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Dyed to win

Somehow it’s been almost 2 weeks since I’ve posted. I have put a photo or 2 on my Second Wind Facebook page, but they don’t require more than a sentence, so I can do it when I have just 2-3 minutes. Lots to show now, and more is almost done, despite my bum leg.

On that note, the chiropractor determined that the cause of all my physical ails on that leg were simply the result of incredibly tight calf and hamstring muscles. I’ve had 3 visits with her and am feeling soooo much better.

First, here are the results of my snow dyeing. I really like the way things turned out, although some required me to try more than once. In the end I decided that I needed to make a new batch of pre-soak.

yellow & green silk scarf

snow dyed yellow and green silk scarf

dyed red & orange silk scarf

snow dyed red and orange silk scarf

dyed blue & purple silk scarf

snow dyed blue and purple silk scarf

And now for the socks. All 4 at once. I like the way the chocolate dye ‘broke’ and showed some purple.

4 pair dyed socks

4 pair snow dyed socks

Then I finished the two pieces on that hand painted purple and red warp. After I got it on the loom I decided I wanted a weft color that really coordinated, so I went back to the basement and did a bit of immersion dyeing – tencel for one piece and cotton for the other.

I like both, although I still don’t know what I was thinking when I did my planning. These are too narrow to be shawls (which I had intended) and a bit wide for my preferred scarves. Thankfully, many of my customers like wide scarves.

The fringed scarf has a narrow band of black on each end, and I used my ‘feathers’ treadling pattern. This is the one with the tencel weft.

hand dyed and woven scarf, grape and red

For this one I decided to hem, not fringe. I used the cotton weft and switched to a diamond treadling pattern.

hand painted and woven purple and red scarf

I have 3 more pieces in the finishing stage and another hand painted warp on the loom. I’m hoping to be able to weave more with each passing week.

Bungees and dyeing

Bungee cords and dyeing are not related to each other. At least not in my life, not right now. In the future – who knows? Stranger things have probably happened. To me.

Let’s start with the bungees. We had A LOT of wind earlier this week. A LOT. Like consistent 30-40 mph with 70 mph gusts. On Monday morning my little dog Jack woke me up at 4AM. Howling wind is not his favorite thing. So I decided to go lay down on the couch so he could be closer to me. Well. The wind was making the awning over my front door bang repeatedly, threatening to rip off the house and surely cause damage in the process. So there I was at 4AM, in my pajamas and bathrobe, on a step stool on my tiny front porch, attaching bungee cords between the awning and the wrought iron railings. Two on each side. Adds some real class to my house, don’t you think? Anyway, this worked for the duration of the storm. I’ll have someone come and determine a permanent solution soon.

bungeed awning

Weather related, in early February the temperatures were perfect for creating ice on the sidewalks. 🙁 One morning I fell twice before I ever left the corner my house sits on. The very next morning I was walking on a nearby slanted piece of grass to avoid the icy sidewalk. Down I went, in the mud this time. Nothing beyond my pride was particularly hurt in any of those falls. A few days later I fell on the ice again. Again I wasn’t even bruised.

But a few days after that my right leg – the side I’d landed on each time – started hurting. I couldn’t figure out what it was, and didn’t connect it to the falls since it didn’t start immediately. So I continued to do my regular activities: daily walking and assorted gym classes at least 3 days/week.

When things were getting worse, not better, I decided I’d pulled a ligament behind my knee. All those activities were only aggravating the injury. And since I was walking and moving funny, I subsequently involved my sciatic nerve and piriformis muscle, and probably more. So weaving hasn’t been great on my leg. I have a chiropractor appointment on Tuesday, but meanwhile haven’t been able to weave much – only for short spurts and not a lot of those in one day. Instead I’ve been dyeing.

I started by dyeing some weft yarn to coordinate with warps I’d dyed and put on the loom.

Hand painted warp yarns

Warp yarns dyed in grape and strong red – 8/2 tencel

beaming grape and red tencel

The warp was handpainted, the weft was immersion dyed: some 8/2 tencel and some 10/2 cotton. I found it interesting that the tencel was noticeably darker in the dye bath. After drying the colors are almost identical.

Immersion dyeing grape yarn

Weft yarns in grape immersion bath – cotton and tencel


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Then, since we had a major snowfall, I figured I’d take advantage of the snow and did a bunch of snow dyeing. Socks and scarves, assuming I’ll get accepted into that show this summer where they will be appropriate. Here are process photos; I haven’t taken any of the finished pieces yet.

snow dyeing silk scarf

Silk scarf under snow, turquoise and avocado dyes

snow dyeing silk scarf

silk scarf under snow with grape and fuschia dyes

silk scarf dyeing under snow

silk scarf under snow, turquoise and grape dyes

snow dyeing silk scarf

silk scarf under snow, with avocado and intense blue dyes

snow dyeing socks

socks under snow, strong red & strongest orange dyes

snow dyeing socks

socks under snow, golden oak & chocolate brown dyes

snow dyeing socks

socks under snow, forest and intense blue dyes

snow dyeing silk scarf

silk scarf under snow, strong red and strongest orange dyes

snow dyeing silk scarf

silk scarf under snow, forest and golden yellow dyes

snow dyeing socks

socks under snow, turquoise and intense blue

Sticking with the color

When I painted the first warp bouts in living coral & turquoise, I had intended to combine them with the skeins I painted in the same colors. I later changed my mind, thinking it was just too much.

Then I found this great draft on handweaving.net – it’s draft #22076. If you’re not a member of handweaving.net, you should be – it’s an amazing resource.

