I got a bit sidetracked yesterday, having mentioned that I was going to felt 100s of attachments for a new wrap I decided instead to adapt and finish a Horst style jacket and matching bag! This jacket was another ‘blank’ which Horst was good enough to leave with me to do as I wished with, the second of 2 demo pieces from our workshop. I decided to keep things simple and wanted something that I would wear for everyday use in colder weather, this meant adding a couple of pockets, adjusting the collar to frame my face and decorating the pockets and framing the edges with black merino thereby adding some depth of colour. In addition I wanted to practice using Horst’s method of felting bags again, it’s not a method that I’m going to use for all my work but I do find the pebbly texture interesting, the layout very quick and I wanted to experiment with dying again and end up with a piece to compliment the jacket.
Bag prior to dying and jacket prior to dying and fulling
At this stage I think I have a confession to make, my name is Nicola and I am addicted to acid dying!!! OK, only half joking, but I can’t believe how Horst’s recent workshop has totally demystified the process and allowed me to just throw things into the pot and watch the magic occurring. I’m not scientific about it at all, not measuring the level of the water versus dye powder etc. (Jacquard acid dyes I bought with Heather at the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival last year) but for me this adds to the experience, instinctively I appear to be getting the result I am looking for so onwards and upwards! My only reservation about the dye pot yesterday is that although I used ‘olive’ as my deeper colour I didn’t think that the powder looked olive at all in the packet and it certainly wans’t olive when I added it to the dye bath, rather a nice deep rust colour, complimentary but not my original intention. Talking to experienced dyers I know that the powder doesn’t necessarily look like the resultant liquid but I do wonder if this was mispackaged??? I’m not a bit concerned however, I love the results, more pics over on Flickr!
Thanks to Andrea who left me a message on Facebook suggesting that I try dying my unsuccessful white on white little felt bag. I really do need to study the dying process properly but I find that there’s only so much time in one day and far too many things I need to do with that time usually!!! I’m going to spend some time experimenting with Horst this June, he is really a master dyer and I am so looking forward to his workshop (a couple of places still available if anyone is interested!) and watching the magic as large white felt garments become wonderfully colourful creations under his excellent guidance and steady hand!
Lace ruffles on Neon dyed bag
I couldn’t cope with all the accurate measuring, preparing, heating and clean up involved with using acid dyes the other night, instead I have to confess I was looking for pretty much instant gratification! Sharon and I had stocked up on Rite, Neon and Kool-Aid while I was in Loomis so I just decided to give things a whirl in the microwave with a big dollop of green Neon food colouring. Neon pretty much describes the resultant colour perfectly! The bag was still wet from the felting process so basically I added some vinegar and about 20 drops of food colouring to a small quantity of boiling water, dunked the bag into the liquid, swirled it around for about 5 seconds and then lifted the top portion of the bag out of the dye. I then placed the bag and left over dye in a sealable microwave bag (it’s a small bag remember) and propped them up inside a cooking bowl. My microwave is not very strong so I gave it 5 minutes on high and then a break of about 2 minutes, 5 more minutes on high, another break and then a final 4 or 5 minutes on high again. All the dye was absorbed by the felt so at this stage I called it quits and rinsed under running water, no running of the dye at all! My idea was to have a stronger colour green at the base of the bag and graduating shades towards the top edge, it worked! Note in the picture how the lace ruffles don’t take the dye, interesting how natural and artificial fibres react differently. Sorry I am not posting a picture of the completed bag, the design is actually a really simple first resist project if you leave out the ruffles and as such will be one of my projects in the book Chrissie and I are finishing! At the rate we are currently working I am pretty confident we will hit our deadline, more about this and a little idea of the concept behind the book and what you may actually expect to be blogged about in my next post.
Lastly today, I was amazed to discover HEAT in the sun this morning so seized the opportunity to bring out my freshly baked cornbread and coffee to take advantage of the weather and eat breakfast outside! I know some of you are interested in Heather’s receipe so thanks Heather, here is the link!!!