The writer of Ecclesiastes says:
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to break down and a time to build up;
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
There is, indeed, a season for everything. I am blessed to have this season of re-creation and renewal as I continue on sabbatical. During this time I have planned to try some creative projects and processes that are new to me, but that I have been interested in for some time.
A couple of months ago I began a pottery class, learning how to throw clay on a wheel. I’d wanted to try it for a long time, but after a few sessions I decided that clay is definitely NOT my medium. I learned some interesting things about clay and pottery, but found I wasn’t enjoying it and it really messed up my hands for doing fiber work.
Another process I’ve wanted to learn is hand dyeing fabrics for quilting and embroidery, and maybe later I’d like to try dyeing fibers. I’ve been preparing to start over the last several weeks using Joyce Mori and Cynthia Myerberg’s book, Dyeing to Quilt: Quick Direct-Dye Methods for Quilt Makers. I’ve been gathering the supplies and equipment (they provide an excellent list as well as suppliers), and today I started. Yeah!
Using PFD (prepared for dyeing) fabric, I pre-washed, cut into fat 1/8s, pre-soaked and was ready to begin. The book has a series of mini-workshops to lead you through the process. So I got my equipment together and set up a my workspace in the garage (brrr! it’s been in single digits here).
I measured out the dye powder (Procion MX-8 Dharma #26 Sky Blue) and went to work. I used the “bowl method” to dye 6 pieces of fabric with different amounts of time and strength of dye solution. The hardest part was getting outfitted with rubber gloves and dust mask and then shlepping back and forth to the bathroom to rinse out the bowl each time. I could definitely use a studio with a sink (future house plans?). Here’s number 6:
Finally, each little piece of swished and squeezed fabric was placed in its own plastic bag (I finally found a use for the ubiquitous plastic shopping bags), put on a tray and carried into the house to cure in a warmer environment than my garage.
Now they get to cure for at least three hours in the nice warm house before I take them out of the bags, rinse them out, wash them (2x I think) in the washer, dry them, press them, and then get to enjoy them.
This may seem a lot of work for six little pieces of fabric, but the authors assure me it gets easier with practice, and in the meantime, besides learning about dyeing, I’ll be building up a great palette of fabrics I’ve colored myself.
This is MY time to DYE!