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Friday, September 07, 2018


Since I retired five years ago, I'm so fortunate to be able to focus on what I want.  The only thing is that I enjoy so many crafts that it is difficult to decide sometimes just what is the priority.  Somehow my creativity is given a push when I have a deadline such as a class or a show - the creative juices really get going then but the same problem exists (how fortunate to have this for a problem!) so I have resorted to 'mapping'  rather than just prioritizing.  Writing down my thought process helps clear my mind and helps me bring one or two projects to the surface.  I like to think of it is as cream rising to the top.

I met my friend Laura for lunch several months ago and mentioned that I wanted to start making my own clothes; she said she had thoughts along the same lines.  Maybe it is my age or knowing that so many beautiful textiles are discarded and are piling up all over the world.- so I have deemed myself a 'textile saver.'  In fact, there is a very special local resale shop and I talked to Beth, the owner, about my idea of forming a group to be associated with her lovely wares; she agreed that it was a good idea and I get to come up with a plan for her to approve!  so now to convince friends and determine exactly what we can proceed!  PS:  I am amazed that Laura has created many AC projects while I am still working on this one!  

So for the past few months, I have been taking several online workshops and also creating a dress from the Alabama Chanin books.  Before we moved to SC, while I still worked, I purchased a Natalie Chanin class (jacket pattern came with the class) which I never made;  AC wasn't so popular then and I was still trying to juggle work during the week and felting, dyeing and all the other things I love to do on the weekends, including our priority - being with the family.

In any event, I have been working on this Alabama Chanin dress and although it still has a way to go, I find it a lovely soothing way to end the day, watching a program with my husband while stitching.

The bottom layer is a medium weight cotton knit dipped in indigo, the top is lightweight cotton knit stenciled with pearlescent grey.  The pattern came from one of the AC books and I took it to have it enlarged.  I also had the stencil enlarged and cut it out of pennant felt - took me two weeks off and on, not my favorite thing to do!  My first attempt at stenciling was a disaster as the air gun kept getting clogged and the felt became saturated underneath - you can imagine the disappointing outcome.  Next, I had to dye another top layer and stencil all over again.   I used a sponge which worked much better.  So here we are at the point where all of the main stitching is complete and I am enjoying the embellishment.  The great thing is that when I need to move on to the next evening project, I can finish the dress and still work on it later!  Oh, forgot to mention that I am going to add a ruffle to the bottom.

The other workshops that I have been taking are from India Flint - the true guru of not only eco printing but of creative design. She has the most amazing creative ability and she has helped me think outside of the box. 

The first class was the Japanese bag and I was an eager participant.  This large bag was all hand stitched boro style and I loved it so much; however, at an event attended, someone fell in love with it and had to have it  - she was a very special talented musician and she loved it so I couldn't say no - so it went to a good home and I had all the fun of putting it together!


Next was the alchemist apron, created using a men's shirt - again, I never would have dared tackle this without direction.  At the moment I can't locate the full picture, but I expecially love the trinket line, the lace collar and the special hankie addition from my friend Becky Becker!

 The trinket line with some special words embroidered, a smocked pocket (smocked by me) I hope to put this to good use soon!
 The hemline with a little girl swinging all her troubles away!

This is the back.

The latest workshop is named Conscious Clothing and as time permits, I've been working along on that.  The idea is to use thrift clothing, cutting things up, redesigning according to India's gentle instruction bundling them and simmering in her 'magic' brew.  So far I have made a cardi and a dress made a dress recycling an eco dyed silk dress and a knit top which when dyed together helps the colors all meld together.

 The cardi was done first - top cut up the front and back, velvet stitched down the center back, avocado dyed Japanese silk panels added to the front, silk cowl from a blouse added as a collar and chiffon ties.
 During the dress designing process - hmmm not sure where we are going yet, but trusting in the instruction.
 After simmering with leaves in the magic brew - the pink ended up matching the Japanese silk front panels on the cardi

 The skirt wasn't quite full enough at the sides and a little boring in front, so the class gave me enough confidence to cut up the sides and add other silk panels as well as a V-shaped felted portion below the waist

Once it was all dyed, it was amazing how the colors all melded and came together.  So pleased!

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