Friday, February 04, 2011

Dye and Fiber

Solar dyeing, Hibiscus flowers on the left, Onion skins on the right.

The more effort you put into an item, the better it is at performing whatever task you've assigned it. It's about intent. This applies for all aspects of magic and life; amulets, charms, workings, crafts, gifts, whatever. I try to impart everything I make with immense intent, not only just my incense and oils, but other items too. I've always been one to break crafts down, find the roots of them. Sure it's easy to buy dyed fabric but why not do it yourself? If there is so much more intent imparted upon the materials then the finished product will be pulsing with energy.

Natural fibers are a love of mine. I love knitting, felting, and sewing with them; wools and cottons are my absolute favorite. I do a little amateur weaving now and then with scraps of yarn. You've seen many of the pouches and dolls I've created here using them. Something I've been working on recently is Natural Dyeing. Among several books I got for Christmas (Bookbinding and Doll making, I'll eventually get to those) I received a book called A Dyer's Garden: From Plant to Pot, Growing Dyes for Natural Fibers. This book is beautiful and has wonderful pictures and information. In an effort to cut down on things I buy I want to focus on things I can grow or make within my house, hence the book. This year I will add Woad to my garden since I've been dyeing to achieve a beautiful blue without the hassle of an indigo dye pot (chemistry is not a strong suit of mine).

I've already experimented with natural dyes including Alkanet Root (red), Hibiscus Flower (berry red), Safflower (bright yellow), Onion Skin (bright yellow) and some of the results can be seen in the inks and chalks within my shop.

Pot dyeing, all sorts of fallen leaves and berries with muslin.

A few results, Hibiscus on the left, the fallen leaf dye pot in the center, and onion skin on the right.

A bowl of Safflower and Hibiscus. This yielded a lovely berry pink.

Wool yarn, a moth's dream. So many beautiful colors.

Several years ago I visited the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival and came home with armloads of natural yarns, mostly wools, wool blends, and cotton. I bought so much I'm still working through it! One of my favorite commercial yarns (and a total guilty pleasure) is Noro, a Japanese yarn company that manufactures beautiful wool yarn. It stripes stunningly and the colors are vibrant. The company does as much of their spinning by hand as possible and creates these delicious color combinations. Another favorite commercial yarn brand is Lambs Pride by the Brown Sheep Company, a beautiful blend of soft wool and mohair and a dream to knit with. I've been knitting up a storm creating all kinds of pouches bags and purses to store your tarot cards, runes, or gemstones and bones in. Most of them will go to the festivals but some will be left over for the shop. I'm in love with all the colors my house is filled with right now.

And so is Gypsy :). Or maybe it's the squishy yarn bed she's lying on....