Oh summer, where hast thou gone? The bright mornings and the long evenings, not stumbling to and from work in the dark, and the general piece and quiet of being in a city that seems to lose a significant proportion of its inhabitants over the summer vacation… All gone… Seemingly in an instant. As I’m doing most of my dyeing outside now, it’s probably also coming towards the end of dyeing season and the start of needing the daylight lamp for any fine embroidery work. I think I start to understand why some people are seasonal silk shaders, it’s much easier when you can actually see what you’re doing!
Sometimes simplicity is best. After my last batch of dyeing, I’ve been trying to work through various colours to create a ‘palette’ to be able to spin from. The nice thing about dyeing top for spinning rather than dyeing a skein of wool directly is that this still leaves a huge number of possibilities for colour blending and mixing at different stages of the process.
Kiel is a charming city in the north of Germany, only about an hour and half from Denmark, with plenty of beautiful waterfronts. Maybe inspired by the slightly… brisk weather during the winter though, it also seems to be home to a surprising amount of spinning, weaving and wooly goodness.
Oh how I’ve missed splashing around with colours and silks. It has been far too long since I’ve had fun playing with dyes, partly out of fear of destroying my deposit for my overly white apartment. The colour scheme for most of the paint isn’t even magnolia, beige or cream, it’s brilliant white and therefore completely unforgiving on all things dirt or dye related… If anyone would like to preempt my future problems and has any advice on removing dyes from surface where it is not supposed to be, please offer away!
When I knew I’d be going to Seoul, I was really hoping to find a chasu course, and learn a little in particular about the silk embroideries with their dazzling colour schemes, or maybe some bojagi, the traditional wrapping clothes that are often worked in silk, or light gauzy fabrics in a patchwork style. Unfortunately, there was nothing available I could fit into my trip, but I did stumble across a maedeup class instead.
After trying some ice dyeing and really enjoying the results, I though I’d give a try to a combination of speckle dyeing and painting. Normally I tend to dye fibre to spin but it’s a little bit hard to maintain defined spots of colour in the spinning process, plus, while handspun definitely has it charms, there’s a lot to be said for the near perfect regularity of mill-spun yarn.
A trip to California wouldn’t be complete without following some of its legendary coastlines and dropping into a yarn shop or two on the way. In the quaint, picturesque little city of Carmel-by-the-Sea, is the aptly named, Knitting by the Sea. Maybe knitware and sand aren’t a combination that instantly springs to mind, but this lovely yarn shop will soon have you convinced.
I’ve recently discovered the joys of sprinkle dyeing, where the dyeing process is reduced to 1) soak yarn at required pH, 2) dump powder dye directly on yarn, 3) fix dye as necessary. No solutions, no mixing, no syringing. I can actually clean up in less than five minutes after sprinkle dyeing, ideal for a busy schedule, dangerous as I am now drowning in very lurid sock yarns with no time to knit socks.
While roaming around Pinterest one day, I saw some interesting looking fabric that had been dyed using a technique known as ‘ice dyeing’. The name sounds a lot more glamorous and complicated than the technique actually is. All you do is dump a load of ice on your fabric, put powder dye on the ice and wait but, for such an easy technique, the patterns it produces are actually very interesting.