Exhausting the Orange Cosmos

These last two posts are very belated, so a reader may have totally forgotten that the weld and cosmos baths I’m talking about were left over from my workshop at the annual spring conference of Mass.Ag. in the Classroom back on March 8th.

Compared to the questions raised by the weld exhaust process, the exhaustion of the orange cosmos bath was relatively straightforward. I only dyed woolen yarns, mordanted with aluminum sulfate. Below you can see the first exhaust skein in the dyebath:

skein in cosmos exhaust dyebath

Here are the colors of yarns once they were rinsed and dried! Continue reading “Exhausting the Orange Cosmos”

Exhausting the Weld Bath Part Two

After those intense, vivid colors on 40/2 linen yarns from the first and second weld exhaust baths, I assumed there was still quite a bit of color left in the bath. I thought it would be fun to try a couple experiments. My first experiment was to put a mordanted cotton-linen blend skein in the weld bath overnight, but not to heat it at all.

Why would I even try this? Well, the answer is kind of a long story. Even though my usual method is to apply heat when extracting color and dyeing fiber, I am very aware of the fact that this requires energy. Way back in 2006 I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to travel to Kyrgyzstan along with feltmaker Karen Page, to work with a group of women in a village who wanted to develop a crafts business. My part of the project was to teach them what I knew about natural dyeing, and Karen’s job was to teach them new felting techniques. Continue reading “Exhausting the Weld Bath Part Two”

Madder the Inexhaustible Subject Matter

You may recall that for a few weeks back in November, I was focussed on two madder-related questions: “How did I get orange from the first exhaust bath?” and “Why did my second and third extractions of the madder roots produce such pure, clear pinks with no browning or dulling of the color at all?”

In my quest to corroborate the opinions I developed based on my own experiences, I found myself pulling all the dye books off my shelves and re-reading the sections on madder and madder-relatives. It was fun and informative, but a little dizzying. Madder roots can produce an enormous variety of colors depending on the soil in which the roots were grown, extraction procedure, mordant, pH, fiber, water chemistry, and other factors. I tried to stick to certain parameters in my research (obtaining red and pink as opposed to orange, dyeing cellulose fibers, using an alum mordant) but it’s hard not to get distracted by beauty. Continue reading “Madder the Inexhaustible Subject Matter”

Madder the Inexhaustible Root–Part Two: Pink

If you read my last post, you may be wondering why I wasn’t totally content with my orange linen, as bright and cheery as it was. Basically it’s because I wanted pink. Light pink, to be exact. Light pink 40/2 linen, to be exact, and lots of it. Why? Well…!

A fortunate side-effect of my successful show with Amanda Quinby at the Shelburne Arts Co-op in Shelburne Falls in October was that I sold all of my usual inventory of naturally dyed linen bookmarks and hand-bound books with hand-woven cloth covers. Hence, I need to weave more! My main objective with this madder exhaust project was to create light pink 40/2 linen yarn for weaving heart-motif bookmarks in Huck Lace. I must confess that all the other lovely colors I obtained were just happy by-products in my quest for pink. Continue reading “Madder the Inexhaustible Root–Part Two: Pink”

Hop Vine Color and Design

This afternoon I wove off the rest of the Hop Vine warp. I am pretty pleased with the cloth, and have even come around to liking the three sections that I was so critical of in my last post.

To add some variation to the pattern, I decided to switch to the “rose fashion” treadling for the remainder of the warp. You can see the difference in the two photos below. The first one shows the star fashion treadling. It is a series of diamonds with strong diagonals. The second is the same pattern and tabby colors woven rose fashion. Four-pointed stars alternate with ovals to create more undulation.

Mosstone and Pistachio Hop Vine Mosstone and Pistachio Hop Vine Rose FashionHere’s a close up of the cloth with the rose fashion treadling.

Mosstone and Pistachio close upI do think it is more dynamic with the alternating motifs. That shift alone added a bit more energy to the cloth. Continue reading “Hop Vine Color and Design”

More Hop Vine and A Color Theory Question

Matthew pointed out that I have been spelling Hop Vine two ways: Hopvine as one word, and Hop Vine as two words. This is because I have seen it written both ways, and personally I don’t have a strong preference. Perhaps I should be more consistent, but I don’t have good criteria for choosing between the two spellings. Without good criteria, some decisions just can’t be made. INTP anyone?

Meanwhile, here are three more pieces that I’ve woven on this warp. I re-wrote the treadling to maintain a consistent tabby order, so the pattern looks a little different from my earlier woad- and madder-dyed pieces. All the yarns in this group are commercially dyed.

The one below has 10/2 tencel in Moroccan Blue for the pattern weft and 20/2 UKI cotton in Deep Turk for tabby:

blue pattern weft and blue tabbyYou can see the actual color of the 20/2 yarn on the bobbin closest to the reed. You might be asking, “What happened to that bright blue?”  The background of the cloth looks very light because the warp is off-white. It mutes the tabby color. As I recall from a class on color theory for weavers with Susan Loring Wells, a color plus white is called a tint. Continue reading “More Hop Vine and A Color Theory Question”