Slow progress

Life has been, um, interesting of late. Family has needed my attention, and since I moved to Rochester to be closer to them, I’m happy to be able to offer my assistance.

I have, however, not been able to weave much. Or dye much. Fortunately, that’s all okay. I was well prepared in advance of my July show, hoping to be ready for my late August show in Buffalo as well. And I am.

I just really wanted to make 1-2 more mobis. I got a red gradient tencel warp on the loom. Using the truism that black intensifies color, I wove the first length with a black tencel warp. Meh. That’s my reaction to the piece.

handwoven mobius wrap in reds and black

I definitely wanted to brighten it up for the second piece. I didn’t have enough a decent red in tencel, so went with a mercerized cotton. I also changed the tie up and treadling for this wrap. I really like it. This one is a bit heavier than the black because of the cotton, but that’s okay with me.

handwoven mobius in reds

Some national magazine that I don’t get but occasionally see at a doctor’s office or similar has what I think is a regular feature called something like, ‘who wears it better?’ So here are Dolly (on the left) and Lady Jane (on the right). Who wears it better? In my head it’s not a fair contest since I am so much fonder of the red mobi, but maybe you won’t feel the same.

2 handwoven mobius in reds

FYI – because I know you all want to know every detail of my business (LOL) – Lady Jane won’t be invited to any future outdoor shows. She was a bit of a problem at Chautauqua in July. It didn’t take much of a breeze for her to wobble and threaten to crash to the ground. I could, theoretically, put a bunch of weight on her base, but I won’t; at least not in August. In addition to the breeze issue, she takes up a lot of room in the booth. And since I can bring my shibori-dyed socks and scarves, I’ll have plenty of things to display beyond my handwoven items. On Monday I tagged and labelled all my dyed socks, including those ice-dyed socks I did last winter. Unbelievably I have 39 pairs of socks. 39 pairs! Certainly a sufficiency of socks. I have some display ideas in my head, but won’t know how it’ll actually work till I’m at the Elmwood Avenue Arts Festival on August 24 & 25.

2 more batches of socks

I like the socks I hand painted in soft green and blue, although to my mind they are not as unique or as fun as the shibori socks.

hand painted blue and green socks

For this next batch of socks I wanted red. But I got dark orange. Unlike 99% of my photos of red things, these socks look more red in the photo than they do in real life.

not-red shibori dyed socks

I’ve exchanged emails with the dye company. Understandably, their dyes can be expected to hold their color for 2 years. Mine are 3 years old. And in my experience reds are problematic colors anyway. I’ve ordered new red dyes.

Here’s a pair of the orange I previously dyed and the not-red ones for comparison.

comparison of orange and not-red socks

So here’s a question for my readers: should I –

(1) leave as is with lots of socks very close in color?
(2) overdye the not-red with yellow?
(3) overdye the not-red with the new red?
(4) attempt to create a burgundy with the new dyes and overdye with that?

I’d love your input!

Lots more socks

I’ve been having fun shibori-dyeing socks. Been doing one or two batches a day. 🙂 Without further ado, here are my results since last post, in the order in which I dyed them.

I really like this blue. And I’m very fond of how those circles from the cones are showing up on the darker value socks!
blue shibori-dyed socks

The maroon? It’s okay. I sort of wanted more of a burgundy. And that orange? I wanted more red-orange. But both are okay. My attempt to create a flower with the layout of these socks was a fail.

maroon and orange shibori-dyed socks

These grape socks are big winners for me. For the infant and toddler socks I used marbles and rubber bands to create those circles. Time consuming, but very fun when done.

shibori-dyed grape socks

This dark turquoise batch worked well. I overdyed those snake-dyed-then-zigzag-painted socks. They won’t ever be my favorites, but they no longer embarrass me. The infant socks will get overdyed as there’s too much white for my taste.

turquoise shibori-dyed socks

I’ve got 2 more batches in the finishing stages before I can share them. Although I still have 8 more pairs of socks that can be dyed, I’m a little burned out on it for now, and will go back to the loom for a while.

