Dyeing days

dyed fabric all folded and lined up

A Dyeing Session

fabric and yarn dyeing in pots in a cat litter tray
deying fabric in pots all nice and neat

I started off doing some dyeing in plastic bags. I dyed one piece in each to start with, all solids, mostly greens, blues and greys. Then after about an hour, I added another piece to each, to get a paler shade. I did this again half an hour later. I may even have tucked a fourth one in before the dye was totally exhausted!

Here they are in the plastic bags sitting in the cat litter tray:

Fabric dyeing in a bag inside a cat litter tray to catch any drips
The bag is useful to keep the dye contained and also stops the fabric from drying out too soon

When I had done that, I used up the rest of the made up dye liquid by space dyeing some previously dyed fabric in a cat litter tray (jolly useful, they are!). I threw the rayon thread in at the last minute – rayon seems to take the procion dyes very readily and it was fun to see it creeping along the fibres! I put some underneath the fabric too, to soak up the residue.

fabric and thread being dyed
Lots of fabric and thread all scrunched up in the cat litter tray

I also tucked fabric into jamjars and poured dye liquid over it, and some more into old margarine tubs. I would have put the top picture here but I thought the plastic bags picture was a bit boring to start this post with! As you can see, I trailed some yarn in and out of all the jamjars and it made for an interestingly multicoloured piece. I dyed an immense amount of fabric this time. I don’t know exactly how much but it was two washing machine loads.

Here is the first load drying on the washing line:

green and brown fabrics drying
I love seeing how it’s all turned out like this!

And the second one… I was exhausted!

yellow and purple dyed fabric on washing line
That yellow fabric really stands out, doesn’t it?

Close up…

dyed fabric hanging out to dry
It always looks brighter when it’s wet and hanging on the washing line

Here it is, all ironed, folded and sorted into colours and values. Phew!

dyed fabric sorted by colour, lots of reds, oranges, greys
Sorted by colour into a colour wheel (excuse the messy carpet!)

We have greens, blues, greys and blacks…. I was pleased, actually, at getting a couple of quite dark black fabrics. I want to try discharging with these to see what colours they discharge to. I mixed a couple of different black dye powders together to get this – one with a bluey tint to it, one with a greeny one.

piles of green, white and grey fabric
piles of green, white and grey fabric

We have reds and purples…

dyed fabric all folded and lined up
Reds and purples

And we have oranges and browns… some of these were the overdyed space dyed ones.

yellow, orange and purple fabric folded and lined up
yellow, orange and purple fabric

This was the most dramatic overdyed fabric. It started off being turquoise, and I had so much of it I decided to use it. It went into a big margarine tub in a sort of ‘parfait dyeing’ way, with black at the bottom and then I kept pouring different colours in and adding more fabric and more dye till it was full!

space dyed purple fabric
dramatic purple fabric

And here is the yarn. It is rayon and some of it has a sort of glittery stuff wrapped round it.

dyed threads on cutting mat
Lots of the thread all dry and neat

Phew! Got to find somewhere to put it all now… just blogging it took nearly an hour!!

Unexpected germination

Our windowsill is getting full of plants.

plants on windowsill

The middle one is a poinsettia, and it has been there for some time, despite my best effects to kill it by forgetting to water it. The one on the left is a Japanese coriander plant which I bought at Haverfordwest farmer’s market on our recent visit to Pembrokeshire. The friendly man there told me it had to overwinter inside so I planted it out and put it on our bedroom windowsill where it can have company. Living in a Victorian house we don’t have many conventional windowsills. It’s the most unfortunate thing about this house. Nearly all the windows don’t have windowsills at all. Does anyone know where you can buy tall plantstands for holding plants? Our windows are all about a yard up from the ground and I want something which will be reasonably stable from kids pushing it over…

The one on the right was a surprise…

avocado seedling

I read on a couple of people’s blogs that they had been germinating avocado seeds, about 6 months ago, and I decided to have a go. I soaked about three in water for about 6 weeks, decided nothing was happening and chucked two of them into the compost bin. The third I recklessly shoved into a defunct plantpot on the patio, whose occupant had given up the unequal struggle for survival. This was a few months ago now. On Monday, when I was skirting round there looking for somewhere to pot on the Japanese coriander, I noticed this plant pot… complete with avocado seedling!! So I brought it inside before I forget it and the nights get colder or the slugs finish it off. The unpredictability of nature.

(Incidentally, in the first picture, the extra leaves sprouting all over the place come from the wisteria growing up the front of the house).

Megaliths and castles!

We saw a few old structures while we were in Pembrokeshire. These were the oldest.

These were neolithic (I think) burial sites, and there are several scattered round the coast. Our chief difficulty was finding them, as neither of them were signposted!

ancient stone burial site

This was called Carn Llidi and was along the coast path in quite a lonely, stony area. Anselm provides quite a good guide to the size of the stones.

rocky area

The kids enjoyed climbing on the rocks and attacking one another.

The second was called Carreg Samson and was in the middle of a farmer’s field. Here it is in the drizzle and murk…

megalithic burial site

As you can see, it is bigger than the other one…

megalith with people...

On the last day of our trip, we went to Pembroke Castle. The kids had fun because it is pretty intact for a medieval castle, with lots of steps to towers, narrow corridors leading all over the place and walks around the walls.

medieval castle


All those steps were very tiring!

three houses

I liked these little old houses outside the walls.

Crafts for kids

I haven’t done much quilting related stuff this summer, but having spent the last week making crafty things with kids, I thought I would post some pictures of what I had done with them previously, partly to remind me and partly in case anyone is looking for ideas. We had an all-age service at church each month and I used to come up with a related craft activity to keep the kids quiet at the beginning. It was quite a challenge because the children can be anything from 3 to 11 and there was only 10 or 15 minutes to do it in.

Here are a few of the things we have made over the months…

three pipe cleaner men with beads
Pipe cleaner men

small black box
Treasure box

five different masks
Masks which we decorated

purple foot

This is what I’m doing next Sunday. A foot out of fun foam, decorated with all sorts of twinkly things.