Fabric Dyeing with Edwina Mackinnon – Part 2

A couple of weeks ago, I had an excellent day dyeing fabrics with Birmingham Embroiderers’ Guild. Edwina Mackinnon led the workshop, teaching us how to achieve lovely effects with procion dyes. This post has the finished fabrics.

We started by dyeing a colour spectrum. As this post was likely to be very pic heavy, I created some slideshows instead:

Most of the techniques involved mixing dyes in various proportions in sequential bags, and adding fabrics scrumpled to get these lovely patterns.

The next set of fabrics I dyed was with complimentary colours, on a scale from fuchsia to green:

My favourite technique was this colour family dyeing one, where we added one colour of dye, allowed it to fix for a while, then rearranged the fabric, and poured a second colour in. This took in different places, so produced lovely crystal-like patterns:

We also did some folds to use up leftover dyes.
Folded into a square and dipped in dyes:

Folded into a long thin concertina, rolled up into a pinwheel, and then dipped in one colour of dye, with others poured on top.

Randomly scrumpled, dipped in one colour with another poured on top.

The last piece I did was plow dyeing, tightly pleating fabrics to get these strong patterns.

It was excellent fun, and I love the fabrics I made.

Frantic Printing and Dyeing

I’m spending Saturday and Sunday with Hilary Beattie, helping her with her gallery stand at the Knitting and Stitching show. It’s likely that we’ll spend the quieter times colouring in our sketchbooks. There’s only one problem; I have not printed anything in so long, that I have coloured pretty much everything I had printed. Cue some frantic printing tonight. I found some jug stencils I had cut but not used yet, so now I have some lovely jug pages. I didn’t get any photos of them because I was working really quickly to fit the printing in before my husband dished up our tea.

The coffee pots made an appearance too.

After dinner I sploshed some dye around, and got quite a few hopefully gorgeous pages ready to go. As I set off at just gone 6 tomorrow morning, the books are all propped open and drying, I hope they will be dry in time!

I also printed another page in an altered board book I am working on, including some prints with my 4″ round Gelli plate, which is utterly yumbo! I think the dye on his page looks like a friendly monster waving… can anyone say “Rorschach test”?

Anyway, time for sleep, as my train leaves in 8.5 hours…

Bumble Hole Mini Quilt

I have put together a (mostly) textile collage, with fabrics I printed based on Bumble Hole nature reserve. Here it is as a I put it together layer by layer:

The crackle print and butterflies are printed on deli paper, they add a lovely contrast to knock back the main colours.

I didn’t bond the main focal point images of Cobb’s Engine house down, as I prefer to do the background quilting without needing to work round the focal points.
These are the threads I used to quilt it; the yellow is a lovely King Tut, and the other two are Madeira:

Here’s the quilting I did, all in one day! The zigzags are done with the foot on, the rest was free-motion stitched.

I’m pleased with the quilting, my travelling stitches are getting better.

I had to dye one of the background pieces to go along with the collage, as I didn’t have enough comparatively plain fabrics:

I put my sketchbook with Bumble Hole images in it under the fabric while it was drying, and also pressed the wet roll of fabric on the page, so a I got these lovely serendipitous spirals and drips:

Coffee Pots: Print and Dye

Yesterday, I made some coffee pot stamps to go with the stencils. They are both double sided, with the positive image on one side, and the negative on the other:  

This morning I cut a couple of word stencils to go with the coffee pots; milk and coffee in Italian:   

Trying them out with dabbers:


I did some printing with them and the stamps:


The Gelli plate prints were sometimes a bit indistinct, whereas I liked the crisp lines of the directly printed stencils, so I combined them both:   


I love the way that dye transforms prints. I had about 6 sketchbooks on the go, so I have lots of lovely prints to work into in the evenings ahead.


Some of the pages in my small sketchbook:


I made this zigzag book and card to use as tip ins in my sketchbooks:


And I started decanting my dyes into pots that are all the same size.  Previously they were in miscellaneous jam jars, which got me going using dyes, but wasn’t good for easy storage:

A lovely, long day of making.

Turners Hill TV Transmitter

The Embroiderers’ Guild West Midlands Regional Day competition this year is Within 1000 Footsteps, drawing inspiration from the local area. I live within walking distance of Turners Hill, near Dudley, which many Black Country folk will know because of its distinctive TV transmitter:


I cut a stencil mask of it, and a couple of stamps (both positive and negative) of the daisies which cover the nearby Darbys Hill in summer.

First I printed in my sketchbook, using the mask to print both negative images as normal, and positive ones, by rolling firmly over it onto other pages once it had paint on it.

I then went on to printing on fabric:

I worked into the sketchbook pages with gelatos, getting to know the colours better:

I also over dyed the background for this, my competition entry:

Sadly, when pressing it, I scorched it:

Gelatos to the rescue! They are opaque, so covered the scorch well:

I’m now working on adding hand stitching to the flowers, so I’ll share progress soon.

My WordPress app kept crashing whenever I added pictures to a blog post, but that seems to be fixed now, so hopefully I can get back to blogging more regularly.

More dyeing

I dyed three of the fabric lengths today. As I’d run out of violet dye, I dyed the purple printed fabric and remaining purple papers:


A close up of the gorgeous colours:  


Here is one of the prints on paper.

I need to mix up a new batch of violet dye, finish dyeing the yellow printed pages, and then I can get on with composing some pieces.


Just add dye…

I added some dye to the papers I have been printing, using orange, violet, fig, pink, coral sand and yellow dyes:

The dye really lifts pale and faint prints. From this…

To this…

The dye is really lovely over the Rollagraph prints:

It also works well over faint prints, these are the remnants of paint on a stencil, applied to a piece of paper with a brayer:

This is my printing by the end of the session. I’ve got some lovely coordinating papers to work into:

I also have these 6 metre long lengths of fabric, which I didn’t dye tonight. I will have to dye those soon:



I’ve finally taken the plunge and started dyeing background papers.

I’ve spent two evenings at it, and made about 30 dyed papers. The colours are wonderful and they mix beautifully.

 Evening one – deep turquoise, fig, slate blue and orange:   

This camping washing line is really handy. I just need to make sure the papers aren’t dripping when I hang them:


I love the way this one turned out:

Evening 2 –  violet, pine green, hot pink, turquoise, and I added orange to pep it up.

These coordinating background papers will be a great resource for future collages, and it’s a lovely relaxing process.

More Photos from the Stitch Retreat

I have found some more photos I took at the stitch retreat, on my phone, so I thought I’d share them here.

Hilary brought her shop with her, look at all the wonderful products we had a chance to play with and buy:



My focal point images, before over dyeing…


And after…


Mustn’t get the dye and the Jack Daniels muddled…


My lovely messy creative work table:


Overdyeing on fabric with purple and green lumiere paint underneath:


The results of an evening’s efforts:



On Saturday, I decided to print on my hoodie. I got a white one for Christmas in the hope that I could print on it so it started to look like my print table.  Unfortunately, all I’d managed to get on it so far was a bit of tomato sauce and a spot of biro, despite wearing it for two print and dye sessions.

I set it up on my table and used the mini gelli plate to print patterns on the back:




Another creative work area during the composition exercises:


As I’ve already mentioned, wine featured rather heavily on the Saturday night, and apparently I felt the need to take several in progress shots of it!

A glass of each at dinner!


The wine we brought back from dinner:


Back at my work table:


Late night colouring in progress: