Saturday, September 13, 2008


This past Saturday I spent the entire day with helping my friend Arlone with the annual Off the Beaten Path Artist Studio Tour. It is a self guided tour that offers a look into each artists studio and allows them to showcase their work from their home. I jumped at the chance to spend the day at Steve and Arlone's home and help her with customers.

A very talented weaver, her pieces are created using hemp twine, recycled cotton garments and wool sweaters.

She was kind enough to give me a crash course on my floor loom in between customers.

She asked me to bring some of the wool that I had processed so that we could experiment with some of the natural dyes that she uses.

We started by soaking the uncarded wool in cool water.

In another pot we mixed 1/4 cup of alum with 2 gallons of cool water. After the wool was saturated we added the wool to the alum mix which would act as a mordant. We then put this pot out on her wood stove and brought that to a simmer. This simmered for quite a bit...round about an hour. Arlone said it was best to let this sit over night and then either let the wool dry and do it later, or go on to the actual dye bath step. We did not get this far with my wool which she kept, and will dye with orange cosmos flower.

She did however have a weld dye bath going in the house, so I was able to see this process. Weld is a medieval dye plant that produces a beautiful earthy lemon yellow color. I am not sure of the exact recipe for this process but I will write it in a later post.

Arlone has a dye garden with indigo, weld, woad and cosmos. I am totally inspired to make one next year.

She is such a neat person. This was food for the soul. I can't wait to continue with my rug and dye some fiber!!!!

.....coasters made from recycled sweaters

.....These bags come in three sizes and are perfect for peas or cherries that you don't want rolling around in your market bags. This produce is from their garden.

.....I couldn't resist these pin cushions, I treated myself with one for my felting needles...

1 comment:

Liz said...

Um yes, a dye garden is a must next year!