Friday, 27 March 2015

Needlefelting an Upholstered Box Seat - Lincoln Greenish

Woad blue dye with a weld yellow overdye gives Lincoln Green.  The balance between them is crucial, in my opinion.  The bluer shades of green do not appeal to me nearly so much as the fresher, brighter, more yellow ones.  I needlefelted shades of Lincoln Green dyed wool tops onto this seat pad and wished I had used a bit less woad.  Or more weld.
I don't know what colour you would call coreopsis bronze overdyed with woad, though after I had needlefelted some on to fill in the plant and its pot, I suspected the name might be Dingy Green. To brighten things up, I used the purest of the weld yellow to do the outer parts of the birds, then decided it hadn't made them stand out as strongly as intended.

Turning out bits of plant dyed fleece from past experiments, though the floor became covered with more shades than I ever remembered having stored away, many of them seemed drab. The best contrast colours were the shades of pink from Evernia prunastri lichen.  Thinking of the two birds as symbolising Body and Soul, pink seemed a good choice for matters corporeal.
I couldn't decide if that bird looked good or just made the background look bad.  Plus the bothersome blue tinge wasn't quite going to harmonise with the spring green paint I had put on the body of the storage box, scuppering my plan to comb out and spin some of the same dyed tops and crochet a matching braid to go round the edge of the cushion.

While rootling about in my stores, I rediscovered some commercially spun yarn I dyed a good bright yellow with weld ages ago.  That ought to physically divide the paint from the felting, yet pull their elements together. Irritating to find that there wasn't enough to crochet the last couple of rows, but never mind, I finished the job with another skein partially dip dyed to Lincoln Green.
By the time I had sewn the braid half way round the box, it was clear that the yellow yarn alone might have worked, but the brighter Lincoln Green sections in it were just amplifying that damn bluish tinge in the needlefelt.
I stomped off for a grouch around the garden on my own.
"Ow do, lass." Standing in the rockery was Heathcliff Wensleydale, a ram brought home on a visit by my regular houseguest, Elinor Gotland.
I nodded to him and forced a smile.
"That yow Elinor vexing tha?"
"Oh no, Heathcliff, I'm just fed up with the bird box I've been making. I was going for Rich and Strange, but I'm getting Gaudy and Odd." He walked back to the patio with me and stood looking at the box for some time.
"Wants a good deep brown edging, that does."
Well, sure, I thought, what other
colour would a Black Wensleydale sheep recommend?  Still, I did have best part of a ball of Black Welsh Mountain X Gotland yarn, left over from knitting my daughter a jumper.  It didn't take me long to crochet a short length of braid and decide he could be right, at that. The dark brown braid calmed the whole scheme down and gave me new courage to choose cosmos orange for the Strange bird.

Elinor Gotland wandered into the sitting room while I was putting my knitting away in the new box.
"Happy ending, is it, Beaut?"
"Hi, Elinor.  Where's Heathcliff?  I want to show him how right he was about that brown braid."
"He never stays long and he's not one for goodbyes.  Gone off to try for a part in an ensemble put together by the British Coloured Sheep Breeders Association." 

"Oh and I was only just getting to know him.  He was a dear.  Now I can't thank him for his help."
"Fair play, Beaut, he does have a good eye for natural colour.  I'll miss him too, but no-one ties Heathcliff down.  Touring the UK will be right up his street."
"Well, since we've got the place back to ourselves, how about two old birds having some tea?"
"Less of the old, and yes to the tea.  How about a drop of sloe gin?  Let's drink to becoming Rich and Strange."


  1. Absolutely amazing how you have transformed the box.
    Quite a complex design to work too. I feel rather lacking in ability now and may have to give myself a severe talking to...


    1. Thanks very much Susan. My version of the design was done because I didn't think I would manage Aidan Meehan's, then actually I enjoyed plotting it out and think I'll have a go at more of my own instead of copies like I have made in the past. Go on, have a go, bet you surprise yourself.