Archives for posts with tag: colour


A busy few weeks, but all the same I was surprised to realise it’s four weeks since I last blogged.

One of the fun things I’ve done was a procion dyeing workshop. I had done a little before, but it was much more hit and miss than this.

We all started with two colours and did a gradual run from one to the other (9 pieces). I picked Turquoise and Golden Yellow, knowing I would get some useful greens. We used 10 inch squares of calico and each piece was put in a plastic bag and left for 24 hours.


We had two reds, two blues and two yellows to choose from, a warm and a cool one of each. For the next batch I did equal quantities of two primary colours. So deep oranges, purples and greens, four of each in various shades.


The next few were playing around splashing reds and yellows on one piece, and blues and yellows on the other.

I ended up leaving them 36 hours as I wanted to wash them out in daylight to see the colours better as they emerged from the murky water.


This is the gradual run from Turquoise to Golden Yellow washed out and still wet. I had expected them to be more mossy shades, but was happy with the results.


The middle greens were Lemon Yellow and increasing amounts of black to give more khaki shades of green. The oranges and purples show the variations with the cool and warm mixes of the blue and red, and yellow and red.


The whole stash drying out. I also did a few threads just to experiment.


The whole lot ironed and sorted in to batches. Each fabric was labelled  with a laundry marker and the proportions noted so the shades are re-produceable.


It was a systematic approach which I have not been disciplined enough to do before, but simple to follow. I will certainly use it again, but its also fun to have some happy accidents that are one-offs.

I’ve not used any of them yet, I’m still just admiring them.


For some reason I have not been able to get into my blog in the last few weeks. Time has been pretty tight, and on the odd few occasions when I’ve tried to blog, it just wouldn’t work. Frustrating!

This is one of the things I’ve worked on and finally finished. It needed sequins and beads, lining and cording.

I used two different size gold sequins put randomly around the embroidery. I seen one or two others finished and realised that I needed to keep the sequins in quite tight to fit them on the front and to keep them away from the seam at the bottom.


A selection of beads in the same  and toning colours as the stitching were used to anchor the sequins down.


This lemon printed fabric came with the kit for the lining.


Much as I like it, it wasn’t right with the colours of the embroidery and the design was too large.

The burgundy and gold from my rose window quilt worked much better. I used the burgundy for the french knots and beads for the flower centre.


The embroidered piece was machine stitched to the lining with right sides together, leaving a small gap for turning through on one side which was hand stitched. The two sides were hand stitching together to make the back seam.

The same burgundy stranded cotton was used for  cording that edged the seams across the top and down the back.


Detail of the corded back seam.


The finished scissor keeper. The end of the cord made a tiny tassel at the bottom.



I’d got a couple of manky looking pomegranites, some dried up lemons, and a few shrivelled oranges in the bottom of the fruit bowl. I’d read that pomegranites can be used for dyeing, and on further research found that they don’t need a mordant. I boiled up all the fruit for an hour, strained it, split the fabric in half and micro-waved it for about 10 minutes, and left it to cool. I also reboiled the mush with more water for another hour, which gave me a much paler dye bath, and again micro-waved it for 10 minutes. Left them both for several hours before rinsing out the excess. I also did a load of cotton strips in the two baths mixed together as there still seemed a lot of colour left.


First dye bath and fabric on the left, second on the right.


Rinsing of second dye bath.


Second dye bath cooling


First dye bath cooling


Dry fabric and threads


Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble


Dried fabric


Damp fabric from first dye bath


Strained dye bath.


Soaking a mix of cotton, silk, muslin and some cotton thread.


Looks pretty revolting, but smelt wonderful.


The finished results are a pale, creamy yellow, the first bath slightly deeper. The silk has taken the colour better, a lovely warm gold tone. Not sure what I’m going to do with it yet, but a couple of ideas simmering.


I’ve finished the miniature embroidery, from Alison Larkin’s workshop at Scunthorpe Embroiderer’s Guild from a couple of weeks ago. I needed good light, my reading glasses and a magnifier to see what I was doing. I’ve seen a couple of the other’s finished work, we had all got favourite areas on our own work (mine was the bottom leaf) and bits we weren’t quite happy with (the centre flower). However, several of us found this small scale a challenge, split stitch with a single strand of floss is not the easiest thing to do. I have often admired miniature work in the past and thought I should have a go while my eyes were good enough to see small scale. Whether I will do more I’m not sure, it certainly needs lots of patience as well as good eyesight. I just need to make it up now.


Close up of miniature embroidery


Detail of miniature embroidery


Finished miniature embroidery.

We had a choice of three kits; burgundy / maroon (the bottom image is the truest colour), blue or green. It looks very different in other colour ways, have a peak at Alex’s  green version at‎          



Starting one of the outer sections.

I’ve been quietly working away at this in between other things. I’d not realised how much more I’d done since I last posted about it until I looked back at my blog. It’s gone to several classes since you last saw it and picked up and worked on while talking on Skype, and in front of the telly. Still have to unpick bits when I can’t count up to four. One tutor has suggested working on the diagonal makes it more difficult (but I suspect she’s just being kind!). The colours are being admired and the basket of yarns are covetable (see earlier post). It’s usually me wanting everybody else’s threads. I’m like the kid in the sweetshop with threads and want them all. I just love colour and it fascinates me the variations we pick as individuals. I tend to choose autumnal tones; reds, oranges, rusts, yellows, golds, greens and browns, both to wear and to work with, but challenge myself every now and again to use colours out of my comfort zone. It frees up my thinking somehow, and challenges me to push my own boundaries.


Second corner on the outer section


Third corner on the other outer section, I got carried away here and forgot to take photos.


