Category Archives: Dyeing

Dithering-what’s next?

current weaving

current weaving

This is what I’m doing in my dithering stage. Using up some of the many greens that I now have. The current weaving is simply throwing a shuttle, using greens in a kind-of-pseudo gradations piece. I have also pulled out many greens that I don’t like to overdye. I think some of them will be dyed by dipping one end of the skein in the dye, seeing what turns out and then dipping the other end to coordinate with it. Others may end up with a loose ikat-tied dyeing. I had an epiphany of sorts about doing some ikat pieces in a very simple way, just to be doing some weaving until the big inspiration sets in.

Below is the ikat board set up and ready to go. You can see the cartoon drawn on vellum, rough though it is. I was too lazy to really color in all those sections, but some squiggles will remind me of the way. This is only one section of many of this piece.

new cartoon, ikat board

new cartoon, ikat board

By the way, if you’re interested in color, you may be interested in this website and a new color wheel. Have you ever pulled out a color wheel, but not been really satisfied with the options? I have done that, but ended up sticking with my gut many times. So check it out and tell me what you think.

Weave, repeat, repeat, repeat

Almost done!

Almost done!

Weaving for four hours per day does not leave me with very much to say, as I repeat myself. I did dye one more color to add to the others. The piece on the loom will be finished in about 10 inches. Then I get to do it again to make the second piece. Before starting on the second piece, I am going to weigh all the different colors, so that I can have an idea of how much I’ve used and know if any more dyeing needs to be done. I did dye one more color to add to the others. However, the pace will have to suffer a bit this week, as real life has a way of interfering. It’s spring and the grass weeds need mowing already and I want to plant a few things.

At least I listened to another interesting book.

Memory Man

Memory Man

The main character in Memory Man has two brain conditions, disadvantages of advantages, depending on one’s opinion. Actually, they might be called neurological phenomena. He has hyperthymesia and synesthesia. I’ve written about synesthesia before. It’s the phenomenon of seeing colors and letters in color, perhaps the number 3 is always blue, or vowels are green. Hyperthymesia is a new on for me. It is the condition of possessing an extremely detailed autobiographical memory. The character in the book, Amos, refers to it as the DVD in his head. He also said it’s a movie that he can’t get up and leave. Both of these conditions happened to him after an extremely hard hit while playing football. Amos is not a very likable character in the beginning of the book, but becomes more likable and interesting as the book continues. Maybe better with a suspension of belief. As it turns out, this is the first book in a series. The next one will be published in a few months. Obviously both of these conditions were interesting enough to me that I looked them up.

Rose

Rainbow Happy Trails™ Groundcover Rose

After finishing the first parament and mow the weeds, there’s planting to do. The roses above arrived during all the rains we’ve had lately, and they’ve got to be planted. They’re bare root, something I’ve never handled before. I got them from Breck’s. Aren’t they pretty? I read about them in Fine Gardening magazine. By the way, does your library have periodicals? Mine now has a huge selection of magazines, which probably means that I won’t be buying/subscribing as many. Not a bad deal.

 

 

 

It’s a green day

27 skeins of balled up green

27 skeins of balled up green

Have you ever spent a day balling up skeins of yarn? Except for the tangles in the new yarn I’m trying, a pretty boring experience. I tried doing it while listening to a book. Works most of the time, but then the squirrel cage gets to going so fast that it rattles noisily and I can’t hear the audio. And about those tangles…all that glorious kinkle that I wrote about earlier, just doesn’t seem to want to disappear, no matter how many times I pop those skeins. I start winding and all of a sudden, my winding yarn is under another strand and just won’t release. So, I cut and tie and move on. Until the next time, which means that balling up 27 skeins of yarn took a looooong time. Now, those skeins that I wound myself? Perfect. Even though they are with a singles wool, perfect. Love my skein winder.

More yarns, more kinkiness

More yarns, more kinkiness

Here’s the weaving so far. Sorry about the head shadow, but at least I caught that I took a picture of my thumb! You can barely see the new color I just started on the right. Now my fear is that all these greens, although they look so distinct in balls, won’t look that way in the final weaving. Gotta have something to worry about, right?

