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Currently showing posts tagged natural dyeing

  • Slow yarn & process

    This art is a waiting game.

    Today, I'm scouring 2 dozen skeins of Texranch WORSTED. Two pots of 6 skeins each will fit on my stove at a time, each spending at least one hour there. (56 more are all queued up for their turn to shine.)

    As I tie the skeins and wet them out, letting them all sink to the bottom of the bucket at their own leisurely pace (this is how to know your yarn is thoroughly wetted, without squeezing and roughing up the fibers), I'm feeling sorta zen -- feeling like I don't mind that this is only the first of at least 8 steps before I can share a finished product. 

    Natural dyeing includes step after step that can't be rushed if you want to be happy with what comes out of the pot. Come to think of it, that's true of cooking, true of raising kids... probably true of most worthwhile endeavors.

    DAY ONE

    1.) Tie skeins and wet through.

    2.) Scour. Cool (read: wait).

    3.) Mordant. Cool.

    DAY TWO

    4.) Create dyebath(s) (boil then cool if using raw materials or mix extracts).

    5.) Dye. Cool.

    6.) Maybe overdye. Cool a bit.

    DAY THREE

    7.) Maybe overdye again. Cool.

    8.) Dry.

    DAY FOUR

    9.) Reskein.

    10.) Label.

    Moving slowly and deliberately through each movement of each step, I am content. 

    It's a labor of love, a slow process that -for me- must be flexible and subject to pause. When I feel impatient at it's slowness, I remind myself that it's this very quality of natural dyeing that allows me to wear so many other hats at the same time. Plus, I know that if I rush it, I'll be really unhappy with the product, unwilling/unable to share it, and uninspired to move forward (at least for a while). 

    I'm always telling myself to slow down (pretty evident looking back at Blue Highway's accomplishments so far). An oft-repeated motto this year, in business and life in general, has been "Just say NO to stress." As in, REFUSE it. Refuse to rush the process, to overly care if we're running late, to feel guilty if my house/office/studio isn't an Instagram dream, or when I drop a ball or three.

    Obviously, achieving this mindset is a constant work in progress, and, once achieved, it's fleeting.

    With so many ideas and inspirations swimming around, new methods to explore, untangling what has worked from what hasn't, coupled with general excitement... sometimes the path forward is unclear. Sometimes it's easier to stand still or debate and make plans rather than actually push forward into new territory. 

    When I'm stuck, I must remember to ask myself, What would you tell [a good friend] in your situation?  

    I'd tell her to slow down and enjoy the getting there. I'd tell her to take a step forward today, no matter how small, and then another and another. And remind her to celebrate all victories. 

    .....

    "You're doing really fine... You should take yourself out to lunch as soon as that yarn comes off the stove."

  • Texranch LACE at fibre space

    Here are all of the colors I sent to fibre space in Alexandria, VA a couple weeks back. If you're interested in getting some Texranch LACE of your own for a sweet summery shawl, just give 'em a call to see what's left and place a mail order! 703.664.0344

    Lavender is a favorite scent, color and plant of mine. (It's one of the few plants in my garden that survives all.) This skein's name may or may not be something I repeat to myself throughout some days. Sooooothing...

    Turquoise Trail is New Mexico State Rd 14, through northern NM. It's a national scenic byway through an area of the country that has always drawn me in. We eloped there!

    I love cactus blossoms and desert wildflowers. The speckles in this color way make me think of those pops of color amidst the sand. Google "Atacama desert in bloom" and you'll see one from my bucket list.

    This color brought me right back to enjoying my favorite treats in New Orleans:

    Golden, glowing... all from kitchen scraps. Natural dyeing is magical!

    Yellow blossoms on the roadside, in the pasture:

    Red dirt-ed Palo Duro canyon in the Texas panhandle is a little known gem (known to Texans, maybe). But totally worth a trip! My husband and I camped there on our way to New Mexico when we ran off to get married.

    This was a one-of-a-kind that I know a friend of mine snagged at the shop, but I will try my hand at it again. It made me think of the ancient (c. 1830's) farmhouse where we used to live in Vermont:

    New growth is good, and is always possible:

    Scattered showers (over new growth):

    "Enchanted", after the dome of pink granite in the Texas hill country known as Enchanted Rock. We camped there last year for my middle child's 8th birthday, on the night of a blue moon and a spectacular dry lightning storm. Native legends surround this landmark. It's even known to speak at night!

    Ever take the long way home just to see the sun set from the road? Or pull over to gaze at these colors in the sky? They were meant to be together:

    "Old Town" is a set of 3 mini reds that brought to mind brick sidewalks, bright red doors and the King Street Trolley from our old home in Northern Virginia:

    A darker shade of Palo Duro: