A while back, my computer reached the stage in its life where I needed to go and make a cup of tea after I turned it on and before it started to be capable of doing anything other than finding its own fingers and toes. The new one is a lot smaller than the old, and needed a protective cover.
The plant dyed blanket stash came to mind yet again, and this is the rather plain and simple sleeve I made.
And a close up of my rather basic blanket stitching! I am loving the way all the plant dyed thread I’ve been gathering keeps getting put to use along with the fabric…
I’ve been working on my fabric stash for quite a while, and found I was now struggling to decide what could become bags–and my attention turned to the plant dyed woollen blanket stash. Having made quite a few larger items–the question of what to do with the small scraps arose (inevitably). And so, a very large number of needle books came into existence.
And then some more, and some more. The stash of random small quantities of string went into the mix, and eventually home made string also got used!
I guess I will now have to work on creating some mending kits…
Dear and patient readers, I hope that you have been enjoying the festivals you celebrate and the holidays that you are able to arrange. I am sorry to have been absent so long–it has been a time of massive transformation at our place and other commitments have needed to take priority. I am hoping I might now be entering calmer times. However–there has been some making going on in between things… One of my sister-out-laws was my Kris Kringle this year–in that family, there is a cap on the amount you can spend on a gift and you are responsible for a gift for just one person. It’s a very sensible arrangement that results in a small number of carefully chosen gifts, that I wish I could convince my family to take up. My sister-in-law requested a eucalyptus-dyed shawl. What a pleasure it was to create that!
My favourite neighbourhood eucalyptus tree contributed the leaves, and the shawl is made from wool–ever the perfect match, as India Flint says. I also dyed a smaller silk and wool scarf that seemed to me perfect for a dear friend. You can see how much more readily the wool takes up colour (left) than the silk blend (right).
This gift made it into the mail in plenty of time, which was lucky because our plans were eclipsed by events in my partner’s family that have seen us spending time in Brisbane providing all manner of care to her beloved parents rather than at home hosting my family’s end of year celebration. Needless to say there as been a little quiet sock knitting involved…
Back before March, maybe even last year! I took out a silk cot quilt kit I bought from Beautiful Silks remnants section and dyed the silk cover. I’ll be honest with you, Marian (the fabulous proprietor at Beautiful Silks) persuaded me to buy this kit and I didn’t know where it would go. Then the moment for me to give it to one pregnant friend passed without it being finished.
I was very happy with how the dyeing turned out.
I was intimidated by the next steps. It was just too beautiful. Silk is just a bit too precious for me to relax about. In about March, still not sure where it would go, I decided to add the silk batting and stitch the quilt edges together. Then I safety–pinned and tacked the quilt layers together before losing my nerve again.
Then it emerged that my daughter was expecting! She wanted to wait until after the third month before being really confident that it would, as she put it, “stick”. And when that date passed and all was well with the foetus, I started to think about this quilt again. I didn’t know how to quilt it, and to be honest, I like the patchwork part of making quilts but not the quilting part. I’ve never made a whole cloth quilt. Finally I decided to stop waiting for it to be perfect and just stitch.
Suddenly I made my peace with this cone of thread that really wasn’t what I had thought I was buying on some previous mail order, and chose a needle. I finished the stitching after we arrived to visit my daughter, now visibly pregnant and beginning to multiply plans for her life as a parent. She did rather seem to love it, wonky stitching and all, to judge by all the stroking and patting and cheek-placing–and we’ll have to see how it stands up to the rigours of an actual baby. Or perhaps it will end up as a new mother’s comforter!
The leafy log cabin workshop went ahead recently, and it was a lovely day of stitching, dyeing, company and cake. So much cake! I took one photo near the start…
And one photo of a silk bag at the end.
Evidently, I didn’t take any in between! I dyed a lot of fabric in advance of this workshop, so I’ve had a lot of fun with it already. I had a surprise success in getting green from maple leaves. Kangaroo Paw prints was another happy surprise outcome. And I have what are sure to be the first of many more leafy log cabin blocks. It was great fun watching what other people made with some of the fabric I’d dyed (and in some cases, fabric they had dyed), and their own big imaginations. I was very struck by how many others expressed what I often feel: reluctance to use beautiful materials. Wanting to start with whatever is leftover or unwanted. Patchwork is a bit of a happy place for people who have this orientation toward using things up, I think.
And as well as the pleasure of spending time with lovely women, sewing and sharing and exploring, I had the pleasure of Susan’s home and hospitality, and since we spent the night before the workshop nearby, the joy of Aldinga beach at sunset too.
Decidedly overexcited by this experience, I wandered out on my bike the next day to deadhead the kangaroo paws at a nearby intersection (there are so many). They were not red–and they did not give a print.
But I did find a couple of mulberry trees in fruit, and I had a lovely ride and collected E Cinerea leaves… so a lovely afternoon just the same. How’s your dyeing and foraging going?
After the recent India Flint workshop on the Island Book, I took home enough paper and ideas to make a second book. In the upper images you can see my post-workshop efforts with dye plants local to me, and in the images at the bottom, some pictures of the Aldinga Island Book.
On my little holiday in Allansford, I dyed up some knit silk and some silky merino from the Beautiful Silks odds and ends department–much better fun than the remnants at a big chain store.
I had to do some creative work to find this entire garment from the pieces. In the end, I settled on silk sleeves and a silky merino body.
A friend agreed to take some pictures for me one day but she evidently couldn’t do anything about my embarrassment! And she offered the view that this top would work better if it were a little longer. She may well be right.
You can see I’ve got leaves running in one direction up my back and down the other… I just couldn’t get the pattern to fit any other way. And–I’ve enjoyed wearing this most of the winter.
On the weekend I had the good opportunity (due to a cancellation) of being able to attend a workshop with India Flint at the Aldinga Eco-Village, exploring plant dyeing on paper and a book structure called the Island Book.
In the beginning, there was poetry and chat, thread and tea and blank paper.
Then there was some drawing with your non-dominant hand. Well, personally, I was so overcome by DRAWING that I used my dominant hand and didn’t remember the non dominant part (and stuck with it when it was mentioned to me–you have heard my confession, friends).
Then there was a mighty lot of embellishing and stitching and some distressing (of the paper and fabric, you understand–no salty tears involved). There was mud in some cases. And lunch, never forget lunch. Stone soup!
Cutting and tearing and demonstration of other book structures.
And then wandering and collecting plants to try out and cooking the books! Finally, there was gleeful and cheerful wandering out into the world with damp books and our handmade tsunobokuro bags to wrap these or other treasures in. A glorious day all round, with thanks to the lovely Susan, our host and organiser!