just different enough

Can’t say I have much experience dyeing silk and what few encounters I have had with it have been awkward. Mostly I’ve tried to dye silk noils. The little puff balls sit on top of the water and refuse to take up the dye. I know I ought to soak it first, but I just don’t. Add it to my list of personal failings. So when I decided I wanted to dye silk scarves, I can’t say for sure where the notion came from. Part of it was just that I’ve been seeing so many dyed fabrics lately. Dyed fabric has such a different look than dyed fiber. And I knew I wouldn’t have to buy different dyes. Plus I needed a change.

So I went to Dharma Trading and started looking at their wide variety of dyeables. Oh! But even better! I remembered that my dad had abandoned a box of silk scarves at our house some months ago. He hadn’t thought about them for this long, so why not go ahead and use them? As I opened the packages, I was delighted to find six. There were three small squares and three of varying large sizes. Since I had experience dyeing fabric and protein fibers, I figured I didn’t need to read any directions. Just go for it, right? I tied them up and left them in a pot of acid water to soak. When I was ready to dye them, I squeezed out the excess water, laid the bunched up scarves in a glass baking dish, and squirted the various colors around. Then I baked them for about 30 minutes. When they came out, I rinsed them in water before hanging them to dry. With the sun and breeze yesterday, it took just minutes! I’ll probably give them a proper Eucalan bath later.

I’ll admit, I got distracted. Playing with something new was much more exciting than dyeing yet more roving. I happily abandoned my pots on the stove to admire the scarves as they blew in the breeze. What am I going to do with these? Who cares? Everyone is getting a silk scarf for Christmas.

silk scarves


Home again from the annual time-traveling pilgrimage to Pennsic War in Slippery Rock, PA. Each year I long to continue that life when I return home, but it really is impossible. Stop pining away and enjoy it while you can! Purchases this year were typical: fabric, a few new pins, some trim. Nothing wildly exciting. I did splurge on a new card weaving book. When I first joined the SCA, I played around with card weaving a bit. Because I would tie the yarn to my belt for weaving, I found it difficult to travel (or answer the phone or get a snack). Eventually I purchased a small rigid heddle loom that removes these problems. About two years ago I bought a new pack of cards and this year I got a new book. It’s going to happen this time!

When we got home on Saturday, one of the first things I did was dig out my little loom. It was buried in the corner under about 10 fleeces. Since inkle bands are a little easier to jump into, I started with that as a refresher. The first one was rather wonky, the second looked better, and by the third, I wasn’t too bad. I’d like to get a little more consistent, and then I can weave my own trim and straps and thingies galore!

inkle bands
My ultimate goal is to make myself a new belt to fit the new buckle I bought from ThorThor’s Hammer (the best place ever!). In the SCA we tend to rely heavily on leather belts, turning them into the “Batman utility belt” with many pouches and dangly bits. I’m trying to get away from this and going towards a woven belt. Usually when I see them, they are tied in a big knot. I do not like this look. Why can’t I use a buckle? Who says they didn’t? Are there any definitive sources stating otherwise? I’m doing it. But not today.



festival follow-up

I feel inclined to do a follow-up post about the YSU Summer Festival of the Arts. Just before we went, I was so very excited. However, when I got home that enthusiasm had waned considerably. First, the good parts. Our booth looked awesome! Amber and I worked very well together (by my estimation) and I think it showed. Since we both use each other’s products, we can talk about them with confidence. Her items went on the table since it was the most stable item in the tent, and I was able to test out my clothesline display along with all my new signs and photos (that I am quite sure no one noticed).

Summer Festival of the Arts
Saturday started out hot and it stayed that way all day. Everyone who came into the tent let us know that it was hot in there (which of course we knew) and eventually we lifted the side walls to get some breeze. It did help, but nothing can stop the sun when it is determined to bake you alive inside a polyester bag. Overall the traffic was slow, but we remained optimistic.

Summer Festival of the Arts
Sunday presented new problems. Instead of blistering heat, we had WIND! and RAIN! and wind and rain together! When I arrived Sunday morning, I found that my shelves had been knocked over, so I set them back up. While I was out visiting, they fell over again. It would become a reoccurring drama throughout the day. “Oh, don’t mind me. I’m just standing in front of this shelf so it doesn’t fall over.”

Summer Festival of the Arts
Eventually when the rain came in earnest, we had a serious problem. The roof was sagging at the corners allowing water to pool and then fall straight through onto my goods. Luckily wool is water repellent, so nothing was seriously damaged, even the tags remained whole. But two hours before closing, I was ready to call it quits. Thankfully the table with Amber’s items was safe, so we moved it out to the edge of the tent and soldiered on. By the end of the event our excitement had literally been dampened. However, we experienced a harrowing adventure together and came out stronger on the other side!

Summer Festival of the Arts