Saturday, 6 May 2017

The Answer

Papaver 'Patty's Plum' still one of my favourite flowers
15 flower heads this year

Detail of a rust piece
Whilst struggling to hand stitch wearing a wrist splint for Carpel Tunnel I have answered a question that has been troubling me for a while. Whether the work I produce should be practical and useful. I answered myself today, it just doesn't matter, if you can you should do what you love while you can.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Dyeing experiments and a bit of patchwork

1 Dandelion, silk noil, silk and wool mix yarn

2 Cushion, old linen and hand stitch

3 Silk noil, from left wool, silk, wool and silk mix yarns

4 Silk noil, from left wool, wool and silk mix, silk yarn

5 Silk noil, from left wool, silk and wool mix, silk yarn
Dandelion dyed in an aluminium saucepan, very pretty pale yellow, if these had been fresh they may have dyed darker but I had collected them over several days.

Images 3, 4, 5, are all experiments using Logwood powder, a little goes a long way so I still have loads left. I probably wouldn't buy it again as I understand that the whole tree has to be cut down to obtain the dye but it does yield some lovely colours. Apparently it is slightly fugitive as well. All cooked in a stainless steel pan.

3 All of these had been previously dyed with rust and bark, the wool yarn on the left being the resulting colour, the rest were over dyed with the logwood and came out these lovely blues.

4 Logwood cooked for an hour and then left overnight in the pan, love these colours.

5 Using the left over dye with copper added, supposed to bring out the blues which it sort of has, it turned the dye into a very nasty looking soup.

I will have another go soon to try and get some lighter fresher colours.


Sunday, 30 April 2017

Learning new tricks and a lovely sunset


Late afternoon sun last Thursday


Attempts at sewing with cotton jersey
I have been making my own clothes for a long time but have never worked with cotton jersey before. I want to start making my own tee shirts so that I can use organic or recycled fabric. Above is a first attempt using old clothing. The pattern doesn't have a seam down the front which would look better. Anyway I am glad I made a trial version first and will probably make another one before I start on new fabric.
I learnt a few things, firstly stay stitching needs to be done using a larger stitch than you would normally for stay stitching, I stretched the neckline, you can see it still looks a little odd.
Secondly the neck binding needs to be stitched very carefully to get an even finish and thirdly the top stitching also needs to be done carefully. Fourthly American pattern sizing is very different from ours.
This isn't a proper mannequin so the shirt doesn't hang very well but this is an American size 6 (so flattering) which is equivalent to a UK size 10, it is supposed to be a loose fit but I normally make clothes in a UK size 12. The pattern was large round the neck I have taken about two inches from the neckline.
The basic pattern is very simple to put together, the finishing a little more complicated. I haven't bothered doing hems as its a trial one, though it will do fine for gardening.
The pattern is Fen by Fancy Tiger Designs which I bought online from The Village Haberdashery, its also available from Backstitch.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Not weaving but drowning



Actually that is rather an exaggeration but I am having trouble coming up with ideas for larger pieces, the tapestry and the stitched piece are both based on patching and are for the upcoming exhibition with Liz Hewitt, Rusted, Weathered and Worn.
The tapestry is in different shades of grey with a fine maroon line between each patch, difficult to see, this is the first larger piece I have started.
The stitched piece will probably be a cushion cover and is made from an old linen skirt backed with part of an old sheet, which is a joy to stitch, very soft.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Burnt offerings

Silk noil and silk mix thread

Well what can I say, I had beautiful colour when I turned the dye pot off but I hadn't turned it off at the mains so for some reason it decided to carry on cooking, all night. The yellow shade is a bit darker than these photos.
I can still use these but they are not the lovely yellow I was expecting.
The process I followed was mainly from Jenny Dean's book Wild Colour, it does all get a bit smelly so I would advise doing it outside if you can.
The daffodil season is over so I have a whole year to wait to try it again.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

My new dye garden

New dye garden
 I now have a small patch for dye plants and have already sown seeds of tagetes and purple carrot. Weld seeds are growing in my cold frame. My one and only woad plant is just coming into flower so I will harvest seed from that later in the year.
I had some indigo plants in here last year but they didn't flower in time to survive the frosts.
Woad nearly in flower

Quince flower

Daffodils in soak






Below is a flower on the quince tree I planted last year which is in the same flower bed.

























I have been collecting daffodil flowers from various family member's gardens. These have been in soak for a couple of days in an aluminium pan and a good colour is developing. So watch this space for the results. I don't have a lot of dye so will probably just try some threads.
Dandelions will be next, they are taking over my lawn, and then I want to try Rosemary of which I have loads. I have lots of flowers in the garden which I want to try, dark colour tulips worked well last year, as did blue iris and a shrub whose name has completely escaped me at the moment.
Exciting times.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Spring nights

The sun last night at 7pm uk time, just hanging

Cowslips, photo taken at the same time, gradually naturalising
in the front garden.