Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fell Off

Sorry about that! I got busy and instead of blogging I was dyeing-gardening-washingfleece-watering-walking-etc. You get the idea. So where did I leave off? Checking back to the last post…oh, yeah. Last Thursday. Sleeve Island. No longer there. The Amiga sweater is done – except for the dyeing. I plan to play with my first Japanese indigo this Thursday and dip the boring white rayon. It’ll be an adventure! Wish me luck.

What else? Black Rock’s rows are finally feeling shorter. Happily I can finally knit on it and read simultaneously so it’s going faster. Cruising to the finish line now and I’m excited to see what it looks like blocked.

I tried to cut out my Butterick 5362 View B tunic from some old faded black cotton jersey and found out why it was still in the stash after so long. That stuff is Garbage! Literally. It skewed badly and just wouldn’t fold flat so I couldn’t even cut out the two simple pattern pieces. Phooey. Also it was more blotchy-faded (aka blech, not funky) than I thought. Not even good for a knit muslin. Gone. Next option was a nice slightly heavier cotton single-knit in a boring lavender purple. I liked the fabric but not the colour so it needed to be dyed first. Tell you about that later. Meanwhile no sewing got done.

So where are we up to now? On Friday T-Man and I went for our walk, this time down to Granville Island to see my friend Michelle Sirois-Silver’s hooked rug exhibit at Crafthouse:

MichelleSilver_rug3 MichelleSilver_rug2

The show is called SHIFT and these are my favourites from it. The “shift” mentioned in the title is the move that rug hooking is taking from utilitarian/floor to wall/art. These pieces in particular combine other techniques with the hooked loops. The left triptych has needle-felted wool fibres with stitching in between the very fine sculpted hooking. The right piece has stitched grommets added to the centre. I just love the mashup of traditional random squares with contemporary fibre-art stitching. Michelle taught the one-and-only rug hooking class I’ve ever taken. She’s a total sweetie.

Next we went to Maiwa to see the current collection of Bangladesh quilts from Living Blue. They are spectacular and even T coveted one of the bed-sized pieces. This is another mashup: Japanese-style nui (stitched) shibori, old sari fabrics and kantha (running) stitches. So beautiful. Sorry I didn’t get a chance to take photos. There was a female musician parked right in front of the window display (playing and singing rather annoyingly too) so I couldn’t get a good shot.

Around the corner in Maiwa Supply I bought some Procion MX dyes. I only needed black really but ended up with plum, crimson, and green as well! Unfortunately I forgot to get some more of the Unicorn Power Scour because I’m getting low – especially after washing more fleece yesterday. But I’m getting ahead of myself. On the way home we stopped to watch this guy balancing rocks:

GI_balancerocks2 GI_balancerocks5

No glue! He did smooth the points somewhat though as he hunted for the balance sweet spot. Fun. There was a selection of little rocks provided so you could try it too. Not easy but one kid had a stack of 3 going.

Here is the outfit that I wore for our walk:

(I’m testing this Windows Live Album thingy so let me know if it doesn’t work for you.) This is my Vogue 8509 dress that I recently finished sewing. It looks a bit wrinkled but I’d been hoofing around for about 3 hours by that point! The hat is plaited green-dyed raffia that I made 6 or 7 years ago, the scarf is one of those cheap cotton ones from India, the leggings are my “chub-rub protectors”, the socks are handknit by me and the boots are my brown Blundstone chunk soles. This outfit is so very me!

Wow! We’re only up to Saturday so far. The weather was nice but not too hot so that day was for gardening. We have garlic! Softnecks on the left and hardnecks on the right:


I’d have left them in a little longer but they were starting to get rust. Sunday was much hotter and a good day to dye. So I got out my new (and old) procions and dyed not only the purple cotton knit but also some home-dec paisley jacquard. The photos are still in the camera so more on that later. Hint: they all turned out quite surprisingly.

I think we’re up to Monday/yesterday now. That was a busy day! More dyeing, only this time with natural dyes. I washed the last 500g of Merino-X fleece leftover from last year’s class with Anne Field. I again used the Power Scour and it worked great in the washing machine (no agitation of course) using straight hot water with a couple of kettles of boiling water thrown in. I used the machine’s spin to get all the dirty water out of two washes (one with half the amount of detergent) and one rinse. Done! Compared to Orvus, Power Scour rinses really easily.

Next I packed the clean wool into 3 mesh bags and mordanted it in 10% alum. The day before I had tried one more extraction of the now slightly mouldy logwood left from our last Spectrum dye day so I put one bag of wool in that bath. The second bag went in the now very depleted original logwood bath. (That’s the one that didn’t go mouldy because we used it on Masami’s silk shirt last week. The heat killed the mould.) And while the third bag of wool waited for a pot to become available, I extracted the dye from an approximately equal weight of my half-dried chopped weld. Have I mentioned that I’ve been cutting up my big weld plant? Took me days and I have a blister to prove it. Anyhoo, the last bag finally got into the weld along with some calcium carbonate. Both weld and logwood like hard water and mine is soft-soft-soft. I use either a couple of Tums or calcium supplements which seems to help. After an hour or so of simmering I left the wool in the dye baths to cool overnight.

Today I need to rinse out all that dyed wool and see what I’ve got. I’m hoping the colours will go nicely with my peach-coloured (madder exhaust) wool from the same fleece. Natural dyes are like that though – it seems that no clashes ever occur. They just meld like old friends. Unfortunately it’s raining this morning so drying the wool quickly is going to be problematic. At least I was smart enough to bring in my drying garlic and the pile of chopped weld last night and close the greenhouse roof. I knew it was going to rain. Hopefully it will clear up later on.


Evelyn said...

Great tunic! amazing having to wear boots in the middle of this summer!

Aleira said...

It doesn't matter what the weather is! The Damselfly wears Blundstones!

Louisa said...

LOL!! That's true! At least when I'm out walking I *always* wear my Blunnies. I have 3 different pairs so the only hard part is choosing among them: red, brown or black. I can't walk more than a kilometer in any other shoes - in any temperature.

Heather said...

I love your outfit - unique, comfortable looking and flattering. Your dye experiments sound intriguing. I'm looking forward to seeing the results.