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OHS Level 2: Day 7

Today we prepared for nature dyeing tomorrow. First, we soaked our samples in a variety of mordants: alum/cream of tartar, copper, iron and a couple of others that I can’t exactly recall at 11pm. Yeah, it was a long day.

For those wondering what a mordant is… It’s like a colour booster. Each mordant reacts differently with each nature dye. It’s really quite interesting.

Then we prepared our dye stock. They all needed to soak overnight at the very least. Each plant varies. My group prepared marigold.

It was a fun day. Tomorrow will be even more fun to see the results from the dye pots! The down side is that it will be our last in-class day.

We ended the day with a trip to Marty’s. I picked up some more merino/stellina wool. I also got some nylon with the intention of making some socks someday (I will blend it with 75% wool). I picked up some more of Marty’s magical moth mix and some nettle tea to help fight allergies. And I thought I didn’t need anything there…

As I always do, I had Little Mickey and Pooh with me. I promised my Sweet Pea that I would take them with me everywhere because he left them with me to look after me. So it has become tradition that I take pictures of them doing different things on our adventures. My plan is to possibly put a scrapbook together for him someday.

Fleece for dyeing - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Fleece that was added to the yarn samples

Samples of plants for dyeing - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

A sample of some plants that can be used for dyeing

Dye plants - keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com

Some plants we’ll be using for dyeing tomorrow

I also had a bit of a self-realization moment today. It came to me while discussing group leadership versus teaching. I’ve discovered why I’m not a leader in a group situation if the group has other ideas. If the group is respectful of my assigned position and has an open mind, I’m totally comfortable with that role. I’m totally comfortable in a teaching role. There are some situations where it may be expected or understood that I would be in a leadership role within a group. I have no problem with that unless I’m accosted by a bossy and/or domineering person or people. If my peers don’t respect my assigned position, I won’t argue with them. I have been through too much BS to even try to get somebody to listen to me who clearly thinks they know more than what I do (they may or may not – but I was assigned the role for a reason). I’m weary from fighting to be heard. I have little left. I have nothing left for those who don’t care to open their minds. I would much rather focus my energy on somebody who is open to what I have to share. I may not know all there is to know, but you’re missing out on what I do know if you choose not to listen. We all have different experiences and I enjoy sharing mine. You may even learn something.

The other part of it is that if you think you know better than I do and you screw up, I don’t want that reflecting on me. There has been more than one occasion where I’ve been in a group scenario and the group decided to not listen to directions. If I was taken seriously as leader, there’s a very high probability that that wouldn’t have happened in the first place. I’m very detail-oriented, which is probably one of the reasons I was assigned the role. I would have gone to the instructor to verify if there was any doubt. But hey, you know best, so just go right on ahead. I’ll be over in my corner waiting for instructions.

I think what it comes down to is the abuse that I endured. Everything was always my fault, even when I wasn’t involved. I got the blame for everything. My thoughts, opinions, experience and feedback meant nothing. So now as a result, I’m constantly in cover-your-ass mode. So if I’m in a group that doesn’t want to take my leadership role seriously, I’m not going to kiss there butts. Plus, my ass is covered for when they screw up. If I was in a leadership role and the group actually listened to me and the team screwed up, I would take responsibility for it because clearly I had passed on misinformation. But if the group chooses not to listen to me and there is a screw-up, it’s not my problem, is it?

Teaching/assisting on the other hand, is completely different. If I’m teaching/assisting, obviously I’m there specifically to pass on my knowledge and adhere to the set out curriculum. I’m there for a reason and that reason is because I’m a fit for the job. I was asked what I would do if I encountered a student who gave me a hard time or chose not to listen. Because let’s face it. I can come across as a bit of a pushover. Again, it comes down to choosing my battles. I have encountered a scenario where I had a student who challenged me. It was in dog training, but it was still a teaching job. He was on a mission to make me look like I knew nothing. I didn’t claim to know all there is about dog training. I’m not a behaviorist. That’s a whole other field. I was given a set of guidelines that I needed to follow for my classes and I did. I did it well. I got to the point where I had to tell the student that I was there to pass on what I know, which met the expectations of the company I worked for. I wanted to see him and his dog succeed. But if he had an issue with my methods, he was free to discuss the situation with management. If my classes weren’t meeting his expectations, then he may want to consider finding another dog trainer that can meet the needs I’m not.

After that, he had nothing more to say and my classes went smoothly.

