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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Just Cant Stop This - More Eco Dyeing Experiments

rust, leaves, washer, flower petals
Ever searching for the elusive bright orange print
but learning lots along the way and I am about to have a variety of euca from  more sources so who knows - I now understand clearly (and it makes sense) that lots depend not only on the species but location, time of year, even individual trees.  In the meantime, I am immensely enjoying the journey. 

I know some who object to India Flint claiming her right for introducing euca prints but let me tell you as an author, no one, and I mean no one has done more extensive research, experimenting and compiling experience in such rich comprehensive books.  To me she is a marvel and I appreciate reading both of her books and making new discoveries based on her knowledge.  

Don't get me wrong, but there are others along the way that have contributed to my excitement and passion as well through their own work and generosity regarding methods and resources. 
euca leaves euca bath

I am so grateful for the time to just play with these ideas and one day perhaps I will open a bundle and find that bright orange.  This has become almost a daily ritual and given me new eyes always alert for something to bundle and each time, I learn more.  

I am not good at keeping a notebook - yet; but I have promised myself to do just that.  Only I don't much like cutting up my prints so perhaps the way to get around that is to include just a small piece of the same each time I bundle just for my book.
different variety of euca leaves - love, love the patterning

more euca leaves

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Eco Printing

 The piece below is my favorite fabric - cotton and silk - it has a substantial but soft hand and takes the print and color so beautifully! 

I've become totally obsessed with eco printing/dyeing.  I have learned a lot from my experience these past few weeks - there is no better learning than doing.  Last week, I used onion skins, red cabbage, leaves and copper pipes.  Here are some of the results:
 I used many varieties of fabric - all silk/wool or with some silk content as that is my fabric of choice and the results are quite varied.  I used chiffon, gauze, habotai, etamine, silk mix of something that I picked up at the bazaar in Amsterdam for a song - shiny on one side and it was so inexpensive that I couldn't quite believe that it was silk - but it dyed so beautifully with maple leaves.  

I'm in awe of nature and the color she produces.  I've looked everywhere for a source of eucalyptus and put out a desperate call to FB friends and alas, a kind friend is sending me some and  I have ordered more varieties since I want to make some of those lovely reddish prints; I have learned that in order to achieve that, lots depend on many conditions - variety, time of year and other factors.  I can't wait to experiment further.


On Tuesday, November 19, our newest grandson, Victor Ian Pirtle was born a week earlyVIP: how is that for an important monogram! Praise God that everyone is healthy and happy; we really have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving and every day.  Mom and baby are coming home tomorrow, so we can't wait to see him in his own cozy home surrounded by those who love and adore him.  Ian was named after our son and Jennifer's brother, Ian, and he couldn't be named after anyone with a better character; we are so proud of him and he is so flattered :-)


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Silver Felt

Although it is difficult to tell, this felt is the lightest and most airy felt I have made to date - I'm in LOVE with it!!!  - can't wait until the weather cools (just a little - 60?) to wear it with leggings and boots - it is very fancy and turned out a shimmering silvery greyThe base is an eco chiffon dyed with rusty bits and iron before we moved; then there is one layer of grey (Opulent Fiber Merino), a layer of Margelin silk from Russia sent by a Russian student, Galina, who traveled all the way from Moscow for my workshop to Dorie's in the Netherlands - and was topped with part of a silk oblong also eco dyed in the same batch as the chiffon.  When I stretched out the oblong, it actually looked exactly like marble - amazing and beautifulOnce it had been felted, the grey wool came through the white margelin and it actually shimmers and trying it on was like wearing a feather!  Perfect for SC winters!!!  So excited!!!!

In the evenings, I am working on some cq hand stitching for one of my workshops at Opulent Fibers in Portland, Oregon, next August and tomorrow I'll begin working on some samples for other workshops as well - both machine needle and wet felting.  Life is good!

I love hand stitching - keep checking for more updates!

