Sunday, 8 May 2016

Dyeing and more preparation

So, you could say that instead of making I have been diverted into preparing. Whilst tidying up I came across a bunch of cold water dyes that were just waiting to be used. And, having bought a bundle of sheets and having also found some nettle yarn I bought some time ago, I have over the last 6 weeks or so been dyeing all manner of fibres (but just not wool).

I am here just showing a small collection of fibre and fabric that is now ready for using in some interesting projects (the light on our kitchen is a bit bright, so the colours are over-exposed, in reality they are richer than is visible here):

This is mainly nettle yarn, coarse linen and some fine viscose weaving yarn. The dominant colour here is a rusty red.

Here is some more nettle yarn, but also some very shiny rayon croche yarn. I was also given a linen table cloth with lace corners from Denmark. Unfortunately I am not sure about the turqoise colour I gave it, so I am hoping that another colour will come along and I can over-dye it to cool down the brightness.

And finally from this batch: some hessian, silk, cotton fabric and cheesecloth, as well as cotton perle croche yarn. The dye works on all these different fibres, mainly cellulose, but for some reason silk also takes the dye well. Although you may think I only dyed a couple of baths, there are also greens, blues, yellows, oranges and reds in my stash now. I think these dyes are really very good - you can over-dye and changes hues, make bold, true colours on white bases or add fabrics/fibres later in the immersion to make paler notes, which is handy, especially if you want to make a set of different toned threads for a particular project. 

Here are some more fabric pieces in linen damask, cotton and a cotton-linen mix:

The tones were pale blues (the dye was called Moon Blue) - this was a very nice colour, it has a certain luminosity and lightness and will be good without too much layering of stuff.

Although the next picture shows greens, it does not do justice to the variety of fairly solid deep greens on cotton and linen threads:

There was also an orange coloured dye (Mandarin) that was so much sharper than I thought it would be. It worked well on cotton and will be useful in small amounts for bringing interest and focus to pieces: 

There are no longer any obvious dye pots lying in wait in a box somewhere, and so there is unlikely to be any diversions in that direction for a while. In fact, my landlady at the studio sold me some amazing large pieces of canvas she had dyed, which I want to do some applique and embroidery on, so now it is time to do some designing and thinking about making. I am planning to use some of these dyed pieces as part of that work.

I have also been preparing knitted fabrics for sampling for other projects. I got this knitting machine and have had trouble understanding how to cast on, but eventually I discovered, when reading the manual again, that I had placed the needles in the wrong position(!) - Once you do get started the knitting progresses very quickly which delights my impatient side. Soon it will be time to start working on this knitting, I am quite looking forward to that stage.

In the end I guess all this preparation will be good for something - it is the basis for the work to come, weaving felting and embroidery. Alongside this I continue to go to West Dean and there has been some encouraging feedback from tutors there that has made me think of what I am doing, how the work is expressed and what I may do in the longer term. I am glad I am doing that diploma, although quite precious it is a treat and helpful - speaking to other students can be quite enlightening and give helpful pointers. For example, I went on a drawing day and someone there was finishing her diploma; she had brought in her portfolio of work fro the full set of courses she had done. She was already trained in art, so her work was very good, but she was also a teacher and asked perceptive questions and gave pointers in discussions - helpful and interesting, stimulating to learn in this way.

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