textiles · exploration · misadventure

Madrona-ing, part II: Overdyeing* with Judith MacKenzie


A sunset view of Mt. Ranier, from my hotel window, Marona Fiber Arts Festival, 2015

I’m back. I’m so full of juicy textile hyperness, I don’t know where to start.

First: I didn’t take many pictures, and most of them were of Mt. Rainier from my hotel room window. In fact, I couldn’t stop. This mountain has many moods:

Madrona 2015 Rainier 070 Madrona 2015 Rainier 050Madrona 2015 Rainier 088Madrona 2015 Rainier 026Madrona 2015 Rainier 084Madrona 2015 Rainier 063Not the most beautiful photographs, but you can see why I would be fascinated.

Second: I wish I was six people, so each one of me could practice what I learned in my five classes, and the sixth one could blog it.

The overdyeing class was even better than hoped, and I scribbled down some classic Judith wisdom:

“Do you know how unusual this is in the modern world? To make things with your hands? Unusual. You are pre-selected to be opinionated.”

She meant pre-selected, because textile junkies are a small percentage of the general population; an even smaller percentage of that group chooses to come to events like Madrona. “Opinionated” pertains to artistry: we are opinionated about what we like, about what works or does not, about the processes we follow to get to the result we are seeking or are surprised by. A joyous thought.

I’ve spent most of my life looking for the places where and the people with whom I belong. One of those places is in the company of textile artists like Judith, and at events like Madrona. Classes like this give us the opportunity to explore and experiment on a scale that would be untenable solo, while being shepherded by some of the textile community’s most experienced teachers. Judith MacKenzie is one of the most well-beloved of these people.

In this class, I turned this:

Dupioni original






Into this:

Dupioni overdyed

The originals are light pink and bronze Dupioni silk. The original colors (at bottom) are quite beautiful, and I won’t likely dye any more of this fabric. I just wanted to cut a swatch and see what would happen.




Even better, I turned this**:

Madrona 2015 Overdye samples 044

Into THIS. Which freaking KILLED me:

Yak overdye 1Yak rust_green2Yak polar magenta bronze

Until I did THIS:

Yak overdye brown bronzeYak overdye bronze 1Yak overdye bronze_silverWhich just about made me fall over and die of lust.  Color is silvery, vibrant, glowing bronze.  I cannot WAIT to spin this.

Substrate is 50/50 Yak/silk purchased from Morgaine at Carolina Homespun. (I can’t find it on her website, but if you’re interested in it, give her a call.  She had some left at the end of the festival, although there was a run on it after this dyeing class!) I hope to post more on this fiber when I get some spun up. I’ve been spinning the coppery-silver undyed version, and it is succulent.  One of my favorite things I’ve ever spun.

So this is the job for the first me that I will clone: Clone, you get to be the dyer. Take the dyekit and all the fibers in the world, and dye your head off.

Dyes used for each sample are too wordy to type out. If you’d like to know more about the dyes used for a sample, leave me a comment and I’ll tell you what I know. I’m a beginning dyer, and Judith did the prep, but I’ll do my best to be helpful.

*Dyes used were Mother MacKenzie’s Miracle Dyes. Carolina Homespun also carries these, but are sold out as of 2/16/15.  The conference was selling out of these kits the last day, too…)

**You really, really should consider clicking to view the high-res versions of these images.  The colors are so much more beautiful and nuanced.

Clone Wars

10 thoughts on “Madrona-ing, part II: Overdyeing* with Judith MacKenzie

  1. Wow! This is a great post and I can’t believe what you were able to do! I love the photos of the mountain. It looks different in each photo. Try putting them in PicMonkey and making a collage of them. I’m now following your blog because of this post.


    • Wow, what a great comment! I haven’t used picMonkey; I’ll try your suggestion. And yeah, that mountain. Man! Every time I looked at it, it was different. Thanks, and so glad you liked the post!


    • Ack! How did I miss replying to your comment!? That mountain was something else. Every time I came back into my room it was doing something new. I couldn’t stop taking pictures. And thank you for mentioning PicMonkey. I tried it out when you mentioned it here, and it’s been really helpful.

      ETA: I’m a spaz tonight. I just saw my earlier reply to your comment! I get this way sometimes. Trying to cover all bases, I cover some twice. :


  2. The pictures of the mountain are beyond beautiful. And the yarn colors! oh my


  3. I can’t decide what’s cooler–the mountain or the colors!

    Liked by 1 person

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