On a personal level, I am a wife of 40+ years, a mother of 3 wonderful young adults, the grandmother of Mira and Caitlin, Evie, Emmie and Graham. Professionally, I was a nurse and worked in hospital administration. As for sewing, it's always been a part of my life - my mother sewed my clothing and I started sewing while in grade school and have continued to enjoy it. My true desire is that others will learn and enjoy this skill so they can pass it on to their children.
If you’re tired of hearing about dyeing, skip this one, but I have to tell you I’m not the least bit tired of this method for transforming wool. Several weeks ago I posted about using wool to dye wool. For this project I used the same method but with printed wool.
This project was born when I changed the coat I planned to take on a trip. My red and blue scarf just wouldn’t work with a purple coat. Since I’m on a one year sabbatical from purchasing clothes, I shopped in my stash. I had a piece of lightweight vintage wool (maybe Liberty – not sure) with potential so I tested a small piece with good results before proceeding.
After assembling cranberry wool, the print and a teal wool/nylon blend, I used the same method as described in my previous post. Here’s the before and after photo.
Try it, you’ll like the results.
As you can see on the turned corner (right side of above photo), the front picked up more red and the back side more teal.
When traveling, I’m admittedly pretty fussy about my handbag. First and foremost it needs to protect against all of those greedy hands that want to steal, but also it needs to be large enough without being too large. Then there’s the need for a distinct place for my passport, money, phone, kindle, water bottle, etc.
Over the years I’ve purchased and worn out one bag, bought a few (usually Ameribags) and been disappointed by the design so I sold them on eBay. Several years ago, like many of my kind , I said “I can make that”. First I copied the pattern and made a muslin which I used on one trip.
Then I made this bag which has been used and abused until it was time for another. The lining actually had wear spots.
After removing the hardware I worked on #3 which is shown at the beginning of this post and below. In the future when not typing on an iPhone I’ll post on the details and maybe share the pattern. Until then I’m traveling with my new bag and I love it.
By no means did I plan for every post to be about dyeing but here’s one more. This time it’s something I’d only read about on one blog and haven’t found any other references. Caroline D.H. wrote about using wool to dye other pieces of wool. Since I had a piece of off-white wool gauze that wanted to be a scarf and some other scrap pieces of wool, I thought I’d give it a try. Here’s the story.
For some upcoming travel, I wanted a new wool scarf (accidentally felted the old one – oops) but since I’ve joined Goodbye Valentino’s 2018 RTW Fast I couldn’t buy one. In my stash I found a scrap of wool gauze that was long enough but not wide enough for a scarf. So I added some scraps to the side to widen it. With little to lose, I started the wool dyeing process.
Here are the steps:
Selecting the fabrics: I chose a red piece of vintage wool crepe from St. Vinny’s, a royal blue piece of wool flannel that had a few moth holes and a lovely loden twill piece. Each was cut to one yard.
Creating a fabric roll: In the following order, I laid the 4 pieces of fabric on the floor. Red, Off-white gauze, Royal blue, Loden. I rolled them into a log and tied the log so it would stay rolled.
Bathing in Boiling Hot Water: I had very hot (not quite boiling) water ready in an old crock pot and dipped the wool pack in the water bath. After about 30″ I turned it upside down to make sure all of the wool was submerged in hot water and left it for another 30″
Setting the Dye: After cooling the cloth until warm to the touch I dipped the pack in several gallons of warm water with 1-2 cups of white vinegar.
Rinsing and Drying: Rinse the fabric in cool water and placed in clothes dryer
Enjoy the beautiful result. Below are photos of my pieces.
The royal blue has a lovely crinkled look. In the third photo you can see that there was an errant red thread that created a design (and which gives me an idea for future wool dyeing projects. As with the red, I’ll use this piece for future dyeing projects.
The loden is so magnificent I can’t stop looking at it. Since these aren’t my colors, I’m not sure what to do with it but it could easily be cut into 2 scarves.
And last of all, here’s another look my new scarf. The straight lines in the middle are from folding the wool gauze as it was longer than the red, blue and loden. Overall, a great result.
In the last post I talked about dyeing rayon jersey. The second part of that project was to dye an Egyptian cotton thrift store sheet in a greenish-grey color (pretty ugly). I picked it up at the thrift store for $.50. It was newish but had bleach spots. Despite this it had a lovely weave and thus seemed worthy of a new life so I kept it on my “to be dyed pile”.
