Saturday, 17 March 2012

Celtic Braid Inkle

I finally finished this! I often find pick-up and overshot patterns too tedious and still love the act of plain-jane tabby the best...but IT'S SO PRETTY.

I hand dyed the dishcloth cotton that was used for the pattern threads with short colour changes, using those sponge brushes. Then I lined up the colours as best I could on my inkle loom. There is always a little ikat-like push and pull because of the way the string heddles influence the yarn. On a separate note, I've found that if I do horizontal bar pattern using variegated for one stripe and solid for the other I get a comparatively smooth-looking transition. So if you have a pick-up pattern that calls for the horizontal bar structure as a base, variegated can be ultra sharp.

If anyone is curious about my technique for hand painting my cotton for inkles, just buzz me a note and I will set up a little picture tutorial!

I've been busy prepping for a weekend workshop on basic inkle weaving. It's going to be so much fun! I love teaching, and sharing in creativity with other people! I hope one day soon to have a large studio space on an acreage outside the city, where I can host retreats for all kinds of wonderful fiber related adventures. It's been my dream since I graduated from ACAD, and it might be within my reach sooner than I ever imagined!

I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend! Are you celebrating St patty's tonight? If so, please have a green beer or an Irish Car Bomb for me! I'm going to have to settle for some green candies or perhaps do some rolled dough clover cookies! At least the morning sickness is passing! :)

Happy creating!


Sunday, 4 March 2012

Colourful Fluffy!


I'm trying this cool kettle dye technique where you submerse a bunch of fleece (I'm using one of my bags of finer white alpaca fleece from Fluffy) in just enough water and citric acid or vinegar solution to really saturate it in a big pot on the stove. Soak it for ten minutes then bring it up to a simmer. Once it is hot, sprinkle light amounts of dye onto the surface of the fibre and simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes. Poke open the fibre to reveal white areas, and sprinkle another colour. Simmer again to set. Do this again and again until you are satisfied with the effect. It is okay if there is still a bit of white left. The water should be mostly clear. Cool the pot, drain and rinse the fleece gently in room temp water. Avoid agitating it or it might felt.

Supposedly when the water is hot and acidic and the dye gets sprinkled on, most of it "strikes" the fibre as it touches. After 20 minutes most of that colour will be set.

For the turquoise and yellow I used double the amount of blue and sprinkled it one side of the pot (so a half moon). I let it steam for 1o minutes, then prodded the fiber with a spoon and let the last of the turquoise dye settle on the white side. This made a very pale blue, whole the original area was super intense. I then sprinkles some golden yellow onto the paler section, but didn't agitate it halfway through, I just let it simmer for the full 20.

This is the second dye pot. I sprinkled, set without agitating, flipped and opened the fibre gently, then sprinkled etc until I had dyed most of the white areas. There was still white/pastel areas when I dumped the pot but it's really quite lovely.

If you are curious about this or want to try it at home this is the link to the Youtube video that inspired me!

Happy weekend!


Note: Because I was using Procion MX, I DID NOT open the canisters and sprinkle freely in my kitchen. I took the pot outdoors and wore a dust mask and gloves. I don't like to have those little particles floating around my house/kitchen. They take to the air immediately when you open the containers and from what I recall from college they are carcinogens. They are fine once dissolved though, so I do simmer my dye pot in my kitchen.