My New Favorite Yarn: Polyester?

Dear Polyester,

In the past, I’ve mocked you, ignored your feelings, and said bad things about you behind your back.  I went out of my way to avoid you, and encouraged others to do the same.  When we were together, I felt smothered.  I couldn’t get away from you fast enough.

What can I say?  The past three days have proved me wrong.  You rocked my world like no other fiber.

I feel dirty admitting it, but I can no longer deny your attractions: devoré, disperse dyeing, permanent pleats.

I find myself searching you out, planning things we can do together.  I look forward to our next explorations.



P.S. Please don’t tell silk and wool.


Below are pictures from a devoré workshop I took with Holly Brackmann this past week.  If you want to hear an interview with Holly and my audio essay about the workshop, check out episode 53 of WeaveCast.

This is Holly Brackmann.  Isn’t she adorable?  Every day she wore inspirational clothes.  The bright red shirt is devoré, and the scarf is one of her “bubble” scarves that she makes using the thermoplastic properties of polyester.

Holly Brackmann

Devoré is a technique in which you take a fabric (commercial or handwoven) and then chemically burn out some of the fibers, leaving others behind.  It created areas of translucency that can be simply magical.

First you paint on the devore solution, which can be either clear or tinted with disperse dyes.

Painting on devore solution

Then, while wearing the appropriate safety gear, you use heat to activate the solution and burn out the cellulose fibers.

use appropriate safety gear

If you create a cloth with both cotton and polyester components, you can color the cotton with Procion MX dyes and the polyester with disperse dyes, without any worry that they bleed into each other or interact.

painting with procion MX

The workshop was eye-opening in many ways.  It made me look at polyester and nylon in a whole new way, and taught me that surface design isn’t just something that you throw on at the end.  When selecting (or weaving) cloth to design on, you have to take into account both the fiber content and the structure of the cloth, because both affect the results you’ll get.

Here is a subset of the samples I developed in the workshop.  I played around with transfer printing with disperse dyes (the leaves in the enter and right top), shibori with burn out, burn out designs on poly-cotton T-shirts, and structural burn-out in which the burn out changes the weave structure (red sample at lower left.)

devore samples


Learning new techniques is only half the fun of a workshop, there’s also the joy of hanging out with fiber-folk.

fun fiber folk


I ended up sitting in the back of the room with Mary, Deena, and Tamie.  We elected ourselves as the rowdy “bad girls” table.  There was gum chewing and lots of wise-cracking involved.

gum-chewing bad grrls


Today’s Non-Sequitor: LED Pen Giveaway

I like to think of myself as an original, a free-thinker, not swayed by the opinions of others.  For example, I only recently started knitting Clapotis now, six years after the fad hit and faded.

However…I was reading the Yarn Harlot’s blog the other day and she was talking about keeping a light-up pen near the bed to record those middle-of-the-night inspirations.  She said, “I bet at least one of you just found out right this second that there is such a thing as a light-up pen and now you need them too.”

I just barely finished reading the rest of the post before I was off and Googling “light-up LED pens”

The online store I found had a minimum order of 20.  I get a lot of ideas in the middle of the night, but not enough that I need twenty pens.

LED pen

So I’ve been going around giving away light-up LED pens like crazy.

I’ve been having fun with this.  I even came up with a test: I show an unsuspecting person the pen, then click the LED on.  If the person responds with some variant of “Cool!” I give them the pen.

Now it’s your turn. I’m going to give away 5 pens.  All you have to do to be entered in the drawing is leave a comment on this blog post.

This is a bit of whimsy that I’d love to share with the fiber world. So I’m I’m encouraging you to forward it to your fiber-loving family and friends.  TweetsFacebook postsRavelry mentions, etc. are all welcomed.

You have from now until midnight (PST), October 25th, to leave a comment.

Please share your thoughts: I enjoy your comments and feedback!