Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Experimental drawn thread work

 This past week I've managed to make some progress on my experimental drawn thread sample, and hope to have it completed by the end of next week.
I've used a scrap of fabric that I get from my local curtain shop - they let me have old sample books for free and the sizes of fabric in them are perfect for small design work.  I rust dyed this fabric a year or two ago when I first tried my hand at rusting.  I love the gold marks it leaves on the fabric.  This piece has two different panels of weaving throughout the fabric - one is a more open weave than the other, making it easier to withdraw the threads.
I've used browns, golds, and creams in keeping with the rust colour in the fabric, and also added strips of leather, and some beads for a bit of bling.  I knew those gold beads would come in handy one day - I must've had them over 10 years , I think they came off an old blouse or bag that fell apart, it's been so long I can't remember now.  Just goes to show you never throw anything out, they'll always come in handy one day.
It's quite a fine piece and as usual, a strain on the eyes.  I didn't do a design to start with, as I like just letting the design evolve on it's own, but it's knowing when to stop evolving that's the hard part. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Getting my groove back

I think I'm getting my groove back and into the frame of mind where I feel creative again.  I'm on my way with my experimental drawn thread, but its not at a stage worth showing you yet.  In the meantime I got a burst of energy and enthusiasm to try some natural dyeing techniques.
Above is the pot (or cauldron) that I cackle over ... filled with fabrics and threads soaking up a dye solution made from onion skins.  You can see a stocking to the left filled with the skins (looks a bit like a haggis), and below are the finished samples.  I just LOVE the copper colour of the silk. 
I only used small pieces of fabric and small lengths of thread to try the technique out, and didn't bother taking down any notes or measurements until I knew whether it worked or that I like it or not.  I must say a big thankyou to my friend Anne, and her mum, for the two bucket loads of rose petals they provided me with in order to get the colours below.  The petals were a mix of white, pink and red, but gave a beige colour scheme, except for the silk piece again, which came out a beautiful bronze colour.
The silk fabric seems to take the colours better than the others, but I like the all of the soft muted colours.  I fixed all these with white vinegar, but today my order of Alum, Copper and Iron mordants arrived, so I'm hoping to get chance to try these again using different mordants and see what happens.  Got a beetroot dye I'm chomping at the bit to try out .... hope it gives me purpley/red colours.  I'd love to hear from anyone else who's done natural dyeing, and gain some tips if anyone has any info to share.