So far

So far

I’m curious — How many of you belong to a guild of artists/artisans? Weavers, potters, painters, quilters, etc? Do you belong to a group that meets and has programs? Do you have a guild sale? My guild, Fort Worth Weavers Guild, has finally obtained non-profit status and we are now allowed to have a sale again. We used to have a sale along with our biennial show, but the lack of non-profit status and the state sales process caused us to stop. We’re back! We will have our first-sale-in-a-long time April 27. But for now, I’d like to know about public events your guild/group has. Shows? Sales? How do you plan it? Carry it out? Share and maybe inspire and/or help all of us.

Busy making color

The yarn I mentioned before, the Mobelatta, kinks, even though it’s a 2-ply yarn. I have this very interesting happening in the dye process. Below are just a few of the greens I’m trying out. There will be more to fill in holes in the colors I want to use. And some of the below will be deleted from the plan.

Some of the greens I've dyed

Some of the greens I’ve dyed

Here are some more. Yes, extremes in color, but I wanted to show how kinky after rinsing and still wet. From here, I have to find the center of the skein, and give it a few good pops to kind of stretch all the kinks out.

More yarns, more kinkiness

More yarns, more kinkiness

Here are two skeins side by side, one after the pops and the other in its natural kinked self. What I have found interesting is the way the dyes take in the yarn. The color seems slightly wavy as the yarn is. Most be because it kinks up in the dye pot. I like the way it looks, and so far in my sampling, it weaves up beautifully.

Kinked and unkinked

Kinked and un-kinked

Another week, another lesson, and success

Rice paper-Who knew they had an attractive weaverly design.

Rice paper-Who knew they had an attractive weaverly design.

Things did not go as planned last week, except for improving my diet. Success in that area, well except for one meal. Tasted good, but not pretty to look at. I made the shrimp summer rolls from Skinnytaste. It was the first time I have ever used rice paper, and I was not very successful. I think, because I reduced the servings for the recipe, I over stuffed the rolls, so a knife and fork was necessary. One of the things I’m trying to accomplish with this healthier food project, is to be able to put some things in the freezer. That way, when it comes to dinner time, and I don’t feel like cooking, I can grab something homemade from my freezer. It’s definitely a work in progress.

The plan had been to dye every day, thus finishing up all the yarn needed for the upcoming project. But before I moved forward with that, I decided to test some yarns on the warp I’m using. Lone Star Loom Room has Mobelatta, a very tightly twisted 2-ply wool yarn with a nice sheen. I really like the way it wove up; my only complaint is that the ties on the skeins are too tight for dyeing, so first up was to redo all the ties. I plan to use three strands at once, so I decided to combine the Mobelatta with a singles of the type of yarn I use all the time (2-ply Crown Colony). That meant I had to use the skein winder because all the yarn of this type is on a huge cone from R&M Yarn. They don’t have it on the website currently, so I hope it will be available again. But that huge cone leads to the next step.

Yarns clipped to arm

Yarns clipped to arm. Notice the curves on the arms to “hold” each skein?

So to backtrack a bit–In 2010 I bought an electric skein winder from Crazy Monkey Creations. My fuzzy mind seems to remember that there was a wobble when I tried it out, then life got in the way, and I didn’t get it out again until a couple of weeks ago. This was THE week to use it! I balled up some of the yarn, because this thing can make three skeins at once! My third skein was coming from the huge cone on the floor. Notice those clips for the ends of the yarn? The guides to place them in the correct part of the arms? A thoughtfully designed machine. The operator, however, was not so clever. Singles yarn kinks. Coming out of those center-pull balls did not mean there was smooth sailing of unkinked yarn. It just kind of went back on itself until there would be a clump of yarn finding its way to the skein.

