I've finally finished printing Lace Stories! It happened on Sunday evening, just two before the deadline. I'm pretty happy with how the printing turned out, but I'm still working out some binding issues. I promise I'll post pictures of the finished folios and the binding-in-progress tomorrow.
To celebrate being finished with all that printing, I spent the weekend with Sara, Beth, and Lark dyeing large quantities of fiber with plant dyes. Prior to this weekend, the only plant dyeing I had ever done was with walnut hulls, under the instruction of Ann Marie Kennedy. I liked how my dyed papers from that occassion turned out so much I was convinced to attempt a much more ambitious round of dyeing.
I started this weekend with about 5 and one half pounds of undyed fibers. Not any longer! Everything's been colored with cochineal, indigo, osage orange, logwood, and madder. We began at 11:00 Saturday morning with premordanting.
We chose to premordant everything with kitchen alum. It took most of the day to finish processing all of our fiber. In fact, Sara, Lark, and I all had to take home more fibers to mordant later in the evening.
Luckily, we didn't just mordant on Saturday. We got to play with some indigo, too, since it doesn't necessarily require a mordant in order to produce fast colors. I used indigo crystals from griffin dyeworks, thiox, and soda ash to make our blue pot, and it worked beautifully. I love the ease of preparation the crystals allow.
I was tempted to watch all my fiber turn from green to blue as it oxodized, but I knew Sunday would yeild lots of other dyeing opportunities. We tried several plant dyes, including logwood, which gave black, navy blue, shades of purple, and grey, osage orange, which gave a sunshine yellow, cochineal, which gave dark and light rasberry and magenta, and madder, which gave a lovely peachy-pink.
I loved seeing how each kind of fiber took the dyes ( we experimented with silk both as a fabric and as spinning fiber, wool, mohair, and cotton). The variety of colors the wool yeilded was especially striking.
In fact, I'm so excited by the wool that I'm not going to be using it for the project it was originally meant for (enclosures for Lace Stories), but for a modern log cabin blanket. I'll be dyeing more yarn with indigo and walnut hulls for the enclosures later this month!
I'm using my unspun fibers to make some yarns on my spinning wheel. I have enough silk for a few sizeable hanks of double knitting weight yarn. I'm hoping, in fact, that it's enough to make a lacey, airy summertime tank top. I plan on carding the cochineal, logwood, and indigo-dyed silk together for some interesting variegation.