Sunday, 30 August 2015

The Winner and the Quilt Top

Hello Strangers! I didn't mean to leave it so long since my last post but have been working too much a lot plus I was a bit ill for a week and wasn't up to anything much bar being sick and sleeping. Sorry for the "too much information".

Anyway, I had a whole day in the studio yesterday and I pieced together the quilt top for Sprogzilla's quilt/throw thing. Sprogzilla helped me lay out all the pieces and we chose where they all went together. I know that there will be quilting purists out there that are sighing at my shoddy piecing but this was never going to be a block party. Pieces were chosen for colour and design just because we liked them. We tried to offset the pieces and sometimes it even worked.

We have zombies

And ponies and it has glow in the dark stars. 

What more could you ask for in a quilt? Maybe better photos in natural light. The colours are much deeper and more vibrant than in these pics.  I am now on the hunt for a nice solid grey to make a border round the edges and as a backing. I also need to get wadding but I think that this will have to be an online job. Any recommendations very eagerly received! There is not much round here, they don't even have the thin cotton stuff I am after in John Lewis or Fenwick's.  At the moment my top stands at 42 inches by 72 inches. I am hoping that the final size will be 48 inches by 78 inches. I have not picked a design for the quilting yet but I do fancy chevrons as this will look quite modern on the back.

So anyway for the news that you have all been waiting for, the winner of the Patrones magazine is (as drawn by Sprogzilla)....wait for it...... Mim! Thanks to everyone for leaving a comment and I will drop you a line to find out where to send it to. Apologies again for sending this late.

Finally, I am off to Birmingham for a flying visit on Tuesday so am going to take full advantage of being there and have a look at the Rag Market. I have taken photos of the backs of all the patterns I need fabric for so hopefully I will find some to make one of the 70's skirt patterns I have. I seems to have tons of 1.5m lengths of things but very little in bigger sizes. Shows you how old most of my stash is as I would be hard pressed to squeeze at top out of 1.5m these days.

I hope that all is good with you all and I'll report back on what I find in Birmingham.

Take care and have fun!


Monday, 10 August 2015

Vintage Shopping and Dyeing Bamboo Yarn with Fibre Reactive Dye

Hi Lovelies! If it has been a bit quiet on the blogging front it has certainly not been here at MOR. I have been working really, really all hours of the day and night a lot in the last couple of weeks, albeit a little half-heartedly as I am just not feeling the love at the moment.  To try to get me out of my grump I took some time off.  We had to drop the car in to get looked at in Whitley Bay just in time to go to the auction at Featonby's. I didn't buy anything but it was fun to go.

We did go into just about every charity shop, Sprogzilla was none too happy, but we came away with some lovely finds. We found some vintage crochet doillies and embroidered tray cloths (to add to my huge collection), some knitting needles, a very funky knitted suit pattern and a tattered and manky Singer sewing pamphlet that looks like it is from the 1930's/40's.

Beautiful Illustrations

After the car was done we drove down to Marsden and had tea and cake in the Marsden Grotto before going for a paddle in the sea. It was surprisingly warm for being overcast but the water was freezing.

Sprogzilla enjoying the beautiful scenery

Friday, I decided to do some dyeing to pass the time before tackling the jungle that is our garden. To me it really feels like Autumn is on the way so I am hankering after knitting some wooly scarfs. I love the look of all those fancy hand-painted yarns but they are pretty expensive and I am not that great a knitter so for now they would be wasted on me. Taking the cheapskates route out, in the stash there was some Sirdar Baby Bamboo DK that I bought ages ago for £1 a ball. Nice yarn but for me too bland 'n' boring colour. It was however 80% Bamboo/20% Wool so all-natural and perfect for using up some of the Procion MX dyes I have tucked away. Sprogzilla asked if she could help and ended up dyeing a new white t-shirt and some cut-off denim jeans that we had bought for the purpose a few months ago and had pre-bleached to get them a very pale colour.

I made up some saline solution in a big Lidl pickle jar  (classy but the perfect size, plus pickles!) with 250g salt and added about 50g of Soda Ash. I used this solution to dissolve the dye powder in an old wine glass so about 6-10g of dye in about 100mls. This is a lot of dye as we wanted saturated colours. I used Chinese Red, Cerise/Magenta, Yellow and for the wool added in a little black as these were the only colours left. I buy my dyes/reagents from Corkwood Knitting and Craft Supplies in the UK but they are pretty easy to come by all over.

To dye the wool I pierced a hole in an old plastic bottle and pushed through an end. I used a knife so that the end is held when the bottle goes back into place. I then wrapped the yarn round the bottle quite randomly so that the colour would be distributed with no pattern to it. I pre-rinsed the yarn in warm water with a little Synthrapol to get rid of any size or dirt and soaked it for 5 minutes in 5% Soda Ash to "prime". One ball of yarn was enough to cover a 1.5L plastic bottle. This is the perfect size as you get a nice thin layer of yarn. It is also easy to hold without getting all covered in dye and it can stand and drain by itself. Plus it can go straight into the recycling bin after you have used it. Cheap and classy!

After the soaking I stood the bottle up on the draining board to drain and then used a paint brush to add dye in splotches all over the yarn. It ended up in a sort of messy leopard print.  Sprogzilla folded her pre-washed and primed T-shirt lengthwise and secured it with old hairbands. She then used the same paintbrush to "paint" pieces of her shirt in a random way. The shorts she wanted a sort of gradient so just painted on what ever she fancied onto them making sure that both the front and the back were covered.

We left the t-shirt for 6 hours and the yarn for about 7 hours. I popped the t-shirt in a plastic bag and left it outside while I cleaned up. You could also leave it overnight if you like, we did with the shorts. They were then rinsed in cold water until it ran clear and then a warm wash with a couple of teaspoons of Synthrapol in a sink of hand-hot water. I drip-dry outside but you could give them a rinse and spin in the machine. Do wear gloves though as I did a bit of the final rinsing without and now I have magenta pink hands like a big, camp Jumblie. 

This is how the yarn turned out. I really love it.  The colours are very different from the t-shirt even though we used the same dye lots. Dyeing will always be affected by the composition of the fabric. If there is any man-made-fibres in your mix then it may be a bit paler. Cellulose fibres such as bamboo and cotton are best for the Procion Dyes but there are differences in how each fibre takes it up. Also any existing colour will affect the final outcome. For dyeing proper wool you should use special dyes for proteins but you can use the Procion ones just replacing the Soda Ash with white vinegar or some thing else acidic.

Top Tip - Don't be a trumpet like me and take the yarn off the bottles to rinse it or you will end up with yarn spaghetti like I did. Fun unravelling it all though, all 300m of it.

Oh, and just in case you thought I had forgotten I will post a separate post this week on the winner of the Patrones magazine as this one is long enough for tonight and I need to get to bed. Sorry for not posting it sooner. Life is really dragging me down a rabbit hole at the moment.

Until later!

Disclaimer: Just mentioning that this post is sponsored by me, me and only me, plus everything in the above is of course my own opinion. 

No pickles were dyed in the making of this post.