Friday, 20 June 2008

Ferrous Sulphate Dyeing

Yesterday, the urge to dye came upon me. This, in part, was due to the arrival of my order from ArtVanGo. Among the goodies was a bag of ferrous sulphate, looking for all the world like mouldy salt. The sun was shining, the wind was blowing. There was no time like the present, so I went for it.


Instructions come with the chemical, which can also be found here. I'd also seen a variation on the blog of Purple Missus. I did a sort of hybrid method by adding the strong tea brew to the caustic soda solution. I found this knocked back the bright colour created by the iron rust, creating a muddier greying the longer the fabric was exposed. My first reaction was that this had spoiled the effect, but now the cloth is dry and pressed, I think the effect is of extreme ageing which certainly has its place in my palette. I dyed another length of calico with no tea/tannin added and this was much brighter by the time it dried - it's the fabric at the top of the picture. As in indigo dyeing, what you fish out of the pot is not what you eventually get.....

So here's some cloth to add to my collection, and I'll have to think about what I'm going to do with this technique to move it on. It would be interesting to try some rust transfer dyeing over this base cloth to create greater variation, and to consider tie dye techniques and using the tea to create pattern on the surface by dipping, dribbling or shibori methods. Meanwhile, I have these pieces to play with.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Melting with Maggie

I was lucky enought to get a place on a 2 day workshop (Hot Fix) with Maggie Grey on 13th and 14th June in Bournemouth. She has posted some lovely photos of students' work on her blog.

Here are some rather fuzzy pix of works in progress which I started during this very enjoyable workshop, learning all sorts of new techniques, as well as revisiting a few golden oldies.


It will be interesting to see how they progress now, and how quickly that will happen! I've sent off for supplies so I can take them forward. For example, the thread laid on the piece above belonged to another student, Sue H, (funnily enough, both we Sues are owners of Lily sewing machines, which is what Susan means). I took a photo for reference but it hasn't really shown up very well. Unfortunately, Sue H couldn't recall the thread's origin, so I've ordered some dyed threads from Stef Francis and some ready-to-dye ones from Texere for some do-it-yourself space dyeing. I hope that couching the threads and perhaps some beads will integrate the elements so that it looks less like a box of prettily wrapped chocolate truffles and more something richly organic.


This one needs some stitching, couching and beading, to emphasize and enhance the floral feature. I probably have what's needed to do that.


This piece will include stitching and beading, too. Integration and enhancement will be the idea behind this.


Not quite sure where I'll go with this crunchy rose, but there's no hurry - I've plenty to be getting on with!

Many of the techniques we used in the workshop are covered in Maggie's excellent new, hot-off-the-press book, Image to Stitch , also available from all good bookshops.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Fame at Last!


Recently, I volunteered to test knit some yak yarn for Kerrie of Hipknits, a good piece of occupational therapy for one laid up by a virus, following medical advice to rest. This is a new line and I really enjoyed knitting this light and lovely yarn.


Today it, and my photos, are featured here. Haven't told Anna she's a web-model yet - isn't the scarf a good match with her top?!


I'd happily use yak yarn again. It sounds as if it should be coarse and hairy, but I can assure you that it's anything but. It is very snuggly for its weight and very drapey, too.