Saturday, September 24, 2011

Spectrum Dyeing



Laurie's hands know their jobs.  She spins with artistic abandon, knows the rules and ways to break them, and has the teacher gift that allows her to share her understanding.


Today, she shared how to make a beautiful color-transition yarn very much like a commercial brand we all know and love, but want to be able to make ourselves.

Laurie worked to find out how to do this when she happened upon a shawl pattern that took her breath away - the Lazy Katy shawl she stumbled on, on Ravelry.  She has become so obsessed with this pattern that she's made six or seven of them, using them as a palate to try out her new dyeing techniques for spectacular effects.


Seven of us gathered at the farm today to learn this mysterious method ourselves.  You'll need to talk to Laurie to find out all the details of her method, but from these pictures, you can see it's kind of a new and unique style.  We'd expect nothing less of Laurie, right?


I was just excited because I finally popped my turkey roaster out of the box for the first time.  Turns out, it's perfect for this method, because of the way the bottom is shaped.  Who knew?


Here's my bit of BFL roving perking away after I chose Aztec Gold and Teal to blend together.  It's a little like hand painting, with some important differences. 


Everybody got a chance to cook some roving in our roasters, and we tidied up our work space.  One great thing about this method - it's very neat, and hardly any dye is wasted or lost.  Everyone left with clean hands and clean clothes, all without gloves or aprons.  (GrandmaTutu wore an apron, but it turned out to be an unnecessary precaution.)  I was amazed.


And the proof's in the final roving.  These two ounce strips were dyed, rinsed, spun out in my fiber washing machine, and hung to dry in no time at all.  They were just about spinnable by the time we finished up our time together.  I'm going to spin mine at the little craft fair at Whole Foods tomorrow, where I'll have a table.  I hope we'll be able to see everyone's yarn spun up soon, so we can appreciate how this method makes the kind of yarn we really want for a particular project.  The ladies took another several ounces of this white BFL home to practice with.  That BFL is like candy for your hands -- you're going to love spinning this!

Some folks have asked me if we'll be doing this workshop again soon.  I think we can probably arrange that, since we now know how simple it is to set up the equipment in the back yard.  As we said to each other many times today: Easy Peasy.

I also want to send a big LRB shout out to all the gals who gathered just to enjoy each other's company in the barn today - Virginia, Hanane, Anela, Dawn, Rita, and Gail.  You ladies rock. 

2 comments:

  1. I'm in for the next class on this!!!! BTW I found another weaving student, that makes 3! I'll see you at Whole Foods.

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  2. Wow! Sorry I missed it Cindy! I have been spinning and knitting up here and have loved the freedom to work at it as the mood takes me rather than just when I have time. Once we get settled in NC I have aspirations of following somewhat in your and Mary Berry shoes..... only without so many animals... :)

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