Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Vallecito Days 2013

We participated in the Vallecito Days event on March 16.  It was very well attended by both the public and by volunteers,  and was less windy than on previous events.  Vallecito Stage Station is located in the desert east of San Diego. The original sod building was constructed in 1852 as a stop on the Butterfield Overland Stage Line and the southern emigrant trail.  In ruins by the early 20th century, the station was reconstructed in 1934 and has been restored carefully by the County of San Diego.

The stage station was in great condition, thanks to San Diego County Parks.  Parks produced a video of the event, which can be viewed using this link:

Because of past experience with using the spinning wheel under windy and dusty conditions, we chose to card and use handspindles this year.  The last time I tried to spin on my wheel at Vallecito it took me a week to get all the sand out of it!

I even received some mail, delivered by riders, from Rancho Guajome and La Brea Tar Pits.  You can see the Tar Pits postcards in the video.  Although it takes a couple of hours to get to the stage station from San Diego, it is well worth the effort.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

More Fire Pit Dyeing

I have done a couple more batches of dyeing over the fire pit.  I am so pleased with the way these are turning out!

The yellow is very bright, and I got nice definition between the yellow, orange and purple.  This was on a mixed roving, not the gray like the previous samples.  

While I was reorganizing my spinning and weaving area this winter to make room for a few pieces of furniture from my mother's estate, I found some old packets of dye that I purchased in 1985.  It is Spectrum Dyestuff's Kiton in several colors.  Some of the open packets are no longer associated with their labels, and some are unopened.  I don't exactly recall what I dyed in 1985 or what the results were.  I decided to dye some of the Corriedale roving that I purchased from Alpenglow Yarns using these old dyes.  I used the same fire pit method: I mixed the dyes in the afternoon, and poured on three colors: Blue, Turquoise, and what I thought might be Burgundy.  It soaked for at least two hours in the pan.  Then, after cooking dinner in the dutch oven, I waited until the coals were glowing (I managed to sneak in some gluten-free biscuits in the meantime - fantastic!).  Then I put the fiber pan over the coals and just let it sit all night.  In the morning, the bottom of the pan was still warm, but the colors were set.  

Doh, I guess it was not Burgundy - it was Purple.  But oh my, those blue colors came out so deep and nice.  It's hard for me to get a good, deep blue color when I dye, but this time I was really happy.  The weather has been very cool and damp here in San Diego so it's not drying very quickly.  But I can hardly wait to spin this up. For sure, I am going to use some more of these old Kiton dyes.

Lots going on next weekend: Old Town, Powell Sheep Ranch, and Earth Day in the Backcountry.  More updates to come after that.