Saturday, October 30, 2010

It Was a Good Day to Dye

I couldn't resist the Halloween humor, but it really was a good day to dye. The sun was out, the weather was warmer than it had been and I was able to spend some time with new friends.

I recently joined the Front Range Fiber Artisans, a group of people who work with fiber in one way or another. Knitting, crochet, weaving, embroidery, sewing, quilting, paper arts, etc.

A couple of months ago we got together on a couple of evenings to use knitting machines to knit "blanks." I knitted up about 400 yards of some of my handspun alpaca in a natural white.

Then we got together today to dye them.

The woman who hosted had dyes mixed up in bottles ready to go as well as a couple of tables. Another member of our group showed up with the steamers (giant ones she got at the local Asian market), a couple more tables, and commercial sized rolls of plastic wrap.

We laid out our blanks (soaked in water and acidic wash) and, using syringes and brushes, applied the dyes. When we had finished coloring, we wrapped each piece like a tortilla in plastic wrap and placed them in the steamer for an hour.

After pulling them out of the steamer we let them cool down, unwrapped them, rinsed out the excess dye, and squeezed out all the excess water.

This is what mine looked like after it was unwrapped. I had painted on random stripes of blue, purple, and green. In the steamer the edges blended together causing the colors to transition softly.

I took it home and unraveled the knitting when it was dry enough. A little kinky, but the colors are beautiful.

Now, what to make with it.

When I got home, my creative engine was still rev-ed up, so I decided to break out the kool-aid. I had a blast.

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