Monday, May 28, 2012

To Dye For

 Simply stated, my holiday weekend has been a 
long-awaited natural dyeing marathon. Woo-Hoo! 
(French Marigolds, above, are now drying.
More on this later in the summer!)

Have a look at my weekend:
(and if you have any questions about natural dyeing, etc.
 please leave a comment - I'd love to hear from you!)
My dear friend Vickie once gifted me a handful 
of the softest white Romney.
It was destined for a big pot of Logwood.
Following Vickie's Romney was Cathy Sovocool's 
squoooshy Alpaca yarn. Because the yarn went into 
the second generation of the Logwood dye bath, 
the result was paler than what I was hoping for.
So, I overdyed the Alpaca in Lac.
Now this makes me happy!
A closer look at a few more:
Vickie's white Romney dyed in Logwood (top right)
Foxwood's white Cormo roving dyed in Lac (middle)
Christine Johnson's black Romney dyed in 
3rd generation Logwood (back)

I can't wait to dye again, and then knit and spin 
all of these beautiful fibers! 
Amidst the whirlwind of dye pots and fiber, 
I realized that I know each Shepardess, 
or have at least met her, and that by dyeing every thing
myself using only green dyes is all very satisfying. 
(BTW, we grew those strawberries!)

Moving on to cotton, here are my Dad's old dress shirts.
The laundromat misspelled his name.... 
Pre-mordanting took all three days so I'll follow up   
with dye results in a future post.
 If you're unfamiliar with dyeing cellulose materials, 
like cotton, the first step is to soak the cotton in 
a tannin bath, and then an alum bath, 
thus allowing the fiber to absorb the dye. 
It sounds tedious, but gathering sumac early in 
the morning to boil and make my own tannin solution 
was kind of fun. Otherwise, the pre-mordanting process 
was just many hours of soaking in one pot and then the next.

Between pots of pre-mordants and pots of dye, 
some spinning took place. That lovely ball of natural white  
wool is a gift from my dear friend Lara in Virginia. 
Gorgeous weather, irresistible colors, fresh food from the garden -
what a great start to summer!

And at the end of each day there's Stanley, one cool cat.

Thanks for checking out my natural dye adventures.
Stay tuned for more as the summer unfolds!


  1. My oh my! I'm so glad that you have had a weekend filled with the things that I know you love to do! What gorgeous colors - each and every one. The Lac especially caught my eye!

    1. I have been thinking about you all weekend - I know this was a non-stop series of celebrations for your family! I did really enjoy myself this past weekend and am already planning for this coming weekend. No surprise we both like the color resulting from Lac. Good thing I have more, although I saw avacado skins offering similar results...can't wait to try. Thanks Tracy!

  2. Your dying is amazing and so beautiful! I dyed with marigolds a few years ago and got really good results. I kept them in a ziplock bag in the freezer until there were enough to make a dye bath with. Your wheel is awesome! What kind is it? Looks like you had a great weekend :)

    1. Thanks Lara! I have avacado skins & pits in the freezer for dyeing later this summer. I am so excited to try many different techniques and share them right here - you always have great tips and ideas Lara!
      I spin on a Schacht Matchless. I'll take any advice or suggestions for a travel wheel - searching for one.

  3. I have a Kromski Sonata and love it!

  4. Is the Sonata a travel wheel? Your spinning is so beautiful.