the warp so she could dye them all different colors.

We started on some of my fiber (of which I have a lot…). I use a turkey roaster with the little chaffing trays that I’ve modified by drilling multiple 3/8 holes to make them into steaming trays (sorry no picture of that…). I got a pound and a half of the Merino/Tussah/Bamboo (MBT) done Saturday night, and some prep work done for Sunday.

Water Lilies colorway, MBT and BFL/Tussah
Sunday, we did a lot. It was such a beautiful day that we moved everything outside, and even tried to catch some rays. I finished the first colorway, on Border Leicester/Tussah (boy, does that dye well…).

In the meantime, Linda was thinking that I was wasting dye, so she brought out some mohair locks. I used them to blot the dye off of the roving, and then put it into a plastic bag to steam. It turned out really lovely.
Water Lilies in progress with mohair
Mohair "blotter"
She also does really cool scarves – nuno felted, felted and shibori. She brought some silk scarf blanks and we blotted color with them too. The one on the right is my favorite – it looks like aged copper.
Silk Blotter scarves - future shibori
The next colorway is warmer, also done on both the MBT and Border Leicester/Silk. I like the MBT better, personally, but they’re both pretty cool!

BFL/Tussah Smith Rocks Colorway 
About the time we were hanging stuff out to dry, it started clouding up. When the temp started dropping, we moved everything back inside, leaving the roaster on the covered porch. The fumes bother both Linda and I, so leaving it outside was the best option. I also moved the poles that I hang stuff on to the porch.

Relocated Drying racks (note undyed fiber - it won't last)
However, with some snow, and more rain last night, not much dried! I’ll have to bring it all inside to dry.
The good news is that I’m picking up a washer today after work, so I’ll be able to rinse everything that needs it, and spin it out, which will hasten the drying process. UPDATE: The guy's wife gave it to a co-worker, so I'm back on the hunt...  I hate going to the laundromat...

I made up a new song for farm chores (to the tune of “Singing in the rain”):
I’m feeding in the rain
I’m feeding in the rain
What a soggy old feeling
Slip sliding away
I’m slogging out the hay
Keeping the ‘pacas at bay
I’m feeding, I’m feeding in the rain.

Looks like I’ll be singing this song for the foreseeable future! I've had 52 inches of rain since the beginning of November.


Allison said...

Looks like you came up with some awesome colors! I'll bet that long warp was for those shawls you were going to weave and sell. Tho I could be wrong! Didn't you do some long painted warps at one time?

Michelle said...

So do you SELL your roving??? I'm really drawn to the MBT in the Water Lilies colorway (and need some distraction...)!

Mim said...

All so beautiful, wish I was there!

Sharon said...

Allison showed me your post when I was there on Wednesday. The colors are great - I'm envious, as in I want to spin them up for myself!

Jody said...

Wow that is alot of rain...you must be feeling very soggy :-)
Beautiful colours from your dyepots. I am not much on dyeing but would like to try my hand at it one of these days. It looks like so much fun!

Valerie said...

Hi Laura...
thanks so much for you kind comment about the prayer shawls. Your email address didn't come up to respond directly.

Your description of your Dad's voice sounds a bit like Garrison Keillor's voice in terms of available range.

Love the colors from your dye day, in case I didn't get around to commenting before.