Teaching

In Hope of Inspiring Others

I was invited by a friend who is a member of the NSW Knitters Guild, Queanbeyan chapter to come and talk at their meeting about Natural Dyeing and give a demonstration. It was lovely talking to fellow lovers of yarn and sharing what I have learned. Amazingly I even came away a winner, which I was totally chuffed about!

I thought I'd share with you the results of my demonstrations and take this opportunity to thank the Queanbeyan Group, NSW Knitters Guild for having me. I hope I have inspired some of you to look differently at some of your pantry items and think about carrying secateurs as well as knitting needles on your person... just in case!

The following experiments are all done with 50 grams of wool.


Eucalyptus

I wanted to demo dyeing with Eucalyptus because the results are almost always guaranteed and unexpected for those new to natural dyeing.

Simmer leaves for approx. 25 minutes before adding wet yarn.Simmer for a further 30- 45 minutes or until desired colour is reached. Make sure your yarn is fully immersed and gently move your yarn around during this time to ensure even dyeing.


Black Beans

For this experiment I wanted to achieve a darker blue than I have got in previous attempts with black turtle beans so I intensified the quantities.

300 grams of black beans soaked overnight in 1 litre of water. Carefully drain off the bean water into a jar trying not to disturb the beans too much. Then add 1 desert spoon of Alum, stir then soak overnight, stirring every now and then.


Tumeric resist

I wanted to try some resist techniques on yarn dyeing, so for this experiment I tied off sections of my skein with florists tape before dyeing the yarn.

It was simply turmeric powder from the supermarket simmered in about 1.5 litres of water for about 20 minutes. No mordant.


Beetroot powder from Aldi

I picked up some Beetroot powder from Aldi supermarket recently, it has the same ingredients listed as the Natural Beet powder from Kraftkolour, Beta vulgaris. The Aldi powder is paler in colour so I was interested to see what the results would be.

On the day we did a ball dyed experiment with the Aldi beetroot powder.

In a small saucepan with about 1 .5 litres of water, 1 teaspoon of iron and 2 desert spoons of the beet powder simmered for approx. 20 minutes.

The results were very interesting although I suspected a little tainted because I had just used the same saucepan to simmer the Tumeric in and I think it needed a better clean out with a scourer before it was used again. Having said that I quite liked the results which I called "cotton candy" but my partner said "No, it's Neapolitan, like the ice cream!" I think his name is better.

I did some further experiments with the Aldi Beet powder the next day.

  • Test 1- 1 desert spoon of Alum, 1 desert spoon of beet powder.

Simmer (do not boil)  in about 1.5 litres of water for approx. 20 minutes.

  • Test 2- 1/2 teaspoon of iron, 1 desert spoon of beet powder, 20mls of vinegar.

Simmer (do not boil) in about 1.5 litres of water for approx. 20 minutes.

  • Test 3- The softly, softly approach.

In a jar place 1.5 desert spoons of Alum, 1/2 desert spoon of beet powder, 20mls vinegar and about 1 litre of warm water. Mix well then add wet yarn. Leave for at least 4 hours.

 

From top to bottom- tests 1, 2, 3 Aldi Beet powder.

I will be interested to see what the colourfastness of these is like, only time will tell.

A Country Practice.

Recently I was welcomed again by the Harden Murrumurrah Arts Council to teach a day workshop. There group meets in the old courthouse building with its official looking exterior and cedar doors and paneling throughout, I often wonder what stories of times past it could tell.

It is wonderful to find that small rural centres have active and thriving Arts councils.  They provide opportunities for people in their communities to learn wide ranging skills and brings them together to create Artistic practice and adds to the cultural history of rural areas.

 Old court House, Murrumburrah N.S.W

Old court House, Murrumburrah N.S.W

It was lovely to be invited back for a second time by the Harden Murrumburra Arts council to share a day of watercolour painting and meet some very warm welcoming people.

We spent the morning learning some basic watercolour painting techniques and the afternoon applying and experimenting with what they had learned.