Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunday Stitches

Now that my home and studio are clean, I'm getting back into projects.  I spent most of yesterday hand stitching on this quilt-to-be I showed you a few weeks ago.  I especially like the challenge of figuring out how to stitch the design areas on the fabric ~ building a toolbox of stitching solutions for future work.

I had to laugh ~ someone recently unsubscribed from my blog because I have too many updates.  Gee, I thought that's what blogs were for!

I've been gathering fabrics for Fiberactions' first color challenge, not due until January 15.   Our task is to "reflect on why we use the colors we do, creating a piece that perhaps goes beyond our comfort zone using combinations of hue we've not previously considered."  If you haven't been to our blog since early this month, do check out the remodeling job.

Hope you have a wonderful week!


Friday, November 25, 2011

Beautiful Friday

The 50% Off End of Year Sale is happening right now at my Etsy Shop ~ through December 15.  Every art quilt listed in my shop is Half Off!

Other goodies, including hand dyed and printed fabrics, hand knit, hand painted, and hand woven scarves can still be had at my Textile Shop.

If you're a gift giver, possibly the most thoughtful thing you can do is give handmade ~ not only does the recipient get a beautiful, well made, unique piece of art to enjoy, but you're supporting the maker of the art, as well.

Have a lovely start to the holiday season, and a joyous weekend!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My Other Favorite Pie

HAPPY THANKSGIVING from my home to yours.  Wish you could enjoy some of my delicious sweet potato pie, made with garnet yams.  You can't make it?  What a shame, I'll have to eat the whole thing myself!

This has been a watershed year for me in numerous ways and I have much to be thankful for.  I'm planning to spend even more time than usual this weekend in gratitude.

My blessings to you all.  I'll be back tomorrow with more art. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Shirt So Far

This is the big cotton shirt I bundled last week with large oak leaves and rusty objects.  It sat for four days after steeping.

My original idea was to wear it tomorrow night to a dinner I'm going to, but I've decided instead to keep working on the shirt before I call it done.

I didn't get as good leaf prints as I'd imagined I would, because the fabric is fairly heavy and even with the tight bundling, I don't think most of the leaves had good contact with the cloth.

So I plan to over eco dye it again, and find a better way to get the leaves to print on the fabric.  Because there's a lot of residual rust in the cloth, I likely won't add any more to the next bundle.

All in all, though, I'm certainly not dissatisfied with the result.  The shirt is still pretty awesome, considering.  I really love the shibori-like effects from the folded and bunched fabric.

I also don't want to wear it until it's been washed.  And I'll let it sit for at least a month after I finish dyeing it before washing it.

I also plan to replace the buttons and likely do some stitching on it.  It might be one of those never-ending projects where I alternate times of wearing with times of working on.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tea for Two

Today is the reveal for Fiberactions' "structure" challenge (last for current group ~ new group commences tomorrow).   My piece is called Leaf Structure and the diptych measures 20 x 30 inches.  The pieces are two old cotton fingertip towels with original embroidery and lace at the bottoms.

The fabric was eco dyed with eucalyptus leaves and rusty objects.  Each piece is backed with another eco dyed fabric, and I've used flannel for the batting.  They are handstitched with rayon sewing thread.

I love hand quilting eco dyed fabrics, even though the rusty fabric presents stitching challenges.  I'm seeing this as a new direction for me.

After the holidays I'll be putting my Etsy Shop on hiatus while I figure out what I want to do there in future.  It's feeling now like hand stitched eco dyed fabrics might be that new thing.

But, having just kind of committed myself to eco dyed fabric...I'm also amidst a few fiber-reactive shibori batches that have been waiting for my attention for months, all fabrics that wanted to be overdyed.  I'm definitely not giving that up.  In fact, one of the pieces I shiboried yesterday was originally eco dyed!  Mixing metaphors, which I rather enjoy.

A reminder that everything in my Etsy Shop is on sale at Half Off, currently and through December 15.  Don't wait to get those art quilts you've been thinking about because they won't be available after the end of the year.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Walnut Shibori

I finally have a local source for walnut hulls, and I processed a batch over the last two days.  I had about two quarts of hulls, green and brown (plus a walnut or two) ~ and with two extractions I now have nearly two gallons of gorgeous inky sepia colored dye.  I couldn't resist sticking a couple pieces of bound fabric into the extraction pot.

I haven't used walnuts before.  It's pretty amazing how much color you get from them, also how far a small amount will go.  I could have done several more extractions and still gotten gallons more dye...but I'm out of gallon jars and can always get more hulls when I need them.  FYI if you've been looking for an eco dye that will dye nylon, walnut is it.  I had another piece of fabric scrunched up in nylon mesh in the pot, and that nylon is permanently a very dark brown!

