Oct 10
Dye Day 2007
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Uncategorized | icon4 10 10th, 2007| icon3No Comments »


Monday was Dye Day. Who would have thought that the first weekend in October would have temperatures in the 90’s in central Indiana? Usually, we are wearing jackets and gloves while we build the fires at 8:00 in the morning and only shed the jackets as the day warms up. This year, we started the day weaving shorts and T-shirts and used the garden hose to cool ourselves from standing over open fires and pots of boiling water and dyes.
Instead of having several different dye pots cooking with mordants already added to them, I used this year to teach a workshop and began everyone with the mordanting process before we moved on to the colors. I had alum, tin, copper and iron available for the mordants and Osage Orange, Asparagus, Cochineal, Alkanet Root, Walnuts, Annatto Seeds and Indigo for the dyes. If you look closely, You can see I had every color of the rainbow with a good brown thrown in for good measure.
Everyone was full of questions, and I spent the day answering them the best I could. The colors people were getting were stunning! One lady tie dyed some Dupioni silk fabric that started out as a medium bronze in color and after going through the cochineal, Osage Orange, and various other pots, the pieces of fabric were works of art! A couple of ladies were rug hookers and were dyeing pieces of wool fabric and were oohing and ahhing over their results. Another dyed a sock-weight yarn made up of merino wool, silk, nylon and a silver thread in the cochineal dyepot and it came out an medium burgundy color with caused the silver threads to just glisten against it! We all loved that one! I can’t think of a single yukky color.
Just for grins, I mordanted a white rabbit skin in tin and placed it in the nearly exhausted alkanet root pot. The purples were gone and all that was left was gray. It came out a beautiful silver-gray color – absolutely gorgeous! I don’t know what I’m going to do with that piece of fur, but it will be put into some project; it’s just too nice to waste.

Next year, I plan to put out 12-15 dyes with the mordants already in them. Everyone got a taste of what it takes to get multiple colors out of a single pot, but it was a lot of hard work and took quite a bit of patience on their part to wait for the fiber to be prepared for the colors. Let’s face it, it’s the colors they are there for, and next year, it will be the colors they will get! Lots of them!