Well, the skeins dyed so far look gorgeous – totally different to the colours you get with chemical dyes. The blackberry leaves came out a mid brown colour with the wool mordanted with copper and a gorgeous golden yellow in the exhaust bath with a skein mordanted with alum and cream of tartar. The skein dyed with some unidentified plant which has been soaking over winter in a black bin outside came out a sort of browny cream colour. Okay but not very exciting. This morning I cooked up some forsythia leaves which Jill Goodwin says ought to come out a nice green colour (A Dyer’s Manual). Though she reckoned the brown skein above ought to have been blue green and the alum skein pink so I don’t know what to believe! I will dye some wool with it tomorrow anyway.
I also had a busy afternoon dyeing with some Kool Aid which someone sent me in a swap ages ago. I did it in the microwave following these instructions. They were pretty effective too, but I don’t much like the sickly smell, which refused to go away despite about 5 rinsings… After seeing the natural dyed yarn I really don’t like the look of these chemical dyes very much – goodness knows what it does to kids’ stomachs!
So the washing line is pretty full at the moment!
If my camera doesn’t arrive soon I’ll dig out my old one, which now belongs to DS2, and take some photos with it…
Well, I’ve been quiet but not inactive. Still no camera but I’ve dug a few out of Picasa which I haven’t put on my blog yet….
The weather is absolutely glorious. The garden is lovely. We have two red tulips which I thought I’d killed off by planting my herb garden where they were, but they seem to have come up this year, the first time for three years. Here’s a photo of them in previous years:
I bought a couple of blueberry plants in the last two farmers’ markets in town (one at a time, all I could carry up the hill to my house!). Here is one of them waiting on the patio to be planted out. Our soil is very acid and apparently they like acid soils so they should do well.
Because the weather has been warm, I have been doing some natural dyeing (or at least preparing for it) over the last couple of days, so I could boil stuff up while leaving the kitchen door open.
I bought this gorgeous pencil roving from Crown Mountain Farms via a yarn coop I am in. I want to dye it and then knit it into a bag and felt it.
Here it is wound into skeins ready for dyeing. Yesterday I washed it and mordanted some in alum and some in copper and picked a lot (A LOT!!) of blackberry brambles which were running wild in our front garden. I was attacked in the forehead by a rampaging yukka plant and have lots of scratches to show for the battles with the brambles but now they have been safely boiled up and I am just waiting for the water to cool sufficiently to put one of the skeins in. I’ve got some madder to dye some more skeins … photos when Nikon duly releases my camera! Hopefully….
We went to the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea on Saturday. DS2 went on a rugby tour with the school to Brussels for the weekend so it was quiet! The museum is pretty new – it has only been open for a couple of years. The thing which I noticed first are some huge wallhangings which look as though they have been rust dyed with industrial machinery parts. It is nice to know that this method of dyeing is actually being used for commissioned art. So, of course, I wanted to take a photo of it. Problem! I turned my camera on and the screen was all black, apart from the computer information display. All the menus and everything were working fine but I couldn’t take a photo….
The man in Jessops reckoned the chip had come away from the lens so it has gone back to Nikon for repair… so the blog won’t have many photos for a while, unless I borrow my old camera from DS2.
That wasn’t the only thing which happened on Saturday. I also broke one of my wooden double ended sock needles … so I’m now finishing off the cashmere yarn socks using one metal needle and three wooden ones! Not a good day…
You may remember that while the ceiling in my studio was busy leaking during every rainstorm, I put some fabric into a rusty baking tray put there to catch the drips.
It had dried out but the fabric was still there, so I poured some salt solution over it (left over from a dyeing marathon) to encourage it to rust some more. I also rescued a couple of rusty tin cans from the side of the house. (Ask my teenage son what they are doing there…. suffice to say that he likes eating tinned sweetcorn straight from the tin, and it is a long way down from his attic bedroom which has a window at the side of the house….).
Rusty tin cans have some nice interesting horizontal ridges on them, so I wrapped some fabric round them. I also found a rusty old dishwasher cutlery tray so I put that in too, in the hope that the grid design would be picked up in the fabric.
Here they all are, nestling in the tray:
I then covered it with plastic to stop it drying out. Now I have to contain my impatience for a week or two….
I also added some acrylic paint to this painted lutradur (bottom picture)
Hurray, hurray! It must be the season for revamping websites – Leslie Morgan and Claire Benn’s website, Committed to Cloth is live again! And there is lots to look at.
Leslie and Claire run the Virtual Studio at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham and wrote the book Breakdown Printing which I used to guide me in some screenprinting early last year.
They are an inspiration.
Yesterday I actually got into my studio and did something! I decided that since the big table was covered in plastic to catch the leaks, I might as well use it to do something messy. So I had a go at discharging, using Jacquard discharge paste. I wish one of the kids had been there to take a photo of me in the respirator … I must have looked like something from outer space! But I needed it – that stuff is truly wiffy.
I stencilled these pieces using freezer paper stencils. I managed to reuse them three or four times before they got too gunky and unusable.
For this one, I had already done some printing with fabric paint using sequin waste, and the paint acted as a resist. These are figures copied from a newspaper picture.
I also printed discharge paste with bubble wrap and a spirally whisk I found in a charity shop. Sorry that the photos are a bit blurred – my camera battery needed recharging.
I was pleased with the results – they are better than the photos suggest.
Finally, I decided to make use of one of the rusty meat dishes which we are using as a rain-catcher! I put some of my previously rusted fabric in there to rust some more.