dye run - spring 2008

After preparing & organizing all last week -- choosing & weighing dyestuffs from the 33 I have on hand, most that I gathered myself, weighing & labeling the skeins, readying all of my dye worksheets & sample cards --I was finally able to start the dye run last Thursday! This was the largest since the one I did in spring of '06 & it was fun, but after 4 days I am happy it is finished. I decided to give Burnham's tapestry weight wool a try this time & also changed from using natural white to bleached white. I also always overdye grey skeins along with the white, they are so wonderful to use for shading & blending.

In the middle of the dyeing, I received good news... John Jenkins the wood artisan who creates fabulous tapestry forks (along with other beautifully crafted wood items) now has a website...

Magpie Woodworks, LLC

Everyone who sees my tapestry forks wants to know where they can get them, just as I was struck with fork lust the first time I saw one, so here it is.

And more good news, Jan Austin has joined the world of tapestry weaver blogs! Bravo, Jan, I think you'll be a natural. As far as I'm concerned, the more tapestry blogs, the better. It is so wonderful & inspiring to see an artist's work from planning stages to cutting off, so much more enlightening than looking at a photos of a finished piece in a book! Visit Jan's blog-- http://austintapestry.blogspot.com/

Every dye run has its surprises & this one was no exception...

The cutch given to me by Kathy Perkins produced a beautiful coppery brown & smelled of slightly burned cooked carmel. After dyeing my skeins I even threw a white washable linen skirt in that I love the feel of but don't wear much because of the color in the cooling dyebath to soak overnight. The "cutch skirt" has come out a beautiful light coppery brown.

However, the lichens were a complete failure, producing absolutely no color in the dyebath after simmering for an hour & no color on the one skein I threw in the dyepot! I had good directions to follow from a source that reported using New Mexico lichens. Hmmm. Well, that skein was rinsed & joined the skirt to soak overnight in the cooling cutch exhaust. Don't think I'll be one of the lichen dye junkies as I now have no desire to harvest any more, even though what I collected was from deadfall on our NM mountain property. Too many other plants out there are easier to harvest, more predictable in the colors that they produce, & less precious.

As far as the avocado, the results were a little disappointing. Even at 200% wog, the colors were very subtle, barely beige from the peels & a light apricot from the pits. I did an ammonia assist with one pit skein with no change. I did follow the instructions very carefully, including heating them once during their soak time to prevent mold growth. My feeling is that I did not let them soak long enough, just 7 days. The author of the recipe goes on at length about the longer they are soaked the deeper the colors, but she is quite vague on just how long is long enough! If I were to attempt it again, I think I would just collect the pits since they seem the most promising. You would have to be quite attentive & diligent about heating the soaking dyebath every few days to keep mold from growing, so I'm not sure how happy I'd be having to do that for a long period of time!

The eucalyptus did not give me the hoped for oranges, but instead a green tinged gold. No matter, it smelled quite heavenly. I was quite happy with all of the other dyestuffs I used as well those I've already mentioned... mountain mahogany roots, elderberry leaves, nettle, & brasil wood.

Now I am looking forward to a Bisbee trip with Dennis to celebrate our 15th, then soon after that a trip up to Janie Hoffman's place on the Blue River for a tapestry retreat with several other weavers!

Live to dye another day; respect our Earth; live, love, weave!


tapestry13 said...

Beautiful skeins of yarn, Lyn!

Jane said...

Have so enjoyed visiting your blog. I can feel the sun, and see the desert colors in your work.

So much talent!

Weave like and Egyptian,