Tag Archives | dyes

Dyeing and other activities

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:


close up of tulip

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.

Blueberry plant waiting to be planted out

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. 

pencil roving in skeins

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…. 

No camera:(

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…

Rust dyeing continued

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:

rusty baking tray with fabric, water and lots of objects in it

I then covered it with plastic to stop it drying out.  Now I have to contain my impatience for a week or two….

above baking tray covered with plastic

I also added some acrylic paint to this painted lutradur (bottom picture)

painted lutradur

A little bit of discharging…

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.

discharged fabric showing shadowy figures

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.

stars discharged from dyed pinky-black fabric

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.

discharged fabric using whisk to make spiral prints

discharged fabric using bubble wrap

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.

rusting fabric in meat tin

Dyed fabric

I’m testing another image uploading plugin! If it works you should be able to click on the images and make them larger.

If my blog looks strange in your browser or there are any other problems viewing the page, can you let me know so that I can fiddle about with it some more?

These are some pieces of fabric I dyed at the beginning of the year by space dyeing. I may already have posted them but this is a quick photo upload to check the plugin.



A Landscape Postcard

I’m going to do a proper post on the making of these postcards, but just at present I’m experimenting with a different way of uploading photos to my blog because my current method is a bit cumbersome.

Here is one of the postcards I made a week or two ago:

landscape postcard

Meanwhile, during my blogsurfing yesterday (hmm, have I just made up another internet word, or just picked it up subliminally from some press article or other?!), I found this post by Lisa Call on how she dyes 60-100 yards of fabric in a few hours. It is more or less how I did it when I last did some dyeing, except that I used smaller pieces at a time – ie. by adding more fabric to the dyestuff successively to make paler shades of the same colour but Lisa has described it beautifully. Imagine – 60 to 100 YARDS!!!

I just checked her blog and she has another post about it – the second of a number of posts she is going to write about her process. I enjoy reading Lisa’s blog – she always has thought-provoking or informative posts.

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