Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Oklahoma is to Dye For

A couple of weeks ago, there was a master spinners course being taught in Sulphur, Oklahoma by instructors from Oldes College in Alberta, Canada. They added on a 100 Colors Dye Workshop which our favorite spinner Judi mentioned and Susan, Doreen and I jumped on it like pigs into mud.

Susan slept over while we waited for Doreen to finish her night shift at the hospital, then took off in the dark of night so to arrive in Sulphur for the beginning of class, a bit the worse for wear, albeit with a yummy healthy breakfast at a McDonalds somewhere near the Texas/Oklahoma border. And the class was not playing around at all. We dove into some serious work, masked and gloved, mixing colors, toting canning pots full of jelly jars around to available burners, boiling, draining, spinning dry, etc. etc.

The principal of the course was that we took three primary colors, then mixed 100 colors from them, as you can see above.
Ellen Munro was our taskmaster/teacher. She was reeling off information at lightning speed. Being rather quiet, we had to follow her with ears cocked and notebooks in hand to catch every pearl of wisdom she offered.
Here's Doreen slaving over a hot stove. She was quite the ace at this since we did our measuring with medical syringes. She has obviously had a lot of practice.
We paired off to do our work. Each pair was responsible for 14 colors. I got the lovely Rina as my partner and enjoyed every minute of working with her. In fact, a nicer group of women you couldn't have found anywhere. They came from all over the country.

After mixing all the colors and dyeing our sample skeins, we were allowed to exhaust the remaining dyes on our own fibers. Here were some interesting rovings and skeins dyed with various techniques.

Here is the skein I painted. I'm quite happy with the colors and learned about a product which really helps keep the color in place. It's so funny, when I buy clothes, I always choose subtle colors. But when I buy or dye yarn, it is usually outrageously colorful.

Our thoroughly exhausted threesome limped out at the end of the day to our shared room at the nearby Indian owned motel, where we immediately crashed and burned. Waking an hour or so later to the smells of curry wafting through the halls (an odd smell for Sulphur, Oklahoma) we left to have dinner way out in the boonies with friends. Following them through beautiful landscapes on narrow wildly winding roads, we eventually tumbled onto this treasure.....Steve's Steak Barn.
Here are Carol, Roiana, Susan and Doreen standing in front of the above mentioned establishment in the middle of bloody nowhere. Starving one and all!

We had elaborate decor.
Exotic water features (note the hound puppy drinking from the outdoor shower/bathtub).

Even more exotic locals arrived on strange machines.
Susan seriously risked taking home an adorable kitty with extremely sharp needle like claws.

Gotta tell you, though we swatted lots of flies off our corn on the cob, Steve's steaks were pretty fabulous, as was Steve. Evidently, he had a huge crowd that night, a couple of staff didn't make it, and Steve solved the problem by inviting his biking buddies for kitchen duty in exchange for beer. Not sure how clever that was, but it was rather hilarious. We found our way back home with a different scenic route, not quite so curvy, and by 9PM, we were all snoring.
The next day's class consisted of cutting all of those color samples into tidy little strips, tying them neatly onto pages, then using everyone's work, assembling books of samples with the formulae that we could refer to in the future.
Wouldn't have missed this for the world.


ambermoggie said...

What a wonderful workshop:) I look forward to seeing your book. I do love quirky places to eat, somewhere off the beaten track

tapmouse said...

OMG! What a wonderful opportunity to get alot of dying done! I have the dying book for fabrics and it is done much like that-lot's of measuring and using only the base colors. VERY COOL!

socks and said...

Gobsmacked is what I am. Here I am gushing to myself about dye class with Tina at sock camp and you're off dying 100 colors with recipes and sample pages. We were not that organized.
Sorry to hear about your dad but it sounds like he had a wonderful life. I know you'll miss him always. Here's a few hugs from a very green Iowan, More hugs, Alice

Jo at Celtic Memory Yarns said...

Oh how I wish I'd been there! Haphazard that I am, I can't ever see myself measuring tiny amounts with care. And then I wonder why I don't get results like yours!

I adore that restaurant. Would have felt right at home.