picture

picture

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

two in one day!

no entries in july - means I have to catch up a bit! I showed you all the "old" projects (apart from one grey HP sweater, which is nearly finished, just 1/2 an arm missing....) - but I started a new one as well. I haven't done any cross stitch for some time, but when I saw a SAL on a german blog I thought I'd give it a go. we are working lots of small houses or rather shops - and we can use whatever colours we already have in our stash. given that mine is quite substantial by now I thought this might be the right project to use up a bit of that. every sunday we can download another house and some "embellishments" - so far I have managed to keep up to date. I did however change the shop names into english/irish ones and I also changed the church design, because a church with an onion shaped roof is absolutely unknown in ireland (or at least I have never seen one like it:)). sorry for the crumpled up fabric, I should really have smoothed it out a bit before taking the photo:)) by now I have added a few more shops, but I think you'll get the drift of the design.
so far I have a textile craft shop (with my woolly bits name over the door - my one and probably only chance to "own" a wool shop:)), a chemist and a flower shop. you can't see the cafe, the book store and  the bakery, which I've also done so far. eventually I'll personalize the whole town by adding a few trees, statues, benches and a dog or two in between:)) if you fancy having a go yourself - you can still download the free designs here - the blog is german, but that shouldn't be a problem with cross stitch designs.....

part of the problem with blogging (or the lack of it:)) was that I had promised to do a workshop about dyeing with our spinning/craft group, the connacht textile crafters. the date for the next meeting was end of july and I had to get all the materials ready for this in time. all in all I thought it went ok, but if I ever had to organize this again, I'd make a few changes. we had started out with natural dyeing, my favourite, but soon some people said: but what about procion dyeing, what about something easier to use than natural dyes? we agreed that two more people from the group would show one of each, procion dyeing on cotton/linen/ramie and dyeing with gaywool dyes as a third. which was overkill to say it carefully:)) we only had a few hours to do it all and it ended with members wanting to try each technique, but not having enough time. we also had too much material and not enough members taking part - which wasn't a problem on the day really, but meant that I wound skeins for weeks, packed stuff, pre-mordanted far too much etc. of course the material isn't lost, but I wouldn't have needed half as much time if I had cut down the list of materials - but who was to know?

 never mind - though I am still working my way through a big fat binliner full of pre-mordanted wool tops, bundles of fibres and skeins of wool:)) here are a few of the results (all done at home, with the mayhem at the meeting there was no time whatsoever to take pix - I was glad to manage a cup of coffee and a piece of cake in a short break:))
this was a bit of a worry - I thought I had soaked brazilwood, but have never had that stain my cotton nappies such a sunflower yellow! for a short while I thought that maybe it was mislabelled for fustic....
luckily it turned out to be brazilwood after all - judging by the strong red that came on, when I put the fibres in (it's not quite as bright, stronger and darker, only the flash brought out this "danger" red....) 
 this is part of the dye "harvest", some madder reds (the first batches were redder and darker, but were taken by members at the meeting). the sockwool is darker as well, but hanging below the stuff here - I'll take some more pix,when I have finished all the dyeing.
the dark pink on the left is mohair top, dyed with cochineal - I love the colours it gives, but after a few days in a pot it develops such a stink, that I decided to put the leftovers away, even though there was probably another dyebath left in it. it smells like rotten meat after a few days - which is essentially what it is, crushed beetles boiled up:)
there are more yellows, greens and cochineal burgundy, purple and lavender - but they are already dry and stored away for the time being. I'll heap everything up on a table, when all is done....


 the grey greens and green in front are dyed with black hollyhock flowers. this is a very interesting dye, because there is a marked difference in the colours on wool or silk. the green in front is wool, the blueish/greys are silk - if you dye a blend that isn't mixed thoroughly you get these double effects - very nice when spun up! when you dye a very well blended mix of silk and wool, like the top on the picture above, you'll end up with a greenish grey, which might not look very tempting at first, but goes very well with a lot of the brighter colours, when spun!
this doesn't look much like "natural dyeing" - but it is! India Flint calls it hapa-zome in her book eco dyes - and I took materials to the workshop, partly because I thought it might help to fill the time while waiting for dye baths to get ready - and partly because I wanted to try it out myself. not that I had time to do so at the meeting, but I tried it the day before at home:)) it is not as wash or light fast as the "normal" natural dyes are - but at the meeting it was great fun and esp. visitors with kids were enjoying the technique - with a lot of loud hammering as proof:)) of course you don't need a lot of strength here, but kids.... like it noisy:)) I used pre-mordanted (alum) ironed cotton fabric from a marbling session earlier. you just pick fresh flowers, arrange them between two layers of the fabric, add a piece of cardboard on top and bottom and hammer lightly until you have "printed" your design. you can steam fix it (the colours will change and fade eventually!) and maybe embroider a bit or use it as it is as a card inlay etc... just don't smash the flowers completely - or you'll have a job scraping the flower pulp off the fabric again:)) btw - the flower on top was a double flowering fuchsia - really a bit too juicy for the job. the two flowers below were red crocosmia "Luzifer" (perfect for this) and the greenish stuff at the bottom were flowering oregano...

so now you know that I've had no time for blogging - I hope I am going to improve on that now that the workshops are all finished...
back to the brazilwood dyepot - and maybe some knitting in front of the tv as well!

8 comments:

Delighted Hands said...

I would have enjoyed the class you taught on nat. dyeing--very nice colors! The hammering flowers on cloth, I have tried and enjoyed but my colors were not very colorfast so I needed to do a step more!

Be sure and work on the xstitch-very nice work in progress!

Zebra said...

Wenn Du Deiner Stadt einen Hund hinzufügen willst, vergiss den Schlips nicht! :-)
Und Glückwunsch zu Deinem eigenen Wollgeschäft, wenn es auch ziemlich klein ist, aber die Idee ist sooo süß!
Liebe Grüße, Zebra/Indra

Ash said...

I love to see the colours you get with your natural dyes, wonderful.

Woolly Bits said...

Cindy, I was told to steam set my hammered flower prints, but I am aware that the colours will still change - don't have a chance to try it with this example, though, because someone took it away at our meeting:))
Indra- das wollgeschaeft ist zwar winzig, aber immerhin hat es ein spinnrad drin! im original fehlte das, aber das geht ja garnicht:)) und klein - aber mein, das waere meine losung, leider ist sowas hier total utopisch, weil nichtmal in galway und groesseren staedten solche laeden eine echte chance haben:((
Ash - I just can't stop the dyeing, it is so much fun to throw stuff into a pot and see the results afterwards!

Woolly Bits said...

nochmal Indra:)) das mit dem hund, hm, ich will ja nicht, dass er eine serviette anzieht:)) ich dachte eher an einen hund, der sein bein an einem baum hebt....

wiebke said...

wunderwunderschön!!! wiebke

Nina said...

I love the colours from the black Hollyhocks. I planted some this year, so hopefully next year, I'll get some yummy new colours to play with! The flower prints look like a lot of fun.

Woolly Bits said...

Nina - I have to admit that I didn't grow the black hollyhock flowers myself. I had them in my stash dried for several years... hollyhocks only grow well here in their first year, after that they usually succumb to rust:(( good luck with yours though - they are fun to dye with because of the different results!