After the Weavers Guild Fiber Fair, I remarked to my friend Kala Exworthy that I was disappointed that there weren’t enough bamboo socks for sale — no adult ones that would fit me, and none for my toddler granddaughters. I’ve heard many times that bamboo socks are so comfortable. “Oh Robbie,” Kala scoffed, “You can just buy them online and we can dye them at my studio.” Such a nice offer. I ordered a box-ful right away, and we set up a time last week. Look at the pretty socks that resulted!
When I showed up in her Northrup King studio, Kala proceeded to check the cupboards for equipment and dye and then her bookshelves for instructions. At one point she texted her studio-mate Jill with a question. Hey! Kala didn’t know the process THAT well. What an empowering day. I’ve taken a couple of dye classes and spent a day dyeing yarn with my friend Jan Mostrom, and still felt I didn’t trust myself to do it alone. Now, after Kala’s great “just do it” example, I’ll be booking the Textile Center Dye Lab in 2016. It’s magic. First we soaked all the socks in soda ash water.
We wrung them out and placed them in plastic kitty litter pans.
Kala mixed the dye. For this project, we used chemical dye in indigo blue.
We poured the dye over the socks and mooshed and squinched (technical terms) in order to get the dye distributed throughout the socks, but not too much, so that there would be areas of high and low color.
We covered the pans and left them for a day.
We rinsed the socks, squeezed out the water, and then spun them to get out even more water.
I took them home to wash them in the machine to get out any remaining dye. And here are a couple of sets of mother/daughter socks. Last year’s Mark Rothko calendar made nice bands.
In addition to some nice family gifts, I received a gift, too. Thanks, Kala, for your time and instruction and confidence-boosting. Plus, when I came to rinse out the socks I was served wine and super Christmas cookies made by Ann Masemore. This is shaping up to a great holiday season. Merry Christmas!