Friday, June 4, 2010

Spinning and Dyeing

Several years ago, I took a couple of dyeing work shops. At that time I was dyeing fabric, but we were also encouraged to bring yarn and thread. When I started spinning I dragged out my old notes and searched Ravelry for groups. No surprise there are lots of groups devoted to dyeing. There were two that caught my interest right away: Natural Dyeing (which led to Plants to Dye For) and Dyeing to Dye.”

I had been reading these groups thinking it might be something I’d try after retirement. At Easter there was a mention of dyeing with Easter Egg Dye. Hmmm, no extra equipment, no safety equipment required and best of all no noxious fumes. DH has a respiratory ailment and fumes, dust, etc. are always a concern. After I got back from Myrtle Beach, I hit the nearest WalMart and found some on clearance. I already had some plain fleece that I bought at last year’s Sheep and Wool.

I didn’t take notes and used a combination of several tutorials I found on the web. Here are the results.

I used the purple, blue and green tablets from the kit. I laid the roving on a sheet of plastic wrap and squirted the colors on the roving. Wrapped the yarn in the wrap, rolled it up and steamed it in the crockpot.

Spun singles. The colors are pretty true:

For this batch, I used the yellow, orange and red tablets. I smooshed the roving into the bottom of a 2 liter soft drink bottle. And poured the yellow, orange and red dye into the bottle. Then I steamed the bottle and its contents in a double boiler until the water in the bottle was clear. I absolutely looove this one. I get all warm and fuzzy just looking at it.

Spun singles, once again the colors are pretty true:

Finished yarn. Approximately 147 yards. I must admit that I may never knit this and just enjoy looking at it:

Needless to say I went back to WalMart, found the remaining kits marked down to $.05 and went a little crazy. Yes, the bag is full of dye kits, (sigh)

I started a small dye garden so this year so I’ll only be able to dye small lots. So far the rabbits, deer and chipmunks haven’t bothered them. Next year I’ll expand. Speaking of wild life, you’d think we live out in the country and have acreage. We live in a suburb and have lots that are at most a quarter acre. We’ve always had deer and rabbits, but this year jeez! And they’re not afraid, they watch us watch them!

I planted woad, weld, Japanese indigo and yellow broom straw. I also planted Lavender and will be making sachets to put in with my wool yarn and fleece this fall. I bought the books, “A Weaver’s Garden” and “A Dyer’s Garden” both by Rita Buchanan. A Weaver’s Garden talks about plants for spinning, weaving, tools and soaps. A Dyer’s Garden speaks mainly to dyeing, but it includes full a color picture of the plant, planting, harvesting, instructions on dyeing with the plants and colors you can expect. I use them both and am finding them to be invaluable references.

I spun this before I retired. I didn’t dye this, but love the finished yarn. The yellow came from Cloverhill Yarn shop and the white I bought at last years’ Sheep and Wool. It’s sock weight and even though I don’t make socks, I started these. No pattern, but I’m using the magic figure eight cast on for toe-up socks and the Ice Crystal stitch pattern from the Vogue Sock Knitting book. After I spun it, I lost my notes so I have no idea how much yardage there is. I have 3 other cakes the size of this one.


First sock. Yes, first. The only other pair of socks I made, I knit them two at a time on circulars. I decided to use DPs this time.

The first couple of weeks of retirement were an adjustment, but I think I’m finally in the groove. The best part is that yesterday DH said I cook too much. Woohoo!!!! That works for me!




Sheila said...

The colorways are delciously pretty and to think you used easter egg dye. Now I am really interested. Is it possible to use the same day for fabric too.

Melodye said...

Shiela, Thanks. I don't know about fabric. I'll check and see what I can find out. Hmmm, maybe an experiment coming up!

The Gingerbread House said...

Hello Melodye,your dyeing is beautiful and your spinning looks like a pro!...are you sure you new at this :o)
I can tell your excited about this new craft
it reminds me of me! I wanted to dye with everything..I joined the dye group and learned a lot ...I have a cactus plant that I used the prickly pears to dye (came out beautiful) also used some walnuts that gave off a beautiful brown...Ginny

Beverly said...

Lovely dyeing and spinning. Hope you had a good time in Myrtle Beach.