Wednesday, 20 August 2008

The long overdue madder experiments

On Saturday I started the mordanting marathon. I'd hoped to get it all done then, but no such luck. About eight of the eleven batches were done on Saturday, the rest were finished on Sunday morning.

Of course I then managed to come down with a nasty cold and spent the rest of the day in bed with a fever, so no madder for me. So all I could hope for was that I'd be feeling better enough sometime during the week to spend a few hours dyeing after work - before the damp, mordanted wool had been sitting around for too long.

Today, I had a stroke of luck (if you could call it that...). I'd had basically no sleep the night before from being sick, so was not awake enough to go to work. Really, this meant a day of sitting around not doing much - but sticking a pot on the stove and vaguely poking at it every now and then isn't too energetic, is it?

And so the actual step of making things change colour begins...

First madder bath has taken place. I managed to pick the correct order of increasing mordant for the first six by eye, the last six (10% up) all looked much the same.

Pictures this weekend I guess, by which time the other baths should also have happened.

I apologise for any incoherence, my brain is full of cold and sleep deprivation.

Rough outline of experiment:
Wind many many (36) little skeins of wool (15m of lace weight wool each, approx 1.6g)
Organise into bundles of 3 (5g each) for mordanting
Mordant with the following percentages of potassium alum sulphate (by weight) for half an hour:
0%, 1%, 2.5%, 5%, 7.5%, 10%, 12.5%, 15%, 20%, 25%, 30%, 50%

Reorganise into 3 sets of skeins, one of each mordant batch in each set.
Put water, 1/2C of vinegar in pot, heat to 70 degrees C
Put in 10g of madder, hold at temp for 10 minutes.
Add one set of skeins, hold at temp for 45 minutes
Remove skeins, top up water lost through evaporation and reheat to 70 degrees C
Add second set of skeins for 45 minutes
Repeat with third set.

In theory, there should now be lots of skeins in varying shades of pink/orange

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Napkin photos!

I spent this morning hanging out at the local guild meeting, hemming napkins. I have now hemmed 3.5 of 6, and hope to finish the rest off tonight.

And then, when I got home I remembered I was supposed to take photos. And so, without any further ado, here they are:

The "right" side:

Close up showing the diamonds in a (possibly) slightly less eye-watering way:

And with a folded corner to show the pattern on the back:

Not sure what the next project is - I've got too many things I want to try, choosing one is kind of tricky. (Actually, I think my next project might be to build a warping board - there's a limit to how much I can do on my inkle loom...)

Wednesday, 13 August 2008


Napkin weaving was completed on Monday. There are six napkins, four of which are exactly the same size, one slightly shorter and one slightly longer. I think for a first attempt on this loom (and first attempt at all for a while) I didn't do too badly, especially since I was beating entirely by eye/feel rather than measuring.

They have been washed and are currently drying, then they just need to be hemmed.

Will make sure I get photos in the weekend (when I have actual daylight).

Friday, 8 August 2008

Inaugural posting

I decided I wanted somewhere specifically for keeping track of textile stuff. Thus, Insanity Looms was born.

Textile projects currently being worked on:

On the loom I have a set of four napkins. The first four are woven, I just need to do the hemstitching on the last end. I appear to have plenty of warp left, so I think it may turn into a set of five - after all, you can never have too many napkins...

I haven't taken any photos since I was about half way through the first one, so here is a gratuitous partially woven napkin.


On the knitting front I'm working on a pair of socks (no pictures of these at all, they'll probably be finished by the time I get that far)

And on the dyeing scene I've got a zillion little skeinlets wound up to do some samples with, but that won't be getting done until next weekend.