There’s no way to really look at how a draft will look with handpainted yarn, as the colors shift in ways the program can’t duplicate, but I did my best estimate, and decided I loved the way the colors interacted if I just added some black and white. With a black weft I got strong hits of zebra.

closeup of coral & turquoise cardi

So I wove enough length to make another open front cardigan, planning for this to be one of my new jury photos. I’m quite happy with the overall look, and with the improvements I made from the first one, and will take it to the photographer either today or tomorrow.

handwoven coral & turquoise open front cardigan

Lady Jane shows more of the width nicely.

handwoven coral & turquoise open front cardigan, width

The second piece on the loom, a mobius, is probably my favorite because of the weft color. If I’d had enough of this sienna, I would have made the cardi with it. This combo strikes me as very southwest.

handwoven coral & turquoise mobius

Finally, I had little warp length left, and used a bright blue to weave a wide, if short, cowl.

handwoven coral & turquoise cowl

If you look at these photos, and those from the last post with similar warp colors, it’s pretty amazing how different the looks are, isn’t it?!

So I still have the coral & turquoise painted skeins. You’d think I might weave with them next, wouldn’t you? But no. I painted some more skeins in new colors – they’re drying now. And while I wait I’m going to put another mixed warp on – cotton, rayon, and chenille – which I’ll weave with a chenille weft. Probably another open front cardigan and a mobius.

Unrelated, I think I forgot to show you this mobi. It’s a cotton warp – the end of the warp from that skirt (which I’m still working on) and tencel wefts. Not my fav, but I think it will float someone’s boat.

handwoven striped mobius

Still woefully behind.

3 finished scarves

I’ve had these three tencel scarves, woven with some of my handpainted yarn, finished for a while, but somehow still don’t have them tagged. Ditto with those towels I wove more than a month ago. I told myself I wouldn’t let this happen again, that I’d tag things immediately. Clearly I lie to myself all the time. Sigh.

Anyway, I showed them to you on the loom. Interesting how different some things look when they’re off the loom and you can see the whole piece at once.

I’m not fond of the scarf with the black weft, even though I usually love this weave structure. It’s just too dark overall.

handwoven coral & turquoise scarf with black

Honestly, I can’t decide which of these two cowls I prefer. The shorter cowl with the sienna weft in a simple zig zag weave pattern…
handwoven coral & turquoise cowl, sienna weft

…or the longer cowl in a diamond weave pattern, with an orange weft and a few bands of gold.

handwoven coral & turquoise cowl, orange weft, down

handwoven coral & turquoise cowl, orange weft, doubled

I have a few more things complete – or almost – for next time. I’ve also been working on that skirt I mentioned in an earlier post. I have so many ideas! If only I had as much time and energy a I had thoughts. 😉

Several steps to leggings I like

Way back in August I tried some ice dyeing, just for fun. Then I opened my big mouth one day at a meeting, suggesting that as a topic for a Guild Evening Meeting. Little did I know at the time that this would turn into me teaching it!

So obviously I had to do a lot more practice. And with all the safety precautions that they require I didn’t want to use chemical dyes at an evening meeting, so I needed to do a bunch of samples with koolaid.

Two friends came over one evening and we played around. We tried old Tshirts, wool yarn, wool fabric, and I don’t even remember what else. We learned some stuff, the take away for me being that this was more complex than I’d thought, and if I wanted to teach it, I had to do more experimenting in a structured way.

So I bought some small silk scarves from Dharma Trading, some koolaid, and set to work. I was happy with the results.

koolaid ice-dyed silk scarves

On the left I carefully pleat-folded the scarf, and used orange and lemonade koolaid.
In the middle I twisted the scarf and used blue raspberry lemonade and lemonade koolaid.
On the right I randomly scrunched the scarf and used the 2 packets of lemonade I had left: blue raspberry and orange. I was sure it would turn out an ugly brown mess, and was shocked that I got some great fall colors.

So I got more supplies and in January taught the class to 16 people. Everyone seemed to have a good time, and although only a few of them sent me a photo of their finished scarves, they all turned out well, if not necessarily as planned.

Some months ago, when I bought the onesies and T-shirts for dyeing I also bought myself a pair of mostly cotton leggings. They sat and sat, waiting for me to get to them. Well the polar vortex got me moving! I scoured and then soaked the leggings, gathered some snow, and got the whole shebang set up in my utility tub in the basement.

From top to bottom shows the dyeing sequence:

  • immediately after piling on the snow and sprinkling on the dye (OMG is THAT what I wanted?)
  • after a bunch of the snow has melted (yes, that IS what I wanted), and
  • after all the snow is gone but prior to rinsing (they turned out good!)
  • .

    snow dye legging sequence 1

    Then I rinsed out the excess dye, washed and dried the leggings. OH NO! I did not want to look like I walked out of a rainbow festival in 1967! When will I learn that less is more when it comes to color?!?!

    1960s leggings

    After thinking about it for a day, I decided to overdye the leggings. Sure, I could have done this with immersion dyeing, but why do it the simple way? Do more snow dyeing!

    So I presoaked again, gathered more snow, and set up shop. Again.

    I used only red dye, but 3 different shades of red. The top picture looks pretty ugly, and I wasn’t at all sure how they’d turn out, but figure I could always immersion dye later if I needed to. Even after a bunch of the snow had melted, in the bottom photo, I wasn’t at all sure that this was a good idea.

    snow dye legging sequence 2

    After batching, rinsing (a LOT, since red dye is notoriously hard to set), washing and drying, I got leggings I really like!

    snow dyed leggings 2

    I wore them to the gym for my exercise class today and got a compliment. And it wouldn’t have mattered if I didn’t, because I like them.