Teaching and group scenarios are two different things. If you’re teaching, it’s because you have worked hard to acquire the skills and knowledge to pass on to others. People are there with the intention to learn from you. You can learn a lot in a group setting as well as long as you go in with an open mind. Many don’t. They judge before you even open your mouth. Who’s losing out though? Not I because I won’t expel the energy on somebody who has no interest in my experience, therefore, does not deserve it.

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Birthday Wool

Yesterday was my birthday. It was hard this year because it was the first one without Mom. So rather than wallow in self-pity, I decided that I was going to dye some yarn for funsies. Of course the base was going to be purple! But I wanted to see if I could fracture the colours like I did with my “happy accident”, but this time on purpose.

Keep Me in Stitchez's Birthday Wool

Wool that I dyed to celebrate my birthday

I think I was pretty successful at my end goal. Of course I had no idea that the blue was going to be so predominant, but I’m perfectly fine with that! This photo is also a little deceptive… There are sparkles in the wool, but you can see it in the photo.

While I was doing the in-class portion of OHS Level 1 this summer, it was discovered that the supplier that made the dyes we were using changed their formula. It was significantly stronger, which meant it took forever for the dye pots to exhaust. I had bought my dyes awhile ago, so I was thinking that they didn’t fall into this category. Wrong I was! So after doing four different strengths and at least 16oz of fibre later… Now I have a lot of really strong magenta yarn and fibre. I’m glad I like this colour! LOL

So when I dyed my fibre yesterday, I hadn’t officially came to that conclusion yet. The purple was darker than what I was aiming for, but I’m pleased with the results. And in the fashion in which I was taught, I documented what I did. While I may not be able to get the exact same results (and why would I want to?!), I know how to get the effect. That ones going in the books for sure!

Baby Shoes and Spinning

I know I was on a roll with the posting and then it seemed to come to an abrupt halt. I’m in the process of tweaking and trying to figure out how to schedule things better. Also, tourist season is quickly approaching in my little section of the world. I’ve been working on items to sell at the Kinmount Artisans Marketplace. I’m also working on finishing up some orders so that I can focus more on spinning.

I have a couple of pattern tests that I have completed. They will get their own posts, along with my thoughts on the patterns (be excited about this because they are both AWESOME! hehehe)

Here are a few things that I’ve been working on recently (which I guess would explain the lack of posts):

baby shoes

dying tnt

In the dye pot

dyed tnt

Just off the wheel… Thick ‘n thin style

blue tnt

Stay tuned for the pattern reviews… I’m off to write them right now!

Day 25 – Disperse Dyes and Wrapping up the Reactive Dyes

I have got to say that this was a really fun week! I had a blast working with colour. I can’t wait to delve into it more. I’m sensing a trip to Marty’s next weekend for some food colouring… Little man is gone, so Saturday will be “retail therapy day.” I’ll be going up to school to take advantage of studio time anyway, so why not, right?

Anyway, the disperse dye was fun. I can’t see myself doing much with it in the future though. It only works on synthetic fibre (except silk, which seems to be the exception to the rule of everything). Essentially you’re making a heat transfer.

The transfers I painted


Some pieces done with disperse dyes

We also finished up with the reactive dyes. I think I’m going to use my 10 step scale yarn in a new bandana or two (I’ve got a lot of compliments on the one that I wear quite a bit). This was a fun process, but again, not too excited about working with chemicals on a regular basis.


Acid dyed yarn drying


My 10 step scale

This was Laurie’s last day. She taught us A LOT this week. She was a great instructor and a lot of fun:-) She took various pieces of our work and fixed the display case up outside the classroom. It looks awesome!

Day 24 – The spinning wheel is back!!!! Oh, and we did some dyeing with acid dyes too

THE SPINNING WHEEL IS BACK!!!! I MAY have broken into a happy dance when I was told this! LOL I already have “donuts” wound and I’m ready to spin!

So today we did a 10 step gradation using acid dyes. It was pretty cool! The really cool part was that we got to “play” with the different colours. We took syringes and did rainbow effects on fabric and yarn. There MAY have been some purple involved in my work… Hehehe! That was incredibly fun!

I just deleted a rather negative section here. Yay me! I just want to focus on the positive 😉

I CANNOT WAIT to knit with yarn that I have coloured! Better yet, spun and coloured. Better yet, carded, spun and coloured. Oh yeah. On bamboo needles. From sheep raised on my property. I always say “Go big or go home”… I JUST got the meaning of that! I just went on a rave to Normy. It was a positive one. He said my explanation totally makes sense. (This is the part where you can either smile and nod or ask “Why Kyla, whatever do you mean by that?” Be prepared for that one… LOL)

Anyway, back to acid dyes. I LOVED it! I do have to admit that I am wary of the health risks of working with these dyes. This has however, fueled the fire to explore with food colouring (I was reading in a spinning book that food colouring is actually food grade acid dye!)