Sage socks

I came back from the Chautauqua show pleased with my sales. I know I want to make a few more mobius before my next show, but I have 5 weeks+, so I’m not pressured.

I spent Monday basically resting and recovering, physically and mentally. On Tuesday I put everything away and thought about my next move. I decided I wanted to dye a mess of socks next. I actually managed to remember to photograph the various steps in this process.

First I scoured the socks to make sure there were no oils or residue from spinning on the fabric. I actually did this before the show.
scouring socks in preparation for dyeing

Then on Wednesday I scrunched the socks on old plastic yarn cones and used carpet warp to tightly tie the socks. I used 90 winds of cotton around each cone. This is my interpretation of a shibori wrap technique.

Truth be told, I forgot to take the photo yesterday. This is from today, when I decided to try to wrapping a pair with Sugar & Cream yarn to see if the thickness of the yarn had an impact on the finished product. Also, yesterday I wrapped one pair of socks without a cone to see what that would do, and they’re obviously not in this photo.

socks wrapped on plastic tubes for dyeing

After that the wrapped socks went into the dye bath. For this batch I used 1.5 teaspoons intense blue dye and .25 teaspoon golden yellow. There’s a process for the dye bath of stirring constantly for at least 10 minutes, then stir frequently for at least 10 minutes, then stir occasionally for at least 10 minutes, etc., till the socks have been in the dye bath for at least an hour. For me, that translates to a lot of trips up and down my basement stairs after the first 10+ minutes, since I can’t just sit down there with nothing to do. OCD, you know. 😉

green socks in the dye bath

After an hour of that, the socks come out of the dye bath. In this image you can see those long snake-like socks that I wrapped off the cones.

One by one the cones are run under water, and when the water is mostly running clear I carefully snip the knot and unwrap the string to reveal the sock. This is always exciting for me.

green socks fresh from the dye bath

Now the socks go into the washer and dryer, and only after that will I know the depth of color I achieved. Here are all the socks. There are 3 pairs of bamboo socks, one pair of cotton socks, and one pair of footie socks. Those pair with lots of white on the left side of the image are the snake wrapped socks. They’re the only ones I’m not happy with. But I’m really pleased with the socks that were on the cones with round holes. They have circles of color where the dye went through to the sock from the inside of the cone, as well as the shibori effect from the dye on the outside of the cone.

green socks, dried

Here are the snake socks, top and bottom.

snake-wrapped socks, top and bottom

I decided I’d try something with them. I prepared them for hand painting and stretched them over pool noodles so the dye that I applied next would remain only where I put it; it would not soak through to the other side. My plan was to mix some dark blue dye and put it in a squeeze bottle, applying it in a zigzag in the white part of the sock.

Well. I did not have the kind of control I’d envisioned with that bottle. In my head it would be like applying ketchup. In real life, not so much. The dye is like water, so as soon as I tipped the bottle, dye came zooming out. I therefore wasn’t able to achieve what I’d intended. Sigh.

snake socks with zigzag

Hand painted socks need to batch overnight at 70 degrees or more. Since it’s 90+ today, I decided outside in the sun was perfect. They went into my garage overnight.

snake socks batching

Tomorrow I’ll rinse, wash, and dry them and decide if they’re worthy of being sold.

Today I did a batch of socks in blue. Tomorrow I plan to do burgundy.

One more thing

How is there always one more thing? I realized I never showed you my pin loom mug rugs.

pin loom mug rugs

All were woven with wool on my 4″ vintage Weave-It loom. The 6 on the bottom row hadn’t yet been fulled when I took this photo.  And somehow 2 of the completed ones didn’t make the picture.  So I have 26 completed mug rugs.  4 will be a hostess gift, along with a towel and some jam, for the friends that are gracious enough to host my stay on the grounds of Chautauqua Institute every year.

I have no clue if people will buy them…only time will tell.