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Archive for June, 2013

These are a few of my favorite things: #28 – Resources for dyeing yarn and fabric

The letter ‘e’ is important in many ways.  One way is it transforms the word ‘dying’ . . . a very grim word meaning ceasing to live or approaching death . . .  into ‘dyeing’ . . . a word meaning to add or change color.  I like that much better.  One thing I do like about these words is the confusion and bewilderment it can create for non-fiber folks when we say we’re going to spend the day dyeing or take a class on dyeing.  To many, it sounds like end-of-life planning.  For others, it conjures up visions of rainbows.

I have to admit . . . I’m not the most experienced or well-versed dyer.  However, there are some simple techniques that I’ve used to help transform my yarns and fabric into something remarkable for a project.  This brings me to share with you some on-line resources for dyeing yarn and fabric.

Spinning Daily’s Guide to Dyeing Yarn: Learn How to Dye Using Natural Dyeing Techniqueshttp://www.spinningdaily.com/dyeing-yarn/

This is a free ebook from our friends at Spin Off magazine.  I like this publication as a way of getting me to appreciate natural dyeing techniques . . . from black walnuts

Guide to Dyeing Yarn

Plus, now that summer is officially upon us . . . give solar dyeing a try and let Mother Nature help you transform your yarns!

Sun-kissed dyeing

Quilting Daily’s Easy Resist Fabric Dyeing Techniques for Batik-style Dyeing and Surface Design – http://www.quiltingdaily.com/free-resist-fabric-dyeing-techniques/

This is another free ebook; however, this one is from our friends at Quilting Daily.  It find it inspirational for those pieces of fabric I have woven that I think need to be punched up a bit.

Easy Resist Fabric Dyeing

Dye Your Yarn – http://www.dyeyouryarn.com/

This is a website full of information on different techniques from dyeing with food dyes, Kool-Aid, and Easter egg dyes to transform yarns.  Fun things to do with kids too!  The following are just a few examples:

Dyeing silk with Kool-Aid

Dyeing silk with Kool-Aid


McCormick food dye formulas

McCormick Formulas

Dyeing with Easter egg dyes

Dudley's Easter Egg Decorating Kit

Kathryn Ivy’s website – http://kathrynivy.com/patterns/extras/dyeing-yarn/

Check out this website for a fun tutorial on dyeing with Easter egg dyes.  I think she got stunning results!

Yarn Dyeing Tutorial

Dharma Trading’s dyeing with ice (or snow) – http://www.dharmatrading.com/html/eng/13399009-AA.shtml

If the summer heat is getting to you, perhaps dyeing with ice will help cool you off (a margarita nearby isn’t a bad idea).

Ice dyeing

And, finally . . . there are a number of resources available to walk you through dyeing in a Crock Pot.  The two below are just a couple that will show you how.

Twin Willows Farm – Rainbow Crock Pot dyeing – http://www.twinwillowsfarm.com/rainbow.html

Crock pot dyeing

Sleepy Eyes Knitting – http://sleepyeyesknitting.blogspot.com/2007/02/crockpot-fiber-dyeing.html

Crock pot dyeing - roving exxample sleepy eye

Whether I cool off this summer by dyeing with ice or I wait for cooler weather and use my Crock Pot, these are some helpful resources to get you started created your own unique and colorful yarn and fabric!



These are a few of my favorite things: #27 – Franz Donat’s “Large Book of Textile Design”

Once upon a time, before there was Handwoven magazine and other more contemporary weaving publications, weavers were limited in the resources available to them.  There are some notable and classic weaving pattern books that probably had a huge impact on weavers when they came out.  In the latest of my favorite things, one of these books is just a few clicks away.

Franz Donat’s Large Book of Textile Design was published in the 19th century and is the largest weaving pattern book with over 9,000 patterns.  Nearly 2,500 of them may be woven on eight or fewer shafts.  Not only do I find the size of the pattern collection impressive, but I also appreciate seeing the versatility of a single threading by glancing over the treadling variations.

When this pattern book was published, weavers were under pressure to produce fabric so they could keep a roof over their head, feed their families, and more.  Few wove as a hobby.  Imagine how valuable this publication would have been to weavers interested in weaving different patterns without the need to spend the time developing the treadlingsequence.

The entire pattern collection for Franz Donat’s Large Book of Textile Design was scanned by Ralph Griswold and is available on-line at the On-Line Digital Archive of Documents on Weaving and Related Topics.  Click on the following link to access it it  http://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/webdocs/pb_dlb.pdf.  It’s enough to make me even want a loom with more shafts than I currently have in my studio.

I love scanning through the pages and getting inspired by the patterns.  Below are some images from the book.

8S SD treadlings 14S SD treadlings 16S SD treadlings 26S SD treadlings Even more treadlings More treadlings

Yes, I know the patterns in the book don’t always present a clear impression of what the pattern will look like . . . but, I have some good news.  A complete draft for all of these patterns is available on-line at http://handweaving.net/ . . . another fabulous resource (and one of my many favorite things too!)

Donat's patterns on handweaving.net

At handweaving.net, you can do many things, including search by a specific collection (Franz Donat’s Large Book of Textile Design is only one). Plus, you can even limit the number of shafts and/or treadles for patterns so they are suitable for the loom(s) you weave on.  It’s also especially nice if you have weaving software since you can download the .wif file (wif stands for weaving information file) and open it in your application.  Although, never fear if you don’t use weaving software . . . you can still print them off.  Pretty darn exciting for some resources that are just a click away.

8S pattern on handweaving.net from Donat

Never before have so many weaving resources been so easily accessible . . . just think what the future has in store for us!

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