I've had quite a scare this week! My laptop decided to break down and would only let me on it for a few minutes at a time before overheating and switching itself off
Hubby, who is good at these things, took the back off, operated on it and removed a huge pile of fluff and dust from the fan, then re-connected my screen for me, so I'm back in business. For a while there, I thought I'd lost all my recent photos of my natural dyeing experiments
Pom Pom recently asked me some leading questions such as whether I do my natural dyeing in the kitchen and how does my hubby feel about that? Well, yes, I do my natural dyeing in the kitchen, then I have a small utility room with a good worktop where I can dry things and store the dye jars. I use dedicated aluminium pans and a sieve for the dyeing, not ones I also use for cooking, and I'm scrupulous about cleaning up after! Things have got better recently, as I used to do my painting, printing, feltmaking and silk painting in the kitchen too but now I do that in my work room!
As for hubby, I've got to say he is a VERY PATIENT MAN!! He is well used to my ways by now and mostly turns a blind eye to textile things that are going on. He is used to weird things cooking in pans, weird things drying on radiators and me picking up weird things. He is used to me dragging behind him twenty paces wherever we go, while I'm photographing something, or picking something to press in a book or collecting/gathering things in my "swag bag"
Oh but he gets his own back! I am no longer allowed to bring home "fag packets", as he calls my screwed up distressed paper treasures, and he did express his disgust at the smell of the madder roots, so I'm banned from madder dyeing while he is at home!!! He also loves to wind me up by calling my textiley things "TAPESTRY" Nothing wrong with tapestry, I'm partial to it myself in small doses, but he lumps every textile technique I do under the word "TAPESTRY" and when I talk about textiles he puts his fingers in his ears and sings "la la la". But, I don't blame him because I realise it's an obsession, one that takes over sometimes, and I do need bringing back to planet earth now and again, so he is good for me!
Ever inspired by nature, I photographed some blackbird poo. Obviously, the blackbird had recently been eating berries but it gave me the idea to try dyeing with berries. Yes, it's ME that's getting MADDER & MADDER!
I'm going to try lots of different berries, but first I tried blueberries which I picked up really cheap - only 50p a punnet - in my local supermarket
I covered the blueberries with just enough water and simmered for about 10-15 minutes. The gorgeous berry colour in the pan has given me an urge to make jam, so I will do that some time soon
The dye came quickly and I put various unmordanted fabrics and threads in the pan first of all and simmered for another five minutes
Then I strained the berry juice into a jar, washed the fabrics of bits of berries, then put the fabrics in the purple dye jar for three days
These are the fabrics washed, dried and colourfast. I am so pleased with these - they are vibrant and so pretty
Next I tried some flowers from the hebe bush in my garden. Same method as I've described recently
Purple hebes in the pan covered with just enough water
Simmer the flower heads in boiling water for 10-15 minutes, then drain the dye into a jar and add fabrics and threads
The hebe dye was not very strong. Out of all these pieces of fabric, only a piece of dupion silk took the dye. This is most likely because the dupion silk was already "fixed" (pre-mordanted). I think, at a later stage, I will try this dye again after fixing my fabrics because the pinky mauves in the jar are really very pretty
This is the piece of dupion silk that did take the dye. It has come out a faded vintage looking silver grey mauve, which I like
My mosaic for Monday features rust patterns from the cast iron bath we recently removed from the cottage. Behind the scenes, I'm experimenting with rust dyeing, rusting fabrics, natural decomposition and baking fabrics and will post these samples much later. My natural dyeing experiments are also ongoing and I have new stitched pieces in progress. Much to show you, so little time ...
Have a great weekend whatever you are doing, enjoy every moment!