One of the reasons I so admire Gene Shepherd’s work, is his amazing use of colour. I am instinctively a monochromatic person, but I’m determined to learn, and push the boundaries of my knowledge and imagination regarding the use of colour. I think that’s why I have been rather disappointed with my dyeing to date for Hygieia. It was only variations of two colours. I’ve spent time staring at the details of the painting, and trying to analyse the actual colours in the folds and curves of the fabrics. Then I had to decide how I could merge these colours seamlessly into my hooking, what colours to try, and how to dye them.
I decided to use the pale yellow cashmere jacket I found at Good Will and use the ‘ordered pancake’ dye technique. By roughly laying the pieces over other wool, I decided I had about a yard of fabric. I re-watched Gene’s video, and set out with my fingers crossed, to create something beautiful (I hoped).
I settled on 6 colours: (all pro chem) poppy red, red, paprika, raspberry, mahogany, and mustard, and made up a dye bath for each using 1/8 tsp. dye in 1 1/2 cbw….plus a little vinegar in each one.
Since I was using odd shaped pieces from the jacket, I cut the larger pieces to fit my pan, and for the last layers, used several of the smaller pieces in one layer.
With the first layer in the pan, I spooned on the colours in splotches, making sure it was entirely covered.
I did this for each successive layer, but kept each colour in the same general position each time (raspberry – top right, mahogany – bottom right etc. I added water to the dye baths as I got near the last layers, spooned dye from the edges to help blur the edges, and added a bit of water to the surface, when I wanted it a bit lighter.
I think I had about 10 or 12 layers, but I didn’t count them.
Ray helped me pour off the excess dye, keeping the wool in place so it didn’t slide out of the pan. Then I added white vinegar around the edges, and some water so it wouldn’t boil dry. I covered it with tin foil, and simmered on the stove (I used 2 burners) for 1 hour.
This is what I ended up with…….that’s more like it!