Wednesday, December 21, 2016

It's been a busy fall and early winter around here.  This post will be a grab bag of all the things I've been doing and working on.

Here's the latest version of a pattern I've made three times now.  It fits me to a T, I love making it and I can now whip it out in about four hours.  It's Marcy Tilton's Vogue 9130.  I think this could be flattering on lots of figures.

This fabric is a heavy cotton jersey I got at Fabrix in San Francisco (so I can't tell you for sure what the content is, they don't have labels on their bolts).  It's a huge print so I thought breaking it up into smaller parts would be wise.

First let me say, THANK YOU INDIA FLINT!  You have been a huge influence on me in many ways.  Not the least of which is my ongoing practice of eco printing.  I am humbled and inspired by you constantly.

Knowing I could do something with it my pilates instructor gave me a cashmere sweater that had been left in her studio for months.  I've been working with cashmere for about 12 years now, using various methods of construction.  For the past year I've been using every light colored sweater I have, or could lay my hands on, to eco print.  This latest acquisition got me started again.  Back to the dye pots.  Since it was fall many of my tried and true leaves were available again.  Eucalyptus and nectarine leaves are two of my favorites.  But I had many other dried leaves that worked as well.

I hadn't been able to figure out what to do with the huge selection of previously printed pieces in my stash.  I had whole sweaters and smaller bits.  I've been taking them out, fondling them, refolding them and putting them back in a pile for about a year now.  I finally concluded that using them in a whole sweater wasn't for me.  So, I cut them all up (it stopped my heart for about a split second) and made scarves out of them.  I think I was feeling like they were too precious to cut into.  Wrong!

Wow do I love them!  I think the piecing is a really good way to show off the individual marks.   

This one is hand sewn using Valdini purl cotton.  It's a very satisfying process to pick each piece and work with it.  Another big plus is that you can still smell the plant materials.  Especially the eucalyptus!  This piece is mostly nectarine leaves.  They start out orange and yellow but dye green, my favorite dye color!

Here's my favorite piece.  It's nectarine leaves again.  They were in various stages of dying, some yellow, some orange some green.

I played around with sizes.  I like varying them but mostly using larger ones, these got a bit too small.

Here you see most three types of eucalyptus, onion skins and dried crocosmia blossoms.  I machine stitched these and like this look a lot.  I used my walking foot which made it a cinch.


I steam most of my pieces.  It gives a more exact print, which I like.  But I love the watercolor effect on this middle piece.  It's submerged in a water bath instead of steamed.  Among other things there are plum leaves, oak leaves and onion skins.

Sorry for this dark shot.  I did most of the dyeing on this one so long ago I can't remember what each piece had on it!

Same here...should be writing these things down but that's just not who I am.

That's all of the eco printing for now.  

Random... but I couldn't resist showing you a piece of sidewalk art.  It wasn't meant to be that but it looked so beautiful to me.

We had quite a nippy fall this year on the Central Coast and the leaves all turned brighter than usual.  Here's a shot of the Spirea looking towards my studio bunkhouse.

And the giant fig turning it's glorious yellow.  It's great for eco-printing, too.  It makes a shocking yellow.

And the stand of Japanese maples turned better than ever!

On to the holiday.  My Sewing Guild has a holiday sew-in every year where we exchange gifts.  They are the best gifts cuz these women KNOW what we all like!  I've been wanting to use my kantha scraps and decided to make a flower pin to go on each package.  

I had so much fun making them.  And I used some of my button stash.  I'm determined to use what I have and not buy stuff!!!

Here's how I made them.  I cut three different sized templates for petals, then I cut out 5-7 of each size in the kantha cloth.  I sewed each of the petal sizes together at their bases, end to end, with a basting stitch.  I gathered them so that they formed a circle and layered each petal circle one on top of the other.  Then sewed them all together and sewed the button on.
I glued a pin back to black felt and glued that onto the flower backs. They were pretty darned cute on all the packages.

