Sunday, 17 November 2013

Dark and Stormy Ikat Weaving

One of my weaving peers wove a hand-dyed warp at the beginning of the year. it inspired me to try it. I had no intension of exploring Ikat but as I researched online I became fascinated and discovered that there is not a great deal of instruction about the technique. I found an old book in a second-hand bookstore and followed the instructions.

At school, I studied textile design at the art school I attended. I had great fun dyeing fabric but have done very little since. It was definitely worth the effort and all the days of work that were required for this piece.

I used perle cotton I found on the guild sales table. I wound samples to test the Landscape Dye colours, chosen for its ease of use and bright colour palette.

They were wrapped in cling film and steamed.

Soon I had a wonderful colour selection drying under the gazebo.

Over the next weeks I wound a warp in the small increments that my design required. I cut plastic bags into half inch strips for the tying of the warp design.

To tie up the warp design, I stretched the warp out between G-clamps over two tables. These are the centre three pieces of the dark stripes that have a lighter 1"ish design that travels diagonally across the warp.

Only the dark pieces were tied off. I prepared the entire warp for dyeing by soaking it in water with a little vinegar. It is in the orange basin on the table.

I spread a long plastic sheet over a wallpaper pasting table and wet the plastic sheet slightly,  placing cling film onto it underneath where the warp would be secured on either side with on g-clamps.  I did this with the inner dark columns and then later with the blue colour wash columns when I was ready to dye these.

Once the dye was applied to the warp it was wrapped in the cling film and rolled up to fit into the streamer.

The plan for the two outside dark columns was for one side of the warp to be light and the other to be dark so the light side was completely tied up and I dipped the other side into the dye to keep the two colours separate. The steaming process, however, allowed the dye to penetrate the light side even though it was tightly tied. Next time, I will place each side separately in its own piece of cling film.

Each part of the warp was steamed for 20 - 30 minutes as it was completed.

It was hung out to dry under the gazebo and left out until the following evening.

I removed the plastic ties and assembled it in the order it was to be woven and again left it over night to make sure it was completely dry before I worked with it. At this stage I was disappointed by the way the dye had seeped through under the plastic and that I did not have fully defined light and dark pieces.

I decided to dressed my loom anyway and tied up the warp.

On the loom the disappointment turned to joy as I experienced the fun of the colour changes and the design developed as I wove. I realised that if the undyed areas had not had dye seepage, the piece would probably have been too stark with the  strong back and white contrast.

Once it was complete and hanging on that the wall, to me, it looked like a dark and stormy sky behind the colour columns and I love it!

I learnt a great deal during this project and I will repeat it again in the future. Dyeing one's warp gives such wonderfully individual results.

I do apologise for the poor quality of the photograph of the finished piece but I have found it exceedingly difficult to photograph it sharply and get the colour changes. It at least gives one an idea of what it looks like.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Yarndale - a colourful riot

Yorkshire is gorgeous with hills of dry stone wall fields full of sheep. This year, Yarndale promised to make it much more attractive for fibrey folk.

The entrance to the hall was a riot of crocheted bunting and the crowd was already writhing at roughly 10 am.

The knitted picnic was great

and creativity of the tea cosy challenge made me smile.

Moving was already challenging and we fled to the back of the hall passed these two from County Alpacas who were happily nibbling on their breakfast

The vendors were wonderful. I enjoyed meeting and talking to a number of them.

At Griffiths Mill, Karen stood working on a beautiful handmade woollen dress while we chatted about the mill and the fibre processing that the mill offers for individual fleeces.

I forgot to go back for some of this Castlemilk Moorit.

Jen from Fyberspates was charming and helped me choose some wool for a hat I am planning

and I as whizzed passed Wingham Wool, the gorgeous colours of their fibre display caught my eye making all kinds of ideas fly through my head.

At My Fine Weaving Yarn, Helen showed me several weaving samples and I came home with a weaving kit which I am very excited about.

At LazyKate's booth, I found her spinning and wished I had brought my wheel to sit and chat with her and sit looking at this loveliness.

Sheep and fluff was everywhere. These occupied the floor next the spinning wheel in the Twisted Yarns stall

and this one stood proud at Freyalyn's fabulous fibre stall.

Hiding at the back though, this chap reflected how I was feeling!

The booths were very compact as they are animal pens so there were few people spinning but I found another lovely lady enjoying her fibre and watching the madness pass.

There was a wonderful array of fibre from different places like Drifter's Mill.

These products are made with Dartmoor wool and are available from the Yarn Garden along with some pretty hand-dyed yarns.

Beautiful fibre and a wonderful display at Jillybean Yarns.

The Norfolk Knits stand was full of pretty knitwear

and the Knit and Natter room was also a riot of crochet colour.

Lace knitting at Artisan Yarns makes me want to cast on lace immediately

My favourite part of this festival was the amazing creativity of all the fibre artists those above and these below. 

Catherine was demonstrating silk-screen printing and she was such a joy to talk to, so passionate about her designs. 

Lucy Stor of teaseofwool 

A wonderful reminder of how much time, frustration, passion, energy, love and joy is spent in creating any new project.

The Ferocious Felter, Dawn told me that the cushion is a portrait of her cat.

The Lucet Co almost had me learning a new hobby. The shoe laces are beautiful.

The Braid Society stand was amazing, such talented folk, I believe their theme this year was Autumn

and the lace makers make me want to go out and buy bobbins immediately!