Tuesday, 31 May 2011
This morning the vat is cold but still at pH 11, so I will try again but it won't be till this evening. In our south west facing, double glazed conservatory, it may well warm up by itself during the course of the day.
Monday, 30 May 2011
This afternoon I made the vat according to Garcia (his proportions, my quantities):
1 teaspoon of indigo - I used Pure Tinctoria powdered extract
2 teaspooons of calcium hydroxide
3 teaspoons of fructose
The teaspoons were level and the vat is a large Kilner Jar.
The pH was 11, as recommended by Garcia
Within 10 minutes the vat had gone from grey through green to yellow
By 25 minutes, there was blue foam forming on the top and a coppery scum developing - much like my rising levels of excitement!
After 30 minutes the foam had turned dark blue
Left: Vat at 25 mins, Right at 45 mins containing cotton
At 45 minutes, the vat should be ready, according to the instructions. The pH was still 11 and remained at that level throughout the dye session.
I put in a cotton wool ball and a piece of cotton in the vat which now had the sherry colour that one expects from woad
The first dip, airing
Third dip for cotton and second for linen
All in all, very successful and the vat is by no means exhausted, so I will go on until one of us gives up! What I'm not sure about is how to revive such a vat - there's no problem with reviving more usual vats. I warm them up, correct the alkalinity and put some reducing agent in and they come round. This will need some experimentation, I think
Sunday, 22 May 2011
I have moved one lot of moths from the breeding cage - they have all sacrificed their lives for the future generation as is the way with moths - and put the eggs in a quiet place to hatch. I will have to transfer a bumper population of a.pyrni into the mating cage, though some are already enthusiastically creating the next lot of babies! It never ceases to amaze me how powerful the mating urge is but I suppose if you only metamorphasise in order to produce fertile eggs, it wouldn't be much use to spend your short life with a headache...As the photo shows, the male is in great demand! Not sure if you can see from the photo but he has three ladies in the queue!
Friday, 20 May 2011
Saturday, 7 May 2011
Wednesday, 4 May 2011
There is so much to say that I think it will gradually emerge over the next few postings, but I had the opportunity to meet two of my dye extract suppliers, Andi from Renaissence Dyes and Patrick from Coleurs de Plantes, and even better, to go to Coleurs de Plantes premises and see for myself the care that is taken in producing these extracts - no synthetics used, just plant material and drying techniques. I watched Yoshika Wada make resist paste from rice bran, tried to see Michel Garcia's indigo vat but the crowd was too deep (got the recipe, though!), have a tiny piece of silk dyed with shellfish purple extract during a demonstration with Dr Takako Terada from Kwassui Women's University in Japan, made a piece of marbled indigo on silk...some much to do and so nice to meet up with friends old and new, and put faces to people only known up to now online.
Links to sites I enjoy
- Creative Spinning