Being a member of the Foothill Fibers Guild has enriched my life a lot, even though I can seldom make it to the programs or Spinning Saturday. There is a great newsletter and an active Yahoo list for members, and a wonderful library that we share. The members are a collective wealth of knowledge, as well as being good cooks. The best, though, is getting together to play.
This photo shows one of the many lovely "garden rooms" in her yard, just now coming into spring bloom.
Sue kept the stoves burning and the coffee going while Sara kept answering our questions.
Here, Sara is consulting her formula book, the heart of the many workshops she has instructed for SOAR and CNCH and other workshops throughout the country... we are lucky to share the same "backyard".
This restaurant steamer was kept busy all day, and can hold a dozen or so packets of dyed yarns and fibers for each timed sequence... the desired outcome is to steam the packets for 20 minutes at 185 degrees, then let them cool down thoroughly before rinsing. The yarns were all pre-soaked in a water/vinegar fixative solution before dyeing (well, except for mine; I missed the meeting where Sara explained the prep stages, so I came home to mix and pour vinegar and re-steam mine in a small canner now dedicated to dyeing).
The real fun is in all the different ways to paint as well as determining what proportions of different dyes to use to get the colors you are hoping for.... Sara and Sue had pre-mixed six different base colors to work with: magenta, scarlet, yellow, gold, blue and navy.
I came home with formulas to try many other colors based on these six... the adventure is just beginning.
We each have different styles of exploring dye and color.
Here, Stephanie plays mad chemist.
Jan has a logical plan to knit a top with cotton yarns incorporating a range of shades from dark to light, with a cowl neck trimmed in the same dark... she hopes this very detailed placement of color will result in a portion of the fabric knitted with alternating light and dark stitches.
Allison (the Reno one) will unravel this machine-knit piece and re-knit it into something (an article in one of the 2006 issues of Spin-off discusses this technique, if you are curious).
This Allison, owner of our LYS, Fibers, in Grass Valley, was busy mastering handying soysilk, which we learned should be treated like an animal fiber, even though it is a plant one! Every color she used had to factor in the fact that she was overdyeing a rather yellowish beige yarn... she plans to make a sweater for herself from this lavender-mauvey colorway.
Sharon experimented with dotting color onto roving so that the resultant spun yarn would have subtle color additions to a light ground.... we marveled about how we met through our blogs last summer, then discovered we were both guild members and met in person working at the county fair. Sharon lives north of Reno, but we "talk" almost every day... we were very glad to get to hang out together in real time today. I just noticed that she beat me in getting a post about our dye day up, so be sure and take a look at her photos as well.
I don't have any photos of my work yet; I re-steamed the four packets I did (three of yarn skeins, and a fourth of some Lincoln roving I had with me, white, that Sharon wanted to know why I would even want to spin... I bought the roving at the SLC wool festival last fall, because I thought the couple from southern Utah who had raised the sheep were such nice people; guess I still have oodles to learn about spinning and fiber). The darkest skein is currently soaking in a sudsy bucket, and I am going to go and treat the rest the same way... then, they will soak overnight in rinse water and hopefully not lose any of their color and I will be able to rinse them and hang to dry tomorrow, though the temperature is dropping precipitiously and a spring storm, possibly with snow, will probably interfere with quick drying and photographing.
Look for photos of my results later this week.