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Wednesday, February 29, 2012


is one of my favourite occupations.  I have only to do it to wonder why I do anything else, if truth be told.  Up until recently, I stuck to Procions, but working with Evolon, which has nylon in it, made me experiment with acid dyes.  The thought of steaming or simmering on a stove top just didn't appeal. does now.  The wool tops here have been dyed using acid dyes in a pot on a heat plate in my studio.  My friend Moira, who lives next door, had bought some undyed tops at a car boot sale (it never happens to me...).  She wanted to learn how to dye them, and kindly swapped me some wool for some silk tops, which we also dyed.  I'm in a purple phase, as is she, but we both liked the looks of the scarlet when we made it up, hence the bright red wool.  The other clump of wool is really a lilac colour, though it reads in this photograph as grey.  Either way, I like it a lot.   I'm looking forward to felting with these tops, and the other, darker tops I dyed later this afternoon. 

I've never really liked working with flat colour, and most of the pre dyed tops you buy are exactly that, flat colour.  These have a certain amount of variety (mostly because of the total lack of stirring, as heat and agitation and water equals felt, not dyed tops...).  I also dyed some silk cloth; the image below is of some silk organza, dyed lilac/pink/turquoise using Procion, this time, and some darker lilac/turquoise/green cloth, which needed more turquoise in it for me, so I overdyed it.  You can possibly see that the darker cloth is a much heavier silk satin, with a wonderful sheen.

Silk will allow itself to be dyed using either type of dye, and you can, of course, use a procion like an acid dye, with vinegar instead of soda ash.  Those in favour of using acid dyes say that the colour is superior.  I'm not sure that that is the case, but I dyed some cloth in an acid bath today, and liked the results. 
It's wonderful, being able to try things out, take a risk or two, learn something different.  It's what I love about art making.  There are no limits.

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