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frustrating blues

September 7, 2019

the weather is changing -I’ve been busy in the garden – and building another deer fence

the Fall crocus is abundant this year

they look so fragile but thrive on neglect – and apparently the deer don’t eat them

back in the indigo

2 yards of this fabric has been in the stash for several years

many dips in the vat and it didn’t get any darker

conclusion – it isn’t 100% cotton as labeled – that’s what you get when you buy at a discount store

it looks like faded denim – a good top for next summer

one skein of handspun Icelandic wool resist tied with Japanese ikat tape

a couple dips to get a pale blue, then more ties and more dips

it was a very greeny blue and wasn’t getting very dark

so I dyed a cotton hankie to check the vat – only two dips and it was a good strong blue

so it’s not the vat, it’s the wool

but I’m still trying to get a feel for this fruit vat – I refreshed it with more indigo and fruit

found it takes approx. 48 hours to start working again

removed the ties and am happy with the result although it could be darker

I want to use it in a tapestry so think the tied lengths need to be shorter which will take more ties, more time

will overdye a yellow skein and see what kind of green I can get

warping the backstrap loom for September

the warp is a huge cone of European linen singles that is very strong and wirey

the weft is handspun 2 ply wool

I thought this was going to be quick and easy

ha! it was the worst warping yet and I almost threw the whole lot in the garbage

with 2 days of fussing it is finally weaving

my challenge this month is to include some tapestry – I had a fancy pattern ready to go – but!

frustration forced common sense and I’ve settled for multi-coloured squares

hope I’m still sane by the end of the month

and now the tapestry loom needs warping


10 Comments leave one →
  1. September 8, 2019 4:04 am

    It’s interesting to think about what each do, and don’t, have patience for! Your perseverance with the backstop weaving really has impressed me.


    • September 8, 2019 8:23 am

      Kerry – I came very close to throwing in the towel/shuttle this time! Will wait and see if I finish this warp or the year. My respect for backstrap weavers around the world who produce magnificent work just grows and grows.


  2. September 7, 2019 11:38 pm

    Love seeing all your projects, especially indigo. At the grocery store, I saw a bunch of flowers for sale. They looked like greenish carnations dyed with layers of indigo color. I wonder indigo coloring on plants would work?


    • September 8, 2019 8:20 am

      Li – I have seen those flowers too, but don’t know how they are dyed, it will be a chemical dye. I don’t think delicate flowers would survive 1 or 2 dips in an indigo bath. Ask a florist how the flowers are coloured.


      • Kathy Betts permalink
        September 15, 2019 10:02 pm

        I have dyed carnations with my Girl Guides. We put the flowers in water and added some liquid food due to the water. Eventually it was absorbed up the inside of the stem and coloured the flowers. 🙂 It was literally a STEM project.

        P.S. I really love the white flowers on the blue background.


      • September 16, 2019 8:04 am

        Kathy – bet the girls had fun dyeing their flowers, it would also show them how plants absorb water. When I dye fabrics with stitching on, or old clothes, I know the stitching thread will stay white as it is almost always polyester.


  3. September 7, 2019 5:54 pm

    I find it vastly entertaining when you express frustration and impatience: you are the MOST patient person I know, taking days and weeks to achieve the effect you want when most of us would have given up long since. It’s good for me to read your posts, because while I think of quilting as a long term and occasionally frustrating craft, yours is so much more slow and demanding and yet you proceed logically and patiently and achieve such beautiful results.


    • September 7, 2019 6:24 pm

      Kate – thank you for the kind words, I don’t consider myself exceptionally patient, usually when I commit to doing a project I know how slow it is going to be. I never tried quilting because I found starting such a large piece daunting. The backstrap weaving has really been a challenge.


      • September 7, 2019 8:51 pm

        I myself would find the warping process incredibly daunting. So much work before you actually start weaving! Making a quilt is easier to me because assembly begins much sooner. I look forward to seeing what comes next 🙂


      • September 7, 2019 11:06 pm

        Kate – each of us chooses the technique that suits our personality, weaving is actually somewhat a lost cause – once you finish all you have is fabric and then you have to start again from there. I once studied pottery and still buy it both here and in Japan.

        Liked by 1 person

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