Archive for the ‘Dyeing to Stitch’ Category

Last week some friends gathered around the dye pots and played with leaves and fabrics.  I brought mine home in bundles and have been so very good in not opening them immediately…..I planned to leave them a week or so…the little wooden beads are to identify my pieces when they all come out of a communal pot, and look pretty much the same.  The other way I sometimes mark my bundles is by tying them with a striped synthetic string – you can see I used it to attach the beads.

I also brought home a few branches of prunus leaves and boiled them up.  I then strained the beautiful dark red liquid, left it overnight and added some alum before using it to dye the next day…..it initially looked like this.

Ever impatient, I decided to open all the bundles today, including those dyed with the red leaves above.  Here are the results, some of them most surprising.

wool blanket dyed with prunus on the day.

wool and smaller piece of alpaca, dyed with eucalypt leaves

Wool dyed with the above prunus leaves at home - yes it's green!

Fine wool, dyed in Cherry Ballart with eucalypt leaves wrapt in bundle.

Silk with eucalypt leaves and some metal scraps in Cherry Ballart.

Silk with eucalypt leaves and red prunus leaves, dyed with prunus - it is actually a bit more green than this photo shows.

There are more, but these are probably the best ones……a good result I think, despite getting shades of blue/green from red leaves.  I wonder if it would happen again…


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Our dyeing group met again on Friday, the first time for the year.  There were four dyepots going, with a variety of things in them. Two had Eucalyptus leaves, one was Cherry Ballart in an iron pot, and one was made with the seed-heads of a native plant my friend called Garnia, but I cannot find anything of that name to give you a link….Eucalyptus crenulata which grows on my land usually gives a good red/brown, but this time it was not as red, while another unknown Eucalyptus, thought to be an Iron Bark of some sort, gave a deep orange/red.  My bundles were wrapped with various leaves – Eucalyptus, Rose, Bay (dark green prints) and some red Prunus leaves, which gave a red/purple in places, plus a few other things to give some textures by resist, and some metal bits.

The wool used was an Australian Doctor’s flannel which shrinks a little and becomes a bit thicker, so one gets different effects on either side of the fabric which is useful.  All bundles were simmered in the pot for about three hours, then left in overnight, and kept for a couple of days before unwrapping.  I’m too impatient and I have never found leaving things longer makes a whole lot of difference.  These are some of my results…..too many to post photos of all!

Wool – Eucalyptus crenulata

Wool – Ironbark

Silk – “Garnia”

Wool – Ironbark

Silk – Cherry Ballart in iron pot

Wool – Cherry Ballart, iron pot

wool – Cherry Ballart, iron pot

Wool – Cherry Ballart, iron pot

Wool – Cherry Ballart, iron pot.

Posts may be a bit sparse for the next few weeks, I’m  going to be very busy doing another class with Jude Hill – Contemporary Woven Boro, plus one with Kim Klassen to learn the Essentials of PSE9…….I swore I would never do two classes at once, but resolutions are made to be broken!!

Still taking photographs though, so don’t forget to have a look at the latest on Fractions in Time.












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Dyeing to Stitch

This is the name we have chosen for our little natural dyeing group – at this stage there is not much of my stitching to show, but there were some good results yesterday, and hopefully these will be stitched when other commitments are met.  I was amazed at the greens which we obtained, as previously I have only managed various shades of brown, tan and orange – the greens, which are a little more saturated than show in the photos, was from the Australian native Cherry Ballart mentioned in the previous post.

These were the fairly predictable wool results – old blanket in different Eucalyptus dye baths, in stainless steel and iron pots.  The blanket, though white initially and looking like pure wool, may not have been – hence the different take up of the dye in the fibres used to weave it which gives an obvious twill effect. The fringed fabric is a mixture of wool and Alpaca.

Two bits of silk, one silk noil, which were in a bundle in the iron pot…..giving it a much darker colour.

Another piece of Alpaca and wool, this time the bundle was in the Cherry Ballart dye bath, with Grey Box Eucalyptus leaves inside, and maybe some other bits…..I must keep better notes about how this is done!

This one is a very fine wool fabric – I think Beautiful Silks call it Nun’s veiling.

And my favourite is this last piece, silk noil with great colours, lines from the string which tied the bundle and a little resist where it had been clamped.

Some previous bits from the others:-

Eco dyed and stitched by F.

Small books, some pages inside and out by F.

A piece of Doctor’s Flannel and some silk eco dyed by L.

(Image and words removed from here.)

All in all, a great day with good friends doing things we enjoy!  May there be many more.

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