Monday, August 26, 2013

Spinning Inspiration

In June, Miryha and I attended Black Sheep Gathering and while in Eugene, OR, we spent an afternoon/evening hanging out with our friend, Karen Kahle, of Primitive Spirit.  Her wonderful blog can be viewed here:
I was so taken with Karen's studio -- it is my dream studio.  

Surrounded by Karen's beautiful works of art and the shabby chic ambience of her studio was such a warm and inviting environment in which to sit and knit and crochet, sipping tea. If you read Karen's blog, you will see that she is an amazing rug hooking artist. 
The warm colors of Karen's studio and the colors of wool she has dyed offered me much inspiration.  I couldn't get those colors out of my mind so a couple of weeks ago, I set about painting some roving so that I, too, could spin some yarn like the ones Karen had spun and was using in her knitting. Here's what I came up with:  Fallen Leaves II and Sunset at Manzanita.

Spun on my Majacraft Rose wheel.  712 yards of two-ply fingering weight yarn, weighing 8 oz.  I can hardly wait to get this yarn on the needles.

Thanks, Karen, for your friendship and for your beautiful work that inspires.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Natural Dyeing Thursday

Continuing our Summer project, my friend Margie and I got together again to do some natural dyeing this past Thursday.  This, of course, is always experimentation, and we never quite know how things will turn out.  Margie's fibers on the left were all mordanted in alum and none of mine on the right were mordanted.  You can see a difference, as hers were much brighter and more pink.  These are some of our things hanging out to dry.

We tried Brazilwood again.  The week before, we discovered that we had mistakenly used a natural dye extract and our dyebath was over the top too strong, resulting in very dark colors, almost black -- not what we expected.  This week, we used Brazilwood sawdust and achieved plums and pinks.  

We also did a marigold dyebath that was half dried flower tops that I purchased and half from marigold flower tops I had collected from my garden and dried.  We got some nice golds, both light and dark.

Below are my Brazilwood skeins.  They are mostly superwash merino wool and were unmordanted. I think the fact that my skeins were superwash wool and Margie's were handspun wool made a difference. They were all put in an ammonia afterbath.  From top to bottom shows the strength of the dyebath as it became exhausted.  The bottom skein is an alpaca/silk laceweight yarn that turned out to be a very light silvery lilac.
These are my marigold skeins.  Mostly super wash merino wool and unmordanted.  The top two skeins were left in the dyebath for a long time so were a dark gold.  The top skein was put in an ammonia afterbath and the second skein in a copper afterbath.  The third skein was put in the dyebath for a lesser amount of time and then in the ammonia afterbath.  The fourth skein is alpaca/silk laceweight yarn and was put in last and then in the ammonia afterbath.  

Haven't quite figured out what to do next -- maybe madder root, Hopi black sunflower seeds or another type of eucalyptus.  Whatever we do, we can agree on one thing:  we're having fun.