Thursday, March 18, 2010

Yippee, Fiber Exchange

Last night was the most fun of all the guild meeting for the year. You guessed it, it was the annual fiber exchange meeting. Maybe I should change my description from Christmas to "Trick or Treating", that's what it felt like last night. No tricks just some fun, colorful, treats. When I emptied my bag out on the floor this is what I came home with.
I think the challenge of natural dyes scared some people away, but for those of us that faced the challenge head on with courage, had a wonderful time. One of the ladies liked her wool so much she didn't even come to the meeting cause she didn't want to give any of her wool away, so said her partner. We all got a chuckle out of that. I really didn't see anything that wasn't interesting or beautiful. Some of the ladies made it very difficult to choose, because they tried several different dye stuffs. I learned some new things as well. For example, Judy made a dye bath using a gallon of vinegar and several steel wool pads. She poured the vinegar into a bucket, and crumbled the steel wool up in it, and then let it sit for several days. She saw this on the DIY network for making a wood stain, and thought that if it would stain wood it would for sure work on wool. You can see her wool at the top. It's in a plastic bag, light tan with a smidgen of rusty brown on the tip. (go figure) The wheels are turning on what I can make with these little beauties, but for now I like to just look at and pet them.

If you're wondering how the sweater is coming along, here it is. I've almost finished the body. Only a couple inches, and then it's on to the sleeves. I've really loved working on this sweater. It's nice to have a big project, that is not on a time line to finish. I don't think I'll have it finished in time to wear before warm weather hits, but come next winter this sweater will keep me looking fashionable and warm.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Happy or Sad?

I received a package in the mail last month from The Griffin Dye Works and Fiber Arts company, and I've been having a ball with it. I purchased their American dye kit which contains dye materials that where used by Native Americans as well as early colonists and pioneers. One of the dyes that I used was fustic. Fustic which is also known as Dyer's Mulberry is a hardwood. The fustic came ready to soak as shavings. I made the dye pot, put in some wool and this is the color that came out. I didn't need to use a mordant, so the color that I got was a very sunny yellow. This picture really doesn't do it justice.

The kit also came with several different mordants. One of the mordants was Iron. Iron saddens the color of the dyes, so I thought I would see how sad I could make this happy yellow fiber. I used some more wool and mordanted it with the iron. I then added the mordanted wool to the same dye pot that the first wool came from, and this is the result.
The wool turned into a very pretty olive green. It's really fun to see what different colors I can get from the same dye pot by just changing the mordant. There are about 7 or 8 different dyes in this kit along with 3-4 different mordants. The kit has been well worth the cost, and it's been quite fun to learn about the plants and mordants.