Wednesday, October 10, 2012

postcards from maine: the dye tent

I'd planned to take a class at Fiber College, along with teaching this year.  Then I learned that Ellen Mason was setting up a mentored dye tentNo way! I knew that was where my free time was to be spent.
Three skeins of Ellen's handpaints, for inspiration. 
Woman knows her dye. She had at least a dozen stations set up, for DIY fun, animal or plant fiber, under her generous guidance.
Dye colors she had portioned out, for us to mix and match.
Here's the thing:  I love color. I know color, I blab about color theory when I teach. I can light the hell out of color. Clients hire me because of the way I make things look in photographs. In color.  Guess what?I am really bad at dyeing.
How great is a master who gets excited about your attempts? That's Ellen Mason , next to wavy haired Kirsten Kapur, cooking up some skeins, in the mist.
Kirsten proves she's got dyeing chops.
My yarns pre-soaking. The white is a KnitPicks Bare chunky, the greyish on the left is an angora blend I had left over from edging this scarf,the brown is a gift skein direct from Peru. It's a nice fingering weight alpaca, a little dull. 
The greyish yarn,  using a jar method. You add different color dye as you layer the skein into the jar, and then cook it.  I also had 6 skeins of the chunky white, in pots on burners: two different batches, trying to get nice, interesting saturated skeins.   I mixed colors.  With maybe too much abandon.
After the jar. Not awful. But also not great. Parts are too bright, some not saturated enough. The transitions are choppy. My other skeins? Inarguably awful. 
The chunky yarn, after.  You're probably thinking: that's not so bad. You're right, it isn't.  Because this is after after.  Ellen and Mary Lou Egan overdyed my dyeing, saving my self-esteem before we all went home. The nice mermaidy colors on the left  had, under my watch, come out like a Girl Scout uniform meeting an unfortunate bleach incident. (I'm thinking sash and all).  The fingering weight alpaca was so sad that Ellen kindly took it home with her, and turned it into a gorgeous olive skein that I'll show you another time.
Mary Lou's yarn drying technique. Aerobic, but not that effective.0032_0912GaleZuckerFC 
Yarn divas? This proves that I am as bad about dyeing my hair as I am at dyeing yarn. 1021_0912GaleZuckerFC 
Watching over us, the whole time. Undyed.


Ellen Mason said...

In your defense, that bulky superwash took color unpredictably - we used the same proportions as Kirsten's yarn and ended up with girl scout. We need a do-over to prove you're still the color master. Love the glamour shot.

Ellen Bloom said...

I applaud you for your efforts, Gale. I leave the dyeing of yarn to the experts!! I can always find a professionally dyed orange that I like!

Mary Lou said...

What? The yarn only took a few more days to dry after I got it home! The glamour shot is great. Hubba hubba.

Beverly said...

Looks like you had a blast. I adore Ellen's posture in the photo w/Kirsten!

Cathy R said...

OK, that "Yarn Divas" photograph is ALL KINDS OF AWESOME! What a great capturing of the emotions of the day.

Have a great time at Rhinebeck!