Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Outdoor Dye Kitchen

Here is a picture of my basic dye area. I have a table and a propane burner, various pots and pans, and a canopy covering all. In this picture, the dye pot has English walnuts (with hulls on) simmering. Last fall a group of us dyeing friends got together to dye with both English and Black walnuts. I gathered a few more walnuts at the urging of our generous hostess to take home with me to do a bit more dyeing. I was curious to see if letting them over-winter and decompose in water would make any difference to the dye results. I have had them sitting outside in two five-gallon buckets all winter. I took this picture yesterday as the walnuts were undergoing their first simmer. After letting them simmer for a full hour, I turned off the flame and have let them sit in the pot overnight. I had planned to strain the liquid today putting the leftover walnuts and hulls on the compost pile and saving the liquid for dyeing with, but I ended up having an unexpected errand day today.
My husband is a high school Spanish teacher and today he went on a field trip with the music students to see the Seattle Symphony. In case you are wondering why a Spanish teacher is going on a music class field trip, he is also an accomplished musician and occasionally helps out with school concerts. His website is listed in my “Personal Links” section. Yes, that is a shameless plug!
To get back to my story, I ended up taking him into work as we usually go climbing in the gym on Tuesdays after work. Logistics worked better for us if I took him in and picked him up on the way to the gym. Since I had the car today, I did a few errands to get the materials to complete my skeinwinder. I also stopped by the thrift store to get a blender for dyeing use and whatever else I could find. One find that I am smiling about is the Lego telephone I picked up for a couple of dollars to use in my studio! I am not fond of making phone calls so now I will have something fun to make them with. A lot of people may think this is silly but I think all you creative types out there will understand perfectly. Oh, I got a hand-held blender to use for the dyes too.
Do you have creative “toys” in your studio/weaving area?
Off to play! -Renee


Anonymous said...

Hi Renee! This is Heidi, from the Whidbey Guild. Your blog is wonderful! I've read and enjoyed all your posts, and I really like the questions you present in each entry! I'm looking forward to the results of your english walnut dyeing, because I have 6 walnut trees on my property that produce more nuts than I can eat! hjaponi@yahoo.com

Renee said...

Thanks Heidi, you have the honor of being the first to leave a comment on my blog! When I was a teen, we had 13 walnut trees to deal with every year so I understand your embarrassment of walnut riches. English walnut dyes a tan but Black walnut dyes a rich shade of brown. Walnut is a substantive dye and doesn't need a mordant to take. I always went to school with stained hands in the fall from the walnuts.