It’s always a good day when you come home to find you have three rather exciting parcels lying in wait.
After playing around with the dyes last week, I’d ordered a few more acid dyes from Kemtex to make it easier to experiment with different shades. When I spoke with them on the phone they recommended longer steaming times (40-45 minutes) and using citric acid, as opposed to white vinegar, for its slightly lower pH. Vinegar is also relatively volatile, hence why it has such a strong smell when you use it, so it can evaporate while you work meaning the pH isn’t acidic enough to fix the dye properly, which isn’t an issue with citric acid. I think I might miss the smell though!
They were also kind enough to throw in a small bottle of Procion Intense Red dye and some soda ash for me to test and see if that would help me achieve the more intense colours on silk that I wanted. Apparently most dyes designed for protein fibres are tested nearly exclusively on wool, so don’t always behave as expected on silks. Hopefully I’ll be spending some time this weekend making up some new stock solutions!
I bought two bauble kits at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show just before Christmas last year but was having a rather clumsy day and managed to smash the bauble for one of the kits as well as getting water all over one of my crafting books. I never keep water on my craft table but that apparently doesn’t stop me catapulting it off my desk and all over the room anyway. Thankfully, the company that sell them do have replacement baubles for this exact situation.
The kits are made by Spellbound Beads who honestly make the most exquisite beading kits. All of their stock can be found on their website but browse at your own risk to your wallet! I bought the Emperor and the Cliveden kits and am currently in the process of working up the Emperor piece, which has been so much fun to do thanks to the really detailed and clear instruction books the kits come with. Spellbound have published a few books as well, and you can either buy complete kits with instructions or cheaper, bead only ones if you have the book. After falling in love with every tassel design on the website, I thought I’d purchase one of the books and the Babushka tassel kit and I definitely post a review of it when I’ve had the chance to work up a few projects.
The kits do come with difficulty ratings and the Emperor is rated as 8/10. However, I’ve not really had any problems with it so far despite having very little beading experience. I first had a go at bead weaving in Japan when the abundant stocks of Miyuki beads became too hard to resist. I even ended up picking up one of the adjustable Miyuki beading looms to try a bit of bead weaving on, which is where I discovered just how easy it is to break beading needles.
This is the Spider Orb pattern from Getting Started with Seed Beads by Dustin Wedekind, which is an absolutely fantastic resource for the complete novice and has some gorgeous patterns in it. It covers a range of different techniques from embroidering with beads to peyote stitch and has some really useful sections on things like how to identify the size and type of beads and what to consider when choosing a stringing material.
I expect the beading projects are going to be part of the stash for a while as I’m trying to finish off my temaris for the upcoming exams and have plenty of embroidery to do but they’re definitely something to look forward to.