Monday, October 07, 2013

Eco Printing - Just the Beginning

So, although I've been itching to get to my eco dyeing again, I haven't been able to find the time because of deadlines and all the socializing that goes on around here!  Not that I'm complaining!  We have met some very lovely friends and socialized more in the past two months than we did in years before moving here, of course it helps those in Habersham are here because they chose to be here!  Anyway, just a brief trial with some found leaves/nuts (sadly I don't know enough to identify them, but I do know where to get more), some onion skins and a little eucolyptus I brought with me that I got from California; I'm very sparing with the euco because I don't have much and want to save it for an actual project.  I had a bunch of white nuno scraps leftover from the recent white dress that I do not want to waste, so I bundled them up and think they will be a good hand stitching opportunity for future workshops in 2014.  The top piece is etamine, I've had it a while and wondered how it would do with eco printing (quite lovely I may add) just another experiment that I will include in some garment I'm sure.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

New Felt Works

Some things I've been working on lately - I had many yards of some gorgeous crinkled cotton in my stash.  The top is nuno felted and cut using a Natalie Chanin pattern - it is cut and sewn (those of you who know me, know that I LOVE cutting/sewing my felts) with some extra embellishments added - circles showing the reverse side with hand stitched sequins and beads.

 This is a collar that can be used separately or with the dress for chilly evenings.
The back of the dress is very simple and I decided it needed a special touch, so I added a nuno flower.  This dress is elegant and pretty enough to be used for a wedding dress; the sides are gathered up very slightly at the hem.
My "Charity" dress is finally finished with a simple flower necklace added for enhancement.I always learn something new from Charity - wish she could come live with me - I love her!

 and . . . I finally had the time to complete my Jean Gaugher butterfly wrap - quite large and very beautiful.
  and also finished this aqua top that began as a dress before I changed my mind!

Living in Paradise

Yes, we have moved to paradise at least it feels like it!  Lots have happened since my last post in November; I taught in several venues including The Maryland Sheep and Wool in May, a trip to Dorie's in the Netherlands in early June, as well as several times at the wondrous Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, Virginia.  When I came home, I retired from my job of 17 years in two weeks later and moved to a really special place, Habersham, in Beaufort, SC.  You can't really explain it, you must experience it! Check out the snow egrets who come to roost here every evening - a special sight to behold!

Moving south has been a dream for us since our youngest daughter relocated to the Hilton Head area after college; every visit made it more appealingNever did I think that we would find such a very special community to live in; our cottage met the criteria of downsizing but the location around the corner from the dock that overlooks a creek and the wetlands, two blocks from the pool (hardly anyone there!) which lies alongside the Broad River and another dock complete with pavilion has enriched our lives so much (the golf cart makes it even more fun too!).  There is a gorgeous town center with a few nice restaurant, our own Post Office (there are no mailboxes), the Park House next to the tennis courts to house the various community groups and numerous playgrounds; it doesn't hurt that the speed limit is 18 miles an hour - no racing cars and wonderful lush landscaping that makes this the best place to be able to walk, bike ride (and explore with that golf cart!). When we are more settled, we hope to get a kayak too as there are endless waterways to explore.  We have already made some special friends that we enjoy very much and Habersham is a great place to develop a social life - everyone who lives here, is here because they want to be here and it makes a big difference; and they came from all over the US.  Most found the community by visiting or reading about it and once you come, you understand why you don't want to leave. It also helps to have our littlest grandson  just 1/2 hour away - one straight shot! . .  and a new one on the way in November.  So life is good.

Now on to felting:  part of my criteria was to have a studio, and I do have quite a nice one - I call this, a room with a view as I am able to look out a see East pond at the side of our house (forgot to mention all the lovely ponds around too).  I love looking at my ribbons and I had purchased this gorgeous cotton netting while I was with Dorie at the Textile Market in Amsterdam.  I bought it for felting but I love it so much on my window, I may never use it.

Before we moved in, we added some built-ins to maximize my studio space; this is the view from outside my room from the stairwell - hahaha, had to mark my territory!
I had a wonderful quilting table that is just the right height and it got modified with another leaf to make it large enough for large felt pieces - perfect (I can still lower the leave I need be)
Some more built ins make for a very efficient and functional work room.  Room for my book collection was a MUST!

Originally, I had planned to use the cubbies for my wool; however, I decided to continue to store my wool in plastic drawers as it easy easy to see and keeps it safe and convenient.  I've since rearranged these to the other side of the room and stacked them higher so they take up less space but you get the idea
Four of my seven machines sit on the built in counter with the others stored under it; and the shelf above serves to keep the counter clutter free.
This cottage has four bedrooms - with a jack and jill bathroom between them - perfect access to water for felting and my newest addition makes it even more practical - in love with it for getting out the extra water.
Forgot to mention the pegs and shelf added to the bathroom - always looking for that extra storage!