Approaching Trillies there was a call for teachers to do classes. I offered to teach my period dyes class from Practicum, and it generated some pretty good interest. I had four people in the class, but there were a number of people who asked for the handout beyond that since they couldn't be there Friday afternoon, so I'm glad there's some good interest in the topic.
I also had a number of projects I was trying to get done for Trillies, some of which got done and others that didn't. And of course, the problem with secret projects like these is you can't really blog about them. :)
The big one that got done was that I was asked by HE Giovanni to help him by using my period leather dyes for the vigil book for our current Baroness, HE Catherine. He was going to do the bookbinding but wanted to use the period dyes for the cover.
This was the first time I'd use my dyes for an item for anyone other than myself (the stick-purse was really the only other item I've done using the dyes so far). I thought it was a pretty big deal and was really happy to help.
There was just one thing. Catherine's favourite colour is orange, and its also a popular late period colour. That's great, except I don't actually have a period recipe for an orange dye, so I had to do some experimenting.
I had a red dye, and a yellow dye, so I figured I might be able to over-dye them to get orange, but of course things are never that simple. Fortunately the yellow dye includes alum, and with the red dye I need to pre-soak the leather with alum to get it to bind, so that looked like it could work.
Once I got the leather it had a sheen to it and wasn't absorbing the dye properly. You can see the shine in this picture:
After consulting with Mistress AElfwyn, I tried sanding the surface of the leather. She figured the leather had been processed and that the surface had been compressed to look like it was the skin side instead of suede. Can't say I've ever sanded a piece of leather before, that was a first. The next pic shows the skin after it had been sanded:
That seemed to work, so after my tests were done on sample pieces I got down to the real work of dyeing the cover. The next two pictures are the wet leather after I'd applied the yellow, then the red. It's more of a terra cotta colour than a true orange but it's in the orange range for sure. The second pic is to give you a compare with the original tone of the leather:
And then a picture of the piece after it had dried. It faded some (as the red dye tends to do), but its still orange-ish.
And finally a picture of the end result at the Vigil at Trillium War. It actually looks way more orange in the daylight than it did in my workshop, which is great. I think Catherine was really happy with it.