Challenge quilts, Dyeing with copper experiments, Flowering trees, Altered Books.Posted: April 11, 2011
This photo is a small part of my Jems Quiltsitters challenge quilt. I have nearly finished quilting this on my machine. I never really like my own quilting and have all sorts of problems trying not to be jerky and keeping my stitches even. I have to have it finished before May because I will be away for 6 weeks and when I get back it will be nearly time for the Jems Quilt show which will be at the Brookfield Hall on the weekend of July 23rd. I will put in exact dates later.
Yesterday was the day for the copper dyeing trials. I have written vast quantities of notes and have lots of ‘what if’ ideas. Basically it did not matter how long the fabric was soaked for, so long as it was swished around and thoroughly wet it seemed to take the colour. There was no colour in the rinse water and the fabric was softer after rinsing. It seemed that the fabric used up the colour and the solution got progressively weaker. The linen dyed a beautiful shade very similar to a proper English Robin egg blue, but the wool and silk died a dark grey. All of the cotton dyed a lovely aqua colour.
On doing a bit more research I have discovered that the pH of ammonia is around 11.3, which is also the pH of a strong Soda Ash solution. So I thought I might try soaking the copper in some soda ash to see if it gave colour. I also wondered if adding more copper would make a stronger, or darker colour. Does anyone have any old copper bits they want to donate to me? The ammonia is not toxic and can be added to your garden but it does burn your nasal passages a bit. My mother used it as a household cleaner, and we always had to soak the hairbrushes and combs in it every week. I don’t know why, and so have discontinued this tradition. Maybe this is why there is such a huge outbreak of head-lice these days. Maybe we need to soak our grooming tools in cloudy ammonia once a week.
This is also known as an African Tulip tree. This particular specimen I noticed while waiting at some lights on a rainy day in Burleigh, iphones are so handy! These trees have been flowering in March as well but I did not know what they were called then, not even it’s common name. I have a book by India Flint called ‘Eco dyeing’ It is a lovely book but not really well laid out as far as recipes go. India lost me when she mentioned that you should really know the correct botanical name of the plants you were using. There are over 248 species of gum trees! all of them begin with Eucalypt……. However something must have rubbed off because since then I have tried to learn the correct names of trees. India has a lovely blog, there is a link at the side of my blog.
Yes, I am still doing my altered book, I have about 6 or 7 pages completed now. Of course as I get on I am improving with techniques etc. and so I am tempted to paint over and redo things all of the time!
That yellow and orange flower looks like a poached egg! This is nearly ready to be made into a little purse to keep sewing things in. It has thousands of beads on it! Well hundreds anyway. The background is dyed batting and the flowers and leaves are wool or batting. I attached them with my embellishing machine.
This tree is outside Dad’s unit. I thought the leaves looked like butterflies. The tree is not flowering right now, but it does flower!