And finally, I tried to include a video I took of the holiday window at Molly b's on 4th Street in Berkeley. But my post wouldn't send with it attached so just go to their website and check it out!

Have a warm, loving and delicious holiday!
PS...the preview feature is not working on Blogger.com right now so if there are errors here please forgive!

17 comments:

  1. As you know, I love that shirt pattern. Great use of a knockout fabric. And, I'm over the moon with your scarves. So beautiful. I, too, am a I. Flint fan.
    Lately, I can't get blogger to compose at all, I write a few things and it closes, losing everything. Do I remember you had similar issues and Shams helped fix them?

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts! This particular problem, not being able to "Publish" just started yesterday. I'm thinking it was because I had a video in it that Blogger didn't like although I used the formatting they provide. I took it out but the post would still not publish. So I copied the whole post and pasted it into a new post (in a different window). That seemed to work. It did freak me out, though, since I'd spent about an hour or more on the post!
      I'm sorry I can't tell you anything more. Have you tried going on their chat boards about it?

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  2. I loved what you did with the eco dyed materials and scarves. I have the same pile I look at and fold again. New ideas. Are you sewing raw edges or have you turned the edges at all. I would think on the cashmere you wouldn't have to after steaming but couldn't tell with the pictures. I usually do fiber art and not clothing but you may convert me.

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    1. I never finish cashmere seams or edges. Right after acquiring it, before it goes into my stash I wash my cashmere in a front loader, gentle, mild soap, cold water and lay flat to dry. If I want them felted I dry them on low. But sometimes they don't even felt doing that. Cashmere is slightly different from wool.

      You can cut cashmere without fear of fraying or raveling because the knit is so small. But I love raw edges!

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  3. Beautiful and inspiring! Merry Christmas !

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  4. How lucky I feel to have found you and your blog. You are sew creative, super inspiring. Way to jump off the cliff of hoarding sweaters, I really like your dyed creations. I like natural dyes, too. Have you tried avocado skins? boiling them and dipping in silk makes the yummiest scent and pretty shell pink color. Now that the holiday sewathon is over, I am fondly looking at my garment ufos. I look forward to reading your blog.

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    1. Oh wonderful. Thank you for your kind words. I haven't tried avocados yet but will now that you've mentioned it. I wonder if you would get color if you placed them on cashmere, roll it up and steam it?

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  5. Love your new shirt, and what a great idea for scarves! I too have a pile of eco dyed fabric, mostly cotton, linen and silk and am staring at a composition on my studio wall that isn't doing much for me yet. But I don't think these fabrics, except for the silk, would work well as scarves. Where do you find the cashmere sweaters to work with? My local thrift stores never have anything like that.

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    1. Thank you. I found most of my cashmeres at flea markets. But it's been several years and with the advent of recycled uses for them they are drying up. There's a gal who runs clothing sales down the street from me who sells them to me when they have holes in them. Maybe you could find used clothing dealers in your area. They seem to appreciate a market for the ones they can't sell to their "regular" customers!

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    2. Thanks, Gayle. I just did an internet search and didn't find anything but will keep my eyes open when I go to local thrift stores.

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  6. Love the shirt which I've made but would never have thought to use a big, bold print. The scarves are simply lovely. Happy Holidays! Karen

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    1. Thank you, Karen, and Happy Holidays to you, too!

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  7. Lovely work, Gayle! You certainly found the perfect use for your eco-dyed cashmere. It seems that working from the stash encourages creativity, doesn't it? I've been trying to do that too. Shopping in my own personal craft store!

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    1. Thanks! Yep, and I'm shopping in my own closet these days, too. I'm putting combos of clothes together that I've never tried...all new outfits!

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  8. thank you so much for your kind words, Gayle. Happy New year.

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    1. You are so welcome. My comments regarding you are richly deserved! I hope 2017 is a banner year for you and your family!

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