felt luminary

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Natural Fiber Fair & Natural Colors to Dye For

  This past weekend I attended my first fiber fair.  The Natural Fiber Fair is a Northern California event that was a two day event held in Arcada this year.  There were weavers, spinners, felters, fabric designers, dyers, knitters, rug hookers.......it was fantastic.  There was a main area with vendors selling all types of fibers and products made from fibers or to make fibers as well as demonstrations and classes.
  This is a photo of Carin Engen and Sara in Carin's booth Artfully Felt.  Carin is a dear friend and one of the organizers of the fair.  This year she asked me to have a few things in her booth.  I put in a few scarves, bags and luminaries.  It was a first for me having my work for sale in a public venue, it was great to hear all the positive comments about my work from buyers and sellers alike.  Thanks Carin.

  On Sunday I took a class in natural dyeing from Linda Hartshorn.  It was so amazing!  I was in wonder of all the colors available from nature!  We dyed wool yarn, most of the instruction covered dyeing wool, or protein fibers.  You begin with soaking your wool in a mordant, we used Alum, which was then dissolved in water.  A mordant creates a chemical type of reaction with the wool that will allow the wool to absorb the dye.  While that is going on you make up your dye.  Some things need
soak over night while some can be made up right away.  They need to be  heated and allowed to "cook" a bit, then strained and re heated.  When the dye is ready the wool is removed from the mordant bath and excess moisture is squeezed out.  The wool is put in the pot of simmering dye and allowed to remain in the dye pot until the color reached is slightly darker than what is desired-rinsing will remove some of the dye.  You have to be careful not to boil your wool yarn or roving other wise you'll felt it and ruin it.
After you remove your wool you let it cool off a bit then rinse out the excess dye and hang to dry.

The dye pot here is a dye made with Logwood.

Here is a variety of the colors of yarn that the class dyed on the drying racks.

Here on the right are the colors I dyed.  Here is a list of the colors and what they were made from:
green=marigold blossoms
yellow=onion skins
orange=madder root
light purple=cochineal
red=brazil wood

  I thoroughly enjoyed the class!  I can't wait to make some white felt and then dye it from some of the natural dye stuffs I picked up at the class.  Now I get to roam the forest for things to make my own dye from. 

1 comment:

  1. That is totally cool! I've been knitting and crocheting for a long time and am just starting to explore spinning and dying fibers. I'm going to look and see if there are any fiber fairs coming to my area!