Saturday, May 5, 2007

Earthues Dye Project: The Details

I don't always sit down and organize a weaving, spinning, or dyeing project. Of course, I do a few quick calculations for warp and weft before warping the loom and I will think about what kind of yarn I wish to spin. This project, however, requires a bit more planning. To start with, I decided to use only one yarn type. I will be using Crown Colony 2-ply wool yarn from Henry's Attic. I have 13 pounds of it. In my proposal I thought I would make my skeins 100 yards each, which came out to be about 133 skeins. After explaining this to Cathy at Earthues she suggested I make my skeins a bit smaller. She had a good sample of a skein of the same yarn I was using to show me. It looked like it would be a good amount for tapestry weaving and give me even more skeins to work with, about 375 of them! That seems like a lot but read on and you will see that it only scratches the surface!
I purchased quite a bit of dye. I bought the Reds and Colors Collection kits. Each kit will dye about 50 lbs of fiber. Having worked with Earthues once or twice before I knew I would want more of certain ingredients. I purchased additional Madder, some Weld flowers, and a dye substance called Quercitron which is from a variety of oak tree. I have never worked with Weld flowers or the Quercitron. It looks like I will be getting experience in the extraction process as well. The Reds Collection contains roots, bugs, and barks. The booklet says it contains "everything you need to know about cochineal, lac, and madder." The Colors Collection contains many of the natural dye extracts that Earthues carries. In fact, it seems to contain most, including indigo. Both of the kits I purchased come with instructional booklets. I took myself to a coffee house while my husband was at a band rehearsal and sat down to organize and read through the material.
There are many formal ways and tools to organize a project of this size. I have decided to storyboard it out. I like this system as I am, like many fiber artists, a visual person and I can view the whole project laid out. I will be describing this system in detail soon. For now I will say that 375 skeins is just a start! The first big task, after organizing the project, will be skeining off and washing, or scouring, the yarn. As I like to tinker with things I have a plan for that too....Stay tuned.
Do you have a favorite organizing "tool" you like to use when tackling a project? -Renee

No comments: