Monday, March 28, 2016

Dyeing for Weaving

This is the narrative of what happens when you have a general notion and let it take over.  I have been spinning up a storm, made quite a bit of yarn, getting better as I go, with the idea of weaving a wallhanging from it.  I have the general size and shape of the piece thought out, but have as usual let the rest come as I work.

Then I thought, rather than paint the finished weaving, which was idea one, I would dye the yarn I've spun, some of it, anyway.  And I wanted a central motif in blue, so I took yesterday's hank, and dyed it by pouring French Blue silk dye over it in a bag.  The yarn is Spanish merino wool, and took the dye pretty well.  It was wet from being twist set, so it was ready to take up the color.

When I was figuring out how to hang the hank to dry without dyeing all the area around it, I hung it over the high studio chair, over a white silk scarf, which will be in a future project.  This is how one artwork steps on the heels of the last!  The hank is to be the weft thread of a tapestry piece. Cotton perle. Then the silk scarf in the middle, and the merino wool yarn on the right.

I was then thinking about the warp threads.  I had decided on a nice perle thread, strong, but fine looking, and picked a white ball, decided why not dye this too, right on the ball, just pour color through it and massage it a bit, but not try to make a solid color all through.  I wanted a variegated yarn. This one was dry when I applied the color, and didn't seem to mind it at all.  You see it above, on the chair, still damp.

See the wool yarn drying on the left. When I  rinsed out the silk scarf, seen here rinsed,  I wished I'd had the forethought to preserve the rinse water which was still very blue and useful as dye.

In the course of that thinking, I went back to the stumpwork pieces I'd done recently for part of a collaged textile piece, and realized they'd be better dyed, so I put them in the bag of rinse water from the bag that had held the scarf, and which I wanted to re-use.  They're now drying too, so that's a third piece in process right now.  And I redeemed my frugal instinct to use the rinse water twice.

I had to think of a way to hank the warp threads, too, so I wound them around a piece of plexi, as you see, nice variegated effect. 

Wondering if this week's residence afternoon might include thoughts on dyeing..or on the lack of planning that sometimes works well, sometimes not so well. And how you need to have many strands of thinking going at once in order to make art.

Also thinking about Dorset buttons.  Since the piece I'm thinking of taking in as a demo is also dyed and stamped, this might be a good combo this week.


  1. One dyeing idea certainly led to another and another!

  2. In my house projects such as this are called 'the galloping ick' - not that you had any reason to be the least bit interested in that bit of Magpie trivia, but there you go. Love the blue, btw!!

  3. Lovely blue in all its fibre variations.


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