Sunday, 24 March 2013

The Art of Dy(e)ing

I've always envied people who produce beautifully hand dyed fabrics, and although I've had all sorts of dyes, bought from past Knitting and Stitching shows, and inspite of going on wonderfully inspiring workshops with various tutors - notably Ruth Issett - I've still not really got to grips with it.  I think it's always seemed a bit too complicated, and messy and scarey.  However, when I said this at one of our Spectrum meetings, Jenny said "Oh it's easy, come to my house for a 'dyeing day' and I'll show you.  So that's exactly what I did.
Jenny favours the plastic bag method, so I turned up with rubber gloves, plastic bags, a washing up bowl and piles of pre-washed natural fabrics.  Jenny kindly supplied the dyes (she has every colour known to man, and then some).
As well as the plastic bag dyeing, we did a bit of tray dyeing, which gives even less predictable results - and  I came home with lots of fabrics ready for their final wash in the machine.  So, not that complicated, and not at all messy.  Or at least it's not if you do it in someone else's kitchen - thanks Jenny.
And, having ironed them, I spent some considerable time arranging them on the clothes horse so they looked 'pretty'.  I need to get out more.

The small burgundy piece on top of the limey green on the bottom rail, is a dye catcher that I put in the machine 'to be on the safe side' - so they DO work.
Whilst I was ironing the fabrics after taking them out of the machine, the loose threads had got in quite a tangle, so I unravelled and snipped them off, and threw them on the worktop.  Believe it or not, when I'd finished they looked like this - without any re-organising!
 They looked so lovely, they have remained on the kitchen worktop for several days, because I couldn't bring myself to throw them away.
So I haven't - this morning I got the Embellisher out, and have needle felted them onto a bit of recycled white cotton duvet cover, backed with felt
I don't know what I'm going to do with it, if anything, but I quite like it.

Incidentally, while we were waiting for the dyes to 'cook' we popped out to Priory House to see an exhibition of textile work by Jenny herself, and her two fellow artists, Ann Hankins and Annie Rogers.  I did take some photos, but unfortunately, due to the lighting and my lack of photography skill, they really don't do the work justice, so if you are in the area, I recommend that you go along and visit for yourself.

We've also had a little celebration breakfast at Gina's for Val's birthday - (sorry about the photo girls, but my Mum still likes to see the sort of friends I keep)
I actually cooked something for the occasion - home-made Granola - which tasted ok, but was a bit more chewy than crunchy, but everyone was very polite about it.  In fact, it turned into a feast of a breakfast, including Buzz's Fizz, and of course cake.
Gina baked a delicious and beautiful 'knitted cake' - 
They really should have her on the Great British Bake Off. 

The Art of Dying - George Harrison


  1. Hope your Mum approves of the company you keep.
    You didn't tell her about the 'odd' one in the middle did you. Lovely morning, thanks girls.

  2. Your fabrics look quite beautiful arranged on your clothes horse!What happens if your Mum doesn't like the look of us? It really was a good breakfast and we weren't just being polite about the granola!

  3. Glad it's not just me that gets more excited about the leftover tangle of threads from the washing machine than the dyed fabric itself...