Wednesday, 25 March 2009

First flowers, Dyes and a New Project!

Spring is in the air. The ground is thawing and a few days ago I found these pretty little snowdrops heralding Spring's arrival. It is always a good sign to see them. This year, at least they aren't fighting their way through snow, which I've seen in the past. Today, I noticed that in the sheltered area near the front garden, there are crocuses growing! That is early for them, but I'm not going to complain as the cheery purple is a wonderful sight.

The house smells of chamomile - or golden margeurite to be specific - dyer's chamomile. Last summer I dutifully harvested all the flowers as soon as they were barely mature. I stuck them in my freezer, in zip lock bags so I could add flowers as long as I could. I am working on a project and thought that I might need some green, so I dumped the flowers in a pot and cooked them for several hours today. I did an dye pot alum mordant, which I don't normally do, finding pre-mordanting generally gives me much better results. However I'm still down to one dyepot, and I'd already gotten the flowers cooking before I realized that the wool wasn't mordanted. I put in 2 shades of blue from last summer. One was a urine vat reduced indigotin - couldn't tell you if it was woad or indigo as it was just a small bit that I hadn't labeled for some reason and some of the Dyer's Knotweed from last summer. They are cooling in the pot right now, so I'm not sure what shades of green I have right now.

The greens will add to this colour palette for the new project on the loom. I used some wool singles and have a 20cm wide band warped up. The warp is leftover from the Dublin cap project. The weft will be linen singles, left over from the previous linen project I did. The colour bits for the inlays - supplementary weft brocade - will be handspun, naturally dyed shetland. It's a totally new technique and I've been able to find little information about it for some reason. I've only gotten as far as tiny samples to see if what I was planning would actually work.


Karen said...



Karen :)

vandy said...

What's the new project you're looking for info on? And should I recall the "Dublin cap project"? When did you write about that? (I'm discovering that blogger isn't as helpful finding old posts as I'd thought it was!)

Nina said...

Karen - don't be jealous, they are right by the house foundation - obviously some heat leaking there

vandy - Dublin cap project - Thursday, June 5th, 08 :) You can't weave with Singles- NOT! It isn't actually titled with the project name. I didn't actually post a piccy of the finished project either... :(
New project is on supplementary weft brocading - I've got the handspun wool warp, handspun linen weft, handspun, naturally dyed supplementary wefts and am figuring out how to do the Inlay technique in order to find more about the Oseberg tapestries.
finding info on the tapestries, related technique migration and modernly, the technique has been an interesting search, which is still on going!