It’s the first month of 2017, and I’m launching three major creative projects for the year. There aren’t any pretty pictures yet, but they are interesting nonetheless.
The first project is an e-book for my Creating Craft business. I surveyed my readers a few months ago, asking “What’s your greatest creative challenge?” To my surprise, the most common response was “Getting the time to create.” So I’m writing an e-book about how to find more time to create, and how to make better use of your creative time. I plan to get the first draft written and out to beta readers by the end of the month, and the completed book ready for sale by mid-February. Watch this space!
The second project is going to be a set of scarves. I’ve wound two 20-yard warps in 60/2 silk (which is a bit finer than sewing thread) and am preparing to thread them up for double weave at 120 ends per inch. Because of the density and the very fine threads, threading is going to be both challenging and slow. I’m hoping to have the warp threaded and ready to weave by the end of February. While I’m threading the warp, I plan to work on a variety of designs – some from iOrnament, some not.
The third project is making approximately 3,200 dye samples – 1,600 in Procion MX fiber-reactive dyes on 20/2 cotton yarn, and 1,600 using the same dyes on silk (using the alkali/cotton method, not the acid/heat wool process). I’m using a method inspired by Carol Sunderland’s “dye cubes,” which allows rapid creation of samples using very few dyebaths. I’ve done a few dyebaths already to test out my process. Here’s a photo of two test batches, one in pale cerulean blue, one in cobalt (“mixing”) blue:
Because my approach involves dyeing lots of 25 skeins and then shuffling them around between multiple dyebaths, it’s critical to keep track of what dye colors have been applied and at what concentration to any given skein. I spent some time thinking through how to do this, and eventually settled on this method:
Each skein goes through three dyebaths. I needed a way to track what dyebath each skein had been in, so I ordered eight colors of flagging tape (a very light plastic tape that is easily torn with the fingers), one for each dye used. I bought some blank labels designed for extreme conditions, and am using them to indicate the concentration of dye. Each time a skein goes into the dyebath, it gets another flagging tape “bracelet” with accompanying label. Because the labels are designed for extreme conditions, they will not come off even when boiled in hot soapy water (yes, I tried!). This color-coding will make it easy to track and label the samples once they’re dyed. Which, with 1,600 samples, is essential.
The Procion MX samples on silk will be done on silk fabric, which is much easier to handle than yarn. (I’m doing the cotton samples on yarn so I can get a palette of yarns with which to weave samples.) Those will be more difficult to label, so I am planning to staple waterproof paper labels to the samples with stainless steel staples.
All these materials are not cheap, but I’ve found three other people to split costs (and some of the labor) with me, which brings the cost down to something affordable.
And that’s it – my three big projects for 2017. It will be interesting to see what happens!