Life after Work

Dyeing on a Sunday Afternoon

Celia's first dyeing experiment

Celia was able to make it out our way today, for lunch and an afternoon of fiber dyeing. Last year I got some acid dye samples in “primary colors” (red, yellow, blue, and black) and they were finally put to use. Before Celia arrived I mixed up the dye stock solution according to instructions. John and I figured that 2 Liter soda bottles would be good containers for the dye stock. The only problem was that the water that I poured into the first bottle was so hot that it shrank and puckered the bottle! I was more careful with the other bottles and managed to keep the puckering to a minimum, but the volume of the bottles was still shrunk because I had marked 1, 1.5, and 2 Liter levels with sharpie and they were no longer accurate. Oh well! If I ever come across glass bottles in the right size I’ll use those instead. Until then, I think these will do nicely.

Celia's second dyeing experiment

John had made kaddhai paneer for lunch and the three of us tucked in before he headed out to Indo Euro to help out Sonal, and Celia and I began to plan out what we were going to do. We weighed out Celia’s fiber (churro roving) and calculated the amount of dye stock and overall liquid needed. Celia handpainted two sets of roving which we microwaved. As she had intended, the colors were very saturated in both pieces, but in the first piece the colors ran together, although the result was still very pretty. We could have used a lot less dye stock and still gotten the same effect. This stuff is potent!


I used some of the leftover dyes in plastic cups and whipped up a blue, purple, and green which I poured over a wool/alpaca roving coiled into my crock pot and the blue which I wanted to be a paler shade was still pretty saturated when it was all said and done. When we rinsed our roving hardly any dye came out, so it seems our overall liquid/stock calculation wasn’t too far off, only the dye to liquid ratio was off. We had lotsof fun this afternoon in spite of the heat in my dye lab (i.e. out on the balcony). When John came home and we were ready for a break we sampled his new blackberry cobbler variation – using coconut milk instead of cow milk. It was really good and not coconutty tasting or overly sweet as I had feared. In case you are wondering, the recipe still contains dairy – there’s a good amount of butter involved. Yum!

Before Celia hit the long road home to Tonopah, she showed us how to make yogurt with two quarts of raw goat milk she had brought from the farm. It is easy! Place the quart jar(s) into a big pot with water, heat until the milk is at 110F. Stir in the yogurt starter cultures, close the jars. Place jars into small cooler, pour hot water in, close cooler and let stand overnight. Ready for breakfast!

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