Sep 7, 2011

Linen ramblings part II

Hiya.  First off, in answer to some emails, I use Staples' see through envelopes which go on sale for $2 (reg 2.99) and $1 (reg 1.99) every once in a while.  It's expandable and holds it all, including the smaller envelope filled with floss, and your fabric.   Load 'em up and stack 'em high.  Ready to go.  Unless you mess around with linen experimentation because you're never happy.  And look at the coin purse I found at JoAnn's!  It's black canvas and lined in black.  Patti's purse is still on my mind and I would love to try making one.  I'm thinking of slipping the stitched piece over the purse after tracing and sewing, hand sewing the edge around the frame, with chenille or piping if needed.  Things never go as planned so maybe starting from scratch would be easier. 
On to the linens I wanted to play with for the large samplers. 
This is the antique white linen, showing the coffee being sprayed on, and the finished colors after rinsing and drying compared to the original.  I some times prefer putting the staining liquid, even dye, in a spray bottle with a fine mist.   Beautiful soft beige, still too light for me, but I can age it more when it's complete.  If I didn't do this first, the aging itself would not be enough color.  The dark unbleached that I showed in my prior post was lighter after bleaching, but still very drab.  So I tried using the coffee and it worked, as long as I didn't rinse it out.  I didn't like the feel of the linen, almost sticky, with the coffee left in, but there is another reason to rinse....keep reading.
 Next, the walnut stain.  I used a double dose of walnut powder stain and soaked the light fabric - beautiful!  I read to be careful using the walnut dye because it will stain anything and forever.  Not so.  I don't know if I got a bad batch or what, but it didn't stain the towel, carpeting, t-shirt, pants, tub, mat, counter, ironing board cover, wall, curtain, or sneakers that somehow ended up with the stain.  Everything cleaned up and it rinsed completely out so I soaked it again and didn't rinse.  Beautiful.  But as it hung to dry, it developed streaks from dripping.  Did it again, and wrung it, hung it, only had one blotch.  Great!  Then I discovered why it is risky to not rinse out a stain before stitching...  When I used a damp rag on the blotch to remove the excess color, it became a bigger problem.  The same happened with coffee that wasn't rinsed out.  If a drop of water drips from your ice cold glass, a tear from a sad movie,  sweat from a hot flash, or any moisture, it will create a noticeable problem.  The color is removed from that damp spot and spreads outward creating a dark ring that cannot be corrected except by rinsing the stain/color from the entire piece.   A disaster that may never happen but I'm not always careful when stitching and would never take that chance on a large project.  Aging after completion is a great method but it wasn't what I was trying to accomplish.  I wanted to see if it was possible to get the shade/color I wanted before starting a particular project, without permanent commercial dye.  The final note to the experiment.....the count did change somewhat with shrinkage, but only on the raw/unbleached pieces.

The left started as 26 count unbleached.  After starting a project on it I checked the stitches, and found 14 to the inch instead of 13.  The second is the 30 count that shrunk 2 inches both ways, and I now have 16 instead of 15 stitches to the inch.  It may work out to 15 1/2 which would give me enough fabric to fit the large design, but I haven't decided if I should take the chance.  I may end up using the golden streak after all, and hope it's not too much color.  The other small pieces that I bleached will be aged with the coffee or walnut stain after stitching is complete.   
Here's the majority of my inventory without scrap pieces - light tan is the lighter of the unbleached and the color I am happy with.

I'm glad I did this little experiment so I know what will work and what I should just put aside.  I certainly have enough linen for smaller primitive projects, and any new samplers will have new linen ordered.  I'll probably bleach some even lighter and use Rit. I'm also ordering walnut dye from a different supplier because I've picked black walnuts and believe me they DO stain forever!  
My mind hasn't been on stitching these last days anyway.  I have one dear friend who was on the phone with her cousin and BFF, when she heard the entire horrifics of the abusive ex breaking down the door and killing her at the other end.  My other dear friend is going through life support being removed from a loved one.  Husband is on vacation this week so we've been busy - mostly trying to figure out which projects can be done in the all week rain!  Hint - NONE!
I'll leave you with Fancy the cat's new mouthy friend who eats more than she does, and my next post will not be a lesson in linen.  That my friends, is for sure.
Thank you for visiting, inspiring, commenting, waiting for a project to appear, and bearing with me while I move from the stitching of 25 years ago to what's happening today.


Joy said...

Wow! You have put a great deal of effort into your linen. Good to hear you're finding some you want to use.
Good luck on the purse...can't wait to see the results. Happy Stitching!

Penny said...

I don't think I would be brave enough to experiment with dyeing linen. Glad you ended up with some you like. Sounds like you are having the same weather we're having here.

Mouse said...

oooo that was worth reading through :) well done on the experiments and that you now know what you can and can't work with (me and all sorry to hear of your other problems :(
hope things improve greatly for you and love your new addition to the family ;) love mouse xxx

samplerlover said...

What an interesting post. I tried to tea dye a piece of 40ct linen. I wanted a really dark shade for a piece I have in mind. Put it into the tea quite a few times and dried it in the dryer (it was raining of course) trying to get the right shade. Ended up with a lot of big blotches when I rinsed the tea out at one stage and thought that as I was also doing the ironing at the same time would try to iron it dry. I now have 2 black marks on it that came through the ironing board cloth as now I can't get them out. What a drama lol.
OMG, I am sorry to hear what happened to your friend. There really isn't any excuse for men to behave this way. I hope that he gets what he totally deserves.

Margaret said...

I got distracted from your linen ramblings. I'm so sorry about your friends. Such devastating happenings. Hugs to you.

Suzanne said...

You have really been experimenting with your linens. Thanks for sharing your experience though, I will keep the issues in mind for when I do mine again.

I am so sorry to hear of all terrible things happening with your friends.

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