dyeing and unstitching the resists

On Saturday I finally got to dyeing the stitched samples I’ve been making as experiments with fabric manipulation and shibori patterns. I decided in the end to go with Procion dyes, because I have all the ingredients to hand already,  and I didn’t want to be experimenting with the dyeing part as well (although I ended up mixing methods in a bit of an ad hoc way, even so).

I soaked the stitched samples for half an hour in soda solution, then mixed up the dye – I was aiming for a rusty colour and I followed a suggestion in Tray Dyeing (by Claire Benn and Leslie Morgan) – 1 part Golden Yellow, 1 part Scarlet, 1/2 part Turquoise. It looked a bit brown so I added a little more of the red and yellow. I mixed it in a small bucket with salt solution and warm water and in went the samples. Then half an hour later I got cold feet about using a single colour and decided to tip the lot into a tray and splodge a bit of Marine Violet over it for good measure!

I wrapped it in towels as it’s a little chilly here and left it for about 6 hours before rinsing. At that point the samples looked so solidly dark I couldn’t believe that the stitching had actually resisted – I was quite prepared to open them up and find that the dye had seeped all the way through.

dyed resists before untying

But no, like magic, when the threads were snipped and unravelled there were patterns within!

removing the stitching and wrapping

dyed stitch resists

Unstitching the bundles took some time, and I’ve learned that it is not sensible to use a cotton thread that will end up the same colour as the fabric, and especially don’t do this when you have used overstitching and can’t just pull out the thread in one go! White (and even black) polyester thread was easy to see and much easier to remove.

I was glad of my small sketches of the original stitching – I knew I’d have forgotten by this time how I had made the different patterns. I like the wrapped effects, but I’m especially enchanted by the ghosts of stitches that are no longer there but have left their trace on the fabric.

embroidery stitch resists

I’ve uploaded more pics to Flickr, showing each of the samples on its own.