I have a big eco dyed piece waiting to be unbundled.  It's a cotton button down shirt that I processed last Thursday.  It's been sitting outside since Friday morning.  Sometime this week I'll unwrap it.  I'm planning to wear it to a community Thanksgiving supper next Saturday.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Alum Adventure

The first time I used alum in eco dyeing, a few months ago, I'd used it as a premordant for cellulose fabrics.  Meaning I soaked the fabrics in an alum/water bucket overnight, then dried the fabric, then used it to eco dye with.  I wasn't at all happy with the results -- everything turned out a garish acidy yellow.  I hadn't used alum since.

But alum is a commonly-used mordant in natural and eco dyeing, so I gave it another try.  This time I made my bundles as usual, and steeped them for 2+ hours in a pot of water with 2 Tbsp. of alum predissolved.  And I love the results!  There was NO rust in this pot.  Two bundles were wrapped around copper pipes and two around aluminized pipes.  The rest were wrapped around wooden things.

The two top pieces are old linen.  The one just above is jacquard-woven raw silk.

These are strips of old linen.  The top piece was inside another bundle.  The bottom piece just had can lids wrapped inside, no plant material.

These were the bundles on Monday morning after Sunday's steep and rest in the pot.

I have designs on that pot of liquid left over from this batch.  I gathered some ginormous oak leaves yesterday when I was in southern Humboldt and I have a plan for them this evening.  I'll use that alum brew plus add rust to the pot.  Can't wait to see how it turns out!


We have winners!

The thread and ribbon prize goes to Marybeth.

The glitz giveaway goes to Jeannie.

Please email me your snail mail addresses and I'll get your goodies off to you this week.

Thanks to all who entered!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Giveaway Reminder

Remember the giveaway in process now.  If you want to enter, leave a comment here before midnight Tuesday.  I'll draw for two prizes on Wednesday.  If you ARE entering, let me know in your comment which package of goodies you prefer.

Good luck!

Friday, November 4, 2011

New Goods in the Shop

I posted a bunch of new goodies in the shop yesterday.

Scroll down...
Three hand spun, hand knit scarves in the wearables department.

Six new fabric bundles in the fabric department.

Don't forget that 50% Off Early Holiday Sale on art quilts in my Etsy Shop.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

117K Giveaway!

I meant to do a giveaway when my blog hits reached six figures, but I'm just getting around to it, 17,000 hits later.

Periodically I go through my studio with a fine tooth comb and pull out materials I'm finished with or have never used.  My recent cull turned up two batches of cool colorful stuff.

I'm looking for two winners for the materials below.  To enter, leave a comment on this blog by midnight next Tuesday November 8, and I'll do a drawing on Wednesday.  Please specify which treat you would rather have ~ the Glitz Giveaway or the Thread/Ribbon Prize.  Also, let me know what you've been up to creatively this year.

The Thread/Ribbon Prize includes a large assortment of embroidery threads, including a couple skeins perle cotton and some old silk floss in the mix.  Most of the threads are DMC with possibly a few skeins of Coats.The ribbons are short pieces, between 6" and 18" and most are 1/8" satin.

The Glitz Giveaway includes 4 barely-used (if at all) bottles of Pearl Ex metallic powder, 4 tubes of glitter glue, and three pieces of unusual mylar trim.  The mylar cuts easily, can be glued or stitched, but does melt so be careful with your iron.

Thanks for reading my blog, and good luck!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Daze of Knitting

About all I did on Sunday and Monday was knit!   I have three projects in the works now...I keep going from one to the next because I love working with each yarn.  I will be selling these hand spun, hand knit scarves in The Shop, soon.  I'll let you know...

My EARLY HOLIDAY SALE has started at Etsy ~ every item there is on sale at Half Off (50%) now through Thanksgiving.  No need to use coupon codes, all the prices have been lowered via Etsy on Sale. 

I'll be following up this sale with another sale, beginning Thanksgiving Friday and running through December 15.  Same deal: 50% Off Everything at Etsy!

This piece of eco dyed fabric is the last of the recent batch.  It's an old cotton dresser scarf measuring 18x40 inches.  This could become the back of an eco dyed vest that's in my future, something I'll construct from scratch and possibly even handstitch throughout.  The original piece has two areas with French knots of very thick thread, like all six strands of embroidery floss (see last photo).  Stay tuned for my progress reports.