Saturday, September 12, 2009
Hi Everybody--I am sorry to have been away for so long from writing. I have started my school year with teaching handwork to a wonderful group of homeschoolers, grades 1 through 7. I have also been working on a latch-hook rug for someone. The rug was designed and started by a dear Waldorf community friend. She designed the rug for her daughter, and I am finishing the hooking for her. It is quite large and very beautiful. I hope to be done by the end of October. In addition, I've been dying up a storm trying to stock my shop for the fall. I've got a festival in early October here in Pine Lake, Georgia--Lakefest. I will have a booth, and I'm working on smaller items to sell at this time. Okay, enough chit-chat. Let's talk dying....
So here's a great shot of one of my mordant pots. I really load 'em up. I think this one has mohair yarn, mohair boucle, worsted, handspun angora rabbit by Misty from Desired Haven Farm, maybe a silk....I will put up to 11 skeins of worsted in a pot to mordant. Usually I do 10, and on rare occasions, when I had a big crew coming over to dye, I have done 12. Here's my recipe--4 Tablespoons of Alum--scant--(potassium aluminum sulfate) and 4 teaspoons of Cream of Tartar--super generous--per pound of fiber.
I should mention that anything still in the grease (with lanolin) I scour in the washing machine. It is a trick I learned from Tom Knisley at The Mannings in Pennsylvania. You run hot water in the washer. I add laundry soap and my yarn. I agitate for about 20 seconds and let it sit for an hour or so. You can see the lanolin coming out of the yarn. I spin it out, fill it with hot water to rinse, agitate for 20 seconds again, let it sit a bit, and spin it out again. I'll continue rinsing until I don't see any soap. My yarn is then really clean for dying. I do this with all the base yarns I get that are not scoured. Some come scoured already, and then I just rinse them with hot water in the washer. I love how the house smells when I mordant stuff. First I have that lanolin smell from spinning out the yarn. (Oh, I spin out raw wool and mohair that way too.) Then there's the mordant smell. I don't know. I just makes me happy.
A good chunk of August was spent with earth tones. I just felt them calling me. I dyed just about everything I could with earth tones--yarn, felt, milk fiber, mohair locks, BFL locks, wool fabric, cotton knit skin fabric...you name it, I was trying to dye it. I didn't even think that much about selling it. I dyed the wool fabric on a whim. Maybe it could be used for making root children babies. It ended going to another Etsy seller who is using it for Reiki attuned dolls that she makes. I thought that was so cool. Another Etsy seller has requested some skin fabric for the tiny necklace dolls she makes Rosemary4Remembrance. I have purchased from her before. Her work is exquisite! Back to the earth tones.
I'll now share one of my complicated techniques used for dying variegated yarns. Yes, strewn about my kitchen counter, out of the reach of the two year old wonder girl, you will find various bits of cord in various lengths and loops. I also use different drawers and cabinets for dying varying lenghths of colors. Oh, I bet there might be some of you wondering what milk fiber is. I only found out in July, and if you are all already in the know, forgive me. It is an extruded protien fiber made from milk protien. It has some interesting properties. It is very soft, and it also has some antibacterial fighting power. I think it is bacteria. It could be virus. Oh darn, now I'll have to go look it up. Anyway...I hope to be writing again sooner. I will try to put milk fiber next on the agenda. I have had quite a bit of success dying the fibers with plant dyes. They are lovely. Until then, Happy Fibers to all! Thanks for letting me share!