Archive for Dyeing

Homespun: A Treasure Rediscovered

 

In the Winter 2017 Spin Off, I found an article called “Homespun Heritage”. The article highlighted the 1975 documentary film “Homespun” by Sharon and Tom Hudgins; they  filmed local folks from the southern Appalachian Mountains shearing sheep, washing, carding spinning, dyeing and weaving wool. Now, thanks to the  National Archives , the film is available via YouTube.  Take a look!

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A Garden to Dye For: Book Review

Since I am very interested in natural dyeing, I am always on the lookout for new titles.  A Garden to Dye for: How to Use Plants from the Garden to Create Natural Colors for Fabrics & Fibers by Chris McLauglin is both beautiful and informative; it is a wonderful combination of gardening and dyeing. The book also includes a plans for designing a dye garden.  If you are interested in natural dyeing, why not try growing your own dye plants.  I have a bag of coreopsis (tickseed) and marigold blooms from last year in my freezer waiting for the dye pot.  I am planning to use them soon and yes I have coreopsis and marigolds growing in my garden now. The book is divided into several categories including a section on dyeing with herbs and a recipe for dyeing with black beans.  Who knew you could dye with beans?

 

Check out the review from Amazon.com

 

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Stash Busting: Kool-Aid Dyed Yarn

I am finally getting around to spinning my odds & ends of  Corriedale roving that Paul and I dyed with our friends last Summer. Over the next couple of weeks, I hope to finish spinning my odds & ends, since I have a whole bag of Abner’s roving to spin, too.  Here’s to stash busting!

On the Bobbin

On the Bobbin

Spun Yarn with Mini Red Peppers

Spun Yarn with Mini Red Peppers

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Shibori Dyeing: Fabric

What can you do with a bunch of rubber bands, nails, screws, pvc pipe and dental floss? Shibori dyeing, of course!

I was lucky enough to attend Mallory Steele’s (local artist) Dye Shibori workshop at the Women’s Industrial Exchange back in February.  Shibori is a resist dyeing technique using objects such as wooden blocks, rubber balls, nails, screws, etc… to resist the dye. Another technique involves stitching or gathering fabric in various patterns before dyeing. Using dental floss, I wrapped and gathered fabric around a pvc pipe before placing it in the dye bucket (cloth on the right).

Here are my results:

Sample Cloth: Green

Sample Cloth: Green

Here’s a short clip to demonstrate the process:

Arashi Shibori Dyeing

I also dyed two scarfs by grouping several screws randomly on the cloth and gathering them together with rubber bands. The screws create a starburst pattern (purple scarf).  My second scarf was created by bunching the fabric, mimicking the pole wrapping without the pole. Again, the fabric was gathered using dental floss.

Purple Scarf

Purple Scarf

Red Scarf

Red Scarf

 All of the fabric was dyed using Pro MX Reactive Dyes  by Pro Chemical and Dye.  This dye does require a dye activator or soda ash, plus salt. We used a pool ph balancer for the dye activator.  It worked great. Also, once the activator is added, the dye liquid cannot be altered. 

Overall, the class was both educational and entertaining.  I am looking forward to trying shibori dyeing at home.    

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Peace Statue Modeling Scarf

Since yesterday was a beautiful day, we decided to meet and have lunch in the park (West Mount Vernon Place).  It was there that inspiration struck….I have been wanting to take a picture of Paul’s scarf and yesterday we found the perfect model:

Peace Statue Modeling Scarf

Peace Statue Modeling Scarf

 
It’s so wonderful to see our work come together:  all hand dyed, handspun and hand knitted.

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What’s the Madder? Dyeing with Madder Root

Last year at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, I purchased a natural dyeing starter kit from Earth Guild.  I am enchanted with natural dyeing, so I thought this would be a great way to get started.  I decided to try dyeing with madder root.

I soon found out that madder root is tricky.  Many factors can influence the final outcome: soil, age of roots, temperature of the dye bath (too hot will pull out the browns shades), using whole roots or ground roots and hardness of your water.  If your water is too soft, some dyers recommend adding calcium carbonate to the dye liquid.

Here’s my process for dying with madder root:

At first I soaked the whole roots in a large glass container for about two days.  Then I poured off the liquid to remove the brown hues.  Since I was refreshing the water, I decided to chop up the roots using an old coffee bean grinder; it works great even on wet roots. I borrowed a large grain sock from my husband’s beer making equipment and stuffed the ground up roots inside.  My previous experiments have taught me to be careful about what goes into the dye pot with roving.  Otherwise, you will spend a lot time picking out pieces of root debris.  Again, I let the liquid stew for several days.  Finally, I added my corriedale roving to the dye pot.

Since my previous adventures with natural dyeing have resulted in varying shades of yellow, even thought the package predicted shades of red or orange (see eucalyptus post), I decided not to mordant the wool. If I did mordant the wool, I may have gotten stronger red tones.  In the end, I am happy with my results……no yellow hues!

 

Corriedale roving dyed with Madder Root

Corriedale roving dyed with Madder Root

 

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More Hand Painted Roving

Since we had such a great time hand painting our roving/yarn, we decided to gather again.  Thankfully, the rain paused long enough,  so we could dye outside in the backyard.  We used the Pro Chemical dye solutions from the last time, because they can be stored for six months.  While the roving/yarn was steaming, we gathered for our potluck dinner.  Great food and good times!

 

Hand Painted Roving

Hand Painted Roving (Corriedale)

 

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