Considering the overall balance. I’ve left the last bit of border to do when I’m talking – it needs less concentration.


Again worked away without taking photos. The stripes are over differing number of holes, giving variation in the width of the stripes. The threads are all different weights and textures and need a varying number of strands to cover the canvas.


Trying out colours and a different stitch for the bands in between the diagonal sections. I’m not sure if I like it, so leaving for the moment, probably until I’ve finished the outside sections.


The outer sections have more colours than the middle section, slightly more subdued, it’s not so noticeable in reality as it appears in the photo. I’ll have another good run at it on Friday at one of the groups I go to.


I’ve made a doll’s quilt for my great niece’s 4th birthday in some of the fabrics I used to make one for her when she was born.



It was very pink and pretty, including the flower fairy fabric above, completely out of my comfort range colour-wise. I don’t seem to have a photo of the cot quilt, which is unusual. I photograph most of my quilts as they tend to have been for others and it’s good to look  back at earlier work occasionally.

But back to the doll’s quilt. I first started sewing and knitting for my own doll’s when I was very little. A knitted scarf for my old teddy, long since gone, the scarf not the teddy. The lady next door and one of my mum’s friends both made wedding and bridesmaid’s dresses, and they gave me the scraps of fabric, bits of lace and ribbon left over. One doll’s dress in particular sticks in my mind – a beautiful deep red satin, trimmed with white lacy flowers.


This ribbon is about the same colour, and these are some of the flowers left over from the mid sixties in my stash. If memory serves me right, they were cut out and stitched in a ring around the neck. The hem was cut with pinking shears and left as a zig-zag  edge. I had a children’s  little sewing machine which I struggled with and found most frustrating because the top and bottom threads often failed to twist together and the seams came undone,  and the tension was rarely right, but I had enough successes for it not to deter me for long.


This doll’s quilt used some squares I’d cut for the original cot quilt that were left over, so it was quite quick to put the top together and then I put fleece on the back.




It then just needs hand stitching around the edge to finish it off.

Working on the border was easy, I even managed to stitch while half watching the telly. I had to try out a couple of different versions to get round the corners, on the outer edge. I didn’t want it to just continue in the same stitch, and it didn’t work any way, so with a couple of bits of trial and error. I decided on this.






I could then continue with filling in the triangles.



I then sorted out all the yarns in the right colours and tones and put them in a basket to inspire me to carry on. They just look so warm and cosy, just what I need on these cold, grey wet days.



Progress so far is in the background.


This piece of canvas work must be my oldest unfinished project. It was started to cover one of a set of eight old carved wooden dining chairs, before we moved here nearly 24 years ago. The colours were chosen to go with our then dining room. When we moved here there was a very good carpet (Axminster?) predominantly in reds and blues which wasn’t our choice but has proved really good over the years, the walls eventually ended up red and the chairs upholstered to match, so this was never going to be used for the chairs (nor will I live long enough to do  eight at at the current pace!!).


So I’ve decided to make it in to a big floor cushion which will go in the lounge, the colours are perfect for in there, I just hadn’t realised until I came across it recently. A few problems though. I could only find three of the four colours for the unfinished centre section. Fortunately, the brighter one on the left is the same, so I’ve been unpicking that as I’ve needed to.


The centre section is nearly finished. It’s taken a while to get back into the pattern / design (my own), and I’m assessing the balance as I go. So far I’ve spent nearly as much time unpicking as doing, as I keep making counting errors at the beginning of each row, so much so that I started a little way in after a while and worked in both directions.


It had been taken off the frame years ago, and the one I re-stretched it on to is one that winds at each end so you only see the area you’re working on, not the whole thing. It is  very bulky for this type of frame, so I’ve found a bigger one (charity shop bargain), which will mean that the whole area is on view as I work. It’s easier doing the middle section on the smaller one, but it will be better on the bigger one for the edges.

I’ve had another play with Brusho powders in the last few weeks. They are lovely to use, well a bit messy if you’re not careful with them!! But give lovely results if you can be patient and let them do their own thing. Working on well soaked damp cartridge paper that was blotted dry, I sprinkled small amounts of individual colours on separate pieces of paper, and left overnight. The powders spread out to produce lovely patterns, some of these looked like flowers. I find the best way to not touch them until completely dry (the magic continues to work until then) is to do use it just before I have to go and do something else. They also work well sprinkling several colours together but beware of using too many or it can become muddy – especially if you try to help!

I then scanned the pieces of Brusho-ed papers, it leaves a little residue on the paper which I didn’t want on this piece.

They were then cut to size, folded and joined together  gradating across the spectrum.

The finished piece was hung from the ceiling where it twists and turns in the draft.

What a treat!! We went to see the Gabriel Dawe Plexus No. 10 at The Hub, Sleaford yesterday. His work looked good on the few  images I’d seen but to see it in reality was breath-taking. You can walk through the pieces which made me feel as if I was in the middle of a rainbow and immersed in the colours of the spectrum. It is  a huge (the biggest one Dawe’s has done so far) installation made of strands of Gütermann thread woven across the space.  It must be about 12 foot high, on one wall a V and on the other (opposite) an inverted V with both with small hooks on a piece of wood. In the middle of the room there are 4 pillars, again with a piece of white painted wood with small hooks along the length of it, the threads are then strung across very systematically giving layers of gradually changing shades through the spectrum. It is extremely delicate, but the colours are amazingly vibrant viewed on mass.

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The photos don’t really do it justice, the camera picks up the lights, and shadows etc., which the eye blocks out. The exhibition is on until 15 January and is well worth a visit. Even when the installations are taken down (they are site specific), they are put in a plexiglass cube and still look beautiful (see website below)

If you want to see more of his work have a look at his website