Monday, November 10, 2014

Taking My Own Advice

In my other life, the one that isn't about yarn and knitting and dyeing, I work with pregnant women. Near the end of pregnancy many women get impatient and find themselves anxious to meet their new baby. As a midwife I readily give advice about being patient. Once people are done with work and everything is ready for baby they just sit around waiting. That's when I suggest starting a new project. Being engrossed in an elaborate or complicated project makes time go by.

We put in an offer on an short-sale house last April.  At this point our closing day is November 26th. I was patiently waiting through Spring and Summer and now Fall.  The house is quite a dump and it will take several months of hard work to get it in a liveable condition. So besides moving all of our belongings we will also be doing extensive remodel. There will be no time for knitting once the sale goes through---if the sale goes through. They are giving it an 80% success rate because of a tricky legal situation with the title. So what should I do? Start a complicated lace and beadwork project, of course!

From The Knitter's Book of Wool I've started Tibetan Clouds Beaded Stole. Now I'm staying in the moment like a Tibetan monk...detached...knitting.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Natural Dyes - Bug gunk and wood chips

From left to right: natural gray alpaca over-dyed with lac/alum, wool dyed with lac/alum, wool dyed with logwood/alum then dipped in ammonia bath, wool dyed with logwood/alum.

Lac is a dye made from secretions of the Lac insect. It's an imported product and I got it here:

Also an imported product, logwood generally comes from Mexico or South America or India. I had little bits of left-over logwood and lac so I dyed a few skeins of hand spun yarn that I had sitting around.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Natural Dyes and Linen

 Would you believe that my family is planning on moving again? It would be my 5th move since I started this blog in 2008. If I'm lucky the future will hold a "craft room" for me...fingers crossed. I've been thinning out my possessions in preparation for moving.  I had little bottles of dye-stuff from Maiwa, the natural dye store in Vancouver BC. I figured a good use for these little bits would be to experiment dyeing something other than wool. I went with my second favorite textile---linen.

I cut little squares and began experimenting. Dying fabric and cellulose fiber is new to me. It was so much fun  using these little squares because there was no harm done if I screwed it up. It's not as risky as dying a yarn that took 2 weeks to spin, right?

Normally I don't like cutch but on fabric it looked nice. I added iron to cutch and got a totally cool dark taupe.  Marigold made a nice orange-yellow. I added tartaric acid to marigold and got a pale yellow.

I tried black tea and got a dull color. I used marigolds and back tea and it looked a little more interesting.

 The logwood experiment was interesting. When I added tartaric acid I got an orange instead of the standard purple that usually comes from logwood.

The house that we are trying to buy was built in 1912. I've looked at paint swatches of color palettes from that time period. Of course they only had natural pigments back then. Inspired by the old-timey colors and the linen swatches I was dying, I decided to make a color palette: cutch, marigold, cutch with iron, logwood with tartaric acid, and marigold with black tea! I showed the palette to my Hubby and he was not impressed. That's okay.  I'll just keep day-dreaming of remodeling my future home.