Dying Time Again

Since my last post, the window shade project has taken a turn. We went over to Candy & Adam’s house with the samples and had a long discussion of what they liked and didn’t. I came home with some notes and plans to refine the patterns and make some new samples. I had left some of the sample warp on the loom so I could do further samples.

I left the samples taped to the windows at the house. I told Candy & Adam that they needed see them in different lights, at different times of the day. I got a call a few days later: the white fabric didn’t work at night. It looked washed out and boring. In hindsight I realized, of course, there’s a reason no one puts white drapes on white walls. Door Sample

We discussed the color palette and I decided to dye the yarn and fabric strips I already have. This way I’ll be able to use the yarns I’ve already acquired for the project, and get the palette exactly as I want it. So I ordered some fiber reactive dyes from Dharma and now I’m in the process of doing color tests.

I have started with each color straight from the jar. I like the soda soak & cold batch method for dying. I’ll be painting the dye onto the yarn and fabric strips, so this method is appropriate. I prepared small samples of the yarns and fabric strips, and mixed all of the colors the same strength. I want to be very systematic about it, so I can recreate the results when I get the palette I like. I’ll need to dye a couple thousand yards of yarn and fabric strips.

The first group of samples came out very dark, too dark. Yesterday I mixed the dyes at half and quarter strength. Cold batch means that you leave the dyed material wet for 24 – 48 hours to set the dye. Since I left the first round of sample setting for 48 hours, I will leave all the second set for the same amount of time. I was tempted to take out the quarter strength samples after 24 hours because I’m trying to get some pale shades, but then decided against it in order to keep my tests consistent.  If you only change one variable with each test, then you know what caused the results. Tomorrow I’ll rinse out the samples, then wash and dry them. After that, I’ll move on to adjusting the colors.DyeTests

Of course, I have other projects going at the same time. I have an 8 harness point twill warp on my 24″ Dorothy table loom that I’m weaving off. The results will be additional samples to help inform my Exploring Twills workshop for the Southern California Handweavers Guild, coming up next month, March 9 & 10. I have decided to de-acquire my 24″ wide, 8 harness Dorothy table loom. As soon as I get this warp woven off , I will list it on Craig’s List or something.

Next Monday, February 11, I’m speaking at the Palomar Handweavers Guild and leading a half-day workshop on using recycled materials in fiber art.

TopDownTI’m about ready to finish a knitted t-shirt for myself.  This is a rather unusual occurrence. As much as I love to knit, I have made very few garments over the years, only three things for myself. This is a top-down t-shirt I started almost a year ago. It’s an original pattern developed by Suzanne at Unwind in Burbank. I bought the yarn and signed up for the class to learn the pattern during last year’s LA Yarn Crawl.

I pitched in a donation and made some granny squares for Yarnbombing Los Angeles’s latest project to cover the Craft and Folk Art Museum with crochet.

I haven’t touched my Designing Weavers annual project for a couple of months. The past few years it’s been a Springtime mystery whether I will or won’t get my project done by May. Stay tuned to see what happens with that.

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1 comment so far

  1. Samantha Kornblum on

    I really like the knitted shirt. Good color palette.


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