Nov 24, 2014

Dyeing Chicken Feathers with Food Colouring

Feathers dyed by microwaving with food colouring
At the start of the year my sister-in-law showed me socks knitted from wool dyed with food colouring. They were BRIGHT. I was sceptical. Food colouring is water soluble. Right?

Not so much when you microwave the heck out if it. I found an excellent tutorial on How To Dye Yarn with Food Colouring, over at Instructables

Knitting is not my thing, but when my chickens started moulting I wondered if the Food Colour Dyeing trick would work on feathers, why because then I could trim me some hats 'o plenty 19th century style for very little $$$

Long story short, yes, you can dye feathers with food colouring.

I followed the wool dyeing tutorial above with only two variations. Firstly I didn't really measure how much colouring I put it. Secondly after microwaving it the stated amount of time, I totally forgot about it and left it in the microwave over night. Did that extra time help the process? I can't say.
The main difference when doing the chicken feathers was the water didn't turn clear like it's meant to with the wool method.

But as you can see the colour took to the feathers quite well. Of course adding blue colouring to brown feathers has resulted in a greeny-blue, which I probably should have expected. I imagine if you use pure white chicken feathers the colours will be very true and BRIGHT.

Blue Food colouring dyed feathers on left, before dyeing natural brown on right
A word of warning, a little colour will come out of the feathers if you get them wet again, so I would be careful not to place them on white fabric.

Nov 11, 2014

Where have I been? London! Paris! Rome!

London! Paris! Rome!

I've been slack about blogging lately and I am sorry. During June and July I was trekking ( weeel mostly rental-car-ing) said places of awesome and more. Once home, I fell sick, blah blah, bought an overlocker, busy busy, but now I'm back!

OK, enough blab, you wanna see holiday pictures. FYI I didn't realise I was travelling in Scaffolding Season, sooo many of the touristy hotspots were being repaired and cleaned...

Trevi Fountain, Rome. No water but plenty of scaffolding.

I did manage to get a few classic tourist photos, like Venice gondoliers, Big Ben, the Effiel towers, the Tardis and blurry shots of Royals.

Gondolier school in Venice

Big Ben & parliament & the London Eye. Did I mention there was some kind of 'Ride your bicycle naked' event going on?


Harry points me out to his Granddad

As spotted in the market town of Werthby just outside York

Such fine cultural icons aside, I went travelling for one reason: Museums of Frocks.

The V&A! Be still my heart, seeing with my own eyes the Victorian dresses that I had poured over in library books. *sigh* Wish there had been more.

Victorian dresses at the V&A London

Kensington Palace had a good selection, some display on Diana's frocks, which I hurried past to get to the good stuff: Queen Victoria's outfits!

Queen Vic's riding jacket

Speaking of everyone's favourite Queenie. The Globe theatre had a stunning aray of Elizabethan style stage costumes.

Awesome theatre gear at the Globe. I have no plans to re-create this. This is strictly for experts.

Out of London, the Fashion History Musuem in Bath was a trip highlight. While the sections on each era are quite limited, overall there's a lot to see.

They even have a fun dress up portion.

Just takes a clip to get your old Vic on with plastic buckle clasps

And I think I've found a potential new historical sewing obsession: 18th century frocks! *swoon*

Genuine 18th century dress and stomacher at the Bath Fashion History Museum

If I had been in Bath in September a huge bonus would be seeing the gathering of Jane Austen fans in their Regency outfits. As it was only July, instead I went hawking. Even though there were no historical outfits involved it was THE BEST.

I've heard of hat hair, but Hawk Hat hair?
 Hmm, what have I learned about travel? Well sometimes things don't go as planned, but when they do, you get a Harris Hawk to perch on your head. Life is good!