Friday, September 30, 2011

Seasonal Pursuits

This is my growing stack of botanically printed and dyed fabrics, most of it anyway.  I have a few pieces in play, waiting to become finished work, i.e. handstitched quilts.  Not sure yet whether the middle layer will be extra thin batting or another piece of fabric.  I'm still fooling around with that especially regarding bigger work.

And this is my basket of handstitching threads to compliment the fabrics.

I'm onto a third knitting project.  This one is in straight stockinette stitch meant to curl.  The yarn is a handspun black merino with bits of silk noil.  This was commercially prepared top I got from Ashland Bay eons ago.  It's one of those yarns that show off best in stockinette stitch.

Easy knitting has become the new spinning for me.  I used to spin everyday, my wheel was always at the ready and I always had a project going.  I'd spin for at least an hour each morning, rather like a meditation.  It helped me center myself for the day.  And I'd sit down to spin whenever I was between other projects, or while waiting for something to cook on the stove, or any other time I had a few minutes to spare.

Knitting is fulfilling the same function for me now.  A good place to start the day, something I can pick up for a few minutes here and there (or even for hours outside), a few rows before going to sleep.

Yesterday felt like the hottest day of the year here ( probably about 80 degrees), I had both fans running all day.  There's rain in the forecast for this weekend and into next week.  Here comes autumn.  Have a great weekend!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Art Camp

It's amazing how much art you can get done when you commit to spending less time online.  Which is exactly what I'm doing now.  So it feels as though I've been away at art camp.  And as soon as I finish up some business here, I'm headed back to camp!

So ~ this little beauty is my first finished and available-for-sale eco fragment.  Details in the Textile Shop.

The fabric below is a recently eco dyed raw silk jacquard cloth printed with rose leaves and rust.

That skein of hand dyed silk yarn I showed you a week or so ago resulted in the first scarf below.  I hadn't knit in a long time, it's one of those activities that makes my hands ache.

But I really enjoyed the process, sitting outside in the sun, catching the breeze, knitting.  Lovely.  So I started on the second scarf below, and I'm retraining my right hand to throw the yarn differently so my hand is more relaxed.  It's working, and I'm enjoying making this scarf as well.  The black & white yarn is a 2-ply silk that I spun a few years ago, one of my many experiments ~ one ply of carded silk noil fiber into which I hand carded bits of a black and silver nylon novelty knitting yarn, and the other ply is an extremely fine bombyx silk.  Spinning thousands of yards of that stuff for too many years is what finally did my hands in and caused me to ultimately give up spinning.

Anyhoo, I'm back into basic and simple these days, as much as possible.  Part of my continuing personal downsize, I guess.  It used to be nearly impossible for me to simply sit down and knit something and enjoy the was more about finding the right pattern or lace stitch or trying out numerous yarns until I found the right one/s to make whatever I wanted to make.  Now I just want to knit and enjoy the process.

I don't like garter stitch garments, and with straight stockinette stitch the work curls.  Both these scarves are in simple 4x4 seed stitch.  Perfect solution.

And getting back to simple and basic...  A couple of days offline this week convinced me to drop Facebook.  Not only had it become a huge drain on my time despite the fact that I was pretty discriminating about what I chose to follow, but I was finally able to see FB for what it truly is ~ just another corporation that's holding close to a billion people hostage to its whims.  And the truth is, I don't like crowds.

Happy day!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hand Work

As promised, here are two small pieces of ecoprinted fabric with handstitching.  The piece above was stitched directly onto the backing fabric and the one below has a thin layer of batting between the front and back.  I'm using ecodyed fabric for the backing as well.

As with my machine quilting, I'm really only interested in enhancing the design that's already been printed on the fabric.  Other stitching would detract from the simple design of each piece.  I'm using metallic or rayon sewing threads on these.

I will be offering some of these for sale in my Textile Shop in the very near future.  And speaking of the Shop, it's been totally remodeled.  All of the studio quilts previously listed there are being moved to Etsy where they belong.  So the only items listed in the shop will be those that are unavailable elsewhere ~ handstitched work, scarves, handmade fabric.  To keep up with new items as they're listed in the Textile Shop, feel free to subscribe to that.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Turning Over a New Leaf

A few new eco prints to share.  They are oak leaves, eucalyptus leaves, rusty washers with no plant material in the bundle, and rose leaves.

I just totally love the serendipitous nature of the prints I've been making.  Most of them leave the realm of plant/leaf prints and become organic surface designs.

I've begun doing hand stitching on small pieces of plant-printed cloth.  At this point I'm still experimenting with technique, largely whether or not to have thin batting between the front and back fabrics.  I like it both ways.  The question is whether or not my hands can take it.

I've been so attracted this year, though, to handwork by artists such as Jude Hill, Claire Wellesley-Smith, Karen Turner, and Heike Gerbig, to name just a few -- that I've been waiting for the right moment to delve into handwork myself.  Eco prints seem like a perfect opportunity.  We'll see how my hands hold out!

I'll upload photos tomorrow of my first quilted eco print fabrics.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Texture Revealed

Today is reveal day for Fiberactions' "texture" challenge.  My quilt is called Sunset in the City and measures 20x24 inches. 

This is a whole cloth quilt of black linen that was discharged twice ~ the first time I got the mauve color, the wheat color came next.  After quilting, I applied textile paint and metallic paintstik.

The finished cloth reminded me of sunset reflecting off glass windows of buildings in the city.
Check out the rest of our texture quilts here.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Every picture tells a story...

