Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Back to the Megado

Due to the rain, I have not been outside much so I have been concentrating on textiles. I tied the silk warp back on the Megado. I had left it with two sticks and several inches of weaving to hold them in place. So I just had to tie the two sticks to the front beam and we were off.

I have been weaving the turned four colour double weave again, only this time with all sorts of green yarn inserted as well as the two colours of silk noil. Title is Seaweed on the Mud Flats and it is intended for the Midlands Textile Forum and its exhibition in Nature in Art over Easter. I am not too sure about it but it looks better in the photo than in real life. The ripples show up through the seaweed which I wanted. When it is done, I intend to do yet another piece about mudflats, only I shall use my Japanese gold paper yarn this time. I thought of using it for the Convergence piece but the back of the yarn is white paper and the Convergence yardage is looked at from both sides. This piece (Sunset on the Mud Flats) will be mounted so that problem does not arise.

The other project I have started up on is the Small Newbury Coat. It was decided that we had so much fibre and yarn left from the Newbury Coat of 2011 that we should make a small replica which would fit a ten year old and it could be taken round schools (of which the Guild does a lot - well Rosie Price and her band of helpers do a lot). We did not do much about it for a long time but a fleece has been spun in the last few months and I have inspected all the yarn from 2011 and taken out the best for the warp. The fibre that has been recently spun was spun much finer and plied - and a plied yarn is what I need for the warp. For the coat in 2011, we used singles and it drove us demented with broken threads. I (unilaterally) decided that I would rather dye the yarn than the material (Reason, it is possible to dye yarn in batches but we would have to dye the whole length of fabric as one piece and I could see problems getting it evenly dyed. I also decided not to use indigo (Reason, it can come off and we do not want small children going home wearing white shirts with blue stains). So I looked for a blue whose colour approximated to a mid indigo.

The photo above shows the first batch of yarn dyed with Mountain Blue from an Australian firm, KolorKraft, and sold in the UK by Wingham Wools. It has come out as expected. The only problem is that the dyebath was by no means exhausted. As I have about 2 kgs of yarn to dye, I am wondering if I could get away with reducing the amount of dye used. I did use a large jam pan (And no it is never used for jam) on a Calor Gas stove in the garage which meant I had to hover over it for the whole time. My sister suggested I do the dyeing in a steamer but I can only dye 75 gms at once that way. But I have to say that it was very cold in the garage and I do have three steamers(!!) and I do not have to stay with it after the first ten minutes. So I might try a single steamer and see if I can reduce the amount dye used. 

Tomorrow I am off to Birmingham by train. I will take my camera and try to get photos of Worcester under water. The train goes in from Malvern on a high level viaduct well above the river and you get a good view of the town from the train as you pass over the river.



  1. I enjoy the colours of these Australian dyes but sometimes they don't exhaust well. This might help. Once the dye pot reaches almost boiling (95C) if there is still too much colour in the pot I add a tablespoon of white vinegar and then let the pot stand to cool right down, usually 40 or 50C before I lose patience and decide that'll do.

  2. Thanks for the tip. I will try that next time. Those dyes are new on the market in the UK and I like the range of colours. They have so many blues and had just exactly what I wanted.



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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.