Waddaya do

You got all that undyed cotton. And you recently picked up a large shoebox full of dyes from another weaver/dyer. So what do you do? You dye, of course!

Before the cotton actually arrived I measured out a Tencel warp for a scarf – mostly one handpainted colorway with a second, much smaller, that I’d use for warp stripes. I am very happy with these warps.

handpainted tencel warps

I have plenty of Tencel and rayon on cones to choose from for weft.

Once the cotton got here I did some planning and measured out 3 bouts to make some yardage and a shawl. In my head I wanted to do a similar blue variation like on the Tencel above, with neutral tans for the stripes.

Well. Remember I said I’d picked up a mess of dyes from another weaver/dyer? There were 3 different blues in her box, and silly me, I thought they’d all be pretty different. But when I mixed them up they were all very similar. So I reverted to a strategy I haven’t used since I first started dyeing – I just started dumping things together. Then I added a bit of this and a bit of that from my own dye shelf. The colors all looked pretty dark when they were wet, so I wanted to make the neutral/tan bout light. I was careful with my mixes for that, since I was using all my own dyes that I’ve used before and knew what I wanted.

After the overnight batching, morning rinsing, daytime soaking, then more rinsing and finally drying, it was completely clear to me that this was NOT going to work as intended. I didn’t like the way these bouts looked together. NOT. AT. ALL.

handpainted cotton - blue, green, and tans

So waddya do? If you’re me, you prepare more yarn for dyeing. This time I made 24 ounces of cotton into skeins for immersion dyeing for weft for that blue/green warp, knowing I had sufficient solid colors to use as offsetting stripes. I wanted a nice, rich, dark denim color, and think I achieved it.

hand dyed blue & green warp with dark blue skeins for weft

I have a weave structure planned that I think will look great with these colors.

I also measured out another bout to dye just like that first bout with the golden & light chocolate splotches. I think I’ll just use undyed yarn for my stripes. Keep it simple & neutral. I checked my stash and have a variety of browns and oranges in mercerized cotton I can use for weft, but I dyed a skein of purple anyway, thinking it might make a nice contrast. I didn’t want to do a dye bath, so painted the purple dye on this skein and clearly didn’t get the solid coverage I wanted, but I’m not worried about that.

hand dyed tan & brown warp with purple weft

So now I have 3 distinct projects to get on the loom. I’m going to put each in a bag – with notes about length of the warp bouts and number of threads (guess who learned the hard way that her memory is unreliable on this score) – and I’ll have to decide which one I’ll do first. But for now I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished with the dyeing – and with using a bunch of that 14 pounds of cotton. 😉

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>