a journal: textiles, inspiration, musings

simmering pots

With a bout of what is probably a very common Dyer’s Disease, I went out to dye ONE garment two days ago and ended up with indigo vat being revived, a large brew of eucalyptus leaves/onion skins/walnut hulls and a bit of copper cooking up in another pot, and a large pile of my own stitched or upcycled garments [op-shop finds ,  some of them altered or soon-to-be!] ready for a cook up. Needless to say the past two days have disappeared in a haze of focused dyeing. There is something about the magic of it all, one thing leads to another “what-if”, the indigo vat becomes temperamental, various garments in the “fail” pile call out to be re-worked………and time vanishes.

Pics below are of some of the results……..plain indigo dyed pieces that will have pockets and patches added;some more circles that may eventually become part of a mandala stitched cloth;  a dress that was a dull blue now over-printed with leaves and simmered in the above-described eucalyptus pot, [the blue has not shown up in the photo very well]; a skirt that had been printed and over-printed but still looked very murky, now a bit more interesting I think and will be more so with a couple of embroidered and layered pockets added! and a linen shirt that has been dyed in an onion skin bath, I am playing with patches and pockets for this one, and also altering the size by piecing a panel into the back! again the iphone photo has dulled it off, it is a lovely golden colour that I am very pleased with.

gumtree blanket

This long-term project is moving forward: the top is being assembled now; I will add some more stitching and then back it to make a snuggly blanket. I haven’t felt in any sort of hurry to finish it, as it is a lovely pick-up-and-stitch project; I enjoy looking at the wonderful prints that have emerged at different times from my eucalyptus bundles; some pieces have been individually dyed, some are leftovers from garments.  I have bought some lovely fine soft wool fabric from Beautiful Silks and will dye this before using it as the back, so there will be plenty more stitching to do, as i will join the front and back pieces with some form of kantha-type stitching.

IMG_1523Have found a lovely part of the house to sit and spin 😍….. spinning improving and becoming much more relaxing, although as with most things I am learning that the more I learn the more there is to learn! I am spinning some lovely Beersheba Farm Castledale fibre, purchased at the Bendigo Wool Show.

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Bloom on the vat

A very promising sight this morning, lovely blue bloom on the fructose vat

IMG_1414And the ph was good at 11.4; so I had high hopes for a good strong colour; but in fact it was a fairly pale result, proving that my vat often has a mind of its own! Nevertheless some multiple dips and some over-dyeing produced some interesting results

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And even a couple more misty moons!

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My first indigo moon

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I have managed to revive my dormant fructose vat with a combination of methods…. heat, more fructose, more hydrated lime and finally a new starter added in! I  find I want to overdye some of the pieces after they dry . Nice pile of garments growing, also small bits of fabric for a slow cloth that i am starting to plan. But most exciting was my first successful moon….

I love the moon circles that Jude Hill uses in her lovely Spirit  Cloths, and I have been learning some indigo and Shibori techniques from the  Shibori Girl website. I think this  will be the forerunner of quite a few moons!

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Saori cloths

the pile of saori cloth pieces is growing… becoming scarves and shawls, simple-pieced jackets, gifts …. adding to my quest to make or upcycle garments wherever possible. It’s a fun and very satisfying challenge! And the saori loom is so lovely to work with; a meditation, a chance to play instinctively with colour and texture.

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Today I learned how to ply my first two reels of spun yarn; it is definitely “art yarn” as it is quite bulky and textured……..good thing that’s just the way I like it! and the colours have worked out really interesting when spun together…a combination of some lovely brown fleece Mandy gave me to start to learn on, and a very bright multi-coloured fleece from First Edition in Euroa that I had purchased several years ago with the plan of felting a background for embroidery with it. The fleece looked pretty garish when I brought it home, must have been an odd moment when I chose it! so it has sat in the back of the cupboard till now, and I wasn’t sure how it would spin, but the resultant colour is looking much better than I thought and when I have spun enough it will be lovely to see how it weaves on the Saori loom.

 

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