Sunday, September 21, 2008

Playing with rainbows

Long weekend of mucking about with dyes and fabrics. Our guild did an inhouse workshop where we played with fabric and colour. It is part of a project where we are creating an installation piece for the hospital as well as putting on a show in February. We have to use the work we dyed this weekend, so there was a lot of playing and learning (and swearing and angsting over results). Started off hand dyeing - which I enjoyed, but made a mess at it. My second attempt was much better then my first. Here's everything rinsed and ironed (the photo is rather dark, sorry). Since this is my first effort, I'm fairly pleased with the result. We worked mostly with beer cups and baggies.
Yellows were my downfall. Mostly because when I did my final rinsing in the washing machine, they all bled out. I'd read in advance that this has been known to happen, but took the risk anyways.
The fabric below was from my first batch - which had some really wild mottles. I wanted mottles, just not that er... psychadelic? The second batch turn out better. I loosened up the fabric so that the dye could penetrate better. Those who worked with Fat Eighth did better at that. Honestly, a Fat Quarter is a lot of fabric to shove into a beer cup!
Can't claim the following ones - they were done by one of the other participants. She went rather wild with twitsting and turning the fabric before placing it in the beer cups. Not sure they are going to be all that colourfast though - she took some risky shortcuts.
We also played with Shiva Paintsticks, did some batiking, painted with the dyes. We were going to do some sun printing, except that 'no sun', instead a wonderful heavy snowfall mixed with slushy rain. I think sun printing is off the agenda until next spring :) Some people also worked on blocks for block printing. I've done both Shiva and block printing a fair amount, so concentrated on dyeing. The overall theme of the weekend was reminding people to put their gloves and masks back on! My hands are just shot! (and somewhat tinged blue!).
Below are our Guild President's Fat Eighths

Since this was a week of experimenting, we all did some extras. I dyed some crochet cotton, embroidery floss and silk ribbon and we all did some cotton thread. I really don't think the cotton thread is going to work all that well. Not sure if the dye will penetrate the fibres? It looks nice though.
Finally we dabbled with natural dyes. The results are much paler. Will post photos of those once I do a final rinse and iron.
More later.


Lalhezar said...

I also have not been blogging most of this year but seeing your return has encouraged me to put some time, but not all, into my blog. I love the dyeing experiments. Well done

Mushroom Annie said...

Hi Deireth

I had the pleasure of meeting your mom in November when she stayed at our dog-friendly B&B in Garden Bay, BC. She told me about your interest in (passion for!) fibre arts and gave me your blog address. Beautiful stuff you're making!

I thought you might be interested in what I've been doing: using mushrooms for dyeing fibre and also for paper-making. You can check it out at

I don't know what kind of mushrooms you get in the North, but it's worth finding out.

If you get a minute, I'd be glad to hear from you. But I understand that fibre has to take priority!

Ann Harmer