Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ecoprints and ecodyeing #2

Lemon scented gum

I tried lemon scented gum leaves for the second time with the thought that I may have failed the first time, but alas no…will use for over dyeing in the future.

banksia resist and red onion skin

Hate to admit it but this looks somewhat better than in real life.

As with all of the silk fabric in this post I placed it into a pot that had been sitting with soggy blue gum leaves for a long time, thinking I would get a rich colour but alas no…I must have exhausted the dye from the previous dyeing session.

In a few places you can just see where I used banksia leaves as a resist and used my favourite – red onion skins. I believe the really bright splotches came from the juicy red onion layer beneath the actual skin layers. Job to do – confirm this.

This piece was also wrapped around a tin. Not sure how the black colour happened.

over dyed mouldy bushy yates

This piece had been dyed before but was fairly insipid so I threw it in for a second go. I had placed moldy unknown leaves on it that had been stored in a plastic bag, and tied it into a parcel.

tulips and kangaroo paws

Tulips (dried out) and kangaroo paw, wrapped around an iron bolt and placed into a separate container in the pot. Nothing to write home about.

over dyed wrapped around old iron peg

My favourite. This one saved me from despondency. And it was the most straightforward – an insipid result from a previous session, screwed roughly around a rusty piece of iron.

over dyed wrapped around old iron peg through window

Had to add this image. When I started photographing the silk I hung it in front of a window. The blue and green are sky and grass. Would be great if it was the real thing but alas no…

Karen’s exhibition

Karen is our teacher at South West TAFE for weaving. Her website is worth a visit.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Learning to spin

I really needed to learn a new craft like I need a hole in the head. But Rocky, a spinner from way back, came to my place today and began the process of teaching me how to spin. And of course I love it. Now the aim is to get the raw fibre, spin and ply it, dye it and then weave, knit or crochet into a finished piece.

To complete the whole process I will have to seriously look at growing my own fibre. Might start researching goats that produce cashmere. Murray will be thrilled.

pic 001 

My initial efforts with corriedale fleece from a roving. Next I am trying alpaca fleece from one of Rocky and Paul’s alpacas.

Rocky at spinning wheel

We were hoping to spin in the sunshine but the sun was uncooperative. We have another day planned for next week.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Experimental Weaving

After not being too happy with my first weaving project using novelty yarns I decided to have another go. This one started out with quite a bit of excitement when I went to the local Spotlight store when they were having a decent sale on some of their yarns. I purchased a few balls of an angora and wool blend produced in Italy. It felt beautifully soft and I thought I was on a real winner at $2 a ball. Huge mistake!

weaving raw materials

First sign of trouble came when winding the warp – the angora fibres shed very easily and kept entering my nasal cavities which was discomforting to say the least.

Next sign was the breakages in the warp when wound on the loom. By the time I’d finished weaving I had had 24 warp breakages. By the 24th I was hating it and didn’t persist any further.

The following picture shows the woven cloth off the loom.

weaving whole cloth

weaving tabby 2 weaving tabby weaving 1   1
weaving 2   2 weaving twill 1. warp and weft same coloured yarn
2. warp and weft different coloured yarn
3. alternating colours in weft
4. 2 picks of each colour alternating in weft.
5. twill structure

By the time I had finished weaving the cloth the area around the loom was afloat with angora hair – everywhere.

The next step was to cut it up and I did this with abandon as I secretly was quite comfortable with the thought of destroying it.

weaving cut into diagonals 3

And then, full of resentment, I sewed the damn thing up into a whole cloth again.

weaving cut and sewn 2

Once again, fibre all over the place, including the mouth as well as the nostrils this time.

And finally I washed the thing and then spent ages cleaning out my washing machine.

weaving finished cloth

Things improved after washing. It seemed to have done with the shedding and the cloth is incredibly soft. But now the question is – what should it become? And it doesn’t help that I really aren’t fond of the final product.

I was going to sew it into a scarf for a male but in the midst of the process decided against it because of the annoying shedding factor, thinking it would drive the wearer nuts. So I proceeded to sew it into a broader cloth. Oh well, live and learn.

Moral of the story – investigate yarn properties before purchasing, especially the cheap stuff.