This cloud was way more interesting than my phone caught in this picture, but early morning .....say 5:30.......is busy. No time to grab my camera. Cats are hungry. Miss Puss needs her insulin, Roy needs to go out, then he needs his medication, and I need coffee.
When I get in the shower, I come back to this.
Jinksie, Roy, and Sydney.
Miss Puss is not welcome. She has a serious attitude.
I have a new toy. I was trying to wind skeins to dye, on a regular old plastic swift. It was a horrific chore. I searched the web, and found all sorts of winders, manual and electric, as expensive as $550, which is a tad rich for my blood.
But I found this hand made cherry winder on Ebay, for $62, so I ordered it.
Can I just say this makes me very, very happy?
I found the table at a local used furniture shop for $25. I had DH screw the winder to the table, put a cup hook on the side of the table, clamped the counter to the ladder, and off we go!!!! It has a knob, that you can stick in any one of the holes to turn it with.
But I find that I just put my finger near the center and spin it, so much easier. And I can keep my elbow in close to my body, so my shoulder is not doing the work, my forearm is.
LOVE LOVE LOVE.
It's so easy to make me happy.
So now that I have all this cotton wound in skeins, it's time to dye.
For all you not so interested in this process, scroll right on down.
First off, wear a cover up. Cheap, $2 at Ocean City Job Lots.
Do not wear sandals unless you want purple toes. Do not ask me how I know this.
DON'T FORGET YOUR RUBBER GLOVES!
First step, soak your tied skeins in synthrapol and hot water, for about 30 minutes. Then squeeze them out, wring gently, and put them back in the same pan, only this time with a soda ash mixture, about 1 cup soda ash per gallon of warm water. Let soak while you mix your dye.
Here's my dye table. First you have to make urea water, about 3/4 cups urea to 1 quart warm water. This is the water you will use to make your dyes. I mix 1 tsp dye powder per 1 cup urea water in a mason jar, stir it well with a wire whisk, and use a funnel to put it into my water bottles with spouts.
I keep each jar in front of my squeeze bottle, so I can remember what color is in the bottle, and as I use them I put them back in the same spot. Otherwise, you will lose track of what is what. Again, don't ask me how I know.
This is cotton, so I am using MX fiber reactive dyes.
By now, your skeins are ready. Squeeze, gently wring, them out, and lay them on your table which you have covered in plastic.
Here's the fun part.......start applying your dye to the skeins....however you want. Just remember that the colors do run into each other, so that you may not always like the colors that are made when they mix.
This is my second batch of the day, because...well, if you're already into it, why not?
This is organic cotton, in a beige.
Thank goodness, I have a big table.......purchased from Staples......ordered at the store, or online, so they deliver this to your house. Way easier than dragging it home. It's 8 ft long.
At this point, you cover it with plastic, and maybe something to keep the plastic from blowing off, and let the sun do its work. Hopefully you have picked a nice toasty day.
You can leave it all day, or even overnight until the next day.
THEN, you rinse. I put it back in the flat pan that I started with, and rinse with the hose. When it is pretty clear, I dump the cold water, and put in hot water, and some synthapol, again, and wash.......then rinse, rinse, rinse, until it all runs clear, and no color is coming out.
NOW, all you have to do is wait until it dries.
And it's always a surprise to me how it turns out.
I go to bed watching the lightning bugs outside my window, the most incredible fireworks of all, and I wake up gazing out at the mist over the fields.
Then I get to play all day, dyeing and playing with color, or weaving and playing with design.
To top this off, I have a great family, and great friends.
And this baby girl.
For as long as I have it, this life is amazing.