'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Sunday 10 May 2009

More experiments

Can’t get my mind off brown so, having bought some of the brown dyes recommended by C June Barnes I decided it was time to try them out – but on yardage rather than a quilt.

So Ii turned to Leslie Morgan and Claire Benn’s ‘Tray Dyeing’ which I bought a while ago, read, enjoyed – and promptly forgot about.

I like it because:

  1. Morgan and Benn give  metric measurements. I know I usually refer to inches but that’s because my rulers and cutting mat are Imperial – for all else I use metric. I don’t have the equipment for US volume measures.
  2. They explain why they use salt and soda ash, but not urea. I much prefer books that give you reasons.
  3. Their explanations are very clear.
  4. Their writing is amusing.
  5. They have several techniques which are new to me.
  6. Their explanation of colour choice and mixing is very good.
  7. Their end results are stunning!


So – as I was going to dye – I started with undyeing. OK – discharging. I have metres of fabric which I dyed brown for some reason I cannot now remember. [Story of my life, really.] I decided to discharge and overdye some of it. This is it, plus a bit of one of the fents I bought in Skipton, ‘artfully scrunched’ [their words, not mine] and/or pleated, as instructed by Benn and Morgan. [I should make clear that they don’t give instructions for discharging, that was my idea.]

After discharging I neutralised with anti-chlor [don’t use vinegar – it doesn’t work] and then rinsed them in the washing maIMG_6446chine.]

The  Benn and Morgan technique involves a pre-soak in soda ash – I got quite carried away photographing this stage.I like the way the flash reflects off the surface of the water.



Here are the fabrics waiting for the dye. The threads look pinkish because they had picked up loose colour from the brown fabric, while soaking in the soda solution.



I could almost get to like brown, when I see it like this.

Of course I won’t know how this experiment will turn out until I rinse out the fabrics tomorrow …


As I have run out of colours, I thought for the daily photo series I would show you a fewIMG_6414 C&G bits – mostly samples because I think I’ve shown you most of the major pieces already. So, as I’d talked about my tassel collect ion, let’s start with those.

We made tassels during Part 1, when I was still putting most of my samples in page protectors,so some are a bit crushed. [A taught me better.]

Most of these are ordinary tassels but with various heads . The example second from left at the top is a bit different – it’s a technique the tutor showed us. You make a series of overhand knots in the yarn, cut them into pairs, and tie a bundle together to make a pompom. I used knitting ribbon stuffed with viscose threads for that one.

More tomorrow.

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