Friday, May 18, 2018

mucking about...


I've been mucking about lately

plant-dyeing

oh such fun it is...

there's something deeply personal about colouring thread to stitch with, even though the results are rather difficult to control, never mind often unpredictable

maybe that's what I like about it though...

if I do it often I'm sure I'll learn enough to get fairly predictable results when working in a controlled manner, but as it's just for me, I really don't care - sometimes it's when we don't get what we think we want that we make astounding discoveries

anyway, I've bought a few books on plant-dyeing, read a few articles online, and recently, enrolled in an online class with India Flint where it all came together and I finally felt ready to make a start

below is my adventure with dandelions...


the first four plaits are straight from the depot, the fifth had a dunk in rusty iron water and the sixth went into a small amount of the dye to which I added baking soda - watching the colours change was indeed magical

these have all had a bath in synthrapol soap, followed by a good rinse and the water ran clear - this way, they will stay


avocado skins were another dye-pot I set to brew

a nice long, slow, simmer - the first threads were quite dark, and as I was using a small pot which I think I over-stuffed, the dye wasn't even... the second batch, seen below came out much better

the first two are straight from the pot, the next had a dip in rusty iron water and the fourth went into more of the dye with rusty iron vinegar added

from light peachy-pink to a deep plummy-grey - love...


my last thread adventure was with a dye bath that had some of both the avocado skin and dandelion dyes with the addition of a branch of eucalyptus leaves garnered from a local florist

this dye-bath yielded soft pinky-beiges with a hint of grey - "fawn" might be a good colour name for these... the one on the right was the only plait that was treated with a pre-dye mordant and gave out a beautiful, soft brown, tempered slightly with grey

oh my stars 


I'm busy plaiting more threads in preparation for a good bit of dyeing next week

I have lots of the avocado dye as well as the eucalyptus mixture and the dandelions are still growing

there's lavender and rosemary and the carrots are peeking out of the ground already - carrot tops make a lovely colour


last year I grew woad and got enough leaves to extract enough pigment for a couple of skeins of grey-blue thread... this year I'm hoping to do even better with that


after the thread dyeing, I tried my hand at eco-printing

decent results with one branch but I can't say I care much for this process at all - I did dye small pieces of fabric when I did the threads, and they turned out fine, but it's really just dyeing embroidery thread that has captured my imagination


though the marks of the wrapping string on this pale mauve fabric look rather wonderful

so much opportunity for stitch here

the true colour of this is wonderful - a pale, pinky mauve but I can't edit this image to anything but grey...


and another outer covering fabric with even more string marks


it's a messy business, and not a quick one but if I putter away at it over the summer I should have a lovely range of threads for winter stitching

though I expect I'll be into them long before then...

7 comments:

Rachel said...

So many lovely subtle colours!

Marj Talbot said...

I bet you will be stitching long before winter. Can't wait to see what comes of these lovely colored threads.

Createology said...

Your dying efforts look beautiful and very subtle. Love the fabrics wth the string lines. You have sew much fun with everything Thread and fabrics. <3

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Oh my goodness what wonderful soft colors you've created. Those threads will all be a joy to work with.

Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Looks like you are having a lot of fun! Curious though - what threads are you using? I'm assuming a white cotton embroidery floss to begin with? I learned something too....I'm not a dyer by any means, but I had no idea that carrot tops and dandelions could be used for dyeing.

foxyloon said...

Very inspiring. I went out and collected enough dandelions to do a few small balls of wool. If you ever get a chance, forsythia makes a lovely yellow.

Karen Ruane said...

oh my goodness!! Your plaits/cords are incredible. My jaw dropped!!