Sunday, April 20, 2008

Lather, rinse, repeat till worn out and muddy

I had one of the most successful dye baths today- it was very experimental, i didn't expect it to work at all. A cap of Dylon cold Wedgwood blue and a cap of the same in Cafe Au Lait. I used them in hot water (don't know if that made a difference) and three times as much salt as advised.

What a great colour result! Some of the pieces are sort of grey, but sometimes purpley, and there's a blotchy brown in there somewhere... Everything came out different (as happens) -one of the pieces of Embroiderie Anglaise stayed resolutely blue (albiet a bit muddy) but the other laces are all levels of grey-brown-purple- one has a large blotch of a reddish-pink, I have no idea where it picked that up from. But the two skirts pictured below are my favourites.

The skirt with the white trim is a grey colour, but just when you've made that decision there's some purple to be seen... The other skirt is grey, almost brown, sometimes purple...with stitched flower trim in brown...or is that burgundy...?

These are the kinds of colours I love, the ones you can't quite put a name to, they keep changing. Hopefully things won't fade too much when I wash them tomorrow (I let them dry before I rinse and wash, give the dye a chance to 'bake' in).

This skirt reminds me of the colours in the floorboards of the train carriage here at the museum:

Don't look away now

I am very slowly getting more wrist cuffs ready for the shop. I think the problem is that I don't watch enough TV- all the time I'm running around checking out dye buckets and sorting out excess craft room goods and messing about with paper scraps...I only watch about an hour of TV a day- that's with dinner!

I must remember to watch Oprah when she's on so I can get more stitching done. Oprah's a secret of mine- all my friends are into terribly cool things like Doctor Who, Firefly, Japanese anything...give me some Oprah. Most of my TV love is British (Nigella, Black Books, Grand Designs, Time Team (my beloved Tony Robinson!)), so Oprah is a nice change. And you have to admit, she's done some great things for the everyday people. She did a show about hoarding not too long ago that Donna blogged about recently; I have things to talk about regarding my own problem with hoarding/letting go, but not right now- this post is long enough!

So one more thing. Some pictures of one of the most precious items in our collection (and one of my favourite objects) , an over-repaired ladies corset:

This is what I'm trying to replicate when I stitch my cuffs in their 'dodgy' stitches. That sturdy, made-to-be-used, never to come undone style that things were repaired with in the 1930s. I'm fascinated by the ingenuity and just plain necessity of some of the make-do-and-mend objects I see; it's also a kind of macabre curiosity- I'm rather conspiracy-paranoid in that I feel there will come a dustbowl time again soon, and history will repeat itself.


High Desert Diva said...

Your dye jobs turned out really unique. I like that one can't quite tell which color it is...makes it more interesting.

That corset is so thick! I don't think I would have been able to tell what it was.

Mrs.French said...

So perfect!

Donna Layton said...

That corset is amazing. What a time worn item and I can see how it inspired your cuffs.
The dye bath success is awesome. I I do love those earthy colors that change as you move your eye across them. Like the floorboards of the carriage. I don't know what made you put those two dyes together. I wish I were that brave.