Sunday, April 24, 2011

Red Onions Anyone?

This weekend’s dyeing and weaving project was red onions and it met with mixed success.

The first batch, using cream of tartar and alum as mordent, worked great, but the second batch, using cream of tartar and tin chloride came out darker, but with the consistency of string. Perhaps I boiled it and felted it. Or maybe I put too much mordent in it. Anyway, my first experiment using tin for mordenting was not too successful. The onion skins are from a generous farmer at the Farmers’ Market.

Red OnionsRed Onions. Left: alum; right: tin chloride

Last weekend’s experiment using walnut shavings looks quite good. I did not pre-soak the shavings, from a Nakashimi-style table-to-be by The Artist, made from a very large walnut slab given to him. For next weekend, however, I have some shavings soaking and the sample should be much darker.

Walnut light


Weaving will have to wait a little; I’m trying to finish knitting a sweater or two.

The Artist is finishing up his work for the museum show and doing a poster for the group.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Weaving Beets

Remember all that yarn that my cousin gave me?  Well, I’ve started to use it.

The photo below is the first batch of yarn that I dyed with natural ingredients, woven on a 4” square  hand loom that my husband made for me. 

So what did I dye it with? Red beet juice left over from cooking the beets. “Red?”, you say? Yes. Red. I used cream of tartar and alum as mordents, and it came out a creamy yellow. I was a little bit in a hurry to see the results, so I didn’t leave it in the pot too long.

Weaving Beets 72

I plan to do a series of these weavings. I will use the yarn that my cousin spun from sheep that she raised. I understand that Lincoln is very good for weaving, so I will probably use that. It comes from sheep that look like they have dreadlocks and is rather coarse. Keeping with the natural, hand made look, I will dye the yarn with various fruits, vegetables and spices from my garden or the farmer’s market or my cupboard. I plan to do these in very small batches, hopefully one a weekend. It should keep me busy all summer!

I already have carrot tops in the a pot and plan to do beet greens, red onion skins and red cabbage soon.

And The Artist? His joiner motor died. He’s using some wood that was given to him to make a Nakashimi-style table, a style he’s never done before. I’m very excited about it. He’s also finishing up his pieces for the MAH show.

By the way, the Big Creek Pottery retrospective currently at the Museum of Art and History is fantastic.