Wednesday, March 30, 2005

And More on Dyeing

Wooo Hooooo - I took the Sciences Award at Crown for the Walnut Dye Project. I entered all 3 - Walnut, Vine and Walnut Ink. I received lots of great feedback on the Walnut Dye. The judges were "UPSET" because I choose to make the Vine a separate project. My thinking was that while the history was very similar, the chemistry, recipe and project were different. They DISAGREED and one judge even refused to award points for the project. Any way - here is what the entries looked like at the event:

The walnut dyeing was interesting. In the 3rd dyeing round I was unable to reproduce the wonderful darkness of the prior round with pre-mordanted fibers. Only in Round 2 with the post mordant did I get true black. Very....... interesting............
Here is what all the walnut dyeing looked like:

The brick color is the iron mordant alone. The blacker browns are the round 3 with the pre-iron mordanting. Sigh!!!!

Today, just to finish off the pound of wool, I did onion skin dyeing - a brick red result. I still have a pound of undyed wool left and haven't decided what to do with it. I'm thinking of taking all the dyed yarns and knitting them up into a piece of fabric. Then felting it. Then making it up into a Viking Haversack. These have become all the rage. A pouch of about the size to hold a 3" 3-ring binder. Very useful and marginally documentable (a la what the Iceman carried). The knitting portion might make a good mindless project for the trip.

The trip is slowly taking shape and things are being ticked off the TO DO list. The rest of today is taxes so guess I'd better stop here and face the paperwork - blech!

When I return from the trip I'll get to the back log of things to web - all the dyeing and ink projects, the last round of medieval food recipes (lamb bits), several articles from the Guild newsletter -- all my articles are kept on my website so they can be updated as appropriate, new needlework projects, etc. Lots to web.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Dyeing More and Having Fun

Hard to believe a week has flown by. It seems like I just blogged yesterday.

Did round 1 of walnut dyeing - and was a bit disappointed. It was suggested that I only needed to basically bring to a boil and let sit overnight. Well -- that results in light coloration. Did round 2 yesterday and got lots of wonderful color - but had the pot simmering for 8 hours. Also made a batch of walnut ink. Really it is just concentrated dye and a lovely warm brown - or black if you add iron. Yes there will be pics. Round 3 tomorrow. What is taking all the time really is the documentation that needs to accompany the Arts and Science entries. The vines is 6 pages, the walnut dye - 8 pages, and now to do the walnut ink. Thought I'd left term papers behind long ago.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Dyeing fun and more

It seems I am in a mood to do some dyeing. I've been thinking about doing it for quite awhile now. Even bought supplies when I was in Estrella to do some -- the iron and skeins of undyed or bleached wool.

On Thursday, my garden miracle worker came. She is a friend who designed my yard and has gracioiusly consented to do a lot of the hands on garden tending that husband and I have not had time to do and which you would never entrust to a mow & blow gardener. I had come across a recipe the prior day that called for dyeing with berry leaves and vine. Well I have a lot of wild blackberry that trys to invade, so I had her clip me a bucket full. Then onto the dyeing. The leaves and vines give off tannic acid. Dyeing with it alone is something a kin to tea dyeing.

I premordanted the wool skeins (10 yard lengths) and a swatch of silk with the iron. 1 skein was only done in the iron to show the color differences. Then tried the rest of the wool/silk in the dye bath from the berry vines for various length of times - 1 hour (1 sk + silk), 3 hrs (2 sk) and then overnight (2 sk). Of course I washed everything very carefully and will do so again. It didn't seem to really make a difference from the 3 hrs to overnight and very little from the 1 hr. I guess once the chemical reaction happens - it is all done but the shouting. The blotchiness on the silk is from the uneven mordanting of the fabric.

Friday the husband and I ran around in circles - or so it seemed. Actually we got a lot done - went up to San Francisco, got the hair cut (my hair dresser is very distressed that I have quit dyeing it and am letting it go white/gray - not the $$ issue, but he just really liked the fabulous affect of my skin coloring and the hair coloring - very dramatic), got all the shots for the trip, got the pictures taken for the Brazil Visa, and more little stuff. We had planned on the Yellow Fever shot, the Typhoid, Hep A, and the Tetnus, but it seems you also need a Polio booster too. So we opted for the Typhoid in pill form. Also got the Malaria perscription.

Saturday was local EGA BOD for me and the husband went off to help friends move. Since I can't sit through a meeting without something to do, I finished the wire work for the brass - 7 loop Viking Metal Braid necklace. I've included a pic with the brass work on the dowl, a test of a 5 petal and 7 petal (the shortest piece) that had been through the draw plate, and a silver piece that had been drawn and is ready for the ending bits to make it into a necklace. It is addictive.

