Sunday, 1 June 2014


At the moment I am having a bit of trouble sleeping and I am not able to just lie in bed... once I am awake there is no hope!

But waking at 4.30am ish has some advantages...

the house is super quiet,
I get to listen to my boys sleeping and dreaming,
a mug of tea with no pestering is bliss,
I can work through my course work,
I can make plans for what I want to try next....

Trying to put the time to good use is important me, otherwise I feel frustrated that I am just sitting there!

So this morning I was up at 4.15am and lay in bed for a while, then started planning my day.

After out textile trail day I have been researching natural dyes and how to prepare fabric to dye with leaves and flowers. The effects are really stunning.

One of the things I have discovered is that shop bought cotton needs to scoured before it can be used for dyeing. Even when it has been machine washed it still has chemicals and additives in the cloth that stop the dyes from fixing permanently to the fibres. I have been using Prepared For Dyeing (PFD) fabrics, but having run out I picked up some cheap cotton from Ikea to have a dyeing session.

I wanted to dye some black and charcoal for my course work, which needs to be worked in black, white and grey only.

As you can see the results were varied:

The fabrics are top left to right: Hessian, PFD cotton organdie, Ikea calico. Bottom Left to right: cotton scrim, Ikea cotton and PDF natural cotton.

They were all placed in the same dye bag and the hessian and organdie have absorbed the most black dye. The others came out grey and the Ikea cotton was variegated. Even those these are pretty cool I want more black!

The charcoal came out much better:

The Ikea cotton, which is quiet thickly woven came out blotchy again.

So at 6am I decided it was time to try scouring my fabric form Ikea and some cotton organdie. I know 6am is totally crazy!

It is a interesting process that requires Soda Ash, Metapex, water and time to simmer the fabric for at least an hour!

This is the second pot full this morning and is the Ikea calico. I am hoping this works because this is cheerfully cheap and took the colour well last time, just want to see if I can improve it!

The other Ikea cotton and organdie are drying on the line...

Fingers crossed this works!

Can I also say that I am expecially proud of my dyeing book?

Lots of experiments and colours! Need a new book soon!

Also mixed some Manutex dye thickening paste this morning which is currently being stored in clean margarine tubs... best label them before the boys put some on their toast!

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