…because it’s raining! Pity the poor folks who had to work and then expected the lovely warm sunny weather that we’ve had all week to still continue on their days off. Sadly, nope. However I was quite ready for a little break. We’ve been busy in the garden for days now and I’m still only about halfway through transplanting everything into their beds. The veggie patch and the dye garden are looking pretty good though there are still gaps because it’s just not quite warm enough at night yet to put in the beans and squash. Soon though!
A friend who is moving was kind enough to give me some of her Anthemis tinctoria (dyer’s chamomile, variety Sauce Hollandaise) to add to the dye garden. (Hi, Suzanne!) I don’t know if this variety is a good dye plant since the flowers have white petals with a yellow eye instead of being completely yellow as in the more common form that was actually used historically for yellow dye. But we shall see! Anyway I really needed more daisy-type flowers – not! In the front garden we already have English daisies and masses of Shasta daisies, which are actually kind of a weed and show up everywhere where I don’t want them. Also there’s the feverfew that I’ve been trying to eliminate for years. Not that I don’t like feverfew – the bright light green leaves and little white flowers with yellow centres are pretty – but it’s another one that shows up everywhere and the ants just love it. They plant ugly black aphids on the stems and then bite me when I brush by them. Yuck! Ouchie and so annoying. Hopefully the dyer’s chamomile will be pretty and useful and not pesky. One can only try it and see, right?
Sorry I don’t have any photos for you today. My computer is not cooperating with my camera card. Humph…
Anyway, Thursday was Spectrum Study Group Day and we had a lot of fun playing with devoré on rayon/silk velvet. I managed to get my jacket cut out (barely!) from my 2 metres of 45” wide velvet. I had one teensy centimetre of fabric length left! Good thing my arms are short, huh? However I wisely decided that a practice session would be a very good idea before I ruined the real thing. Just as well because I actually managed to create a couple of holes in my sample pieces! There’s a definite learning curve to this.
I tried some simple freezer paper stencils ironed onto the back of the fabric and also freehand with a foam brush and a squeeze bottle with a fine nozzle. It was super-hot on Jo Anne’s back deck in the sunshine so our pieces dried really quickly after applying the burnout paste. After lunch we did the ironing part of the procedure which was also kind of tricky. You have to get the heat just right, not too cool or it doesn’t work properly and not too hot or it goes very dark brown and can make a hole in the silk. Also no steam or it moistens the dried paste and can smear your design. You want a light and even biscuit beige. I found it was easy to test if it was enough heat by scratching the pile with my fingernail. If the burnout was done the pile came off quite easily. After ironing we washed out the rest of the loosened pile in warm water. I found the soft surgical nail brushes from Lee Valley Tools were perfect to brush away the pile without damaging the silk backing. Good thing we always keep a large package of them about the house. We use one in the kitchen (for scrubbing mushrooms and carrots etc.), one in the bathroom and one at the basement sink.
Yesterday (Friday) Thom & I walked down to Granville Island to get some groceries and also stop in Maiwa Supply for a bottle of Fiber Etch so I can get on with the real devoré project. I only borrowed a bit of it from my Spectrum friends for my samples. I could have gotten the ingredients to mix up lots of paste for much cheaper but since it only keeps for a month once mixed I doubted I would use enough of it to make it worthwhile. So instead I got the 12 oz. bottle of premixed for twice the price of the 4 oz. bottle, which I figured might not be enough for my jacket. Fiber Etch does have a shelf life too though because I used to have some ages ago that ended up getting tossed. Hopefully I can use it up before it goes off. Might be fun to try something handwoven inspired by some of the devoré work by the late Anne Field from NZ, hmmm…?
Well, I will try to get my pictures to cooperate and attempt another post soon. Over and out for now!