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.


  • Sounds like you had a wonderful and productive time!
    We just sold our place on Whidbey Island as it got too much for us to care for but we always loved being on island!

    By Anonymous Pat H., at 12:34 PM  

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