(all these pictures should be clickable for a closer look)
So far I've managed to devote 3-4 hours a day to the loom which is pretty awesome. I *almost* finished the leaf at the lower left corner last night, but I made myself stop at the 4 hour mark. I'm finding it takes me more discipline to stop weaving than it does to start. If I do much more than 4 hours in a day my back really suffers.
I also did a bunch of dye work yesterday and for the most part I'm satisfied with the colours I got. Here are a few pictures of the prep/dye process. I measure my dye powder outdoors (or if it's really windy, in the shop) and I use a mask. Procion MX fiber reactive dye is not good for you. And the particles are very tiny and become air born as soon as you open the lid even in a still room. They float around and land on every surface. AVOID touching/inhaling these particles. Once you have them stirred into a bit of water you can breath easier.
We always used baby bathtubs for cellulose dyeing in college, so I picked up a few at garage sales, along with a set of large metal spoons and smaller metal measuring spoons, which I only use for my Procion dyes. None of this stuff is food safe once you've used it for this.
There's recipes for dying based on weight of dry fibre, and they tell you how much salt, soda ash and dye to use for all different colours. I am not of the school of thought that I need to be absolutely precise and keep a log so that I can repeat the same exact colour later if I run out. I look at it as a challenge to blend it out and blend in the new colour. I never have very much luck even with exact measurements getting the same shade so I don't bother. I enjoy being haphazard, and I take it when and where I can get it since tapestry is typically a very finite and controlled process.
The light yellow is a bit phosphorescent but I plan to blend it with duller more buttery yellows so that should take the edge off. Anyway, it will be nice to have some more concentrated areas that pop. For me there is rarely a colour fail in dying. I can always blend it with other colours I have in my stash, and the mottling that happens when I run two different colours together is very eye catching. My grey didn't turn out. It wound up very slate blue. I plan to do an over dye bath later today with some of my yellow and cool black again and see what happens. Initially I was going to space dye some of the yellow skeins with baby blues and lilacs and greens, but I decided that in the long run it is more useful for me to have mainly solids in each colour and then blend later. This way the cotton functions for tapestry as well as for my inkle weaving where I use it exclusively. I did use some pre-existing variegated cotton that was baby pink/blue/white and over dye it in the yellow with interesting results.
Here are the 2 batches of green I just finished dying this afternoon. I know I said I'd just do an over dye for the grey but I couldn't help myself. :P Oh and my grey turned out okay too. No pics yet.
It's almost time for me to start in on the lower right corner. I need to remember to weave in my signature. I have forgotten to do that in the past and this is such a huge project I really don't want to have only the fabric tag at the back.
Alright! I need to get a handle on the rest of my day here! Company is coming and I still need to devote at least 3 hours to the loom, do the grey over dye, and tidy up.
Hope everyone is having a good week!