Cherry Bomb Baby

I live in a pile of bricks with a fire puter-outer, a Halloween enthusiast and a pretend lemur, who sometimes admits to being my second son. I have a kitchen for flowers. I know all the lyrics to the Spiderman theme song and (am forced to) sing it everyday. I cook with color. This was a blog mostly about yarn spinning and natural dyeing. Now, it is fair to say, it lacks direction entirely.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Natural Dye Class Results

I took a natural dye class at Deep Color Studio, my favorite place on earth, and these were my results from the April class. Above is the indigo and overdyed indigo we did. We handpainted one roving, (top left) and I didn't particularly like how mine came out, so I overdyed it. I overdyed my yellow that was dyed with fustic. I don't think I used enough to make a really bright yellow so who knows how this supposed green will come out when I finally wash these rovings. Since the indigo pot is going now I decided these needed a few more dips. I love the color they are now and to keep them this way I think they will need two to three more dips. I am totally guessing, I know you are supposed to dye 2-3 shades darker than you want the final color to be. My first piece of felt is also in the top corner of this picture, it was a white corriedale square and now it is a blue corriedale square. Wow, right?

Our instructor, Claudia, also let us dye some of our own handspun in the class so I stuck these in: more 2 ply Merino and a thick and thin single. These will need several dips, I think they only got two fast ones at the end of the class. Indigo has a smell that is somewhere between a rotten egg and burning rubber. Something like you might imagine The Bog of Eternal Stench to smell like. In fact, I think indigo dyeing arose of bogs in some places; something about things being dropped in the bog and coming out green and then turning blue when they hit the air. In any case, to me it smells rare and blue. Its all terribly Eye of Newt, there is the big pot over the fire, (no bubbling allowed though!) the finicky & fermenting ingredients, the magic of color change from yellow/green to deep blue and, of course, enter me-the bedraggled hag with rubber gloves.

Cochineal, Cochineal, madder and cochineal/fustic/madder mixed. Now that is an imaginative title for this shot. The mix is the pink. Although at the time I was convinced that the pink was somehow the madder and the orange the mix. I was absolutely certain that there had been some amazing weirdness that happened to produce this result. Of course, it was my own incredible ability to mislabel. So, this was the other portion of our class. We did some dyeing with natural dye extracts (the indigo was also an extract) and we ground the cochineal bugs in a coffee grinder (I didn't do this but I did get two bright red bundles of fiber out of it) and got this fabulous red with it. Claudia recommended that we not overdye these, they would have been a beautiful purple I think but she said that this red was a special treat for natural dyers since this level of brilliance is so costly that we would probably not dye like this again on our own. I am not super into the whole idea of grinding bugs up but I am into red. I've tried for red with madder but haven't had luck with consistent results, haha, welcome to natural dyeing I suppose. I am going to try a purely cold dyed madder with the fiber left to mordant for a long time and then a long, long soak in a high concentration of madder. I hope this will get me something more red! I know it will be a yellow/red and not a blue/red but I can live with that. Cochineal, I suppose its not much different than silk. I wish they could just find the already dead bugs and grind those! Wouldn't that be nice?! Like road kill cochineal, you know? At this point in time I not totally comfortable with buying farmed bugs to mash up but I am happy to hang onto this bright red goodness for now.

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