Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Scarf from the merino tops & silk dyed in buckthorn bark

Buckthorn bark. This is still happily fermenting away and is currently dyeing some yarn for a friend. She is keen on tapestry weaving and over the past few months I have popping yarn into pots for her. Altogether the 100g of buckthorn bark fermented in wood ash lye has dyed 200g of merino tops, a length of silk and about 50g of yarn. The length of silk , satin chiffon and some of the merino tops has now been been turned into a scarf. Inthe photograph on the left you see the felt side which is made with mostly the merino tops dyed in the buckthorn bark although there are some other colours and a very red silk cap layer. The silk became quite orange during the felting process. I call this scarf felted silk but you will sometime see it described as Nuno felt, from , I understand , Japanese meaning new. Although I have been felting silk for ages the process still seems like magic. You lay out on one side of the silk fabric a very fine layer of merino wool in this case with fine layers of silk caps ( raw silk) on top of the wool . After spraying the wool with water and rubbing with olive oil soap, you gently rub the single layer of wool fibres. The wool fibres push through the silk fabric and appear as a fine froth on the reverse side of the silk and as you continue felting the wool starts to shrink. The silk of course does not shrink so begins to wrinkle. In this scarf I achieved a seersucker like effect which is really attractive. ( At least I think so)

The person who commissioned the scarf wanted on that was dyed in autumn colours and I felt very happy with the result. I wish you could feel the texture as the combination of satin chiffon and merino wool is really soft and comfortable and the satin sid eof the silk fabric has a high sheen. In fact it was because I was wearing a scarf made from this combination that she asked me to make two scarves for her. The other one was blue but the time was so tight for getting it for her I did not have time to photograph it.