Monthly Archives: May 2011

Dartmoor Dyeing, not Dartmore Dyeing!

I failed to spell the yarn dyeing process correctly and figured that someone might want to know what Dartmoor Dyeing is! This post is from “Weaving Yarnz”and she explains it quite well. Read some more of her posts by clicking on the Weaving Yarnz link above!

Tuesday, 25 March 2008
Eye Candy
Each summer our Guild holds a retreat and about 25 women abandon home and family for an uninterrupted weekend where they can play with fibre to their heart’s content. This year the theme of the retreat was ‘Dyeing with a Difference’, and one of the ‘different’ things we did was Dartmoor Dyeing.Dartmoor Dyeing is a little easier to do than explain, but briefly, it involves a full greasy fleece and 4 dyepots of red, blue, yellow and jade, or a mix of blue and green of some description. The greasy fleece is divided into 3 equal parts; the first of these 3 divisions is further divided into 4. Each of the 4 pieces put into a different dyepot and after simmering for about 30 minutes the fibre is removed from the pots, rinsed well, divided into 4 again. One piece of each colour is set aside as a control colour and the remaining pieces returned to the dyepots but this time to a different coloured pot to the one they originally came from; ie. one piece each of red, blue and yellow goes into the jade pot, one piece of blue, yellow and jade into the red pot, and so on. (I did say it was easier to do than explain!). They’re all simmered again for 20 minutes or so, removed from the pots, rinsed and put out to dry.

The dyepots are replenished with more dye and vinegar (using the same water) and the same process is repeated with the 2nd of the initial 3 divisions; more dye replenishment and the final of the 3 divisions is done the same way. What you end up with is a feast for the eyes – 48 piles of glorious colour …


The left column are the results from the red pot, the next from the blue, then yellow and jade.


And a close-up of 2 of the results which show the effect obtained by using a greasy fleece (in this instance, very greasy, having only been shorn the previous day). The left one was first dyed in the red pot, then in the yellow; the right one was red first, then jade. The variations in colour are the result of the greasy parts of the staple resisting the dye in the initial simmering but the drier tips taking it up well; then on the second run the grease has been boiled off and the second colour has been taken up.

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Where Have I Been! Visiting the Queen? Nope.

Been a while since I have posted. The Sewing Machine gathers dust in the corner. I finished another scarf with handwoven gray yarn for the weft, I think it is pretty. Went to Handcrafted in the Hills Fiber Retreat a couple of weeks ago. Our relatives came to visit last week and our son came home for 2 days this week. Busy. But good. Oh yeah, and then there was laundry, shopping, eating, sleeping, emails, facebook and work in-between!

The Local Yarn Shop (LYS) got a bunch of the recurring customers together and we fashioned a wonderful retreat from everyday life for 3 wonderful days. We found a lovely Guest Ranch (Sunrise Guest Ranch) in Edgemont, SD about 85 miles from Rapid City. The accommodations were perfect for a Fiber Retreat. There were over 20 ladies ranging in ages from 8 yrs old to 70 something. We had Scotch Eggs for Breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and a catered steak dinner all on Saturday. We got there on a Friday night, had a huge knitting/spinning/crocheting circle, ate snacks and laughed and got to know one another. Saturday after Breakfast we watched Rita (LYS shop owner) demonstrate Dartmore Dyeing. She had some lanoliny wool that she dyed in crock pots.

Dartmore Dyeing

Then we had a Tunisian Crochet class that Katy taught with a huge crochet hook so we could all see. We had lunch then Needle Felting class taught by Marti, and finally a Colorworks Knit class taught by Rita. All throughout the day we had quick demos of the dartmore dyeing process, very interesting. The sun was shining and some of the more adventurous souls trekked through the barnyard to see the bottle lambs, sheep, horses, and cattle that were at the Ranch.

I'm Cute!

I taught a Beginning Spinning class while the Colorworks class was going and it was fun to see the ladies catch on to the process of spinning. We had so much fun doing all of these things together that we hardly wanted to stop in order to be fed our supper!

View from Lodge at Sunrise Guest Ranch

Mark, Suzanne and Kylee, of Sunrise Guest Ranch, prepared and served a delicious supper of organically grown beef steak, baked potato, veggie and salad. They outdid themselves with dessert: home-made vanilla ice cream made with that day’s fresh cream! Wow, we felt like royalty.  Circle in Lodge

After supper we decided to play a silly game. The fiber that had been dyed during the day was all sitting in colorful piles on paper plates on a table in the main room. We all drew numbers and then when our number was called we proceeded to the table to choose a color of fiber that we liked. We carried the fiber, wet, on its paper plate to our place. Then the next number was called and if that lady liked your color more than any others on the table she could STEAL the fiber from you! We played this for a couple of hours because there were so many plates of fiber and so many ladies. We thought we would all break ourselves laughing so hard. Some of the quietest ladies stole the most fiber!! This silly game really cemented our friendships. We all declared at the end of the night that we had become a COMMUNITY of like minded fiberistas.

Sunday was a day to pay up our bills for the “Necessities Shop” that the LYS had brought along, most of us bought more yarn, fiber or needles. We cleaned up after ourselves, and then bought recently sheared fleeces from Mark and Suzanne’s Rambouillet sheep. NICE! After saying our teary goodbyes, we all decided to come back next year. Such a fun time.

It took us all about a week to get ourselves back to normal but it was worth it!

Then the week following the fiber retreat our son was scheduled to come home from Italy. He flew in on a Sunday afternoon and left again on Tuesday evening after seeing friends, getting financing, buying a truck, renting a trailer, loading his motorcycle into the trailer, and sleeping and eating. It was a whirlwind of a visit, but very worth it.

And now I am trying to get my self motivated to warp the Macomber again, so I can do an experiment with plastic bags. Will post more later about this project!

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The Sewing Machine…so sad.

I finally got some thread. I finally bought the new foot pedal ($80). I finally found the time to read the instructions and wind a bobbin. Easy. But the sewing machine would not go forward, I mean the needle just kept going up and down and making a knot in the bobbin thread. I must re-read the instructions and hopefully find a solution. Meanwhile, I am taking my woven towels to my friend’s sewing machine and letting her sew the hems! What a hassle. I have never liked Sewing Machines, that’s why I am a weaver and a spinner. 😎

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