Tag Archives: cotinus

New knitting bag


I have ethical questions about cutting up garments at times.  For example, should I leave them in the op shop for someone who might use them as they are rather than treating them as raw materials?  Not to mention, how about using what I already have and not getting anything more, even second hand? I have to admit that other days I think about how much textile waste is thrown away in the overdeveloped world and think I should just go wild if I have a good idea.  But my ethical quibbles are completely swept away when I confront the bargain rack at the op shop, where things have failed to sell and the next stop is rags.  Which is how the linen jacket above (and a pair of jeans) came home with me a little while back. The jacket had clearly gone through the washing machine despite its dry clean only tag (I understand, dry cleaning is an evil chemical process and expensive as well), and the interfacing had not shrunk at the same rate as the linen.  And that, my friends, is how I found myself ripping an Armani suit into its component parts!


This process entertained two friends who don’t share my fascination with garment construction mightily.  I’ve read about the signature Armani interior pocket in my wanderings through Threads Magazine.  And here it is!  Not to mention so much interfacing, of about five different types. In the end some of the jacket lining and the interior pockets became part of this lining.

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And the lining was set into an eco print on silk left from dye camp summer 2017.

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And finally, I have a new knitting bag.  I’ve lost one, and one needs comprehensive mending… and this one has luxury interior pockets for all my little stuff (stitch markers, needles).  I’m a happy knitter!  And the linen has hit a bucket of soy milk, the better to meet its new destiny.

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Filed under Leaf prints, Natural dyeing, Sewing

Prints on silk


While I was at dye camp, I had access to plants I usually would not be able to use, and silk fabrics that I don’t usually have, and so of course, experiments occurred…


I thought you might enjoy seeing them!



Filed under Natural dyeing

Leafy bundles

First there was a walk home from a distant railway station.  Cotinus (smoke bush) growing through a fence….


Then there was a walk home from a bus stop on a major road further from home than the one I usually use.  And the amazing discovery of a HUGE maple with finely ferny leaves.  Hanging over a high fence.


Well. It was only a matter of time… a recycled linen shirt and a wool scarf…2016-11-04-15-43-06

A couple of bundles…


I love the transformation!


Some of the maple leaves came out pale. 2016-11-05-12-54-27

Those closest to the iron at the centre of the bundle…


Perhaps I chose the wrong side of the cotinus as the one likely to give colour, because…


And the scarf, mmmm!


This one is destined to become a birthday gift.



Filed under Eucalypts, Leaf prints, Natural dyeing

Transformations: Table cloth to top #64

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Once upon a time there was a linen tablecloth.   It was a round table cloth with an overlocked edge, gifted to me by someone who no longer had a round table.

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It went into the dyepot one week, but since the dye pot is only so big, I tore it into strips and dyed it that way, mostly with E Scoparia, but also with cotinus (smokebush) leaves and flowering heads picked when they poked out through a fence near our food co-op.  I really could not believe the purple from the cotinus and I am not sure why it happened.  Needless to say, I will try that again and see if it repeats.  I did also try woad leaves but that was less spectacular.  Pinky but not very leaf printy.

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Some time last year I had a sudden whim to turn it into Merchant and Mills Top #64 and pieced parts together to make that happen, and cut it out.  Then after a while it was rolled up.  Then it was parked for some months.  Just recently I did some cleaning up and thought maybe I should finish some things. I just sewed a seam or two a day in a busy time.

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Since so many readers here were interested in my recent discussion of interfacing, here’s what happened this time.  I cut the neck facing out of a piece of leaf printed calico.  I actually cut it back out of a piece of patchwork, also unfinished.

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The interfacing fabric is a piece of a much loved kimono that has passed beyond the mending interest of my mother-out-law. You can see it layered under the facing here after stitching teh layers together but before finishing the edge.

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I think my mother-out-law is rather enjoying being able to send me her raggedy, beloved things as they get past the point of original use and getting stories of their conversion into all manner of other things.  I stitched the two pieces of fabric together and overlocked (serged) the outer edge.  Here it is pinned on and ready to stitch.

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And finally…

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Here is the back view:

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And some closer views…

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It is rather stiff at present, after its preparatory baths in soy milk mordant.  But that will change with more washing.

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All the little bits and pieces were, needless to say, so interesting to me that I patched them together months before I sewed the garment!

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Filed under Leaf prints, Natural dyeing, Neighbourhood pleasures, Sewing

Happy unbundling

Before I went to Mansfield, I had a moment of imagining what it would be like to return from a sewing circle and re-enter the world of work at the crunch point of the year.  So I took some steps to create things to return home to. I gathered leaves and retrieved saved leaves.

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I decided on a well used round table-cloth I’d been given.  Much loved and much washed and presumed (by me) to be linen.

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No round tables here.  It was destined to be ripped and turned into something new.  I added in woad leaves and seeds as well as E Scoparia leaves and continus nipped from a tree that hangs over a fence.  Here is a stuff, steep and store jar of woad seeds where the silk thread within is turning purple, with a continus leaf for colour comparison.  Wow!

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The bundles went into the dye pot on the day I left home.  Just as I headed out to a laundrette to deal with a laundry crisis that reorganised my last day at home and shall not be detailed here.

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I pulled them out of the dye pot as I went to the airport. Finally, some time after I returned, unbundling time arrived.  The Euc prints are wonderful!

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I just love linen!

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The woad leaves and seeds left traces of green and burgundy and purplishness. But only traces.  The bundle may have been a bit too loose. Ah, but those few continus leaves gave purple!  Who knew?  Well, I didn’t!  But now I am glad I bought one on special at a nursery last winter.  It had lost its leaves and was not a prepossessing looking plant at the time, but now… well… I need to let it keep growing, clearly…

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Filed under Dye Plants, Leaf prints, Natural dyeing, Neighbourhood pleasures