Sunday, June 20, 2010

A New Idea In Dyeing

Dee is ever the adventurer.  She purchased a set of dyes called Alter Ego Dyes from Dharma Trading Company.  This product allows you to dye two different colors in the same bath.  One dye affixes itself to protein fibers and the other to cellulose fibers.  The original use of these dyes was to dye velvet devore fabrics where the backing is usually silk and the velvet is rayon.  However, it seems like there may be other possibilities for handweavers and Dee was the first in our group to bite the bullet and put down hard cash for a sample set.

In this first photo, the scarves were both woven on the same warp and were all white.  After dying you can pick out that the blue and red are Merino and the shiny rayon is copper in the blue scarf and purple in the red one.  How cool to be able to put on one long warp, weave several items and then dye them in a variety of color combinations (think Henry's Attic yarns).

This next set of two scarves are rayon and silk and also woven on the same warp in the same weave structure.  Notice how the pattern has almost entirely disappeared from the blue scarf, but shows up nicely in the red/orange scarf.  Dee says the scarves were neon bright after dyeing, so she toned them down in a Lanaset dye bath, which affected the silk only. 
If you have followed the link to the Dharma site, you will see that these dyes are pricey and I'm thinking that this is mostly a matter of having fun experimenting with something new.  But as was discussed in the meeting, you could try a variety of fibers - silk, wool, rayon, cotton, bamboo, soy silk in the same piece.  Each of the fibers would take up the dye a bit differently and the reflective qualities of the yarns are different so your finished piece might be very complex in appearance.  There is obviously a lot of room for experimentation here.  Dee says the dyes were easy to use and do require heat setting.

Dee's other contribution to the show and tell was a lovely brick colored shawl.  The multicolor thread that
runs through the piece in warp and weft is broken up by the brick colored rayon.  Dee started weaving the shawl with every pick being the multicolor rayon, but soon decided that it was too much.  So she left what she had done (afterall the hem stitching was already done on that end) and started using it every third pick, alternating with the brick rayon in the warp.  At the other end of the shawl, she repeated the pattern started at the beginning so there is a nice little design touch in what might have seemed like a troubled beginning.

Friday, June 18, 2010

More from the June Meeting

Carol brought in an interesting garment that was given to her son  while he was working in Indonesia.  The garment takes a month of weaving and all of the detail design is woven, not embroidered as it may appear.  Carol said that the guy that gave it to her son had received it as a wedding piece and that they were made for special occasions.  Carol's son protested that he couldn't take a wedding piece, but the guy said "no problem".  The garment is called an Ulu and they aren't worn because the climate it too hot, but they are used for decoration in the home.

Carol also brought in some great hot pads she wove in rep weave. Don't these color just pop off the page?  The pieces themselves are even better than in the photo.

Our group recently ordered yarns from Henry's Attic and Carol ordered a cone of pigtail.  It comes in two sizes and the one pictured is the smaller grist.  This yarn makes wonderful baby blankets and Carol brought in a blanket she wove 10 years ago for a grandson.  It is still in use (probably not the same grandson) and in excellent condition after many, many launderings.  The warp for the blanket is Henry's Attic Alpine Petite sett at 10epi and the pigtail is the weft yarn. The surface of the blanket is  like a really high quality terry cloth towel.

There's more show and tell, so stay tuned for the next post.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June is Busting Out All Over

Summer - or at least something that appears much like it, has arrived.  We had our June meeting at Sue R's home this month and greeted new member, Betsy, to our group. 


Sue started the ball rolling by sharing a twined rug she had purchased from a man whose art is usually quilts.  However, he had fabrics he didn't think much of and put them into a twined rug.  It was a very sturdy, thick rug and must have weighed 6 or 7 pounds.  We were all interested in the twining process and found that there is a book by Bobby Irwin called Twined Rag Rugs which details the process and shows you how to make your own simple loom.  Many people use the technique to make rugs from old clothing that is too worn to give to a thrift store, or even fabric you have never found a use for.

Sue also had some knitted wool blanks that she had purchased and dyed.  She has a good technique to get two blanks that are dyed in an identical manner.  She lays one on top of the other and then stamps the dye in with stencil brushes, turning over the two blanks together to paint the other side once the top is saturated.  She hasn't decided if she will knit or weave with the yarn once it has been unravelled.

On another dyeing note, Betsy brought two scarves woven from the  same warp.  She painted a Merino wool warp chain at a friend's dyeing party and then  used a gold colored tencel to weave a variety of twill structures for three different scarves. One scarf has already found a new home (lucky recipient), but the remaining two are shown in this photo.
Ingrid has been weaving  towels with an interesting  12/2 cotton/linen blend thread.  She used an M & O's draft sett at 24 epi.  There are more pictures and information at her blog post.
  All those nooks and crannies in the cloth should make for an excellent tea towel.

Ingrid is also a big double weave fan and has taken several workshops over the years with well known weaving teachers.  She brought a sampler from a workshop (on the left) and also a sampler of her own (on the right) to show the number of different color variations and patterns you can weave on a two block double weave draft.  You can find instructions for something similar in A Weaver's Book of 8-Shaft Patterns - chapter 22. These are neat pieces for an in depth color study in double weave.
There's more meeting show and tell in the next post.  Stay tuned!