Archives for posts with tag: hand-dyed


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.



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 taken some photos of the jellyfish piece I was working on at during the insight open studios weekend (see 17 September for the photos that inspired this piece), just need to find a suitable piece of driftwood to hang it from now.

A close-up of part of the jellyfish before I’d quite finished. It is layers of organza and a fluffy textured yarn taken from another project.

Detail of the running stitches and layers of organza. The threads are various thicknesses and textures that I hand-dyed.

The almost finished piece, just a little more stitching to do and the fluffy dangling threads to adjust slightly.

This is the finished piece. It makes me think of warm summer days.

I’ve had a really good day for the ‘open studio’. Lots of lovely comments and interest in my work. More people through than I’ve had in a whole weekend before. A few familiar faces but also some new ones.

I’ve not had much time to do any current work or to start anything new. Although I have nearly finished stitching a beautiful jellyfish that was inspired by some we saw in France on the west coast last year. They were really difficult to photograph but the photos supplement the images I have in my head to work from. I’ve not taken any pictures of it yet , but its done on hand dyed fabric for the background and the threads were done in the same dye bath, and layers of organza. I ‘m planning on hanging it from a piece of drift wood, but haven’t found a suitable piece yet.

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Had a lovely time discussing textiles, art work and ideas with my friend underatopazsky and her two daughters this afternoon. It was the first time she’d seen my studio – we usually only see one another at Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild and then only erratically. It’s good to see her work for real, beautiful miniature pieces but at least by looking at her blog I get a fix more often. Also the way she stitches through meetings etc in her busy schedule is inspirational, she showed me her mini kit that she takes everywhere. I must make myself one and then I could stitch on the bus once I’m back at uni. I’d then  also always have things to take on my travels instead of not having time to find something to take when I’m frantically packing at the last minute.

Then right at the end of the afternoon when I thought I’d have no more visitors, a couple arrived and shortly afterwards a lady who has bought ‘Drift by my window’ (see earlier blog). Sad in a way to sell it but feel it has gone to a good home. My work becomes a little part of me or  me a part of the work or something, so I feel an attachment to my pieces, which makes it’s a little hard to let some of them go. Anyway autumn is well on it’s way, so I’m sure I’ll be inspired by the colours and the falling leaves over the next few weeks