New Dye Batch and Updates

This morning I set up the first Dye Batch for the SoHo Nights piece that I am planning on weaving on Grendel, as soon as I finish the blanket. SoHo Nights will be a Theo Moorman double weave, and I am using the double weave to help create an underlying grid. The grid will consist of 3″ x 3″ squares that will serve as an organizing principle for the piece. By organizing principle, I mean a design structure/element that all color and design in the piece will be influenced by. In this case the grid dimensions will signal shifts of color, line and warp layers. I’ve divided the warp for both layers into sections of color that reflect the color shifts between the layers and the grid lines:

Layer 2
Layer 1

Each vertical column represents 3″ of warp or 3 warp bundles. Today I dyed the lighter blue bundles using a low water immersion technique culled and modified from the pages of Paula Burch’s excellent dye website:

Because I’m working with 240/2 silk , 15″ of warp or 15 warp bundles at 180 epi take up very little room and I’m able to squish all of the warp chains into a canning jar:

For the initial dye color I used 1 cup of cool water with ~ .5 tablespoon of urea and 2 teaspoons of Cerulean Blue effectively cutting Paula Burch’s recipe in half. The urea got pretty clumpy when I went to mix it, but I managed. The cerulean mixture covered a little over half of the warp:

I started kicking myself as soon as I added the second dye for not giving the Cerulean Blue enough time to be absorbed by the silk. As a dyer, a lack of patience is my biggest weakness. However, I suspect the Cerulean Blue will be a little too bright for the piece, so if I end up over-dyeing the fiber because of a lack of dye coverage it won’t be the end of the world.

For the second dye bath, I mixed 1 tsp of soda ash and 1 tablespoon of urea in 1 cup of warm water. Then added 2 tsp of Dusty Purple. The purple took a few seconds to fully dissolve and I’m a little concerned that it may have bonded with the water before I could introduce it to the fiber. After pouring the Dusty Purple mixture into the container I sealed it. It will sit overnight 🙂

I think I prefer the approach of adding both dye baths and leaving them over night to be absorbed into the fiber before adding the dye activator. But we’ll see what the results are when I rinse the warp chains tomorrow.

On other fronts, thanks to my wonderful husband and step-son the attic is cleaned out and waiting for the contractors to come create my studio space:

Abbe’s socks were finished in time for the holidays:

And, finally, I am slowly getting to know Grendel. Right before the holiday I had finally started on the blanket and I’m heading back to it today 🙂

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