Sunday, 1 June 2008

Spring Dye Day

I was asked to teach a class on natural dyeing at Blood Moon Alpacas. I set a limit of 10 people and decided to do 5 different dye vats covering the basics of different methods of dyeing. The idea was that with a full class, two people per dye vat would be able to actually do things and not sit around getting bored. Well, the class was full and we did 6 dye vats, although the 6th one was spontaneous and we didn't get it finished.

The first vat was indigo, where I had started the stock solution last week to save some time. Then we did a madder bath with a 27 day soak. We did Osage orange, cochineal and picked some fresh willow for the last three. The people attending the class were awesome, friendly and really easy to get along with. The asked tons of questions and did a fantastic job on making up the dye vats and dyeing the fibres. We dyed alpaca, both white and fawn. I must say that the fawn undertones really affected the colours dramatically and I don't think I'd use for a class again. They just didn't have quite as much wow factor as the colours on white.

The willow was a really pretty yellow which was a nice surprise and the madder vat wasn't red but a deep orange colour, amazingly pretty.
Thanks to the participants for making this class so much fun, to Margie for providing the space and fibre and to the weather which seemed to storm around us, but missed us completely!


vandy said...

What bits of willow were you using, leaves? branches? bark?

Nina said...

leaves and twigs - They were cooked and cooked. It took a fair bit of time before the water started colouring and alot of time before the leaves and twigs even started to look cooked. Boiling later in the day turned the colour a bit muddy.