Saturday, October 30, 2010

It Was a Good Day to Dye

I couldn't resist the Halloween humor, but it really was a good day to dye. The sun was out, the weather was warmer than it had been and I was able to spend some time with new friends.

I recently joined the Front Range Fiber Artisans, a group of people who work with fiber in one way or another. Knitting, crochet, weaving, embroidery, sewing, quilting, paper arts, etc.

A couple of months ago we got together on a couple of evenings to use knitting machines to knit "blanks." I knitted up about 400 yards of some of my handspun alpaca in a natural white.

I was really pleased with how well it knitted up.

Then we got together today to dye them.

The woman who hosted had dyes mixed up in bottles ready to go as well as a couple of tables. Another member of our group showed up with the steamers (giant ones she got at the local Asian market), a couple more tables, and commercial sized rolls of plastic wrap.

We laid out our blanks (soaked in water and acidic wash) and, using syringes and brushes, applied the dyes. When we had finished coloring, we wrapped each piece like a tortilla in plastic wrap and placed them in the steamer for an hour.

After pulling them out of the steamer we let them cool down, unwrapped them, rinsed out the excess dye, and squeezed out all the excess water.

This is what mine looked like after it was unwrapped. I had painted on random stripes of blue, purple, and green. In the steamer the edges blended together causing the colors to transition softly.

I took it home and unraveled the knitting when it was dry enough. A little kinky, but the colors are beautiful.

Now, what to make with it.

When I got home, my creative engine was still rev-ed up, so I decided to break out the kool-aid. I had a blast.

Monday, October 04, 2010

America or the United States of America?

Can I just rant a bit?

I've noticed an increase in the use of "America" instead of "The United States" or "The United States of America" or "USA" lately and it's driving me nuts! People have always done it, but it seems like the use of it is getting worse. Even the government is in on it with their site.

America is made of up 2 major continents called North America and South America with a nice little connector area commonly known as Central or Middle America. They're all full of wonderful American people.

So when we talk about America, we should remember that those of us living in the USA are not the only ones in America. Granted, calling ourselves the USofA-ans or USers or United Statesians is too cumbersome. So we call ourselves Americans. But calling our country "America" is going a little too far.

So PLEASE, refrain from calling our country "America." We are the the United States of America.Or the US, USA, United States, or even just The States.

Do we take no pride in our country that we abbreviate its name inappropriately? Are we so ethnocentric as to think that the people living in the United States are it and everyone else doesn't count? Or are we just lazy? Calling the United States by just the name America is like wearing pajamas to the grocery store. Eww! Just don't go there!

Just because other American countries have it easy and can just add "ans" or some other form to the end of their country name doesn't mean we should take over all the rights to the word "America."

Calling our country "America" could be compared to France calling their country "Europe," South Africa calling themselves "Africa," or China calling their country "Asia." Yeah, it doesn't work does it?

So that's my rant today. It's been on my mind for a couple of months now and I just needed to say something. Maybe it's because I've lived on the outside and have had my perspective skewed a different direction from those raised in the USA.

But then, maybe that's what's needed. A little different perspective.