The last two days have been spent putting the finishing touches on getting ready to start dyeing for this fall and winter. Those of you who dye can appreciate how much work this can be. Yesterday Monte came and together we inventoried what colors were already in solution, then checked the quality as well as the quantity. All dye powders were inventoried and a new order will be placed this week. New bottles of solutions were mixed yesterday and today, so I'll have plenty on hand once I start. It's really a bummer to have to stop when you're on a roll because you've run out of your favorite color.
This will be my first winter to have an official dye studio. Prior to this, we had to haul water hoses from the house to the garage (through snow, often) to fill buckets for mixing dyes, soaking wool, washing utensils, etc. What a pain, not to mention horribly cold. The hose had to be emptied and rolled up and stored inside each night so it didn't freeze. This is going to be super deluxe this year. I even got a great sink from Lehman's so I can, if I choose, fill the tubs or as you can see in this picture, when I'm doing smaller jobs, I just use them to hold buckets of smaller quantities of water. There's no wasting water in this part of the world!
For those of you who have never dyed but would like to give it a try, I always suggest starting with Kool Aid dyeing first, just to get a snapshot of the process. There are lots of places on the internet to help you with this information. It's fairly inexpensive for small quantities of dyeing and since it's non-toxic, you can do it in your kitchen. Bonuses: your kids can help you and your wool smells fruity when it's dry. Colors can be blended as with paints, so don't hold back!
Dyeing with chemical dyes is another story. I err on the side of caution and always wear apron, gloves, and a mask or respirator when mixing dye powders into solution. The reason you don't want to do this in your house is because those micro particles of dye solution can disperse onto your food surfaces without you even being aware of them. I also prefer not to smell the vapors when pots are going; I don't know what's in those fumes but I don't want to find out the hard way.
If you're thinking it's time to get started with your own dyeing, two places I heartily recommend for both supplies and lots of information are ProChem and Dharma Trading Company. They both have websites and lots of juicy information to get you started. A great book is called "Hands on Dyeing". Have fun, and remember to be safe!