Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Day to Dye For

Today was our Guild meeting for the Irish Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. Our location was at Kathleen's farm about an hours drive west of Dublin. Kathleen is a professional willow basket weaver, although I know she can weave most anything into lovely baskets. She grows her own willow as well as veg, ducks, chickens and a few horses. She's a transplanted pioneer from the US. She treated us all today by sharing her world of willow. The barn and weaving studio look as if they were staged for a photo shoot, although I know it wasn't. Stacks of willow reeds were in the studio drying, while the peat burning stove kept the room toasty warm.
Today was my day to discuss what little I know about chemical and acid dyes. My experience has been strictly self taught and by trial and error. I must say, you need to be flexible and willing to risk a bit of wool. I have had some bad dye jobs. (wool not hair) So with that in mind, I set to work showing our eager guild about how to mix and apply colour to hand spun yarn, roving and commercially spun yarn for the weavers in the crowd.
The problem with being the demonstrator is that you don't get many pictures. I did an over dye of Lemon-Lime Kool Aid over a brown and white Jacobs yarn. It turned out really kool! Roving was done in Cushing Bronze Green, Salmon, Aqua and Chartreuse. Juliet took that home before it had a chance to cool down and Maire bought the Galway cross Coils plyed with mohair. It was dyed in a bath of Magenta and jars of Orange, Pink Rose and Violet. They really suited her. I wish I had a bigger pot to have been able to spread the jars out a bit more, but it was a practice day and most of my things are packed.Kathleen also did some natural dyes outside. Onion skins, Logwood and something else with a couple different mordants to show us how the colours change. Really amazing. The weather was great and so was the day.


Diane said...

ha...great minds think were a great instructor

Rebecca (feltmaking and sustainable living in rural Ireland) said...

What a fantastic day that looks like, it sounds like heaven. The photos you did get capture it wonderfully.

Sara said...

Wow, looks like you had good fun Holly. I wish I could have made it but there you go, thats life. So the Jacobs turned out well did it? Wish I could see what it had turned out like, I haven't done any more dyeing of mine since last summer.