I decided to give wool yarn and some fleece a try. And a braided piece of silk. (It was a five-strand braid… This is the second time in this course that my hairdressing skills have come in handy! Another crazy thing is that there is actually another hair dresser in my class!) The silk turned out amazing! The fleece was gorgeous, although I am not sure what to do with it. If I spun it, I would really need to card it. Unless I wanted to make a novelty yarn… Hey… that may work! The pre-spun yarn was AWESOME!!! (This brings us back to my “I CANNOT WAIT to knit with yarn I have coloured” rave) The one was blues, reds and purples. It’s on display right now. I did try to work outside of my usual palette. Not an easy task! I came out with green and orange. Not my thing, but I know I will have fun knitting with it too. 😀


My yarn in the jar. This was like a double boiler


Fleece in the acid dye bath


My part of the class assignment


My 10 Step Colour Scale using Acid Dyes

Tomorrow we finish up our reactive dyes and work on disperse dyes.

*I am a day behind now. This weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada, so I didn’t have a whole lot of screen time. Friday’s tonight if I don’t have too many assignments.

Day 23 – Reactive Dyes

I have to say that initially I wasn’t overly gung-ho about using reactive dyes. You need to wear a respirator and it’s chemicals. I kinda changed my tune a little when I saw the colours you could achieve with them though!

Laurie mixed them up for us and away we went. We had to do a 10 step scale. I started with Royal Blue and made my way to Fuchsia. Of course I did this keeping the middle of the scale in mind… Purple! I just can’t get away from that colour. Let me rephrase that… I have NO DESIRE to get away from that colour! I also did a couple of side trials with Fuchsia and Turquoise. Or purple! Hehehe

No homework tonight, thank goodness! I try to get everything out of the way in class so that I can spend as much time as I can with little man.

I have a bit of a rant I have to release… So feel free to skip this part if you’re in a happy place! LOL First of all, I CANNOT get over how some in the class seem to feel that they are above cleaning up after themselves. Seriously… We’re SUPPOSED to be adults here. The rest of us shouldn’t have to play mommy and clean up after you. There are also those (possibly the same offenders) that feel the need to take up as much space on the print table as they damn well please. Um, there are other people that need to get their work done too! AND there’s one little piece of work in there that I have the urge to tell where to go, with explicit direction. She undermines me any chance she gets. She doesn’t seem to do it to anyone else. I actually snapped back at her one day last week, which I don’t normally do. In another instance, I was talking to somebody about my blog. I’m rather proud of it, excited that there are actually people reading it. She said “I don’t understand why people have blogs. Nobody cares about what’s going on with other people. Unless maybe they’re on a journey or something.” I turned to the person I was talking to and said “I guess I must be on an interesting journey because there are people that are actually reading about my adventures.” And then this little…person… has the audacity to turn around and ask if she can use my hole punch or other supplies I have on hand. I don’t use the word hate that often, but I have to say that I HATE users. And I HATE being used. If you don’t treat me with the same respect you treat everyone else with, how DARE you ask me if you can use my supplies? Put on your big girl pants, learn to treat others equally and come talk to me when you’ve grown up! End of rant.

I only have a couple of pictures to share with the dyes in their containers. They are sitting there until Friday morning. Since they’re reactive dyes, they need to be shaken up from time to time in order to get the best results.

So we will see the results of that on Friday.

I made an appointment today to get my sewing machine tuned up and my darning foot. The excitement is starting to build for the sewing portion!

And I promise my next post will be more positive 🙂

Day 22 – Getting up at 5 am isn’t that hard when you love what you’re doing!

I have an assignment due today. It’s a 6-step colour wheel made out of natural dyes. I kinda made a 15-step colour wheel…


(Oops… I didn’t realize it’s sideways and I don’t have time to fix it… you get the idea anyway!)

So this is yet ANOTHER component that I have totally fallen in love with! So right now we’re looking at getting the spinning wheel, leads on a loom AND now dyeing! Thanks to the Spider’s Workshop, I now know an alternative to acquiring another kitchen… Solar ovens! WOO HOO!!!!

The following are some pictures that I have snapped showing some of the dyeing process:


A tjanting (pronounced “jaunting”) tool used for wax resists aka to block out parts on a piece that you don’t want dyed


The dye kitchen


Dyes on the stove


The cutch pot


Cochineal


Indigo processing… This is a very cool, but very messy (and smelly) dye. It looks green when you pull your items out of the pot, but look at how it turns out!


Some of my nature dye samples