Friday, 23 January 2015

Trying New Things.

My poncho is nearly finished. I had a little disaster and ran out of wool but have ordered more to finish off the edging. It is quite a lucky thing really. I had been looking at the yarn I had left thinking about how I would finish it off and sadly realising that I wouldn't be able to have the big band of grey/blue, apparently called light grey green!! I also wouldn't be able to do a bobble edging of any sort. Now I have 2 more balls of yarn coming my way and will finish it off very soon. In the mean time here is a sneak preview....

It is as lovely, warm and blankety as it looks and I really do recommend making one. It has been such a quick project to do and very easy to make. Wearing it will be nice but I will miss making it.

And onto the next big project....Yes, this is a rather lovely pile of vintage linen and fabric bits and bobs crying out for some colour and creativity!

Firstly, perhaps now would be a good time to explain that I really do have a terrible addiction.
I LOOOOOOVE charity shops. Not just charity shops but all the things you find in charity shops; fabrics, buttons, yarn, zips, beads, interesting and unusual items, vintage and retro clothing, jewellery and furniture, bric-a-brac (I actually just love the term bric-a-brac), lovely preloved wooden toys, booooooooks, the list will go on and on and on. This is where I go to find wonderful treasures like these...

When I know I am going out and about I usually try really hard to work out how I can shoehorn in a trip to the nearest charity shop. I have my favourites too. The ones that I have to go to at least once a week especially as I know I have family and friends who also quite like a trip out to a charity shop and will tell me with glee what wonderful finds they have unearthed while I sit with green envy. I even have secret bestest charity shops. The really good ones that I only tell my most favourite people about for fear that word will get out and cause a stampede of vintage hungry shoppers. I have a sneaky suspicion that some of my friends and family also have secret bestest charity shops that they keep secret from me too.

My lovely fella does not have an addiction to charity shops. He is not amused when I arrive home with an armful of lovely shiny treasure to fill up our house. He does not get excited when I say shall we have a look at all the lovely things I have found today. No he does not. So on a recent shopping trip I was really rather surprised to find him burning pushchair tyre marks into the pavement as he whizzed around charity shop after charity shop filling his arms with lovely finds. I could barely keep up with him. Interesting! Clearly very contagious.

So, back to trying new things! A very long time ago I bought a set of dyes called Procion MX dyes from Art Van Go. I had never used these dyes before and after reading the instructions I wasn't quite so keen. There was lots of suggestion that it is quite a lengthy, timely process and required lots of other things like Urea? Soda Ash? Scouring the fabric to remove the sizing? They have sat in a box waiting to be used until now!!!

I have been doing a bit of research on Youtube and have found some lovely tutorials. Apparently there are lots of ways to use this type of dye and not all of them require hours of your time. I am all for instant results. I am going to give cram jar dyeing a go. The idea is that you mix up a 2 or 3 colours of dye in small amounts and work the dye and fabric in layers of both by cramming them into a jam jar. Leave them for half an hour or so or even over night if you can wait that long. The results should be a mottled effect where the colours have mixed into one another. Ooooh the ideas!!!

The method I used was a little experimental as it was my first time. Procion MX dyes only work on natural fibres. I washed the fabrics in the washing machine, normal 30o wash, with soda crystals bought from Tesco. I'm not entirely sure this is the best way to clean the fabrics to remove the sizing but it's worth at try. Then put the fabric bits and bobs in water to keep them soaking.

I prepared six jam jars with lids. Three with a mixture of: 1 table spoon of soda ash, 1 tea spoon of urea, 1/2 tea spoon of Procion MX dye powder. I mixed in 100ml of hot water (not boiling) to dissolve the mixture, adding it a bit at a time. I used an old paint brush to mix it with. Gloves and a decorators breathing mask is apparently a good idea as the dye powder is quite toxic.

Soda ash works as a dye fix..

Urea helps the dye work into the fabric..

I used the dye colours turquoise, lemon and magenta.

Ta dah.....

I put the lids on the jars, left them all night and just opened them this morning. So exciting!!!  Like unwrapping a wonderful surprise present. Oh the glee as I opened a jar spilling out wonderfully coloured bits of fabric. The colours changing and patterns emerging. Some lovely mottled patterns. Every piece of fabric has taken the dye differently. The colours have mixed together beautifully giving some really exciting patterns... I wasn't entirely sure whether all my fabrics were 100% natural fibre and you can see the fabrics that might have some man-made fibres in them but even these have taken the dye to a degree.  Now I really can't wait to get stitching into these. Soooooo many ideas...

I used all the colours in this jar.

I used lemon and turquoise in this jar.

And I used magenta and turquoise in this jar.

Here is a link to the Youtube video I followed for cram jar dyeing: Zart Art - Procion Dye cram jar dyeing technique

Thank you for coming by and hope you enjoyed your visit.

Sarah :) xxxxxxxxxx