Sunday, July 23, 2006

Friends Don't Let Friends Dye Alone

Here are some tips to help you if you plan to get together with friends for some yarn dyeing. They'll come in very handy if your friends are Chris and Jeanne.

1. Give your self a lot of time. By this I mean A LOT of time. For instance, 7 hours - not enough time by a long shot. Maybe plan on a whole weekend. You'll need it just for one of them to decide on which colors to use.

2. Limit the color choices. See above. If you keep things in the purple family, you could save yourself a lot of time and angst. On the other hand, watching the decision making process is quite humorous. Do yourself a favor and remove anything in the orange family as it will never be considered anyway.

3. You need space. Chris and Jeanne bring stuff with them. It all looks so cute in the back of Jeanne's trunk but it's deceptive. It all expands when it gets out. Plus there was all the stuff I had - meager at best. Our spacious (I thought) screen porch had buckets and bins and tubs and yarn and Pyrex and towels and solutions and gloves and people and a dog and a cat and more and more yarn and dye and wine and snacks and it was wonderful!!! There wasn't a horizontal surface left untouched by the process. At some point we discussed having our own a studio. My daughter Kathryn has this darling two-story playhouse off to the side of the house that just might suffice in a few years when she's bored with it. But we figured that'd be about the time she gets interested in boys and then playhouse would take on a whole new meaning.

4. If you can find a kid who's willing to help you out by alerting you to a beeping microwave, bringing you heated water, rotating yarn, and general other fetching activities, it's really nice. She can also be instrumental in keeping the dog, who just wants to lick the yarn and the guests, occupied elsewhere. Because after all, it's all about the creative process for us. I mean - we're artists. So what if we snack and drink wine while we are artist-ing. They doesn't make us any less arty.

5. You don't have to feed Chris and Jeanne dinner but if you do - they'll love anything you give them. Even if you change your whole dinner plan based on the salad that the lady at Byerly's was sampling, which then involved purchasing two things you've never purchased before (yes, you knew what they were and you could identify them and you've eaten them before, it's just that you've never actually purchased them before). And even if it is 9:30 when you feed them and you literally throw silverware at them, they'll like it and say nice things about it like it was the best thing they'd had to eat all day.

6. Jeanne and Chris will teach you everything they know. For instance, they know it's really important to wear masks all the time when working with dye powders. Another thing they know is that exact and precise measurements and detailed record keeping are all critical to the successful dyeing process. Sure - they know all these things. Did we actually do any of them? What do you think - remember...we're artists!!!

7. Lastly - Make sure to take your own pictures. I forgot and now I'm depending on them for the process pictures. I can only show you the outcome pictures.

KnitPicks Wool of the Andes destined to become felted clogs for our dyeing assistant, Kathryn.

Shepard Baby Wool destined to become a pair of socks for a neighbor.

Oh - and Renee. Thanks for asking. My sister continues to do well. Physical wounds are healing nicley. We had a wonderful visit with her here in Minnesota despite a close encouter with a deer on my brother's back patio. She thought it was the largest Great Dane she had ever seen and that it was coming for her but it jumped off the deck and went in the other direction. We told her it was a good sign in that she scared the deer off. I think her emotional and mental healing will take a while!!