Last night we were locally cultured -- we attended a reception at a local art gallery of photography. A friend had a piece of his chosen for the show. The show was juried with about 800 entries and 58 picked with different 44 artists. Then out to dinner. Pretty impressive photography from all over the US.

Today is catchup on all the little things before I plunge into next week. So here too is a pic of the dyeing I did last weekend. I still need to wash the silk skeins again to ensure that there is no color bleeding. You would have thought that the heat would have sufficiently set the color and the 2 washings, but I was using really concentrated color so.....

Walnut dyeing - batch 1 tomorrow.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Living Life to the Fullest

Whew!!!! Just when I thought things were on track, we took a left turn. Thursday night the husband noticed a cruise promotion - 3 weeks, The Amazon to Rome via Senegal, Morocco, Gibraltar, Barcelona, Cannes, and other points in between. He got me out of bed and said - "looks like fun". I grumped, agreed it was interesting and went back to bed. Friday AM I asked if he was serious, because it would mean leaving in 5 weeks, my canceling the RSN class, being gone for nearly a month, getting shots, getting my passport renewed asap, and 8 days of cruising (for someone who doesn't do nothing well)..... He said yes. So....I jumped on the phone and booked the trip.

When something that is fun and special comes along - you just have to grab on with both hands and go for it. It was the first time in several years that I've seen him really excited about something (besides graduation). So we do it. I wouldn't have done the Amazon on its own, nor would I have done Senegal, but the other stops and the opportunity for a real vacation in neat places -- its a go for me too. We are still reeling from the reality, but - sometimes you just got to do it.

Now we scramble. Ordered the new laptop that I've been thinking about -- well we need a place to put all the pictures we will take. Perhaps even prepare uploads/webpages of the trip as we go. Called around for where to get shots. Yellow Fever shots are only given in certified places, so...Got the passport pics and sent it Express Mail with Express Mail return and extra fast processing request dollars. Cancelled the RSN class, the hotel and plane flight. Ordered workout clothes that I'm willing to be seen in (versus the home stuff). And then there are the million other things to do. Not to mention I need to have my next column in 2 weeks early. I will be running fast.

AND then I went off Saturday to a class on dyeing with Anne Frazier of Gloriana Threads. A fabulous class. Yes I'll post pics later this week. I had previously taken a class on dip dyeing using cotton threads and some cotton fabrics. This was all silk (threads- white, ecru, and blue, ribbon, and fabric) and included space and marbelized dyeing. I'm hooked!!!!!!!!! Lots of fun and lots to learn. It was also a good class on color theory and application.

It also just wet my appetite for what we will do in Linn's class - Wild and Wonderful on June 3rd. Endless possibilities -- the mind boggles.

For now back to work. I have to keep the nose to the grindstone if I am to get everything done in time to go away on a REAL vacation. Now I wonder what needlework project(s) I should take with me??

Thursday, March 03, 2005


Running fast these days. Did a rewrite on the pulled work column for the Guild newsletter. Eventually it will be webbed and put on the website as well -- if anyone is interested. Completed and submitted the Blackwork Bands column - the next installment for Needlepoint Now. I really like the way the project turned out. Sometime it really is Keep It Simple (grin). Many thanks to Linn for providing the charts for the project and an example of Blackwork Bands. It really is difficult to come up with enough pictures that have no museum linkage or other copyright issues to show what the **** I am talking about in the column. Pictures really are worth a thousand words; especially when my whole column is usually around 1000 words. Did the project in Dinky Dyes silks - I really love them - color and handle. Easily my favorites if I can use an overdyed.

This is my year for a makeover. I've made the decision (I think) to stop coloring my hair and let the natural color (or lack thereof) show. It will take awhile for it to grow out and I may have some frustrating moments, but I think it will be okay. When it gets a bit more out there, I'll get the hair cut and then let it regrow to shoulder length. I've also started talking Pilates classes once a week. Husband and I are also doing a class once a week for the month of March to get him started too. We are also doing more dancing. We would like to try for weekly, but it may be 2x month. In addition, I am continuing and getting more involved in getting rid of stuff -- so much stuff I'm feeling a bit bogged down in it and need to unload. So up went the ebay store. It takes forever to get the stuff uploaded, but it will happen slowly. I've already had my first customer, so have paid for the first month in 1 day. We shall see how it goes. I know the more stuff I have up the more I can get out the door. Don't worry - none of the stash is going on the auction block.

I've also developed another addiction. When I was at Estrella, I took a class in Viking Chain Weaving. It is a metal wire jewelry technique that dates to Viking times. I like it a lot and have been spending far too much time on it. I'll post pics soon.