On the first try at snow dyeing, the sheet turned out OK but it wasn’t transformed into a beautiful piece of fabric so I washed it and set it aside until it snowed again a few weeks later. Below is a photo of the first try.
At any rate, I liked the blue but was less enamored with the greens and pink. Of note, for this snow dye, the snow was very wet, thus saturating the fabric. Not sure if that made a difference but seems worthy of a mention.
On the second try, I used two colors of navy and a deep purple. The snow had just fallen and it was extremely light. As with the first time, I covered the fabric with about 2″ of snow. My thought is that the light fluffy snow didn’t saturate all of the fabric. It’s also important to note that for this second try I allowed the dye to stay on the fabric for 24 hours before rinsing it out.
As you can see below, it resulted in a floral-like pattern. Not sure how this happened, but it surely is beautiful.
Now that the dyeing is complete, the next step is to think about what to do with the fabric. Maybe just own it?
When the snow falls I get the itch to do some snow dyeing. The colors are so vibrant, the patterns fascinating and the result always a surprise.
This year I had two fabrics set aside for dyeing, though I’m sure I could find more in my stash. This a piece of brown rayon jersey I previously put in vat of spent indigo. I’m not sure what I did, but it turned out green and streaky but beautifully soft. Because the fabric had such a nice hand, it was worthy of another “dye job”. You have to admit, it looks barely salvageable.
Now, after snow dyeing, I can’t wait to use it for a t-shirt or sweater.
What are the steps for Snow Dyeing?
Prepare fabric as for any other dyeing project. In a plastic bin or container, scrunch the dampened fabric.
Add a layer of snow, approximately 2″ high, making sure that all of the fabric is covered.
3. After the fabric is covered with snow, begin to sprinkle with dye powder (my choice is Dharma Procion dye).
4. Use a tea or other small strainer to assist in spreading the powder evenly and to avoid clumps which would cause spotting on the fabric. Spread one color at a time, trying to have spots of dye in similar sizes. (Note: I use 3 or 4 colors).
5. Prop up one end of the bin so melted snow will drain away from the fabric.
6. Place the cover on the bin and wait 8-24 hours. Obviously, more time is better if you want deep colors.
7. Rinse and final wash the fabric as with any other dyeing project.
8. Enjoy your creation – or if it’s not to your liking, dye it again.
This blog has been dormant for nearly 4 years, however for the past months I’ve been thinking about how I never have the opportunity to write. It’s not that I’m a great writer, but an expectation that one should continue to develop writing and reading skills regardless of one’s developmental stage.
Speaking of “developmental stage”, I’m embarking on a birthday that will put me in the 8th decade of existence (No, I won’t be 80). That converts to happily retired, having the privilege of traveling often and most of all, being surrounded with wonderful family.
As for sewing, I continue to sew when I can. Since the last post on this blog we’ve added 3 grandchildren – 2 girls and 1 boy whom we adore, and for whom I sew. That makes 2 teen GD and the “3 Littles”, as we call them. Below are a few photos. In most of them, the GC are wearing garments I sewed. The top 2 are siblings, Graham and Evie. Next is Emmie and at the bottom are Mira and Care, for whom this blog was named.
More to come as I get caught up on the past 4 years.
Recently we took a day trip to the lovely city of Nimes, Fr (the “i” is really suppose to have a ^ over it but I’m not that accomplished with an iphone keypad). At any rate, Nimes is a huge city with a historic quarter where there’s a massive Roman coliseum from the first century AD.
Immediately after this photo was taken it began to pour buckets, so I have no more photos to share but there is some interesting fabric history in this city.
Denim fabric got its name from Nimes. Twill fabric began to be manufactured from wool in the 1600’s, both in Italy and in France. In France and specifically in Nimes, or was called “serge de Nimes”. In the 1800’s, the fabric was made from cotton only and continued with the same name, but was shortened to “de Nimes” (pronounced “neem”) or “denim”. In the world of Google Translate, “serge de coton” translates to “twill”, of which one type is denim, the most commonly worn fabric in the western world.
To close out this post I could show you a boring photo of denim, or a photo of the amazing Pont du Gard aqueduct which was also built in about the first century AD, to carry water to Nimes.