Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dyed in the Wool!

Today's art adventure is literally about Dyed in the Wool! I've been experimenting with various ways of coloring the carded fleece and the spun yarn, to see what I like to do, and show you early work on this. Also dyed a bit of cotton roving, jury still out on that.

The rolag and whitish yarn and green yarn are the same thing at different stages. The undyed yarn comes out the natural color you see, much less white than the rolag, but spinning up nicely. Then I dyed a rolag and spun it, to result in the green yarn you see, which I love, very variegated when you handle it. No need for it to be washfast, since this is yarn which is going into my current tapestry. In fact I need it as soon as it's dry! it's the next section in my current area of work. The colors I used were watercolor inks I had lying around in the studio, so old that the stoppers had melted onto the bottles, high time they were used. I also dyed, but didn't picture, a bunch of handspun with black walnut ink and it took up nicely, soft variegated effect.

I now remember that I did paint a bunch of yarn, too, on the holder, which means I should go and find it and see if I like it. Used various colors for that, to see what a wild variety would do as it is used in the tapestry work.

I have been reading on a website about spinners who have multiple hand spindles and wondered why you needed more than one, until I started with color and realized my spindle was occupied with one when I needed it for another....

I left this dyed wool up in the studio to dry on a day with 103 degree F. heat index, which did the job fine. I don't put the ac on in the third floor, and keep a curtain between that floor and the rest of the house, so though it's a bit hot for people in summer and cold for people in winter, it's fine for some art procedures.

And I seized the chance, at cleanup, to use white pillowslips to collect the leftover dye, for future art use, and you see that in the background of one of the dyebath pix. This happens to me all the time, that what I'm working on produces material for some other purpose.

Keen observers will note that in the red/orange/yellow family of dyes there, the dye material is KoolAid, you see the little packets, not something I'd ever drink, but good for dyeing yarn and fleece. I used it straight in one or two sections, then mixed in others.

Each section of that knife drawer thing I pressed into service has a rolag lying in a bath of cold dye, and we'll see what happens. I'll leave it there a while then press it out and see where we go, and re use the dye for some other purpose. I love safety in art, and foodgrade dyes are definitely my cup of tea. If you follow me.

What I plan to do, once the rolags are dry, is to recard them, to mix colors and incorporate white rolag with colored, and various shades of the reds together. This gives a nice variegated effect, not the flat flat effect of solid dyed yarns.

One odd thing that happens with age is that your language skills undergo weird transitions. You know how you're trying to think of a word and your brain offers you a selection of possibilities, same number of syllables, same general rhythm, same number of letters, even, but it's the wrong word? No? hang around, it'll happen! my current one is hilarious, because every time I try to talk about tapestry, it comes out as manuscript. Which is likely, given that I have had a sort of career as a freelance writer over the years, but right now is not the word I want to keep saying! however, as long as I know it's the wrong word, I guess I'm safe...

Speaking about tv, which we weren't, but life can't be all about work... since I switched us over to dish, in order to stop sending ridiculous amounts of money to the cable company, who kept on putting up the rates and reducing the channels, we have some channels we didn't have before, one of them being a charming smaller public tv station out of Long Island (Lawn Guyland to them as grew up there), and which has nice stuff like Jacques Pepin, and detective series like Rosemary and Thyme, which is old and therefore I'm guessing cheaper programming.

Last night we watched R and T which is about two women gardeners and landscapers who are accidental detectives. The premise is that any premise they're on gets a murder or two going. Honestly, you wonder why anyone hires them, really, dangerous people, but very very entertaining and I love the gardening info that gets slipped in there, too.

They're out on DVD, if anyone wants to check the libe, or who knows maybe Netflix has them, don't know, but they are very nice viewing as an antidote to all the bad news in the real world. I do keep up with news but refuse to wallow in it.

About the flooring: thank you everyone for all the emails and notes and comments and reasoning for the comments, and they were all very helpful. I had as my finalists the dark walnut one, the midrange dark cherry and the pale light cherry, and I noted who liked which based on the light level where they live! people who loved the walnut live much further south than I do, and their light level is routinely higher than here, and then people who liked the light color live much further north, with correspondingly different light level and color.

I moved the samples around over and over at times of day, and realized the walnut looked a bit dead in some lights, and might be gloomy in our winter, and that the pale one looked a bit flimsy in the high light of summer. One of our neighbors had a pale floor put in and it looks just a bit institutional. So I ended up with the Flare Cherry, which turned out to be very close to what I put in the condo years ago, and which I really liked, warm but not gloomful in winter.

Anyway, thanks so much, you were a great help in a big financial decision.


  1. I know what you mean about escaping words - my current one is "template" which normally I can't find nywhere in my brain, until I say "come on synapses, snap to it" and then up it pops!

  2. oops - that should read "ANYwhere". Even when I proofread I don't always see my errors.


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