Preparing fabric for resist dyeing
I'm doing a little fabric dyeing for some art journals and thought I might do some faux shibori. Instead of hand stitching or hand tying resist areas I sometimes like to just use my sewing machine to add stitching that I pull tight. I can also add some hand wrapping to it as well. It's fun and fast to do. I have found that my Bernina baste stitch works great for this. That stitch sews every other stitch so it is long and easy to pull out after dyeing. If your machine doesn't have a long basting stitch just set it to the longest stitch you have. Sometimes a gathering foot helps but with this stitch I don't need one.
There are so many ways to experiment with your machine and doing various resist techniques to fabric. Chain Stitch is another that is very helpful because it pulls out easily but you have to make sure you knot it so it doesn't pull out during dyeing. The only machine I have right now that does chain stitch is an old Singer 626 Touch-N-Sew. That is why I bought it for the chain stitch set up. If you look for one of those make sure you get a model that has metal gears. You don't want those old plastic ones. The Touch-N-Sew 600 series had metal gears but it's always best to look inside the machine to check before buying one. If your doing Craig's List or Thrift Shops just bring a screw driver with you. Here is an article about the 626 if your interested.
I purchased mine for the chain stitch but it does a lovely satin stitch as well and a beautiful straight stitch. I heard someone refer to this series of machines as "Stitch and Throw" once. I think many people might have had issues because they were not winding the bobbins correctly and you must keep the bobbin area clean. It has that wind in place bobbin system. I have never had any issues with it. But you know I love Vintage Sewing Machines as well as my Bernina and Juki. All of my other machines are Vintage. The thing I love most about Vintage machines is that I can work on them myself because there are no computer parts. Also they are just cool. The look and the sound that they make and the stitch quality is really outstanding. Ok, I got off on a rant about Vintage Machines. Anyway, if your getting into resist dyeing or Shibori looks give your machine a try for some interesting effects. I'll post these after dyeing. Here is a little video clip of the basting stitch. Catch yo later.
Only about 5 or 6 inches to go.Yay! Well, in the land of tapestry weaving that is still going to take a chunk of weaving time but I can see the end is near. Only the weaving is almost done. Then all the finishing work which really takes quite a bit of time too. It's not my favorite part, that I can say with honesty. But it will have to be done. Between weaving I've been dyeing yarn and thinking a lot about the next tapestry. But before I can dive into that too much I have to get back to the Watercolor tapestry on the black pipe loom. I call that loom hopping, which I do often. Actually, I love doing that. Having several looms going at the same time keeps me from getting bored. I like it but I can only do so much without getting a little crazy. You start to feel like nothing is ever going to be finished. So I have to curb myself. So here she is at her current state...why do I always refer to them as "she" maybe one day I'll weave something that is a "he"...
Not the greatest shot with the daylight bulbs glaring but it's getting late and I can't stop weaving just because the sun goes down. If that were the case I would never get done. The glam shots will have to wait until she is done but for now you get the idea. Woven sideways as I seem to do about 95% of the time.
And a few more shots from the dyepot sessions. And for those that have been asking I'm not selling hand dyed yarns again. These are for me. I know so greedy am I.
Warming my heart and home with the Dyepots. Cold Winter days...grey skies, rain, drizzle drizzle drizzle. What better way to add some warmth and color into my days than firing up the dyepots. Dyeing for me is very similar to cooking. A pinch of this and that just as I handle spices in the kitchen. I hardly ever cook food from recipes and I don't dye that way either. Especially now that I'm dyeing only for myself. I don't have to bother with trying to create multiple batches of the same colorway. Which is not easily and frankly not much fun. Now I'm back to dyeing the way I started years and years ago. Whatever moves me and I can be extremely experimental because reproduction is not in the vocabulary anymore. Sigh... to that. My heart sings again....I can pinch of this and that all I want. As a tapestry weaver and a weaver of cloth nothing is better than being able to create your own palette. I feel it's essential, well, it is for me. But I do supplement my colors with yarns and threads from industry. And that's all good, but nothing out there really compares to hand dyed yarns. They have character, soul and that one-of-a kind feel that takes my breathe away. Well, I better get back to it.....
Do you have days as an artist where you just need to rest your mind a bit. You need comfort food or I should say comfort art. Sometimes you need a little bit of what comes easy and effortless. Comfort weaving like weaving a beautiful piece of tabby cloth in linen or drawing only trees, or just dyeing some stunning colors. The dyepots always give me comfort. After years and years of dyeing and having a business dyeing yarns aka Saffron Dyeworks. I got burned out but now I love it again. And it is pure comfort for me to dip the skeins into the pot. It's like eating your favorite food, so easy, so natural. It just comes easy. When it's a cold dreary day out and I need something to warm my artistic soul, I like to dye. And when I feel like I'm taking things too seriously well then it is time to do something that is pure comfort. Being too serious can kill your spontaneity. Doing something that just feels like second nature really helps me open up, relax, and clear my mind so when it's time to tackle that new tapestry or painting I feel charged and ready to go to the next level. What is your comfort art?
If you know anything about me you know I love tea. Not only for drinking but for dyeing yarns and fabrics. I also paint and draw with it. It is very versatile. Black teas just might be my favorite. I'm using these for some handwoven cloth and also in one of the landscape tapestries that is in progress now on my Fireside tapestry loom. I haven't used Linen in tapestry weaving as much as wool and silk but I'm finding I like it. So I'm going to do more sampling and small tapestries with it. I'll post my progress when I have a few small ones ready. I love stitching on Linen so maybe I'll try some stitching on the tapestry samples and see how it goes. Let my intuition guide me....
Perhaps loving something is the only starting place there is for making your life your own.... Alice Koller
Artist and maker living and working in the beautiful state of Pa.