Monday 2 November 2009

Batik Efforts #1

At the weekend we had another Spindyeweavers meeting. This workshop happens on the last Saturday of the month and grew out of the knitting group I go to on Saturdays, as a place for people to spin and dye yarn in good company, and maybe learn some new skills.

Being not one for spinning and quite happy with other people's coulours so long as they're blue, I tend to just turn up and knit in the corner, but at the last meeting I brought along a wax pot, leant to me by Caroline from work, and a number of canvas bags I had ordered from this website and machine dyed prior to the session.

It took a while (and Rachel, tbh) to work out that the wax was not sinking in properly because it was not hot enough, but once we'd figured that out we fair motored through our stash of bags, and I brought them home and ran the green lot through the machine with some black dye.

This may have been an error.

As you can see from this, which was originally meant to be a jungle scene, while the wax does not actually wash out at 40 degrees, it does crack and splinter and flake which (a) leaves a grainy feeling in the washing machine and (b) allows rather more dye to penetrate than we had expected, creating an altogether more, um, RUSTIC design.

Still, it was actually better once I'd ironed off, and the design with the most wax on it - this cactus print, below - actually looks quite good. It's definitely the best of the green bags I did.

However, I am glad I bought a cold water dye for the turquoise bags. I haven't yet plucked up the courage (or bought the rubber gloves) to do those yet, but will share my efforts when I have.

It was very enjoyable, at least. I haven't done batik since I was at school and was pleased to discover it was as much fun as I remembered. My Thursday night knitting group are thinking of a weekend away some time next year so I'll certainly be trying this again then, if not before. It's not really a craft that lends itself to one-day workshops, because you can't apply wax to wet fabric - hence the reliance on machine dying.

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