felting, natural dyeing tutorials, learn to felt step by step beginners experienced feltmakers

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Water - An Etsy Treasury

My waterfall scarf is included in this beautiful etsy treasury made by seragun. (Check out her shop by clicking on her name)
and be quick as it expires on Saturday 27 February 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Caring for naturally dyed fibres

Did you buy an item that has been dyed with natural dyes and you forgot how to care for your item? I will explain it here as good as I can.

Fibres dyed with natural dyes can change colour, depending on the pH level of the liquid in which is was dyed.


For example, this red nuno felt shawl is dyed with brazilwood after using a mordant of alum and cream of tartar, which makes the dyebath more acid. It creates a beautiful bright red. If I would put it into a bath that is even more acid, the colour would shift to orange. If I would add an alkaline modifier, such as baking soda for example, the colour turns more towards maroon. These changes are very exciting when we like them to occur.

But what if later on, we want to wash a felted scarf and we don't know whether the colour is going to be changed by the pH of the soap solution that we will be using for the washing? Very simple, either, wash it in just water or use a washing liquid that has a neutral pH, this means, pH 7.

To help you a bit, most dishwashing liquids are more or less neutral. Use a tiny bit of it in your washing water. DO NOT add lemon juice or vinegar to your washing water. If you are washing wool, felt included, make sure to treat it gentle and avoid moving and stirring.

Some colours are not at all sensitive to pH changes, such as indigo blue.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

cr8tivity widgets for etsy sellers

Maybe you have seen the new etsy widget with the scrolling images in the left sidebar?
This new widget is from cr8tivity. If you are an etsy seller you can get your own, just type in your username and get your widget. You can choose between widgets with 1,2 or 3 pictures showing at the same time.

Celeste from Cricketscreations made a very detailed tutorial about how to add the widgets to your blog:

Cooling down

Too hot outside!

Does anyone see me?

Let's have a nap.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Underwater Movement

Staying in the water theme (we are in the wet season in Far North Queensland), here is another new felt art work, "Underwater Movement", a totally intuitive creation.
I used many different textile techniques in here: felting, crochet, embroidery, sculpting, fabric manipulation... and the freeform, free everything spirit.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Water and Fire - Felt Art Poncho

This Water and Fire Felt Art Poncho tells a story. Water and Fire, two of the four basic elements, interact and create lots of sparks and splutter. To express this, I used organic merino wool, silk threads, silk fabric and wool yarn, dyed with natural dyes.

Have a look at the beautiful play of the orange red, purple, brown and green.

The movement of the flames is enhanced by hand and machine embroidery.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Treasury: SHE knows her BARGAINS

Here is a lovely treasury made by allthesethings for those who are looking for sales. I have a few items on sale in my etsy shop and just found out that my Blue Curled Short Sleeved Jacket is in it.

Check out the treasury here:

Be quick because it expires on February 9.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sunshine Blog Award

I thank Sara so much for nominating me for this blog award on her blog: http://sarastexturecrafts.blogspot.com/

This is very inspiring for me and was a nice surprise!

The idea of the Sunshine Award is that it is awarded to bloggers whose positivity creativity inspires others in the blog world.

The rules for accepting this award are;

  1. Put the logo on your blog or within your post.

  2. Pass the award onto 12 bloggers.

  3. Link the nominees within your post.

  4. Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.

  5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

I found so many good blogs that this is really going to be a challenge. Here are some of my favorite fibre blogs:













Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dyeing with onion skins

Dyeing with onion skins is very rewarding, it yields beautiful golds and yellows. Onion skins are often used for dyeing, because they are easy to find, almost everyone uses onion on a regular basis.

I like to show you how I use them, which is one of the many different ways to dye with onion skins.

I keep all the skins when we use onions and put them in a little fruitnet or in a paper bag, so that the air can get to them and they dry in the bag. When I have collected enough onion skins, minimum 100g of onion skins for 100g of dry weigth of fibres, I get some wool or silk together and prepare it for dyeing. See my previous post:


A mordant is needed for the dye to fix well to the fibres. Mordants will help the fibres to absorb the dye and make them colour fast.

I use alum (aluminium potassium sulphate). You can find this salt in many pharmacies. If you are lucky like me, you might be able to find the natural rock alum. I am very happy with that and I use it in the same way.

After washing the fibres well, I fill my dye pot with enough water, so that the fibres can move loosely. ( you can use a pot in any material, it will though affect the end result; stainless steel is neutral and will not react with the fibres).

I weigh the alum; 10% of the dry weight of the fibres, if you are going to dye wool and 20% for silk; and dissolve into the water.

Time to put the fibres in the pot and heat them to just under boiling temperature. I leave it at that temperature for about an hour and than let it cool down slowly.

You can let it go to boiling temperature and simmer it for an hour.

I avoid that for the following reasons:

-silk looses some of its lustre when boiled.

-I often dye wool slivers for feltmaking and if I would simmer them, they are more prone to start felting already in the dyepot, which makes felting harder later on.

I turn off the heat source and let the fibres cool down in the pot. I usually leave them in the alum solution overnight, so that the alum can more penetrate into the fibres.

Meanwhile, I soak the onion skins in water overnight and bring to just under boiling temperature the next day. When the solution is cooled down, I pass it through a sieve, even through a cloth, so that no little pieces stay in the water and dirty the wool. I dry the onion skins and use them for a later dye bath, they will give off less colour though.

Now, I can add the fibres to the onion water and bring the temperature to just under boiling point, leaving it there for about 60 to 90 minutes. If you try this, make sure all the fibres are completely immersed in the water. I do not stir too much when I am dyeing wool slivers, when dyeing with silk, I stir now and than.

I usually leave the fibres in the dye bath overnight.

Rinse and dry.

The result of the silk dyed in the first dye bath.

Onion skins give a beautiful gold colour. It is possible to dye more fibre in the leftover dye bath, it just will produce a lighter colour.

This silk is dyed in the second dye bath and shows a much lighter colour.

Here are a few possibilities to alter the colour and get different colours out of one dye bath:

1. alum mordant

2. alum mordant and put into a solution of washing soda after the dyeing.

3. alum mordant and put into iron water made with rusted nails, the colour gets more green if it is left in there for longer

4. is number 3 put into a solution of washing soda afterwards.

This shows how we can modify the colour by altering the pH. Adding lemon juice or vinegar will turn the wool more yellow. It is fun to play with these possibilities.



LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs