Monday, December 20, 2010

Are you on Ravelry?

If you're on Ravelry, you might want to join the Pure Tinctoria Dyers group, we'd love to have you along to share your projects, ideas, resources and anything that you think would interest everyone.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Campaign for Wool

For those of you who missed all the action during wool week, here is a short clip of the happening in Saville Row.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

This should bring a smile to your faces!

This is such fun, and you can try it yourself by going to :
Elf Yourself

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Colour Inspiration from Landscapes - 2

Take a look at my images of Scotland, posted on my Facebook profile:

Pick your favourite by commenting on it and I'll produce a colour palette from the most popular image!  We can then have a discussion on which dyes we'd use to produce the colours!

I'll start you off with this image from the album:
I love the smokey colours and the deep indigo blues!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Colour Palette of the Month - December!

I love colour and find it really hard to work with neutrals and monochromatic palettes.  It's strange then, that in this monochromatic snowy and frosty landscape I'm beginning to adjust!

Monday morning, this week, was really frosty in the Trent Valley and I couldn't help but take this photograph at 8.30 while out for our morning walk.

When I downloaded the image from my Blackberry I was really taken with the lovely rich browns, creams and apricots,  moving me to use it as my palette for December and as my Seasonal Greetings card.  It puts a new twist on winter colours!  It's certainly not winter white, is it?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Colour & Weave in Sheffield

This morning I did battle with the snow to get from South Derbyshire to south of Sheffield to tutor a Colour and Weave Workshop for the Hallamshire Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers.

I'm so glad I did because they worked really hard and produced some really interesting plain weave (tabby) designs.  Take a look below to see the results:

Ten people signed up for the workshop and despite the weather only one person had to drop out.

The looms ranged from rigid heddle looms to a 16 shaft loom.

Looms were pre-warped with a range of simple colour and weave patterns with a contrasting colour to differentiate between each pattern.
On the loom the weave looks quite open, but after wet finishing this lovely subtle blue and green weave will look stunning.

Just before lunch I got the group to substitute some of their warp ends to add interest to the work.

Here black was used to dramatic effect.
Gold and red were used very effectively here, in a rug yarn, which shows the patterns beautifully.
This is the same warp as the one above, but with some of the gold warps substituted with a moss green.  The green really made a difference to the pattern on the bottom left.
After lunch the colour effects were explored on paper, which is a great way to test ideas when you've not got your loom with you!
The purple and red warp was very dramatic with the turquoise blue divider warps.

Some of the red warps were substituted with the blue and used in the weft in one of the patterns here.
This is a sample of a new weavers efforts.  She really worked hard and her selvages were perfect!
After repeating the same colour combinations of the warp in the weft, the group went on to try out some combinations of their own.

Sadly this image doesn't do this weavers efforts justice.  The blue grey and white warps were really lifted by the addition of a lovely lime green, which looks rather yellow in the image.
Although, not clear, a plum warp substituted some of the dark blue warps to great effect.
This dark blue and light blue colour and weave sample was also lifted by the addition of purple.

By the end of the day each weaver had a good range of colour and weave sample patterns that they could use as reference for further colour and weave projects.

Creative Spinning in York

Last Saturday I travelled up to York to give a talk in the afternoon and tutored a workshop on the following Sunday for the York and District Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers.  There was a packed hall and below are the results of their endeavours.

Sorry for the few that are a bit blurred, but I get so excited when I see the spectacular results!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mending or Burling!

For those of you who've been to my classes or week-end courses and we've talked about "finishing", particularly manding, there is a wonderful video about linen that show's checking and mending linen fabric beautifully.  You all have all had a go at checking and mending your fabrics, but this is on a grand scale!
The video is only about 15minutes long, but is well worth watching and you will see the checking and mending about half way through.
Linen is a really beautiful fabric and is now being mixed, again, with other fibres, including cashmere.  Mm...  gorgeous!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sett - Part 2

At the beginning of last month I posted about Sett.  It's something that's really important to grasp as a new weaver and getting it right comes with practice.  At a workshop with a group of newish weavers we had a really good look at Sett and here are the results:

With a 12" rigid heddle loom (Ashford Knitters Loom) we warped with 32 ends (threads) of J. C. Rennie's lovely Supersoft Lambswool (2/6's).  Each of us had a different rigid heddle; 5 dent per inch (dpi), 7.5 dpi, 10 dpi and 12 dpi; so each warp was a different width, as you can see below:

In the 5 dpi reed, the 32 end warp was 6" wide and ensuring a balance weave - equal numbers of warp ends to weft picks - 32 picks (threads in the weft) were woven to 6" in length.  This was made fairly easy by using a colour and weave pattern in the warp and weft.

On the right the woven swatch has been "finished", that is, crabbed (using a dry cloth with steam iron or a damp cloth with a dry iron) then given a hand hot wash and hand hot rinse and allowed to dry naturally.

The very open weave swatch lost more than 1" all  round after finishing!  We could have finished more and still maintained the soft handle.

The swatch on the right, here, was woven on the 7.5dpi reed and the 32 ends were 4" wide. After finishing, as above, the resulting balance weave swatch was 3 1/2" wide, with a slightly firmer handle, suited to a masculine scarf.

The small swatch on the left was woven on the 10 dpi reed and the 32 ends were 3" wide.  After finishing, as above, the swatch was 2 3/4" all round, with a firm handle, suitable for a blanket.

The 32 ends of this little swatch, were 2.5" in the warp and after finishing like all the previous swatches was 2 3/8" all round.  To obtain the balance weave it had to be beaten very firmly and the resulting swatch would be suitable for upholstery fabric.

One outcome of this exercise was that we found it more difficult to maintain a balanced sett with the widely spaced warp than the close sett warp.  However, once crabbed and washed the resulting swatch looked fine!

I do hope this was useful, please let me know if you have had similar results.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Colour Palette of the Month - November!

Colour Inspirations from Urban Landscapes

At the beginning of October I had a lovely week-end in London.  On the Saturday I wanted to go to the Tate Modern to see the Gaugan Exhibition and decided to walk along part of the Embankment to the Millenium Bridge.
Along the way I came across quite a few juxtapositions of old buildings and new buildings as you can see on the left.  This particular one really caught my eye with the "all glass" building that takes on an indigo colour in the background and the beautiful old building, with it's sand coloured brick and detailing stone work.
How lovely this colour palette would be in natural dyes and weave!  From the top I'd use indigo with an iron modification; indigo on it's own, but dipped several times to build up the deep blue; a very light, quick dip in indigo with a very quick and light modification with iron to get the blue grey; Oak Gall modified with citric acid; cutch.
Mm..... This has really got me thinking!  What about you, what would you use?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Workshop 2 at Flitwick

I had a great week-end in Flitwick with the rigid heddle weavers from UK Weavers on Ravelry.  I showed them Colour and Weave and even though some of them used some unusual yarns (to weaving) they still managed to produce some wonderful colour and weave patterns.

I showed them how to design their own Colour and Weave patterns to make their plain weave (tabby) truly exciting.  Take a look at just a few of the many patterns they designed and explored themselves, before warping their looms for a second time to weave an article of their choice in their own pattern!

Here's an interesting pattern using less blue than red and repeating the warp pattern in the weft.

This pretty design was originally in red and white but then the occasional green end was added the weaver decided to add green weft picks.

This weaver chose the lovely lilac and white with a wide colour and weave pattern and in her last swatch chose the odd dark blue end to lift the effect.

This pattern, like the others, was designed on paper before the loom was warped, so the weaver worked out the interesting line and dot pattern in advance.

This weavers was disappointed in her pattern, until we "finished" it!  Despite her yarn choice ("for practice purposes"!) she wove a really lovely pattern that this image doesn't do justice.  Her first choice of black and white was lifted with quite an electric green.

This was a really good example of how important "finishing" is as part of the weaving process!

Orange and grey lambswool was used by this weaver for all her beautiful colour and weave designs, before she added the brick red colour to add impact.

For her main project, she chose the same pattern, but with a golden yellow and grey with the brick red accent.

Although this weaver chose an acrylic yarn for her samples, she still produced a beautiful set of colour and weave designs, as you can see here, clearly shown in dark brown and white.

This interesting swatch used wool with a cotton effect yarn in the main swatches with a black effect yarn as an accent in one of her last swatches.  With careful "finishing" she prevented too much shrinkage of the wool, but wants to go on to explore the effect of shrinkage on yarns of differing fibre content.

Cotton was the choice her for this simple, but effective use of two shades of blue.  Later swatches used white to lift the whole effect.  It was really stunning.

Another very simple, but beautifully effective colour and weave pattern which was lifted by the injection of the soft peach yarn.

Well done to everyone who took part in the workshop, you worked hard over the week-end and were all very receptive to all my instructions and have a range of swatches for future use.

Oh, and a huge thank you to Jan for organising it and making my job so enjoyable!

Colour and Weave Design: A Practical Reference Book
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