Monday, November 13, 2006

On Monday We Dyed

My friend Jo came over today and we played with Procion MX dye. She had a bunch of little skeins of cottons and rayons and she wanted to see how the colours appeared on them. Jo is new to dyeing but she’s having a great time and I have the very functional dye studio that she doesn’t have. So she brought cookies and I made tea and after that we got down to business. She made me do something too so since I’ve been procrastinating overdyeing my faded handwoven kitchen curtains for about a year now, I decided to go for it. I soaked them a bit to get them wet, smooshed them into a bucket with a bit more water and started pouring yellow, orange, and red-brown dye all over them. After leaving them for 15 minutes I poured soda ash solution over and smooshed a bit. Then I tucked them in with a blanket to keep warm. Now that they’re rinsed and drying on the clothesline they look like orange sherbet threw up all over them! I actually like it even though it’s nowhere near an even dye job. Not even Unevenly Even. OK, orange is my favourite colour and they do go with my Persimmon Paintings that are nearby where they are to hang. And they’re much better than the faded pastel stripes they used to be. Hopefully if it ever gets light enough around here (before spring or before I forget, whichever comes first) I’ll get a photo. Oh and I figured out a great way to keep several small containers or one large one of dye warm so it works properly. I used this electric heat mat that goes with my little mini greenhouse for starting plant seeds. It's waterproof and keeps a constant temperature of around 35 degrees celcius. Jo’s little skeins turned out lovely shades of blackberry and blueberry and raspberry. I swear, all our work was full of yummy fruitiness today. Must be because it was dark and mostly rainy and very late fall-ish. We’re just perverse like that.

Speaking of dyeing, I got another of my one-at-a-time book order in the mail yesterday. Canada Post delivers on Sundays! Who knew? This one is a doozy: Holly Brackmann’s “The Surface Designer’s Handbook” published by Interweave Press. Yes, they used their great spiral binding with a solid outside spine. It lies flat for reference when your hands are busy but you can still read the title on the bookshelf. It also doesn’t need plastic covering because it’s already sturdily covered. Inside there are lovely inspiring pictures and lots of information on dyes, thickeners, discharge, devoré, shibori, indigo vats, monoprinting and a bunch more. All the recipes you need in one place and easy to look up. It’s great for both the beginner and the experienced and the information is very current and very clearly and simply presented. No cutesy projects. No pseudo-science. Just the facts, ma’am. It’s going to be my “go-to” resource when I forget the proportions or need to know whether I need a particular dye chemical. I probably could find all this information in my notes but now I don’t have to hunt for it. I love it!

Next I’ve been working on my crochet/knit Not-So-Granny-Square Cardigan. As usual I’m working first on a sleeve, just in case something is horribly wrong with my design and I have to frog. There’s not so much knitting in the sleeve as shown by the fact that I’m almost done in one day. One day in which I was also dyeing and entertaining my friend Jo! Well we did work on our projects while the dye was batching, me knitting and she rug hooking. I’m such a slow knitter and I usually knit either large projects or ones with lots of teeny stitches (like socks) so I’m not used to something that has such quick gratification. I could get used to this! So far I’m liking the sleeve though I’m a little bit worried about having enough of the main yarn for the sweater. It was handspun many years ago and recycled from another oversized sleeveless sweater then overdyed to rusty red so I have no way to make more that matches. I plan to use a second yarn, one that’s used in the crochet squares, to work the edgings and button loops. I may need it for the little collar that I was planning too. It’s going to be a surprise! To me. Not to worry — this kind of thing is good for one’s creativity.

Meanwhile, I’m turning the heels on T-Man’s Socka Socks. Hope to have an in-progress picture of both projects tomorrow. Right now it’s almost bedtime. Dark. More rain coming. Brain shutting down. G’night.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like Interweave Press. I might have to get that book, I hate having to find my notes as well. I like to strike when the dye inspiration is hot and having to navigate my sewing room for notes delays the process.