Sunday, June 17, 2007

More on Mazes

I finished the 'answer key' for the large maze that I am going to weave. I wanted to have a small piece that would show the actual route through the maze since the larger one will only show the beginning of the route and perhaps the finish. As you can see, the actual route is not a simple wanders all around the piece before ending up at the exit at the bottom.

Weaving this sample is a good test of the pattern to ensure I don't have any errors and ensure the overall balance is good. I did find a couple of small items that I may modify. But looks like the larger piece will be a go...of course I need to re-design it for size. It will be about 10 times larger when finished than this sample which of course necessitates a number of design changes due to the magnitude.

First though, I am going to weave a smaller piece of some compexity to enter into Small Expressions in Tampa Bay 208. I have the design complete and am vascillating on the colors - in particular the warp. A dark color will make the piece a bit somber but will make the walls of the maze be particularly vvid but the light colors will be a bit muted. On the other hand, a light warp will make the path of the maze pop but wash out the darker colors in the walls of the maze. Ah decisions, decisions...

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Little Blue'll Do Yah

I took a 'quick and dirty' workshop on indigo dyeing last weekend. The instructor was John Pitblado. It only lasted about four hours and was quite fun.

I have only used procion dyes. And never indigo. Everyone always speaks in such hushed tones when it comes to indigo. So I figured I might as well check it out. We used freeze dried indigo which does not require the urine of boys under 13 as does the traditional method. John informed us that the urine of pregnant women, diabetics or alcoholics also works well. This freeze dried stuff is good. It does not smell. Thanks goodness. Mixes up well and seemed to stand up to a lot of messy folks.

It is quite amazing how you put something into the dye pot for a couple of minutes, pull it out and it's green but within a few seconds the piece starts turning blue.

I used some big nuts and rubber bands to create patterns on my blanks. We got to dye two pieces of cotton, a silk scarf. You can see the results. I tried for a very light blue on the scarf so I would indeed wear it sometime. I am not a dark blue person. There is not one piece of dark blue clothing in my closet. And when I was in the corporate world I did not own a blue suit

I also dyed some of my silk yarn to see how it came out. It looked beautiful deep indigo blue while drying. I had to wash it since there was lots of excess dye which came off on my hands when it was dry. I couldn't imagine weaving with it - my hands would be permanently blue. I had to wash it twice in the washing machine to get the excess out.

In the end, it was a mottled blue. Actually two shades of blue, since I put one skein in the dye twice as much to get a deeper shade of blue. I am 'using it up' in a little tapestry right indigo llama. I will stick with procion.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Many Fond Memories

There was a sense of emptiness in the house this morning.
Even the other three dogs felt it.

Pokie normally watches me weave from a small dog bed under the table in the studio. She was the only dog that seemed to enjoy the sound of the constant slamming of the shafts on my table looms while I wove taquete. I kept looking down at the bed expecting to see her looking up at me. But I could only see the memory of her. When I move from room to room I can still imagine her little feet pattering behind me. She would follow me everywhere.

Pokie had a good life with us. She was a dog rescued from a bad situation and was a very sick when we met her. She was a rescue dog of unknown age with heart problems and a hernia. The vet thought she would live perhaps six months or so. Every dog deserves some special time so we adopted her. We used to say she was in 'pre-heaven' while staying with us. And for over two and a half years she brought us great joy.

I, and the rest of the pack will miss her.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Ikat to Rest

Here is my ikat piece all dyed, washed and ironed. It looks better in the photo than in person. I guess the dye was not well mixed at certain times since it left heavy dye splotches every one in awhile. Part of the piece is salvageable but too many splotches to use the entire piece material. I may experiment with discharging the dye...never done that before....

On this piece, a lot of yellow washed out. I kept rinsing and rinsing and the yellow kept coming out. I finally just put it in the washing machine and that seemed to have removed it all. I am now thinking it may not have been the dye that I painted on the warp that was running but it could have the yellow from the yellow silk weft I used. I never did any color fast test on it.

Well this was an interesting experiment. I have a couple of balls more of the ikat dyed yarn so I need to figure out what I will do with it. It looks like it would make a nice border or lapel for a jacket so I might go for that.

But no hurry....