This is a piece of silk shantung that I eco dyed on Sunday.  It's the bundle on the far right in the photo below.  I probably should have let it sit for a few more days because the oak leaf prints aren't that great.  Still, it's a wonderful piece of eco dyed fabric that will get used eventually.  The rest of the bundles are damp, in a plastic bag outside, waiting until I can't stand it any longer and have to open them.

This is a cotton doily that I eco dyed.  It had been premordanted in alum, making the original leaf print very yellow.  So I threw it in the tanoak pot on Sunday, then on Monday wrapped it around a piece of rusty iron.  

And lastly, silk yarn that I recycled this week from a small handwoven piece.  The silk is that heavy sari silk, which I had just one white skein of and wove up a couple years ago.  I'd dyed it twice but the fabric was really too heavy for me to do anything on Monday I ripped out the hand hemstitching and unraveled the woven piece.  Made a new skein, washed and dried it, and now I'll knit up a narrow scarf of some type to wear this winter.

End of story.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Frame of Mind

Just finished this little quilt, Frame of Mind.  It's 21x13 inches, another of the several pieces I designed months ago but just got around to finishing.  I have three more in a partial state of design.

I've got new directions in mind for quilting, on the back burner, germinating.  We'll see what the future holds as we get there.

The end of this week I'm celebrating a year living in Rose Cottage, just BeeGee and me, the return to my/our preferred solitary existence.  Time passes so quickly these days...

Anyway, life keeps getting better and better.  The more I've let go of, in all the ways I have over the last few years, the more I have intrinsically, and the happier I've become.

Middle of last month I had an aha moment during which I completely revamped my personal blog.  The bottom line ~ I got tired of my story and decided to move on.  If you're interested, you're welcome to check out Beginner's Mind.  There are some cool links on the right of the blog.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Good Score

The city of Ferndale held its community-wide yard sale this weekend, and I picked up a few goodies.  The pile above is largely table linens, just washed and waiting to be ironed and stored.

This is a brass teapot, which will be used for eco dyeing.  It cost me $1.00!

After the big yard sale yesterday, I attended a music festival out in the boonies in a community called Kneeland, which is on a ridgetop 15 miles east of Eureka, way above the fog and cooler coastal temps.  Imagine my surprise when I found myself coming to, surrounded by volunteer fire & rescue folks, just moments after collapsing from the heat right in front of the entry ticket booth!  I'm fine now -- after eventually returning to "normal" yesterday afternoon, sitting in a shady, breezy spot listening to music.  When I lived in SoHum, unbelievably nearly nine years ago already, summer temps frequently got over 100 degrees for days in a row.  I didn't like it, but I was acclimated to it.  Not so anymore!

I have a pot of bundles eco dyeing as we speak, in a bath of tan oak acorns.  Will reveal the results mid-week.

I recently joined California Fiber Artists, a group of about 35 fiber artists from throughout California.  I've already been juried into a show in Oakland, CA at the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) that runs from October 20 to December 9.  If you're in the Bay Area, I hope you'll see the show.  I'll mention it again in mid-October.

I'm loving this early autumn ~ the angle of the sun, the shortening days, the crisper air.  Definitely my time of year.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Philosopher's Stone

I'm going to be offline for a couple days, beginning Tuesday.  Instead of packing up my laptop and schlepping down to Starbuck's though, I've decided to take an internet holiday.   I'll be back sometime Thursday.

The reason?  I'm killing my cellphone and going back to a landline.  AT&T has to reconfigure my line to be both voice and data.  It's likely difficult for most folks to understand why I might do such a thing as get rid of my cellphone.  But the fact is, I don't need one, not for my life and my lifestyle.  I'll buy a prepaid cellphone if I need one.  Meanwhile, I'll be saving $40 a month in unnecessary expense for a gizmo that I only use as a phone anyway.

Here's a shot of my outdoor studio.  I started as just a shade covering to protect that large outdoor zygocactus, but quickly morphed into a place to organize eco-dyeing stuff and my collection of rusty oddments.  I've been feeling like a witch these days, brewing up cauldrons of botanicals and metals, seeking to alchemize the Philosopher's Stone.

See you later this week.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Winging It

It's been so long since I've posted anything fiber here are two fabrics I worked on this week.  The one above is a piece of silk that actually started life as peach colored.  If you've been reading my blog for a long while you may remember that several years ago I overdyed it with acid dyes to make it chartreuse.  This week I stitched the fabric into a long tube, slipped it over large-diameter PVC, scrunched it down and shiboried it with eucalyptus nut dye.  Because the fabric is fine silk, it scrunched down quite a bit, hence the shibori lines are quite thin.  The euc dye also turned the chartreuse more of a green gold, which is probably my most favorite color.

The second is a piece of raw silk that I eco printed with rose leaves.  I had premordanted the silk in alum (silk doesn't need to be premordanted, this was an experiment of sorts), which is what made the leaf prints so yellow.  After I let the print sit for a few days in its bundle, I removed the plant material and wrapped the fabric around a flat piece of rusty stuff, spritzed it liberally with 50/50 vinegar/water and let sit over night.  This is my result.

I'm closer to being finished with my "texture" challenge quilt -- just a few more beads, then the sleeve and label is all that's left.  Happy to say I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  The quilt will be revealed on Thursday, September 15 with all the rest of the Fiberactions entries. 

Anyway, how this piece came together for me is how nearly all my work does ~ I take one step at a time and see what wants to emerge.  I don't start with a plan.  I start with an idea of what something might look like or a thought about how things might work together, then I essentially let the piece create itself, one step at a time.  Winging it, I guess you could say.

Have a wonderful late summer weekend!