Sunday, February 22, 2015

A world of possibilities in a dye pot and a spinning wheel...

I made it to six beginning spinning classes without the weather fouling it up... skidding home on the last day literally in a blazing snowstorm, gunning the Volks up the driveway into the garage (why didn't I just get out and shovel those 5 inches?). Whew! I was pretty glad my most excellent mechanic just replaced a bunch of rubbery gaskety parts in my engine.*

Round two starts March 12. What are the chances I can make it to Boulder and back 4 more times at night in the winter? It is worth a shot anyway.

Yesterday we dyed some handspun. Being something of a veteran synthetic dyer, a natural dye class is always fun. It seems so unscientific and just like playing with plants. We did use mordants and we didn't have a lot of time. So mostly we got a spectacular selection of beige with a little purple thrown in thanks to cochineal.

We used ebony, onion skins, cochineal and walnut hulls. We pre-mordanted the yarn in copper, iron, and alum so each dye bath yielded three different colors.

We also rainbow dyed part of a fleece using synthetic dyes.

And here are the resulting yarns and fleece. The fiber is polworth combed top (which moves so fast!).
What could be more fun than playing with fiber and color?
The next questions seem to be, can I learn to spin well enough to spin tapestry yarn, would I want to, and how can I put the incredible possibilities of dyeing and spinning my own yarn to the best use in making art?

If you missed my prior posts on this subject, here they are:
I couldn't put it off any longer: a date with Maggie Casey and company...
Beginner's mind... or daring to try something new

*King's Auto Center in Fort Collins is really outstanding. I have never had such good service anywhere and basically I'm driving a heap held together with bumper stickers and duct tape. I'm pretty sure with this shop standing behind me I might make it to 300,000 miles. Just don't look too closely at the "paint".


  1. 2.23.2015 Thanks for sharing your photo adventure.....I have always had more fun dying fleece with natural gathered materials rather than boring commercial yellow envelopes.....have you tried any lichens yet?....again always yielding surprises...and Indigo is fun, especially if no-one knows you are using baby urine , like the Indians did...ha......from your on-line student on the East Coast, Janet K, who is in the process of warping my big Fireside loom, going to do a self portrait I think....

    1. I haven't tried lichen yet. It isn't okay to dye with lichen from this area as they are so very slow growing. Mostly I think the natural dyeing adventures will have to wait a few years. Enjoy the Fireside Janet! When I was in Erfurt, Germany I heard the story of the Woad factory that had a bar downstairs (this was medieval times) and they saved the drinker's urine in buckets and used it for the woad dyeing. Talk about a business where you make money and also make the product you need for your main business!

  2. I see gray, gold, green, and purple in addition to the beige. Lovely, soft colors.

  3. Trish at Tangled ThreadsFebruary 25, 2015 at 10:58 AM

    And you are going to do this with what free time?

    1. Very excellent question Trish. I have to admit that there isn't any time. But I do hope that one day there will be.


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