Thursday, September 17, 2009

Scientific Progress Goes "Boink"?

The walnuts I was soaking were ready yesterday for making the dye and testing it. I removed the nuts and set the pot on the stove to boil for 2 hours. I tried to keep my eye on it, but in the last 20 minutes, it reduced all the way down- evaporating all the liquid. So I had to put water back into the pot to salvage it. So I ended up with a very diluted dye. It was also very late in the day by the time I got actually put the fabric in, so I didn't soak and heat it like I was supposed to.

I ended up with a piece of tan linen with a slightly rosy cast to it. There isn't much of it, maybe enough for a pouch or a favor. Overall, I don't think the dyeing was a failure- I did end up with a pretty color- but my process had some obvious issues.

First, I needed more walnuts to begin with. I only had 12 and 4 of them were no longer green. I should have started with about 24 green nuts. Second, I needed to add more water at the beginning to avoid the whole thing boiling down, and covering the pot would have prevented the evaporation. Finally, I needed to plan ahead and devote an afternoon on the weekend to doing the entire process to achieve better color results.

In other news, I've been making steady progress on the black open hood. I'm about to sew the front brim (which is two layers of wool with a layer of linen sandwiched between them) into place. I used these instructions to sew the gores into place, but it looks like I'll need to do some adjustments to the linen gores to get them to fit tight against the wool. I'm using silk thread for the first time, and so far I like it. I figured that I was using 100% wool and 100% linen, I should use 100% silk thread too and turn it into an A&S project. If you're looking for silk thread, I found Gutermann Pure Silk thread at JoAnn's Fabric store, but only the larger stores seem to carry it. The spool of 100m was $3.99.
Also, my fitted underdress in nearly complete! I need to create the lacing holes and we still need to attached the sleeves and hem it, but the hard part is done. It's quite comfortable and supportive, and since we used light-weight linen/cotton, I don't think I'll really notice the extra layer under heavier dresses. We had a little issue with the back seam going off-center, and you can see where the lining layer ends halfway down the skirt, but I don't intend this dress to ever be seen, so I'm not worried about these little details. As long as it does the job.