Sunday, June 24, 2007

Left overs

I had a very satisfactory dyeing day yesterday and managed to get all the right blues to finish my project plus a selection of very useful plains. With the left overs I dye-painted some super pastels with the occasional bright. Unless it is watered down Magenta is always very bright however little an amount is in the container. I have learnt to use half the quantity of reds as I do of other dyes or else in mixtures red predominates and it is hard to get lovely lilacs, mauves and peachy colours. The new yellow, Buttercup, is lovely being a much richer colour than Lemon and making fantastic greens. Usually my dyeing comes under the category of 'suck it and see' but I have in the past made a colouring book using specific quantities of dye so that I can reproduce more or less hundreds of colours. It was fun to do and is useful but I get a bigger kick out of just throwing the colours together. It makes the pressing more fun as that is when the pieces of fabric really take shape. Below is a sample of some of the fabric I did using left overs.I like being able to collage the photos in Picassa as it makes it easier to insert into the Blog! Anything for a simple life!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Rain, rain and yet more rain!

I think Caroline had the best fortnight here. The day she left it rained and it has been raining ever since. Rain on its own isn't so bad unless it's a downpour but there has been quite gusty spells of wind which hasn't done the plants any good. Fortunately I have had enough to keep me occupied in the house so the inclement weather hasn't been too much of a problem. As Caroline was leaving here to go to a camp at Avebury for the summer solstice I feel very sorry for her. It can't be much fun to have two small children and a large husband in a camper van in the pouring rain! Glastonbury this coming weekend looks as though it will be par for the course with mud, mud and even more mud. Gone are the days when I thought Festivals were fun! Now I'm old and crabby! :-)
The photo printing has gone well albeit that it was done on my old HP printer. The new Epsom that I bought especially to do this because the paper doesn't turn on itself during printing, failed to accept the fabric-paper combination. I didn't have time to fiddle so will have to have another go later. I used to do it very successfully on my old Epsom so I can't see why this one doesn't work. I hate printers anyway! But at least with an Epsom printer I can now use my Epsom scanner to copy with. It wouldn't work with any other make of printer on the copy facility. So I now have a printer-scanner set up with my laptop upstairs and ditto but HP downstairs. I think that's what one would call overkill. When I've finished this project I have some ideas for using photo printed fabric and will try them out. I've been taking photos so that I'm ready.
This weekend I am going to do some dyeing as my new dyes have arrived. Some yellows that I haven't used before which will be fun. I have bought some plastic so that I can stack pieces. My method of dyeing is very quick and simple and ideally suited to working in a small confined area. I either work on acrylic sheets or in small plastic tubs. Either way there is no hassle. On the sheets I can dye paint if I want and in the tubs, which vary in size, I can mix as well as folding in different ways. When the fabric has cured in the dye I then rinse it out immediately in cold water (a rough rinse) and then stick in the washing machine where it gets a hot, very hot, wash and lots of rinses. Then it hangs to dry or I iron it wet. Even wet being ironed on a white cloth there is no leakage of dye and I haven't had any problems with dye leakage when the fabric has been washed and some of the T-shirts I've dyed get thrown in with the washing in the normal course of affairs. I don't understand why people go through so many stages of drying and then washing and then drying again. Even with my painted fabrics they just get rinsed in cold and then a hot wash. Works for me! But then each to his own. But bearing in mind that people will only spend so much money on hand-dyed fabric it behoves one to keep the time-cost down. So how do you dye your fabric and what process suits you best and why? These are a collaged sheet of some of the fabrics I had for sale last year. Which made me wonder Mary how did your projects work out?
Click to enlarge for greater detail!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Time flew by!

Caroline and the children were with me for a fortnight and the time flew by. They had the best of the weather as when they left it started to rain and has rained ever since. Which is good for the garden but not for going on the beach. We spent a lot of our time on our local beach at Swanpool and I actually went in swimming several times. The water was freezing! But I kept telling myself it was good for me.

We also went to the Helford River to Grebe where the beach isn't very sandy being composed of flat slatey stones which are good for skimming on the water. The children had a great time looking for shells.

We spent a day at Bird Paradise where the children were more impressed by the small train and the gazebo than with the many variety of birds!

They were enthralled though with the penguins and the otters. The otters won the popularity contest hands down as they were so cute.

In fact it was a terrific couple of weeks and we did so much. I love the opportunity to travel around this part of Cornwall and Caroline spent the time saying how much she wished she still lived down here. So many of the places we went to were favourite haunts of her childhood.

Now I have to really get down to doing some work. I have just over a fortnight to get a project finished. More of this later. I have set up my printer with my lap top in the spare room and it is working very well. I have yet to try photo printing on it but I have my fingers crossed and hope that it will cause me no problems. I have ordered some more dyes as I was getting very low on some and out of others. The next thing will be to order another bolt of fabric. I usually buy about 100+ metres at a time. This is just about the amount I can lug about on my own without keeling over. And this weekend I am going to try out a new method with the dyeing so watch this space.
Caroline made me go on a juice detox while here and I lost over half a stone so in view of that I am now committed to following through. I have an incentive for attaining a sylph like figure as my niece is getting married next May. Gives me plenty of time.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


There may not be many entries in the diary during the next few days as I have my daughter and grandchildren visiting. This means nothing gets done. My new printer arrived yesterday and I haven't even opened it yet! But I have been to the beach twice and each time I went into the sea for a swim! The water was freezing! But I felt quite invigorated when I came out or was that relieved! We bought the children a small tent to play in in the garden and they love it. It is bright pink! My favourite colour. I won't even be able to do any dyeing as the house looks as if it has been hit by a bomb. But then I don't see them very often so I shall make the most of every minute.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Today is my birthday....

Today is my birthday and it started off very well with lots of delightful cards and presents, including a bottle of blackberry wine! I had a great time in Falmouth and enjoyed lunch out with a friend. Then in the afternoon after Martin had gone to work I dyed some fabric....not a lot, just a couple of metres; enough for a small project. So far so good. I put the fabric in the washing machine which had a small hiccup and had to be restarted. Five minutes later it blew up! The plug was completely melted and the fuse blown in the wall socket. So no kettle, no microwave, and no juicer. The washing machine was the only appliance on at the time- I am very careful not to overload the system. My dyed fabric was sitting in a pool of water locked into the machine and I was anxious that the dyes were all intermingling. Then the door lock clicked so I knew I could open it. It is a front loader so obviously the water was going to go somewhere when I opened the door. To cut a long story short I held a bowl under it and managed to escape a full flood and hauled the wet fabric out. I then took this down to my mother's and she washed it out for me. The joys of living near to her! So I now have a useless washing machine half full of dirty dye water and it will remain like that until Martin can look at it tomorrow. And tomorrow my daughter Caroline arrives with the two grand kids! Such good timing! I have a repair man coming on.......Wednesday! I just hope this isn't indicative of my next year! They do say cry on your birthday, cry all year! So I haven't been crying...just cursing, drinking blackberry wine and eating chocolates! At least I can now view it all quite dispassionately if a little hazily! And the fabric is ace! But then I haven't got my glasses on! :-)