Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hand Dyed Hemp Roving

I was dyeing some bamboo last weekend and I thought to myself, "Why not dye a little Hemp while I'm at it?" The process is basically the same and though I have to admit, working with Procion Dyes is not one of my favorite activities, once you're set up and in action, you may as well go for it.

Hemp roving is a fairly new product for my little shop at Wind Rose. I started with a small order this past fall mostly because I wanted to try spinning the plant fiber. Like many spinners, my fingers are used to handling all sorts of wool and silk, soy and even bamboo, but hemp was definitely a new texture. Most of the adjusting had to be made by my draft hand. I needed a little more force, but at the same time I had to be careful not to allow the fibers to fall apart. It didn't take long before my fingers found their way and I was able to control the hemp. Occasionally there would be slightly larger pieces of grass and I had to decide whether to allow them to add texture or to pick them out as I spun. Once I got going, I really enjoyed working with the hemp. It's such a unique fiber.

So now I'm offering hemp in a few new colors. I love color and I'm hoping the variety will appeal to the fans of hemp out there. So far I've dyed Avocado, Rose, Amethyst, and a Soft Red. I can't wait to see what people think of them. To tell you the truth, I don't even know if there is much of a market for dyed hemp, but I can't wait to find out!

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