The World Turns To Ice

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

A Feast Day for stitchers

Today is the feast day of Saint Lydia who is a patroness of those who make fabric and garments. Lydia 'Purpuraria' was born in the town of Thyatira in Asia Minor in the first century.  It was a town famous for its dye works, hence her name which means 'purple seller'.

A worthy patron for textile artists who can often be found waiting impatiently to see the results from the contents of a dye bath. I haven't done any dyeing for a while but there is nothing like unravelling brightly coloured lengths of space-dyed cloth fresh from the washing machine and hanging it on the line to dry.  I love to see the effects that are created upon different types of cloth within the same dye bath. I use cold water dyes in a bath of no more than three colours in a single shallow dye bath.  I use natural fibres such as cottons, silks and velvet and the results are very different on each piece. Also, the cloth at the top of the bath will be softer and more muted in colour than the jewelled  effects of those at the bottom. My favourites are always the delicate muslins which I can pull apart and distress for fabric collages.

For me the wait to see the results can only be compared to that feeling of never ending time that you felt as a child on Christmas Eve or the long night before you set off on holiday to the seaside.  The thrill of each unique piece blowing on the line is maybe something that only stitchers can really appreciate.

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