Counter works now

Counter works now

Then there was the next problem: the counter didn’t work. I had no way to know how big my skeins were in terms of weight for dyeing. So I contacted Benjamin, the genius behind this machine. He suggested that a new battery was necessary. I carefully laid the thing back and removed the counter, took out the battery, and went to town for a new one. Glory hallelujah! The counter worked! I then took one of those disastrous balls of yarn and wound it onto a spool and made a skein electrically. The conclusion is that when the arms are set for a two yard skein, 250 revolutions will produce a 100 g skein. Perfect! Now I just have to warp the loom. Not a problem, right?

So, all in all, a good week. Didn’t get everything done, but learned a couple of things, and I’m back on track with dyeing and warping. And I love this skein winder! By the way, the design for it looks to have changed a bit since I got mine, along with the price.

What’s going on in your world? Accomplishments? Lessons learned?

 

Random thoughts

Wildflowers (detail)

Wildflowers (detail)

I have a full week of dyeing ahead of me. My spreadsheet is ready, skeins are labeled, dyes are on hand…time to get started. The mornings are a bit cold for it, but oh well, the colors need to be dyed.

Greens spreadsheet

Greens spreadsheet

I have finally decided it’s time to make that appointment to visit the doctor. I am just not feeling very energetic, and that bugs me. Now which came first, not energy or no healthy diet, but that has to be addressed too. So, healthy menus have been planned with the hope of freezing extras. I’ll let you know how that goes. I plan, but then don’t want to cook or eat what I’ve planned. I think rigorous discipline is needed. Wonder how long it will take to develop and if I have enough time left to actually do that? Anybody have any hints?

a picture of the read

a picture of the reed

A couple of weeks ago, the program at Fort Worth Weavers Guild was on the ondule reed. I only knew vaguely what it was, so this was an interesting program. One of our members, Margaret A, has begun what seems to me as an in depth study of fan reeds, experimenting with different reed configurations, setts, weave structures, the depth that the reed is held as it beats, etc. She has compiled a very nice notebook with samples of all her efforts, some more successful than others, as would happen naturally with experiments. I always admire the many different and talented weavers out there and the kinds of weaving they do, even though I don’t want to do it. A couple of sites that may be interesting are: http://byrios.blogspot.com/2010/04/weaving-with-fan-reed.html and http://peggyosterkamp.com/2011/01/fan-reeds-fascinate-me/. A more informative site is here===>http://www.woolgatherers.com/FanReed.htm.

An example of the weaving from the above reed

An example of the weaving from the above reed

I was looking at some handmade weavers tools by Alexandra Iosub on Etsy and saw some nostepinne. Now I’ve seen the word before and knew it had something to do with preparing yarn, but not what exactly. So naturally, I looked it up. The low tech way of winding a center pull yarn ball. Hmmm And just in case you wondered, here’s how to pronounce it. Isn’t the internet a wondrous thing?

As I write this

As I write this, key wat is simmering on the stove, part of the spice-of the-month-dinner for this month. Yes, it was really for November, but we’re behind. I’ve written about these dinners before. I’m also attempting to make injera, not with great success though. It fermented well, but the cooking is a problem. I can’t seem to do what the recipe said.  Update: We ate the injera, which is not much in itself, but really fermented. It really went well with the spicy beef stew I made (key wat) and the spicy lentils and rice dish my sister made.

Greens in an order of some sort

Greens in an order of some sort

I’ve also been organizing (kind of) the greens I may use for a commission. I labeled each sample with the dye formula, hoping to simplify the process a bit when it’s time to weave. I will be using different yarns for this projects, as it needs to be thinner and more flexible. Since I had these yarns all laid out, I decided to change the picture to black and white, just to see the values. It’s interesting to see those sometimes–there’s nearly always a surprise. From looking at this grouping, which do you think will be the darkest? The lightest?

Greens, same order in gray values

Greens, same order in gray values

Combination of both greens and grays from Instagram

Combination of both greens and grays from Instagram

Here the two pictures are combined. I’ve written and drawn on the picture to show which ones surprised me a bit. It’s also interesting that several of the colors are so close in value, although very distinctive in their color form. The same is true for this piece. Some of the grays are so close together that they are hard to distinguish, especially in the lower right section, yet they work. If I had been working with gray scale, I might have woven something completely different–or not.

