My Dye Practice, textiles

Scenes Inside a Dye Day

Mondays & Tuesdays are reserved for my dye or fiber work. After a 4 day weekend with kiddos at home, my whole schedule is off for how I balance home, work, life. But I was excited to just step back into it even though the house is a bit… like a frat house at the moment. It’s ok though. The house will have it’s day to shine. On Friday.

Schedules and systems are becoming ever so important to me as I’ve got goals to make, to reach, to ponder.

My body wasn’t feeling quite ready for the time in the studio. But I just knew once I stepped inside, it would happen. Fill a jar with new soda ash. Scrub a pot shiny. Strain my moldy sumac. It would come together.

And it did. 9 dye pots with 5 different dyes. Dozens of skeins being transformed. And a few bits of lace and antique doll and baby clothes renewed… the color was hopping!

I didn’t really mean to leave the jewelweed that long but it happened. The largest harvest of the plant I’ve ever done. I let it soak in my giant soaking pot with 4 skeins for about a week. The bright orange that comes from that long soak is really something.

I then separated the giant dye soak into smaller pots and heated each one up for a bit then poured them back into a cooling tub. I had collected it from a neighbors back yard and it was so prolific! Stalks as wide as my fingers. Flowers every where and such a hardiness to it. I have to remember to harvest more of it this time of year. I’m still a little puzzled over where all that orange comes from. Could it really be the flowers? I’m thinking the stems have something to do with it too.

Now I’m thinking about collecting the flowers to make eco prints with. I’ll do that in the morning.

The staghorn sumac is also a puzzler to me. The flower cones I collect are like tiny tight velvet sticky flowers that smell like cranberry. When left to soak with just these, the bath looks like strawberry kool-aid. That color translates well onto silk. But wool, it will end up more yellow brown.

I started 2 very concentrated lac pots. Lac also comes from an insect like cochineal does. A little bit more of a deep wine color. Brilliant bold red in the pot but as I pulled it out, it changes to purply burgundy. Which was still lovely but I experimented with the ph and threw in some cream of tartar.

I also started a black walnut bath. I’ve had these walnuts for over a decade that someone else gave to me that they also had for a very long time. I’m looking forward to experimenting with layering colors for deeper and earthy tones.

These yarns will be ready in the coming weeks. But first, I let them soak, cool off over night.

🌿they drip outside for a day.

🌿air in my studio for at least a week.

🌿have a gentle soak to lift off any surface dye.

🌿drip outside again.

🌿air in the studio for about a week.

🌿I re-skein each one, which I enjoy, for a few reasons. To shuffle the color if there are any splotches. To let any dye stuffs fall out like twigs, petals, etc. To create a perfect skein that won’t be tangled for its recipient. To count the exact yardage.

🌿I then weigh and tag each one.

🌿take a photo.

🌿list on my site.

That is a lot of time. And it’s still such a tiny part in what goes into each skein.

I love doing this so so much and thank you to all of you who support me in all your various ways 🤗

My next in person shopping experience will be a truck show again at Portfiber 50 Cove Street, Portland, Maine on December 3rd, 2022. I hope to see you there!

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