Sunday, October 31, 2010

Last Day of October

I have been untangling, sorting and putting away threads, as well as gathering some for the upcoming textile art class I will be starting in a week. Maybe that's why the forest floor gifted me with a gold star :)
Not to mention all the other visual gifts of colour and form!

Today I will carve these with my family. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Milky Way

Colourful and varied seaweed on the beach this morning. And this driftwood seems to be a grinch-like face sticking out its tongue.
I used Garry oak leaves to dye some cotton, using milk as a mordant this time and it worked pretty well.

I can see veins on some of the leaves but I'd like to add colour from another local plant, still.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Waiting Is the Hardest Part

Waiting to open natural dyeing bundles can be like watching a slug move. Yet I know the fabrics need time to pick up the colours and patterns and changes are happening everyday, just like how the waters rearrange what's on the beach daily, too.
I waited three days and opened the small red maple leaf bundles of silk velvet

and cotton and it was worth the wait!

Dyes and Paints

It's not Halloween yet - even though this may look a little gory! The dyeing was all on cloth! Pomegranate yielded a very subtle gold on this piece of old linen tablecloth.
And this is a Eucalyptus leaf overdye on top of a different kind of Eucalyptus leaf dyed piece of linen - which yielded yellows, this time.

As part of my art quilt group's surface design round robin, I painted small dots over the surface of some large feathers. We will include these half metre fabric pieces in our upcoming show in November.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Small Pleasures

Interesting forms are popping up in the forest right now. Such variety - some look like flowers.
And a faded shirt of mine needed some colour, so I gave it a makeover,

tossing in a pair of socks. Small pleasures on a rainy day.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Extraordinary in the Ordinary

While walking on the beach yesterday, I noticed how I was taking photos of the ocean, sky and beach treasures - yet there were many things I was excluding - like the houses lining the hill at my back. So I got interested in what I might not be taking photos of, behind me, noticing the beauty to be found there too.
A row of old logs stood on their ends offering many stories that I could have missed in favour of the moving clouds, waves, birds, people and dogs. Stories of the passage of time, rough seas, old wounds, stuck places, hiding spots and togetherness.

And look at this rusted, faded, corroded, cut and frayed wonder:

I'm in steeping mode - trying to see what I'm not seeing.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Yesterday morning I woke to find a sky eye watching me.Today's sky is undifferentiated white fog -and - I love the surprise of that. I also noticed this on my carpet - which I have never seen there before, and right after I snapped the photo, I went looking for the source, only to look back and the rainbow had disappeared! A good case for seizing the moment.
Some surprise colours appeared on this linen, which I dyed with the same eucalyptus leaves that previously yielded a rust/orange on silk. One difference beyond the fabric type was using alum instead of vinegar as a mordant. There is yellow, brown and black, here, and I'm showing just a portion of the piece.

I wonder what will surprise me today?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


If I don't express creatively in some medium everyday, my soul feels locked up. So I took myself for a walk with my camera today - I take a lot of photos but I largely don't put them on this blog because its focus is fibre. However, I haven't been stitching these last few days
although I have been buying and gathering supplies for the Mark Making course I will begin in a few weeks time. Fortunately I have many of the items on the supply list. We are to choose one colour to work with and the yarns, ribbons, threads and beads, etc. that I've gathered are all in shades of green. The arbutus tree is my favourite tree and I once wrote an ode to it - I love the contrast of the peeling red bark and green wood beneath, and the sensuality of it's shape.

Someone toppled this mushroom over - maybe the buck I surprised coming out of my driveway the other night.

I find switching between mediums is energizing.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


This morning a blanket of cloud left just a gap of clear sky above the earth. I found myself noticing how the proximity of the cloud seemed to create a tendency in me to form a connection across that gap - to draw the blanket down to touch the earth or to unify the two in some way, like in the principle of gestalt. Stitches are like that, too - each new stitch leads my eye across the gap, forming a connection and changing how I see.
I think that desire to close the gap or to connect the dots is how we learn and grow.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Back Up Fabric

This piece has been waiting to be quilted and finished and it finally came to me how to go about doing that. I like the design as is and didn't want to lose some of it by finishing it with a facing or binding, so I have backed this with yellow felted wool - which is so smooth to stitch through. The wool extends about a half inch beyond the pieced top on all four sides and I am going to leave the edges of the pieced top raw, but I am stitching just beyond the edges of it, at intervals so that it will still stay together. And today was my quilt guild's garage sale, where everyone brings fabrics or quilting related items to sell and buy. Here's the scene: a large gym with tables spread throughout covered in plastic bags of every imaginable fabric with varied amounts and low prices. (Our guild has over 400 members.) Chairs surround the perimeter, each one displaying books, rulers, patterns and other goodies. I like ethnic fabrics like these Japanese and African ones I found:
The gold one near the centre is silk!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mini Mandala

Circles are so encompassing, gathering everything in their embrace.
A symbol of wholeness, for me.

Friday, October 8, 2010


More basting today, with a few leaves falling from the trees...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Basting Season

While turkey will be my basting focus this Thanksgiving weekend, for now I have been basting together some fabric weavings I started in Jude Hill's Cloth to Cloth class earlier this year - I really need those pins! Some quilting stitches have snuck on there, too.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Both the slip of crescent moon and the sun were visible out my window this morning. Yet they are always there - even when I cannot see them, regardless of the time of the day.
Everything is there, even and especially in the deepest, darkest, dark. I am liking the soft yet substantial feel unfolding here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Making Sure I Get My Greens

Silk gauze dyes beautifully - this reminds me of seaweed. And I over dyed this linen a third time:
Here is a loosely woven cotton that I also tested in the dye bath - it fringes nicely.

And while I was dyeing, I figured why not pop in my white socks? :)

Roses Are Red...

After cutting some of the last roses in my yard, I just couldn't waste the lovely green leaves... So I tried using them to dye cotton.

Here is the entire half metre piece and there are a few longish Eucalyptus leaves I threw in, as well.
And this piece is now basted and ready to quilt.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Changing It Up

I love the texture of this caterpiller, with its tiny feathers and whiskers - what a beautiful 'coat'! Quite awhile ago I bought this cotton jacket in a thrift shop, planning to alter it because the sleeves were too long and I didn't like the colour. Here it is before and after the mixed blue dyebath:
To me it's the colour of growth, and I'm adding meaningful symbols to it - small quilted patches in a group of three on the left front panel and probably a pocket to balance it, on the lower front right. This patch is cotton, linen and a diamond of my natural dyed silk with a feathery fringe.

And here it is with a heart patch Jude Hill sent me

Now to finish the transformation...