Friday, September 27, 2013

Fiber Frolic

What is a fiber frolic you ask?  It's a day of fiber related classes and activities.  The Griffin Dye Works puts on the frolic twice a year.  They have classes and spinning circles and a lot of wonderful people willing to teach you all about fiber and the various activities you can partake of relating to fiber.

This years options: Beginning knitting, card weaving, looms, spinning, duffers, knitting with beads, braiding, dying, and more.  There were also quite a few vendors (tons of roving and fiber to buy) hand spun and hand dyed yarns, a little bit of commercial yarns and some odds and ends).   I'll show you what I purchased another time.

My favorite part of the fiber frolic are the dye pots.  Bjo Trimble, amazing knowledgeable dye expert, teaches a class on natural dyes and then sets her students free to play with the dyes and see what we can create.

This was our designated dying area.  Outside, well ventilated and with plenty of room to drip freely.

Bjo instructing

Before dying fabric, fiber or yarn each piece has to be tagged and then soaked.  Dry items just don't accept the dye as well.  These are a couple of friends, Bessie and Betty, tagging and prepping their items.

Everyone loves the indigo pots.  Indigo Crystals (Indigofera tinctoria) are added to boiling water to create various shades of blue.  See below for Indigo.

Indigo looks bright or neon green while in the pot and oxidizes once the air hits it and turns blue.  The pre-oxidized green is an awesome color, unfortunately it doesn't last.

We also had logwood which produces purples, Tesu which produces a yellow, cochineal, for red and walnut for brown.  I played mainly with the logwood and Indigo.  I did dye a piece of cotton fabric in the walnut and got a nice cocoa color, but decided to over dye it in the logwood.  Over-dying just means placing a previously dyed material into a new color.

Some finished logwood dyed scarves:

And some finished Indigo:

All of my dyed items still need to be rinsed and set.  I dyed three or four skeins of yarn and still have a couple of skeins that I need to set from the fiber retreat this summer.  I'll show you the caked yarns when they're dry.

Griffin Dye Works sells their dyes and will ship internationally.  They've got quite a bit of information online and are always willing to answer questions.  If you are local to Southern California you can arrange for private lessons or a private dye day with a few friends.

Check out their website: Griffin Dye Works

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