Go Around Again!

Go, Dog, GoWhen my kids were little we read a lot of picture story books. One of their favorite books (but not mine) was Go, Dog, Go. Like all easy readers, there are several recurring sentences. One I liked was, “Do you like my hat?” A favorite of my son was, “Go around again!” (I’m not going to try to explain the plot.) That latter sentiment has been the focus of many hours of my life in the last two days.

On Friday I’m registered for a 6-hour dyeing workshop. Led by Joyce Robards, one of two “Teacher’s of the Year” chosen by Handwoven Magazine and a long-time member of the Rochester Weaver’s Guild, this Dyer’s Choice workshop at the Weaving and Fiber Arts Center allows each of the 6 registrants to dye what we wish, as we wish. I’ve spoken with Joyce about what I want to do, and she assured me it was well within the realm of the day.

I’ve worked with lots of both machine variegated and hand painted yarns over the years, and I’m sure I’ll work with them again. As I’ve used these yarns I’ve tried various methods to get the colors to “pool” in the warp – that is to arrange the yarns so that I get whole sections of a single color in the yarn instead of the more common stripey effect. Planning, preparation, and then hand painting are required to achieve my desired result. Here’s an absolutely stunning handpainted shawl woven by artist Freya Willemoese-Wissing. I’m sure I can’t achieve anything like this without lots of attempts and lots more planning than I’m doing now!

handpainted shawl

So anyway I planned for a scarf made from 30/2 silk with more than 7,400 yards per pound of yarn. That means something on the order of 36 threads per inch in the warp and a similar number in weft. To prepare the yarn for dyeing I had to first ‘scour’ the skeins – wash it in the hottest water possible with a little bit of Dawn dish detergent. Then I had to let those skeins dry so I could measure & wind the warp. That meant 360 threads on the warping mill, with each thread requiring 3.5 complete rotations of my warping mill.

Then I wanted a shawl made from 8/2 rayon, with a mere 3,360 yards per pound. Because the rayon was on cones, not in skeins, I had to wind the warps first and scour second. There’s another 696 threads, again with 3.5 rotations of the mill for each length. Fortunately I could cut this number in half by winding 2 threads at once. That meant hours of standing, spinning, counting, and tying, all in preparation for dyeing. I didn’t even think to take pictures of the activity, but they wouldn’t have been exciting anyway — all solid natural (undyed) yarn. Hopefully I’ll remember to take pictures on Friday, as well as whenever I’m able to get the warps on my looms.

When I wasn’t spinning the warping mill I was working on one of the warps I wound last weekend. (Yes, you read that right…I’d already wound two more warps over the weekend to weave a total of 6 scarves.) Since I’m between baby wraps at the moment, I’m able to do some weaving (and dyeing) that I’ve been wanting to get to. This is a pattern from Deb Strickland’s Book of 8 Shaft Weaving Patterns. It reminds me of Morse Code. Or maybe Braille. But a language, for sure.

little squares in 2 greens

I’m using a dark green rayon warp and a light green rayon weft. It’s a two-shuttle weave, so it’s slow going. Here you can see both sides of it on the loom.

top & bottom of little squares in 2 greens

I’m working on the second scarf now, and thought I’d do a solid dusty rose, but then I got an idea…maybe I’d use sections of different colors.

multi-colored little squares

To be honest, I’m not sure if I’ll like it when it’s all done. I’m definitely going to weave the third scarf in this warp using one color. At least I’ll know which color(s) I like best after this multi-colored scarf. 🙂

6 comments to Go Around Again!

  • Alma

    Congratulations on taking this step. I was fascinated by dyeing fabric, but was way too timid to attempt it. I’ll be anxious to see what you create!

    • Peg Cherre

      Oh, Alma, there’s nothing scary about dyeing stuff. You may not get the results you had intended, but there’s always SOMETHING that can be done with your results. Some people use foodstuffs, especially koolaid and jello, both set with vinegar solution, to dye fabric, or even their hair! Give it a shot, especially with a good teacher. Not all the people at my dye class yesterday were weavers, or dyed yarn. You can come and dye fabric for sure!

      Use the link in the post to find out when the next dye day is, sign up, and I’ll go with you and dye more yarn!

  • Peg Cherre

    Thanks, Theresa & Judy. Yeah, dyeing is a bunch more fun than dying. I am looking forward to it. My only questioning part is will I be able to make good decisions about colors and color placements. I figure I just shouldn’t stress about it. I don’t have to create a masterpiece, just something that’s reasonably attractive. And if not, be willing to toss it out later!

  • Judy T

    oops… that doesn’t look right. I meant “dyeing” workshop… much more fun that one on dying!

  • Judy T

    How exciting Peg! I hope you love your dying workshop and have a fun day.

  • The winding doesn’t sound like much fun, but I’m betting the workshop will be!
    And I can remember reading Go Dog Go! What a scarf! I Like it! I like that Party Scarf! 🙂

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