According to Dominique Cardon, a common recipe for red in the 1700s was to dye first with madder, and then overdye with cochineal. Cochineal gives a luscious color but was quite expensive. Using this recipe, very little cochineal is needed. I used this recipe to dye the silk for the sash, hoping for a color that is very close to the original.
Madder is quite sensitive to temperature. Too hot and the color shifts to an orange brown. I kept a thermometer in the pot to keep tabs on the temperature.
The skein looks dark here, but the color is always more intense when wet and in the pot. I had several little sample pieces that I could take out and quickly dry to check the color.
Now I wait for the skein to dry. Tomorrow I’ll set the warp on my frame.
My most recent excitement comes from SUCCESS in a ‘sprang’ experiment. I have been intrigued by images in Peter Collingwood’s book The Techniques of Sprang. Diamond and zigzag patterns in sashes pictured there are pretty straight forward. I’ve developed a method for mapping out the patterns on graph paper, then translating the graphs to written patterns, such as 6 singles, 1 double, 4 singles, etc.
The challenge to myself was to work out the pattern for the two-headed eagle from the 1700 Dutch piece at the back of the book.
I am Thrilled to report that my experiment was a success!
The material is a medium silk cord from Treenway’s. I dyed it with a ‘plum’ Landscapes dye. I will bring this piece along with me to Mississinewa 1812 in Marion, Indiana, this October. Stop by and have a look.
Now I didn’t start out with this piece. I’ve been working on this mapping and pattern-writing technique for sprang, creating ‘neck scarfs’.
Folks might want to know, the sprang always wants to curl at first (the red and yellow one at the top of the picture). I find that if I wash it, and pat it flat, and leave it to dry, then it ‘forgets’ the need to curl.
Guess it’s been a while since I’ve blogged, and there are a few other things to report.
I attended the Manitoba Living History Society’s Fall Gathering, September 5 to 7.
I had prepared some indigo dye and took advantage of the space and time to dye some two dozen skeins, mostly white, but some were yellow. As predicted, they came out a variety of blues and greens.
A magic transformation as they emerge from the pot, changing from yellow to green to bright blue, it was lovely to see.
and then it immediately starts turning blue
By the end of the weekend I had a lovely set of blues
On Sept 12, a new park was dedicated to the honor of a locally prominent Métis, Elzéar Goulet. What an honor to see my sashes all around. Of the 6 sashes visible in this photo, I had a hand in the creation of 4 of them.
As well, I’ve been busy on my loom. A desperate call from a friend, the need for a sash for another inductee into an esteemed position, requiring another sash:
Working on a woven silk ‘officer’s sash’.
I’ll be in Marion, Indiana, Oct 10 to 12 for Mississinewa 1812.
November 7 to 9, I’ll be in Thunder Bay, Ontario, for the NAVC Fall Gathering.
Meanwhile, there will be another ‘Beginning Fingerweaving’ class at the Musée de St Boniface Museum, starting Sunday afternoons. Contact the Musée for further information.