Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Indigo blues

Way back at the end of January, when it was very, very cold, these little
indigo seedlings were doing their very best to survive and grow in our
unheated conservatory.    It was too cold for me to venture out there.

I managed to save indigo seeds to plant this Spring.  Far too wet to even consider planting
the seeds.   They are now in my freezer with the hope that next year conditions will improve.


this brave little indigo plant, along with three others, has come through the winter, growing 
slowly, but surely.   Perhaps I have produced a strain of hardy indigo plants!

Dyers Chamomile, grown from seed last year, is a lovely splash of yellow.

The first indigo workshop of the 'summer' with the ladies of North Dorset Embroiderers' Guild was a challenge!    Having watched the weather forecasts for the week, it went from
hot and humid to white cloud, rain, with temperature of 14c.  Not ideal to say the least.

Lots of stitching and tying during the morning, then the vat was set up under the gazebo, ready to go after lunch.    The bucket was enclosed in a black bin bag and insulated with newspapers.  Please, this is the end of June!    

We braved the wind and rain, dipped and dyed.  Beautiful blues despite the weather.
No photos!!!    So, well done everyone for sticking with it.

Goodness, a clear night sky to view the Super moon!

Ahhh!  An indigo blue sky

Sunday, 16 June 2013

eco printing

I've been reading India Flint's two books on eco dyeing, dipping in over the past two years or so, drooling over the wonderful colours obtained from plants, and dyed using sustainable earth friendly methods.    Never quite had the courage to 'just do it'.

Another fabulous blog Threadborne  has two posts on using irises for eco printing.   I was inspired to have a go.    My friend Hilary supplied a bag of purple flag iris, so no time to lose.

iris 'juice' on paper  

bundle preparation

the bundle

the steamer, plus eucalyptus bark and leaves soaking to release the dye

the reveal 

the dark bits come from 'found' metal washers and a nail -  the bark and eucalyptus 
were gathered on wanderings in Greece and India - there's bits of tea light metal, 
plus other leaves, and flowers from the garden.

Conclusion, and things learnt.    The iris were going 'soft' hence the Monet dreamy colours;  one brown iris which was freshly picked, gave a better impression, as did a rose leaf.   Next time, yes, there will be one, I shall use stronger string to hold the bundle tighter and maybe steam a little longer.   Not bad for a first attempt!

Friday, 14 June 2013

a bit of this and a bit of that

Another busy week.

Last Saturday the Procion dyeing workshop.   It was steamy hot, producing very vibrant colours.    Some very interesting bundles of dyed cloth produced.   A lovely day all round.

After spending the morning on shibori pieces,  the afternoon was spent tray dyeing and
various methods of producing patterns by folding and tying.

the good old hippy swirl - always impresses!

flag folding with rubber band resist

and the splat cloth using left over dyes
I think I can see a herbaceous border in there!

I took the opportunity of topping up my threads, this time with greens and blues, and a couple of oranges.

 I also dyed up some thread for a special order.   Taking the colour from a 'one off' spool I did some colour mixing and came up with a very good match.   The heat was brilliant for dyeing, instead of a mid plumb I ended up with a rich Yummy Plummy, much nicer!    Sold and gone to a good home!

Meanwhile, in the garden flag irises were beginning to open.    Purple and yellow we thought.   Surprise, surprise

chocolate brown,  yellow and cream - good enough to eat

On Monday a workshop with a local group on Indian Applique.    The lovely ladies worked hard producing samples of various methods which will, hopefully(!) be put together as a finished piece.   I love seeing students interpretations of a technique and taking things further.   I think we all learn a lot on such a day.

This weekend I have to dismantle my shelves, and their contents, in the conservatory in readiness for a new roof being fitted on Monday.  A good chance to go through the boxes and pots for a bit of a clear out.   That's going to be fun!   

Next Saturday a trip to North Dorset to take an Indigo workshop.   Sun dances all round.  I think it is going to be hot.  Hope so!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

glorious days 

at evening time the honeysuckle fills the air with perfume

amazingly this African daisy survived the winter weather

five doves talking - another name for aquilegia

I plan to spend most of the day in the garden, just pottering.  Maybe some stitching under
the sun.  Bliss.