Others came from Colorado, Illinois, Nebraska, and Wyoming. Carol, and her husband, Carl, graciously opened their home and studio to us, inviting all of us to stay with them through the weekend. Their home is a remodeled school house with numerous bedrooms, 2 kitchens, at least 3 bathrooms, a large living room, a beautiful sun room (perfect for sitting and spinning) with a dining area, and sitting rooms galore. Bookshelves line the walls of every nook and cranny throughout the house. Spinning wheels (did Carol really say she has 52 wheels?) are tucked everywhere. Upstairs there is a great room, host to Carol and Carl's many weaving looms. A rail on the right wall holds numerous, colorful skeins of Carol's hand-dyed yarns for weaving, an absolute delight to behold! This is the place where you will find both Carol and Carl during the winter, weaving rugs which can be purchased on their website:
Downstairs, the kitchen boasts an antique cast iron cookstove, which Carl lit off every morning for us to cook breakfast on. Carol's extensive collection of cast iron cookware, every size and shape imagineable, hangs from the rafters. Our meals were potluck. Everyone brought food and helped with the cooking and cleanup.
Outside was where all the dye fun began. Carol had already prepared most of the dye pots, some of which had been simmering for a few days, ready to yield rich colors. The outside fire pit which held the giant indigo vat, the aspen leaf bath, the black walnut, logwood, and sage pots was nothing less than AMAZING! Every morning, Carl rose early and stoked the fire in the pit. I could describe everything for you, but pictures will better tell the story.
|Indigo vat in back (stainless steel tank on legs); |
Fresh-picked Aspen-leaves in front (stainless steel tub on legs)
|Black walnut (iron roaster pot); Logwood (copper wash boiler);|
fresh -picked sage (round copper kettle).
|Making up our plastic sample cards for the dye pots.|
IN WENT OUR SAMPLE CARDS! We waited until everyone had their cards ready, then put them all in the pots at the same time so that everyone would get the same depth of color.
|Stirring the Black Walnut bath (cast iron roaster).|
|Stirring the Logwood (copper wash boiler).|
|Fresh-picked Sage from the hillsides (copper kettle)|
|Giant Indigo vat with our sample cards.|
|Eight pots of color were simmering on the picnic table.|
|Lac in front; Echinodontium tinctorium in back.|
|Brazilwood in back; Alkanet Root in front.|
|Inonotus obliques, "clinker."|
|Cochineal pot on the back deck.|
HERE COME THE RESULTS!!!!
After the sample cards were pulled from the pots, the pots were open for us to dye any of the yarns, fibers, clothing, or other things we had brought with us. Many of us also bought yarns and fibers from Carol's studio to dye or take home with us.
|Carol's cotton table runner just out of the logwood bath.|
|This is so pretty, we suggested Carol should wear|
this as a shawl or scarf.
|Bren's glorious silk yarns!|
|Alta's gorgeous embroidery threads.|
|Pallas' wool yarns from left: madder, logwood, indigo, brazilwood.|
Fibers: mohair-logwood, silk hanky- Inonotus obliquos,
wool/silk blend- madder, silk roving-indigo, silk roving-logwood.
Wool socks-logwood, linen skirt-indigo.
CLOSE-UPS of my SAMPLE CARDS
Besides having the opportunity to see and use so many different dye plants at once (some that I may never have an opportunity to harvest), I learned these things: to get really deep colors, Carol used about 9 parts plant material to fiber, rather than the 2 or 3 to 1 that most of the dye books recommend. More is always better! Also, you can start simmering your plants days ahead of time. Bring them to a simmer and let simmer for at least a couple of hours each day before turning the heat off. This helps to yield more color into the dye bath. Just be careful not to let things get to a boil, or that may spoil the color. Carol was still getting great color from her pots and dyeing up fibers 2 weeks after the workshop was over!
THANK YOU Carol, for a WONDERFUL experience, and Ali, for all your help in getting things ready for us.