Monday, July 16, 2007

These are the rovings that I dyed at the Saturday workshop. Well, not the brown, that's just natural colored alpaca. This is the first time that I haven't overdone dyeing my roving. In the past they have been nearly felted, would break easily, and have been very hard to spin.
Everything that we dyed had a vinegar soak to start with.
Top left yellow was held in a simmering kettle for about 3 minutes and then allowed to dry on the racks. The orangey one was spread out and hand painted with yellow, pumpkin, and red, and then nuked for 1 1/2 minutes in the microwave. I also did a purplish one in the microwave that isn't shown here. After everthing cooled off naturally, we gave it a rinse in a bucket of plain water. I had quite a bit of color come out.
Now, I think that these all look and will spin nicely, but I'm not convinced that they will retain the colors well. Will have to wait and see but I am envisioning colored fingers while spinning.
Saturday we dyed! Yep, this group of motley women traveled to Hastings, Michigan to a dyeing workshop at the talented Rita Walters home - Mar-Rita Farms.

In case you even care - from left to right: Hilda, me, Mary, Cary, Nancy, and Jen. We actually kidnapped Jen. She was opening her uptown shop, SipNKnit, and we put closed signs on her door, turned off the ovens, and scooped her right up. The trip from Ithaca to Hastings was about an hour and a half so you can imagine the hilarious bonding that went on in Cary's van.

Our dyeing experience was fun. We kettle dyed, crock pot dyed, and microwave dyed. The most interesting procedure that I am anxious to try is in the oven. Rita laid out yarn (I will be trying alpaca roving) on a large pan (sort of like those big warming pans at banquets), then she poured a cup of vinegar on, followed by a tea kettle of hot water. Now the interesting part, she used a wooded dowel and dipped into her containers of powdered dyes and applied it right on to the wool. Cool, aye? She set the dyes in her oven at 250 (I think) for 1/2 an hour. Hopefully, if I error here, Cary or someone will correct me.

Rita has a lovely sheep farm and a wonderful farm store that was loaded with supplies and her works of creative art. My sheepy friends quite insisted that I pick up Storey's Guide to Raising Sheep by Paula Simmons & Carol Ekarius for husband.

After we finished our sack lunches at noon, we headed for town. Hastings is a county seat like Ithaca but much bigger. Side walk sales were going on so my shopping friends were pretty excited (I hate to shop - online or catalogs for me). We headed straight for Lady Peddler and used up so much time and money that we needed to head back to the farm, which was fine with me. Was good to see Jill, Lady Peddler's owner. I'm sure that she doesn't remember me but I had met her a few years ago when Maryanne was taking spinning lessons from her. Jill was able to answer some questions for me about the upcoming Michigan Fiber Festival where I'm supposed to be a vendor. The main thing I learned was that I'm supposed to be there for 3 days instead of 2.