Madrona Fiber Arts: Color Progression in Plying
Back to the excitement of my classes at Madrona Fiber Arts.
I was fortunate enough to take a class with Judith MacKenzie-McCuinn. She is a master in fiber arts. If you ever have the opportunity to take any class with her at all - just take it :-)
This class taught us the effect of colors on each other when they are blended in different ratios. Judith had us select three colorways to work with, and encouraged us to choose at least one that made us a bit uncomfortable (as in out of our normal range of taste).
I selected a deep burgandy, a lilac, and a shocking electric pink (yes the pink was my discomfort place)
We spun fine singles of each colorway and then began to blend them according to her directions. We made various three ply yarns :
first three of the burgandy singles were plyed together,
then two burgandysingles were combined with one lilac single,
and then two lilac singles and one burgandy single.
As you can see, the color tonality of the yarn changes relative to the number of singles used of each colorway.
We then did the same with the second colorway (lilac in my case)
and then with the third colorway (shocking pink)
As a final step, I blended one strand of each - burgandy, lilac, and pink. I ended up liking this one best of all - and have had fun contemplating whether or not I might be able to dye up some fiber to create this colorway (so far it hasn't come to me...)
I've lined them all up here for you to see just how amazing the progression is.
It was a delightful class - filled with fun engaging people. I enjoyed myself immensely - and wish it could have gone on all day.**
There were some other fun tidbits of wisdom that I gathered during class (as is always the case when you take a class from Judith.
Judith showed us a technique for spinning from "top" so that we never have to "split" the roving again (or pre-draft). Judith described the fact that top is often difficult to spin fine because the fibers are not "compacted" enough. She demonstrated how to compress the top by rolling it between the palms of our hands - thus making a dense tube to spin from. This technique involved much laughter - licking on ones' palms to add moisture and then a tiny bit of disbelief... but try it. You will be totally amazed. (and you'll never have to do any of that splitting or pre-drafting again when you spin top.) It's amazing. (as Judith normally is)
here's the pre-compressed top (in it's normal state when we buy it:
here is me rolling it between my palms to compress it . I've spared you the licking-of-the-palms-photo - (smile)
and here is what it looks like with one end of the top "compacted".
Judith also mentioned to us that one end of "top" is easier to spin from than the other. You can discern this by gently tugging on one end of the top (before you compact it) and then the other. The fibers will pull out easier from one end. This should be the end we spin from.
So I encourage you to try your own little experiment. Take some top, and just spin from it (without splitting or pre-drafting).
Next take a small bit of top and compact it as I have shown here - and spin again (without changing any settings on your wheel) .Viola!
Last but not least, I picked up a cool new "toy" - Judith has come out with a line of dyes that have no known toxicity*. This is very important to us and our environment. Here is a picture of the kit:
It is called "Mother MacKenzie's Miracle Dyes". We hope to be selling them on our website soon.
From these nine colors, you can create a huge number of colorways by blending the powdered dyes in various ratios.
I also picked up a book that has been produced by Linda Jacobs (of Cedar Hill Fiber Farm in Suquamish WA) that is a guide for the blending ratios. I am keeping my fingers crossed for good luck that I might be able to persuade Linda to allow us to sell her marvelous book as well.
I haven't had a chance to try out these dyes yet, but I will - and I'll keep you posted.
All these colors were made with the nine dye pots pictured in the photo. amazing.
Last (but not least) there was someone special in a few of my
classes (including this one) and she even signed my copy of her book!
She is even more delightful and funny in person than she is in her books (can you believe it?!)
*edited to note: although there is no "known" toxicity in this type of dyes, please use common sense and caution. ALL dyes can be toxic in powdered format (even so-called natural ones) if they are inhaled into your lungs - wear rubber gloves, and wear a dust mask/respirator at all times when using any type of dyes.
** although I have given you quite a nice sample of what we did in Judith's class, there was alot more information that was taught than what I have presented here in this tiny post. Take this class. I learned so very much more than what I have shared here.