Dye then Weave
There are so many advantages to dyeing one’s own yarn and I’ll list a few below.
Create your colors, relationship to watercolor, develop color ways and design
Color theory is a great part of weaving, dyeing and fabric texture. Dyeing elevates the handwoven piece to a more artistic and fine craft with color transition, blending, dynamic, composition… all things color theory. Dyeing can create resist used in ikat, blend and break of color for rep weaves.
Finding a great yarn in the wrong color is disappointing but overdyeing can change all of that!
Depth of FiberField
Blending yarns and fibers, then dyeing, gives a depth of texture as the different spin, fiber type and base color will absorb and reflect differently, tho they will still have the same relationship with the over-dyed color.
Ok, this is all about me! I can over-dye, buy larger amounts of a yarn I like in fewer batches and just over-dye, reducing the bulk of yarn i purchase and giving me color choices I can make in batches of dyed yarns.
In the Dye to Weave workshop, we choose what we will weave and then dye yarns to work in that plan.
We use a variety of yarns, make a set of samples and determine what yarns we want to use and blend colors. We explore color blending with a variety of color triads (expanding on basic color theory with a few sets of primary colors) and timing.
Depending on the workshop chosen, we use Procion MX dyes and natural dyes (on protein fibers, i.e. silk, wools). We will explore tie off warp resist and blending colors without tie offs.
After the samples, we wind off our project threads (using a warping board), dye our yarns and the warp is ready for dressing on the loom.
**My personal dye journey!
I began dyeing fleece and spinning on my li’l drop spindle, making yarn from roots, vegetables, nuts, bark, insects, plants, soil, lichens- kind of anything I thought might give me color! I found golden yellows that i could make clear, bright and earthy to mix with indigo blues, cabbage violets and lichen purples. I found deep rusty reds with alkanet and madder and brighter reds with cochineal that could mix with those yellows to share glowing mango orange, soft and warm terra cotta and the color of nasturtiums and zinnias. Mixing those with nutty browns, afterbaths to brighten and darken gave me an enormous pallet to choose from with the added bonus of the “forest bath” to harvest these things. I remember how long it took me to dig up a cedar root to get that color.. and the aroma of cedar has always been one of my favorites (from the times I’d get into my grandma’s cedar chest to hide!)
And then, I went to school to study production weaving at Haywood. I learned soooo much! And the mountains are always such a lovely space to inhabit. And so many natural dye materials, tho the instructor was way into synthetic Procion H series dyes at the time. And we had Procion M series there, too, which I use more of lately as the colors are predictable, permanent, easier to use on bast fibers and i schedule my forest bathing walks for other times (stuffing my backpack and pockets all the way!). Interesting circle that the instructor is now a touring “natural dye” instructor and enthusiast! About all of this, know your chemistry and safety points.