Deep, Cool Water--gray scale on right

Deep, Cool Water–gray scale on right

I haven’t decide which greens will be used yet, so the color order is also not decided. After the colors have been decided, I will dye all the yarns, then lay them on the floor and make decisions. Of course, there will also be colors in between the skein colors, as some of the colors will be combined to make new colors. That’s the beauty of weaving, right?

Do you pay attention to gray scale? How do you use it?

Charcoal experiments

Charcoal experiments

Charcoal experiments

Usually when I use black dye, I am going in the other direction, that is doubling or tripling the percentage of dye, but the objective this time was to get a charcoal. The various shades don’t show up well in a picture, but there really is a vast difference. Since all colors have undertones, I decided to add my own choice of undertones to these yarns. The two on the left are straight black, although in different strengths. The two on the right have had another color added withthe black–middle right has the addition of mustard, the far right has a bit of blue added. So what’s the upshot? For me, I like the two on the left. By the way, a really great blog about color and your living spaces is Colour Me Happy by Maria Killam. Frankly, I’m not really into the decorating thing, but her blog is interesting because she shows how even the “neutrals” in the same family may not play well together because of the undertones, as some beiges are pinkish, some greenish, etc.

just a bit of the really wide piece

just a bit of the really wide piece

Maybe you can tell that I’m not really enjoying the finishing of these small pieces, maybe because I’m still working on them? Here’s the one I started on today, just a small detail snippet of it. I’m going to try a new way to mount this piece, since it’s such a weird size–9 x 60 in. Another experiment in progress.

 

I love this stuff!

Original colors

For some reason, I’ve ended up with a pile of green yarns that I don’t like very much, so I decided to overdye them with turquoise. The image above left is the original colors and below that is the dye result. As you can see, there’s not a huge difference in the final colors, but the olive one on the right turned out to have a lot of depth to it. I have more of these same colors, which I will overdye with blue. Over dyed with turquoise

I’ve also been dyeing yarns for the next project, that is if there is ever a new project. I’m thinking the small piece on the loom may never end. There’s just something about having 50 butterflies going that seems to slow things down. Because of various life circumstances, my weaving time has slipped, so I’m working really hard to get back that discipline. My goal for the week is 18 hours of loom time. At the rate the current piece is going, it may take 2-3 weeks to finish. It’s size is only increasing by 1/2 inch per day.

I love seeing the yarns coming out of the depots! Wonderful colors. More pics later.

My new favorite toy for dyeing

Two-dyepots

On the right combination of blue and magenta, a dye mistake.

image

I’m doing some lots of dyeing right now. My way of dyeing may be somewhat unconventional because I don’t make dye solutions. I did when I first started, but it’s just so time-consuming, and since I’m doing this in a building without heavy duty electrical outlets, I use a tea kettle to heat water. I bought 1/2 gallon containers to make the solutions, but I just don’t. For me it’s just easier to go directly to the dye, weigh it out and add it to the dyepot. Yes, there are a few colors that require more care, but those I just wet up and add to the dyepot.

This method does have its own issues, though. If your are doing small samples or using a formula that requires a minute bit of one color, well, that’s just a problem. My triple beam scales are good, but…

This is where the new favorite toy comes in. I don’t remember where I read about these scales, but they’re available on Amazon and, at $20, they are not hugely expensive, especially when compared with the triple beam. I used them for the first time this morning. My dye formula needed 98% orange/2% magenta. 2% is hard to weight when you’re not dyeing pounds of yarn. That means that I needed 0.06 grams of magenta for the amount of yarn I’m dyeing. The proof is in the pudding, as they say, but at least this amount was easy to weigh. Will let you know how it turns out.

Oh, yes. The picture at the top? This is what happens when you plan to dye a combination of mustard and blue, but pick up magenta instead of mustard. A nice color, but it doesn’t fit in anywhere in the current weaving plan.