Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Dyeing Day

So I woke up one day last week, a day I had off, and I wondered what I wanted to do with said day. Did I want to do some quilting? Perhaps some dyeing? After all I'd picked a bunch of sumac and I wanted to mordant some cotton cloth, something I'd never tried before, as it's much easier to get natural dye colors to stick on protein fibers such as wool and silk. Or did I want to knit? Or work on some of those yo-yos?

Then I remembered that the sumac berries had been soaking in a pot on the stove for a couple of days and I probably ought to get to them before they went all gross. So then I thought to myself, I thought, Perhaps today IS a good day to dye!


(Picture shamelessly stolen from The Agony Booth,
one of the best time-wasters in the history of the universe.)

So with Worf as my new dyeing mascot, I set about boiling that sumac finally, and while I was at it I threw in my Seven Stars Civil War quilt block because the white was just too white. (It came out much nicer and just how I'd hoped; I haven't gotten a picture of it though; sorry.)

I like to dye little skeins, because I can have more fun with them, and so I came up with this project that is knitting a lot of little squares in a leaf design, to sew together into a sweater. Meaning each little skein, in this lovely soft silk and wool blend yarn, can be its own little tie-dye experiment. Last year I dipped some in black walnut; and the other day I tied some off and put them in the sumac, which gives a soft yellowy-tan.

When they were done I spread them out on a towel on the kitchen table to dry a little and so I could see what I'd got. I had to leave the room then for a bit for some reason (probably had to pee), and when I came back why what did I find?

Left to right that's Ratty, Aleister Meowley, Maurice, and Danny Lyon.

I mean I'm not surprised. On the one hand we have kittens, and on the other yarn. But you can hopefully see, beneath Ratty's little white front paws, some of the skeins I've got half-done.

I also got three yards worth of cotton broadcloth fat quarters mordanted with alum and sumac leaves, which have tannin in them. I didn't do the whole usual alum-tannin-alum method, though I did scour the Hel out of the cotton first by boiling it in detergent for like three hours, as per Liles's instructions. It came out a nice mellow light gold, which will I think make a nice base for whatever I'm going to put on top of it, probably more tie-dyeing or if you want to get all Japanese about it shibori. I haven't done any of that since art school.

As far as the yarn goes I am going to try some black bean dye next; I hear it makes a marvellous blue if you do it right...

1 comment: