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.

More pictures of my sleeveless felt jacket and nuno scarf dying experiment

The weather has been APPALLING here for most of the day.  Horrendous rain and heavy winds until late afternoon meant that I didn’t feel one little bit guilty (virtuous in fact!!) felting all day and I was even able to buy some food dye and have a go at my first dying experiment!  First things first, here are a couple more pictures of the sleeveless jacket I felted at the weekend but you do need to bear with me as the pictures aren’t great.  To be strictly fair it is not totally finished but you know me by now, I really need to push myself to add a couple of buttons and a fish skin and leather belt, maybe tomorrow???  

Surface detail

 

The 'almost' completed sleeveless jacket

 

Yesterday when the jacket was drying in front of the range I decided to use some of the gorgeous hand dyed silk I bought from Lyda Rump to make some more nuno scarves, my target is a minimum of 10 scarves a week from now on!  The piece of chiffon that I choose to work with was in fabulous aquamarine colours and I suddenly had the absolute brain wave of felting one of the pieces with some extraordinary merino/silk/tencel/glitz artisan batts that I bought from Blas in Urban Fauna Studio last October.  This has turned into one of my absolute favourite nuno scarves ever, check out this cool texture and colour!   

Hand dyed silk chiffon with merino/silk/tencel/glitz

I used a combination of turquoise and apple green for the second piece of silk chiffon and turquoise, royal blue and apple green for the third.  It is incredible how different colours combine together and I hope to take more pictures tomorrow, all the scarves are nice but for me this one is absolutely special!Working with Lyda’s gorgeous fabrics got me on to thinking yet again about dying my own raw materials.  I know that I could achieve beautiful effects if I dyed wool, silk, fibres, fabrics, yarns, etc. here at Clasheen but to be honest I just don’t think that I would have the patience on an ongoing basis and for me the mess and tidying up process would drive me mental.  I also feel that when I can buy such fantastic hand dyed materials from Lyda why bother myself?  Well, inspired by the chiffon I did decide to have a go at dying with food colouring today as for me this seemed a simple way to use easily available dye stuff without horrible mordants and a lot of technical ‘stuff’.  First off I nuno felted a white scarf combining it with 16 micron merino, raw mohair locks and corn fibre tops, when it was felted I left it soaking in a vinegar and water solution.  I had done some searching on the internet first and thought that the corn fibre would not absorb the dye but this was fine with me as my intention was to create an ocean inspired colour scheme.  In my excitement buying the food colouring I didn’t even think what I was purchasing and it was only when I was mixing the colours that I discovered I had green to combine with yellow and not blue as I had thought!  Never mind, green must be my favourite colour so nothing ventured, nothing gained, various shades of dark to yellow-green it would  be  Once I had the food colouring diluted with some hot water and vinegar I placed the already soaked scarf in a microwavable bowl and ‘painted’ on the colours.  Realistically this meant that I used a bottle with a nozzle for the darker green and poured the yellow/green mixture directly onto the scarf from a glass bottle, very technical here!  I swirled the scarf around with a chopstick before covering the bowl with cling film.  5 minutes on high, a rest followed by 5 minutes more and the microwave process was over.  To be continued tomorrow …..

ithout much to loose except an untidy kitchen!