Can we just talk about this dye-job for a minute? I decided this fabric was so special that it deserves it's own dedicated post before I start hacking into it. (Ouch. It hurts my heart just thinking about that!)
This is just a smidgen over four yards of a light weight silk crepe de chine, dyed up in a pretty, autumnal palette of navy, dusty rose and gold (it may not feel like autumn here, but that doesn't mean I can't sneak some fall colors into my palette!) Perhaps some of you spotted this post by the ever glorious Heather Lou? If you haven't, I highly suggest you give it a read, as it tells the beautiful story of two friends and ten yards of silk (shouldn't all great love stories begin and end with a crap-ton of silk??)
Anyway - the short-short version goes something like this - Heather sent me ten yards of silk, half of which I dyed for her and shipped off to Canada (like a mother bird sending her young fledglings out of the nest: a bit teary, but bursting with pride) and the other half I kept for myself. You see, I work for silk. Heather then commenced to make the most breathtaking dress ever imaginable with said silk, and I sat on my half, hemming-and-hawing as I am wont to do.
So what does this silk have to do with Heather's silk? Well. Everything is a learning process with me. See, while I was working on Heather's silk (the interior dialogue of which sounded something like this: "Expletives expletives expletives.... omigod no.... cursing cursing cursing... I've f*cked it up!!! Okay... wait... maybe if I... alright... okay... that's better... yeah... okay... this might not be so bad... OMIGOD I LOVE THIS!!") I discovered through sheer accident that when you mix sodium alginate (used to thicken dyes to a more 'paint-like' consistency and reduce the 'bleed' effect) with your dyes that it also acts as a very subtle resist - meaning other dyes will not run right into it and muck up the color. You can, of course, buy commercial resists, or use a wax resist (typical in batik fabrics) but I was interested in the fact that this would allow me to still do a one step dye job - no washing between layers - and, best of all, I already had all the necessary components!
So I brewed up the idea of painting a floral(ish) motif and then painting by hand the negative space around it - allowing the thickened dyes (pink and yellow) to act as a resist, and thereby also preserving some of the white of my fabric. In this way I was able to create the effect of a lighter design on top of a darker background color.
But, still, it's always trial and error with my dyeing experiments! I thickened the pink dye more than the yellow, so there is some bleeding happening along the edges of the design. I actually don't mind this at all - I think it's a really lovely element to this fabric, but still, unplanned. Also, since the dark blue color was literally painted in by hand (with a much too small brush, might I add! I might need to remedy that soon...) it takes on a slightly mottled appearance - again, just a little quirk of the handmade!
It's actually quite funny to see these fabrics in real life, because my hand changes as I work down the yardage - becoming more relaxed and maybe trying out a few different design ideas. In the beginning I'm always over-thinking and over-working it! You can see this in the image above: on the right, you have what looks, to me, like a hydrangea cluster, and on the left you can see what it slowly morphed into... perhaps something one might see underneath a microscope?
You can tell I love this silk very very much, because when I'm in love with a fabric I go all Pre-Raphaelite up in this shit!
Now... the real question is - what to do with it? I had my heart set on an Anna, but after swanning about with it draped all over me I'm beginning to lose my resolve... Is this begging to be turned into something else? Does anyone else see this silk and immediately think it must be turned into a certain pattern? Or am I just, once again, over-thinking this? Inquiring minds want to know...