Dyeing, SweetGeorgia

Dye Crazy and All About Colour

After a good nights’ sleep, I started Friday morning with a dye workshop with Amy King of Spunky Eclectic. Our dye room was actually one of the beautiful River Lodges with a wonderful view of the golf course. Great natural light lit up our session which was made even more cozy with the fresh hot chocolate and marshmallow break midway through the morning.

That’s Amy. She has a great, confident presence in the classroom.
And this is the view out our classroom.

We partnered up and dyed BFL and Superwash Merino top with Amy’s oven method and also a cold-pour technique. In the oven method, we wet out the fibre, arranged it in the oven pans and then poured dye in whichever pattern we wanted. Then citric acid solution was poured over the entire pan and the pans were baked at 280 to 300 degrees, held at that temperature for ten minutes and then allowed to cool down. With the cold-pour sample, we put the superwash merino in a pot of cold water and poured dye over top. There’s more water in this method, but since we used superwash, the dye struck pretty quickly so we got splotchy fibre. Unexpected results… but it’s going to be fun to spin up.

How we dyed.
Workshop attendees working on dyeing in the pan

It was happy times as I finally got to meet Jacey Boggs of Insubordiknit in class this morning. In fact, we partnered up for the dyeing and it was so cool to chat with her. There’s so much to learn from everyone.

Jacey is an absolute sweetheart and she is, at the same time, so confident and also very humble about her achievements. She’s the talent behind the new Sit n’ Spin DVD and teaches the technical skills required to be proficient at making art yarn. She podcasts and she blogs and she’s generally just a productive whirlwind of creativity. Yep, she’s awesome and she’s coming to teach at Madrona Fiber Arts in February 2010 if anyone in Vancouver is interested in really learning the skills to spin art yarn.

That’s Jacey, spinning queen

My afternoon session was all about drum carding with Deb Menz, a long-time hero of mine. Her book, Color in Spinning, turned me on to nearly everything I do today — dyeing, working with colour, creating colourways, and spinning handpainted yarns. So, of course, seeing Deb do simple things like strip a batt or pull combed fibre off a hackle was … like a celebrity moment for me.

I got her to explain to me her “major key” and “minor key” concepts from the book and I finally got it. Major Key colourways include the entire range of values but in different proportions so the yarn looks a bit more salt-n-peppery. Minor Key colourways include a small set of close values so the yarn looks closer to semi-solid with very little internal contrast. Good to hear it from the source, because that chapter in the book totally confused me.

Deb working the diz
Another view of the hackle… ’cause it’s just so cool

Our class was about experimenting with the three different properties of colour: hue, value, and saturation. So we started with a single colour of fibre and split it into six portions. With each portion we blended in a smaller portion of another colour to create a variation… so a single colour was shifted warmer and cooler, darker and lighter, duller and brighter. Some of us used drum carders and others used the large hand combs or hackles. I went through all the trouble of packing my electric Fancicard, so I chose to use that for the entire class. Here are my batts:

Plain old blue fibre … modified six ways.

Feeling very, very blessed, I was lucky enough to finish the day with a couple hours at the spa (a very special and lovely gift) and also a bit of a trip through the spinners’ market. After a test drive on the Schacht-Reeves 30″ saxony wheel and a few lustful glances at the Lendrum Saxony, I treated myself to some 80/20 Polwarth and Bombyx silk blend in a silver colour and some sock yarns from Blue Moon and Abstract Fiber as well as a Sheep 2 Sock kit from Blue Moon. It’s kind of nice to feel like a stash-hungry, wheel-coveting spinner again… at least for a moment.


About Felicia Lo

founder + creative director of SweetGeorgia // designer + dreamer // wife + mama // dyer, knitter, spinner, weaver, youtuber + author // been writing this blog about colour and craft since 2004 // see what I am making @lomeetsloom and @sweetgeorgia.

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3 thoughts on “Dye Crazy and All About Colour

  1. Nancy says:

    Looks like a fabulous trip! And your batts are yummy! I need to start setting time for next years events!

  2. Nancy says:

    Looks like a fabulous trip! And your batts are yummy! I need to start setting time for next years events!

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