Sonoma Coast

Sonoma Coast

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Blues - Dyeing with Indigo and Woad

I recently attended The Fiber Event at the Putnam Co. Fairgrounds in Greencastle, IN, and there was so much fibery goodness in one place I could barely stand it.  Two large barns were filled with vendors of fleeces, roving, dye supplies, equipment, notions, buttons, combs, wheels, carders, etc.... I met so many new people, and learned a lot.  Various workshops related to spinning, weaving, knitting, and dyeing were offered, and I took a course about dyeing with indigo and woad.  Below are natural dyed yarn samples from the dye work of one of the instructors, Kathy Sparks.  The blues in the center were most relevant to our class.  Kathy taught the portion of the class on woad, a plant with a long history for making the color blue. 

Kathy dips a yarn sample in the woad vat.

The indigo portion of the workshop was taught by Gina Crowder of Across Generations.  Though I have dyed with indigo before, this was a great refresher course.  Working with indigo requires practice and more practice.  It is a dance with the weather, temperature, exposure to oxygen, and proper manipulation of the fibers being dyed.  I purchased some supplies from Gina's booth, and will continue to practice in my own little dye studio, with hopes of becoming more proficient in the years to come.  Below are the samples I dyed in the class.  Clockwise from top left: linen, silk, wool, and cotton.  Each sample was dipped three times in the indigo vat.  The linen swatch clearly took the most dye, and the wool took the least.  It should have been the opposite!   

Below are some samples of overdyeing with woad.  Initially, the samples were dyed with dandelion (flower heads), daffodils (flower heads), osage orange (wood chips), and fustic (wood chips).  The result was a rainbow of the yellow, blue, and green spectrum.  My favorite (not pictured) was sample dyed initially with lichens, then overdyed with woad creating a soft teal blue-green color. 

I had so much fun, and will definately be back next year!  

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Lace Stole

This ethereal lace stole was finished almost a year ago, and then packed away (for the move) and nearly forgotten!  Not to worry, it was packed away neatly in tissue paper, and will make many appearances this Spring.

Pattern specs:   

Unfortunately, I don't remember the specific yarn used, other than it was a lace-weight silk/alpaca blend, and it's beautiful.  The lace pattern was a breeze once repeated a few times, though at first it was a bit difficult to grasp.  The edging is a pattern I've worked before, but adding beads was completely new.  The beads are added both to look beautiful and to add weight to the edges and enhance the drape of the stole.  

Close-up of the beaded edging.  Each repeat contains five beads placed at the edge, over 200 beads in all.  Remember when I was working the beaded edging on an aiplane?  Now that takes dedication and courage!

Also, as you can see here, I use blocking wires to block my lace (and most other knitted projects).  They give me perfect results with minimal effort every time.   

This was a satisfying lace project, interesting enough to keep my focus and just difficult enough to push my limits and boost my confidence as a lace knitter.  And, of course, the result is quite satisfying!  I will enjoy wrapping this around my shoulders for years to come.