Little felt bag dyed in the microwave (and a link to Heather’s cornbread receipe!)

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!!! 

Spring breakfast at Clasheen!

My first food colour dyed nuno scarf, American update and one space available next Wednesday to learn nuno felting!

As promised here are some more musings re my first  hand dyed nuno scarf experiment.  Once I had zapped the scarf in the  microwave for the second 5 minute session I left it in the bowl to cool down a little bit.  As soon as it was cooler to handle I rinsed it out under running water before spinning with a damp towel and then hanging it up to dry. 

My first scarf dyed with food colouring

Contrasting textures

I absolutely adore the mohair locks combined with the nuno texture but wouldn’t include the corn fibres again for this type of work.  As mentioned before I did know that they would not dye with the food colouring but because I intended the scarf to be various shades of blue and green I thought that the fibres would add a nice touch, I actually think that they don’t!  I am happy however with the blending of the green and yellow colours which was carefully planned and not an accident by any means, oh ye of little faith!!  The scarf seems to be amazingly soft after the process and I really don’t know if the dying altered the handle of the nuno felt or if it is just the addition of the mohair locks.  Dying with food colouring is something that I will experiment with a little further as it was quick, safe and only required items already here in my house (except obviously the food colouring itself!).
At the moment I am just trying to finalise the Michigan leg of my US felting trip this October.  As soon as I have confirmed news I will post here and sort out the Californian and Oregan side of things, I can’t wait!!!
I am teaching a nuno felting workshop here at Clasheen next Wednesday and due to the arrival of my new tables this morning (HURRAH!) have one space available for the day.  Please email me asap if you are interested in attending.  The cost is E75 for the day including materials and ongoing tea or coffee, silk fabric is a little extra (you can use cotton gauze or muslin if preferred) depending on whether you go for hand dyed or commercial silk.