Thursday, August 4, 2011

immersing myself in natural dyeing

In an effort to give myself a little vacation of sorts -- if I can't run away to a desert island with my sweet hubby, then at least I can have a little break from my work-work -- I signed up for a 4-day workshop in natural dyeing at The Workroom.  We are three days into our day camp, and it has been great fun.  Tomorrow will be all about overdyeing, more experimentation, and (for me) dyeing some wool yarn (aran and fingering weight) and a yard of silk.  Yummy.

Here are the cotton items I brought home today.

First off, my "new" solids (a couple of yards of Connecting Threads white quilting fabric, rendered colourful):

From top to bottom, these pieces were dyed with cochineal (a South American bug that yield pink through cardinal red), osage (the heartwood of the osage orange tree that yields this nice yellow -- but with a post-mordent bath of copper or iron we also say it make some nifty greens), logwood (a Latin American tree whose wood can be used to produce soft grey-purple to purpley-black), and madder (a root used for centuries in Europe and the middle east to produce earthy reds, but here it dyed my cotton a nice soft orange). 

Today we played with indigo (which is a very, very interesting dyestuff, and behaves very differently from the other natural dyes we were introduced to on days 1 and 2).

With just a single "dip" in the indigo vat, my cotton lace trims emerged a pretty cornflower blue.

 We also experimented with some shibori techniques (Japanese resist dyeing).  Here is my experiment with marbles tied into the fabric (the scrap on the left) and with a stitched pattern (a kind of gathering stitch made with a very strong polyester thread, gathered very tightly then tied; the scrap on the right):

I also experimented with clamping wood blocks onto the fabric, to produce large geometric patterns.

The diamonds are my favourite of the day; the rectangles need a little more "oomph," so they're going back to camp with me tomorrow for some over-dyeing.

 So that's my day.  I haven't (yet) done a scrap of work-work, but I think I needed a day like today.

Tomorrow: YARN and SILK! 


Sue said...

We all need weekends like that occasionally. I love the dyeing. Indigo dyeing is interesting, isn't it? I did a course a few years ago....Lots of fun. The techniques can be transferred to other kinds of dye, too, which is great....Really good value course!

Judith, Belfast said...

What fun! I remember doing a class on cold water dyeing at college - I was addicted! Jxo