Sunday, 8 August 2010

Madder.Weld and Indigo

Complex Weavers has a different piece of weaving on its introductory page every month and I keep an eye on this. It was quite aback-taking to open up the website last night and find myself staring at Bali H'ai, one of my South Pacific series!!! Well, well.
Yesterday was 'Dyeing in the Churchyard at Kennet Valley Guild. Here you can see, on the extreme left, the Burco boiler in which I brewed up an indigo vat, two spindriers , a rack of indigo dyed pieces and a grave stone.

I don't do an indigo vat often enough and suffer from severe fear each time. 'Will it work this time?'. I made up the indigo solution on Friday and took it with me in a sealed container. There was 600 ml of the stuff and the container travelled inside a bucket wedged in the boot of the car.  I got to Newbury at 1000 hours, started boiling up at once and inserted a cotton strip at 1130. Not many people had used indigo and a circle of dismayed faces looked at this pale green cotton strip when I took it out. It turned blue before our eyes and there were gasps. After that there was a queue. The shibori cotton fabric (from Sue Hayes) took indigo very well and turned a very attractive dark blue. 

Most of the dying was of skeins of silk or wool but there was some fibre (lower left) and some pieces of cotton fabric. At the upper left of this photo, there is a very dark skein of wool which has been dipped four or five times.

This is 100% cotton, rolled up roughly into a tight ball and tied very tightly with raffia, then dyed, only dipped twice. This is for book covers. I am wondering about overdying the piece on the right but I may feel different when it has been washed and ironed.

And this shows some of the results from the natural dyeing which was also going on using madder and weld. The dark green was the result of weld followed by a dip in the indigo vat. That dyeing was done by Ros Wilson.

I have brought home lots of skeins, some were not dry and are hung up in the garage. Today I will rinse everything and hang the lot up in the garage.

Verdict on day:- lots of people went home happy. But while the Burco boiler was fine, it was very large and I had only made up enough indigo for 8 litres of water. That really was not deep enough. I need to make up 16 litres. Memo to self. Indigo dyeing is not really that difficult and I should do it more often. I have all the necessary gear (not the Burco boiler!!) and, in any case, I never got round to dyeing everything I took with me, so there are prepared skeins.

Rosie Price has returned from the States after Convergence 2010 full of stories and bearing several things for me. A skein of lavender tencel/merino from Giovanna Imperia to go with the two I got in Tampa Bay. I have a great project for these three skeins. Peggy Osterkamp's new book 'Weaving for Beginners'. I hear great things about this. And various CD/DVDS including one about tapestry weaving by several individuals in New Mexico. I have not had a chance to hear all her stories yet. And when I got home, there was a package from my niece, Cally Booker who has also just returned from Convergence 2010, sending me a catalogue of the miniature tapestries and some really nice cards. 

A happy day. In addition to all this, the Kuala Lumpur lot are staying with us and today (Sunday) we have a conference call arranged to a travel expert in KL to organise a trip to North East Malaysia when I visit in November. Air tickets have been bought, and upgraded to Club class, day by day itinerary planned.  Last time I went to KL, I had to beg for a half day off to have a rest. This time will be no different. I must try to find out if there is any handmade paper about in Malaysia. 

At the moment, there is nothing on any loom!! I will put the indigo tie-dyed warp on the Voyager but intend to take advantage of Robin (son-in-law) being here to install the roller temple on the Megado today. Then the tencel curtain will get woven.

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About Me

I am weaver and - -. I dye my yarns with acid dyes, I paint my warps, put fabric collages and stencils on my weaving. I have three looms, a 12 inch wide, 12 shaft Meyer for demos and courses, a 30 inch Louet Kombo which is nominally portable but has a stand, two extra beams and a home-made device containing a fan reed. And last a 32 shaft Louet Megado which is computer controlled, has a sectional warp and a second warp beam and I am the proud owner of an AVL warping wheel which I love to bits and started by drilling holes in. I inserted a device for putting a cross in. I have just acquired an inkle loom and had a lesson from an expert so I can watch TV and weave at the same time. I am interested in weaving with silk mostly 60/2 although I do quite a bit with 90/2 silk. I also count myself as a bookbinder with a special interest in Coptic binding.