Life on Silverhill

Monday, July 17, 2006

Dye Party

What fun! I went to a dye party! There were several dye pots going with an assortment of dyes and colors. A couple pots of Indigo, one of onion skins and Montana goldenrod, a purple/lavender pot, and one that kept changing colors throughout the day. It progressed from a teal-ish color right along to red and fuschia!
This is the onion skin/goldenrod pot. The fleece I tossed in there came out orange, but most of the color rinsed out and I wound up with a pretty light yellow. I had soaked my fleece in water with a splash of vinegar overnight, and gave it a short dip in alum before throwing it into the pot.

There were several stations set up for people to paint roving. This is some wool/silk roving being painted with cochineal, madder, and other natural dyes that I can't remember the names of. I painted a silk roving with these.

The indigo pot was fascinating! It needs to be brought up to a very specific temperature and color (you are supposed to see a yellow tint just under the scum) before you add fiber to it. You can let your fiber stay in there as long as you want, and when it comes out it changes color from yellowy-green, through many different shades of green, and it ends up some shade of indigo blue when it is done oxidizing. I think the way it works is the longer it stays in the pot, the bluer it will end up.

This is the magic dye pot that kept changing colors all day. Everytime the dye bath exhausted, someone would dump another color in (as you can tell, this was highly scientific!) This picture is towards the end of the day when we all decided we were tired of blues and greens, so we went for red and fuscia. It was so interesting to see the different colors that came out of the same pot, depending upon what kind of wool went in. We had everything from deep red to shocking pink to many shades of salmon. Reproducible?? NO WAY!!! But who needs reproducible when you're having this much fun??

Here's some of what we all did.

And here's what I made.

Some people dyed self-patterning sock yarn. It's an interesting procedure - fun to watch, but probably not something I'll ever do myself. Basically, you take your skein of yarn and tie it off into two or four yard hunks (a special pegged board is a tremendous help here), depending on how big you want the repeats. Then you paint each hunk separately depending upon what you want your pattern to be. The whole thing gets steamed to set the dye. Then the real trick is to undo the separate hunks and reskein the yarn without getting a tangled mess!

So now I am all inspired (once again) to set up for dyeing at home. Every once in a while the dyeing bug hits me, and I'll go out and get some of the supplies. I am down to needing a heat source and dyes. Some of the girls were using the base from a turkey deep fryer, hooked up to a BBQ propane tank, with their own dyepots on top instead of the gigantic turkey fryer pot. Seemed like a good idea, so I will think about that for a while. I even found them at the local Ace Hardware.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Home At Last!!!!

I am happy to say that I am home at last! After a 3 1/2 day trip across the country, DH, Cookie and I arrived May 20, on the 10:00PM ferry. Miss Cookie Cat turned out to be quite the little traveller. She had all her possessions in the back of the car - bed, litter box, food bowl and water bowl - plus, my lap in the front of the car. What more could a little kitty want? In fact, she was so content in the car that she refused to leave it until we got to the house, thus the super speedy trip across the country. You see, it was about 95 degrees in the midwest, and we had to drive from sunup to sundown in order to keep the car cool enough for the cat. Made for some pretty long days! Animals are so amazing - when we got on the ferry, I told her that the next stop would be home. And the cat who wouldn't leave the car hopped right out when we parked at the garage, walked right into the house, explored a little, curled up in her bed and went to sleep!

About 4 days after we arrived, the movers arrived with all our earthly possessions. We were happy that everything arrived in one piece, with the exception of some very minor damage to the patio table. Considering that we had some extremely heavy and bulky items, it is truly amazing that there was no damage. We were very pleased with our driver and his crew on both ends of the move.

So now we have been here for seven weeks, and we are settling in quite nicely. The pictures are hung on the walls, the furniture has been rearranged twice, and we are starting to get the yard in order. Getting the yard in order required the purchase of a 50hp John Deere tractor, which is a pretty cool toy! We have lots of brush to cut back from the house (big wildfire threat) and trails to blaze through the woods.

It is so much fun to go get our mail at the post office! The town is very cute, the library is right across the street, and on clear days we can see the Cascade Mountains!

This is a photo of Camano Island, right across the sound.

And such is life on magickal Whidbey Island!