Tuesday, 21 August 2012


Tricia and Nola did some more eco-dyeing last week. This time, they used ironbark leaves and twigs they collected when a branch came down earlier in the year. They wanted to see if the colour would be significantly different from the colour using the tree bark.

The ironbark pot had a mordant of ferrous sulphate added to it. Nola dyed this length of silk georgette for a scarf, by folding it in a concertina, lengthwise, and folding geranium leaves into the folds, before tying the folds with wood blocks. She added some wooden beads in the centre, twisted but not tied.
Some scented geraniums will leave colour, but these ones did very little.

She also dyed a wool skein, using three tongue depressors, one in the centre of the skein and one each side, tied together…

… and a silk skein, twisted around two tongue depressors, Arashi-style, which were tied together at each end, not touching the yarn.
It has a lovely silvery colour.

In the same pot, Tricia this silk georgette scarf length. 
She folded the silk and tied it with L-shaped blocks of wood. You can just see the corrugated pattern from these wood blocks.

She also dyed this wool voile scarf length.
…which she concertina’d and tucked Grevillea leaves inside the folds. The Grevillea didn’t contribute as much colour as she hoped, but it produced this very delicate pattern.

Tricia had also collected a fallen branch from a tree at the Epping Creative Centre, a couple of weeks ago. She didn’t know what variety the tree was, so it was an experiment. However, it soon became apparent that it wasn’t yielding anything interesting, and the tree was identified as Lemon Scented Gum, Eucalyptus citriodorus. So they added some yarrow leaves, to bring the colour back towards yellow. Nola dyed a silk scarf, tied with slipknots, which gave a very muted result.
She also dyed a wool skein tied with green twine.
This ended up being very interesting because, as well as the resist effect from the twine, it also stained the yarn a muted purple in places.

Her best result was a wool scarf, into which she had tied wooden beads at each end. Although the beads were very dull in colour, they gave the cloth a vivid red colouring on the pale yellow background.

From this dye bath, Tricia had several muted ones that she intends to redye and this gorgeous wool scarf length.

She folded the scarf lengthwise and ironed the folds, before folding the ends on the diagonal and clamping with blocks.

Tricia went on to do some more dyeing during the week. She had some leaves from an unknown tree in her street, which was being trimmed. Unfortunately, these yielded poor colour, so she added some bark to improve the colour and some copper sulphate as mordant. She wanted to try a method she’d seen online, using chopsticks tied umbrella-wise around folded squares.
As the pot wasn’t very dark, it’s a little hard to see but the typical radial pattern from this style of tying is just visible on the silk organza scarf length.
She tied this one with wood blocks, by folding and pressing lengthwise and then folding the ends into triangles. The diamond shaped wood blocks did the rest. The pattern looks like patchwork stars. You can see how readily wool takes the colour by this method, as the colour is much richer.

This silk georgette scarf length was stitched in rows of running stitch at each end before dyeing.
She tied wooden beads into the ends of this wool scarf length, as Nola did, but although the pattern is the same, she didn’t get the same bright colours from those beads.

It was probably one of those serendipitous events, never to be repeated.

Tricia has been very busy creatively. She also attended an ATASDA workshop with Effie Mitrofanis. Effie’s work is very intensively hand embroidered, giving a very rich and complex result. Here are some pieces that Tricia made.

This one shows the backgrounds that Effie had students make before the class.
In the class, the backgrounds were stitched by hand in all sorts of interesting ways.

On this one, she used bullion stitch, beading, herringbone stitch and seed stitch.
This one has thread beads, double blanket stitch and scattered straight stitch.
Here are some cords that Effie taught the class to make, by wrapping cords made of embroidery floss and adding beads and other embellishments.
Tricia was working on this one at the Fibrecircle meeting.
It has beading and cross stitch, among other things.

 Maz also attended the same workshop and here are her pieces of work.
This one has beading, straight stitch, French knots and herringbone stitch...
...while this one has herringbone, French knots and long & short stitch.
Maz found she enjoyed using the long and short stitch as an interesting edge, which looks quite different to the more usual blanket stitch.
This one is still under construction, and so far has white ruched fabric, some stitching and beads...

Bev was working on her individual work for the Fragment exhibition at the Palm House.

She was inspired by medieval manuscripts, and particularly by the Fadden More Psalter, a psalter recovered in 2006 from an Irish bog. It's slowly being reconstructed, piece by piece. Psalters were volumes containing the Book of Psalms and often other devotional material as well, which were owned by wealthy lay persons in the Middle Ages. It's amazing to think of a book surviving almost a thousand years!
Nola was painting on her latest postcard. It's from the Forest series like her last two and she is building up layers of colour using transparent paints.
Stay tuned for more fun stuff! We seem to be in a very creative mood at present.

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