Quick dye session in the garage during nap time

Summer is here and the days are long and full of sunshine. It’s a busy time for everyone with lots of events with family and friends filling our days.

In the few minutes reclaimed here and there, I’ve been working away on editing the video footage for the Colour Play workshop (part of the School of SweetGeorgia) that I’ll be launching this fall. With my tiny garage dye studio finally built out and ready, I’ve been taking advantage of the space and doing a little bit more dyeing at home as well.

8/2 cotton warp, hand-dyed with procion fiber reactive dyes (turquoise and cobalt)

8/2 cotton warp, hand-dyed with procion fiber reactive dyes (turquoise and cobalt)

8/2 cotton warp, hand-dyed with procion fiber reactive dyes (turquoise)

8/2 cotton warp, hand-dyed with procion fiber reactive dyes (turquoise)

8/2 cotton yarns, hand-dyed with procion fiber reactive dyes (chartreuse) in 4%, 2%, and 1% DOS

8/2 cotton yarns, hand-dyed with procion fiber reactive dyes (chartreuse) in 4%, 2%, and 1% DOS

Ever since I became enamoured with the idea of weaving more baby wraps, I’ve been wanting to dye more cellulose-based, cotton yarns with fiber reactive dyes. I started winding a whole bunch of long warp chains and making small skeins of 8/2 cotton yarn, but just never got around to dyeing them. Finally, last week, Liz Gipson at the Yarnworker announced that they would start a weave-along for the kitchen towels from her new book, Handwoven Home. I thought this might be the perfect opportunity for me to finally dye up the yarns to use in the weave-along AND get something warped up on my poor naked rigid heddle loom.

Trying to re-purpose a baby wrap warp and re-wind it for kitchen towels

Trying to re-purpose a baby wrap warp and re-wind it for kitchen towels

Nina helping in the attic

Nina helping in the attic

Originally, the warps were wound to be about 7 yards long but now, I want to re-wind them into cones so that I can use this dyed yarn for warping the rigid heddle. I know it seems like a make-work project, but I don’t know how else to make good use of this yarn without wasting it. After dyeing, washing, and drying the cotton yarns, the warp has shrunk significantly… so if I want to combine these yarns with other cotton yarns, I’ll also need to wash and dry those yarns before warping. So many things to consider!

Dyeing with fiber reactive dyes is so very different than working with acid dyes and I spent one sleepless night, tossing and turning, thinking about how the two processes are similar and different. Everything from temperature to time to chemistry is completely different, it’s like exploring a completely new world.

Nina is spinning with mama

Nina is spinning May Club fibre (colourway “Unicorn Frap”) with mama

Speaking of new worlds, Nina has recently become interested in my spinning wheels and treadling with me. She’s almost always with me in the attic, re-organizing the yarns, and popping the drive band off the Lendrum spinning wheel. It’s a whole new world to explore.

 

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