Sunday, January 30, 2011

Home is Where the Heart is

Some of us in Contemporary Woven Boro are making hearts to hang outside in February - scraps of colour to beckon spring. Mine is a soft flowering heart with roots - like a prayer flag for growth. And this is all made from used clothing or garage sale scraps. I dreamed of making a weaving that had these half circles as part of the design. I'm not sure it's quite how I want it, but this is where it's at so far.
I am so enjoying myself and have a deepening sense of home.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Roses in Winter

Roses aren't blooming outside, but inside is a different story... I used my stamp on these fabrics in the Mark Making course, yesterday.
We are also doing a variety of free motion sewing exercises and delved briefly into differences between patterns.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Keeping Pace

Contemporary Woven Boro has me on fire with design ideas. Such a pleasure to be 'weaving' again and working in a way that feels native. I am keeping up between my two classes, but dividing my time means less experimentation in either one, overall. Here are some various cords and braids I machine stitched
using a variety of materials. I also completed my thread painted flower - it takes a long time to fill a three or four inch diameter!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

More This and That

We are to bring a stamp for the next Mark Making class, so I decided to make one. I've also been sewing various materials into cords
and building up stitches on the flower I showed yesterday. And I did a little
dyeing - and washed out some cotton that I had dye painted in the class - the red one on the right.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Automatic Can be Artful

Here is some stitch exploration I've been doing as part of the Mark Making With Machine class. It's a mix of an automatic stitch and free motion. I want to fill it in further but my thread kept breaking so I thought I would take a break too :). I've also been sampling a few automatic stitches and feel delighted to explore them through content, placement, colour, size and composition. I made some shapes and lines and a story began to unfold and ideas were igniting and then I was in that feverish state of creative excitement you may recognize. And then I found that the conversation on Boro in the online class had begun and I felt moved by all there is to learn and the sheer beauty of the world of fibre and stitch. Bliss....
I also tried out my free motion couching foot with limited success, but I will experiment further with different yarns.

Monday, January 17, 2011

This and That

Here are some fabric scraps gathering ready for Jude Hill's Contemporary Woven Boro class and sorting through them is like taking a trip down memory lane for the last four years. I have alot of colour and fewer neutrals. I've also been basting fabric weavings and it's good to regain those pins, as I know I'll be needing them!
I've also been finishing my machine thread colour scales for my other class, and I overdyed these fabrics - adding bright green and magenta. They're more interesting now, but I may do another round of colour. I am curious about how different methods of dyeing compare to each other. I used low immersion methods here - with three hours of batching and a different recipe and the results are as vibrant as the tray dyeing. It seems to me there's room for alot of leeway.
And serenditpity plays a large role, too.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


This cloth has no name - a wordless expression of the mystery present in everything.
It fits perfectly on the cover of my large journal that has come to its end along with the completion of this cloth, so it may find a home there.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

More Dye Patterns

Here are a mix of mostly linens and cotton from the same dye bucket as in the last post - amazing how much fit in there! I like these swirls:
And this one is a favourite, too. But when I took the next one out, it took my breath away...

Holding the Tension of Opposites

The sun joined the moon in this window, today, and a stitched door also formed below it. I am going to be challenged taking two courses at once in what feels like such opposite directions. While Comtemporary Woven Boro doesn't begin for another week, the class blog is open and I want to ease into the spirit of that as well as carry on with samples and projects for the Mark Making With Machine course. I considered adding machine stitch to this - even felt intrigued and chose two potentials, but just couldn't bring myself to do it. I enjoy both handstitch and machine - but there is a very different feel to each. While I have combined them in other pieces - it has to feel right.
In class yesterday, we sorted our threads to sew samples of colour scales for value, temperature and intensity and we tray dyed fabrics in a pleated, swirled, scrunched and twisted fashion with two temperature variants of our chosen colour, as well as did a dye painted piece. For some unknown reason, my warmer red dye hardly gave any colour. I'd heard dyes have a shelf life, but I didn't believe it. I brought my batching fabrics home to rinse and iron before next week's class - partly because I also did a bucket full of a wide range of fabric samples, using the same two reds, plus a teal green and a pink, and I added a few other manipulations. Here is burlap, silk velvet, silk gauze, trims, a doily and crocheted squares. I was surprised at how purple came into the mix - because I had expected the two compliments of green and red to yield some browns - but considering my green was a teal, the blue in it was enough to tip the scale in the purple direction. Sometimes combining opposites can yield something unexpected!
From the same bucket, here is cheesecloth, silk ribbon, a variety of threads, scrim, some kind of chenille/towel fabric and rayon that was a pale green.

More dyes in a next post...

Drum Roll

I dropped into Knotty By Nature a few days ago, where I had fun learning to use their drum carder and I combined some merino, bamboo and silk fibres into a batt ready for further play. Watching those colours blend is intoxicating! I also picked up more thread, needles and two new feet for my Pfaff - which I haven't tried, yet. In this zigzag stitch sample, I discovered what you may already know but is new to me - that I can make diamonds by returning in the opposite direction. Diamonds are a favourite shape of mine.
I did try out all of my Pfaff's stitches - except the buttonholes, the alphabets and combining sequences of different stitches. Having this record has already come in handy.

There is such variety and every stitch has yet more because their shape can be altered in length and width - not to mention colour and types of thread I might use. The animals brought up the end of the sampler, with the butterflies in last place at 195 - now it's up to me to take take flight!

Saturday, January 8, 2011


While at the beach, I kept finding gorgeous swirling patterns of colour on various logs that carried into a felting experiment which I feel quite excited to enhance further with stitch. I am also continuing to learn about what my Pfaff can do. This bendable light is proving to be very useful - I've had it for at least a year and finally put it on!
The testing out of automatic stitches has built up to over 100, with many more yet to go. There is such variety and I hope to read my Pfaff's manual to further my understanding of what else
is possible. And these cotton threads arrived in the mail - but I will have to supplement the reds to have a wider range for the textile art course I'm taking.
Off to shop...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Becoming at Home With the Range

I can see I will be using alot of thread in the Mark Making with Machine class! We got off to a good start by familiarizing ourselves about our machines' capacities. I turned the screw on my bobbin case for the first time - something I haven't wanted to alter in case I couldn't get the tension back to functioning properly. Not a big deal at all - and I do have a second one. Many of the machines correct themselves so well that changing the tension doesn't show hardly any noticeable differences. I started samples of my Pfaff's range of tension, stitch width, length and type.
Now I am working on samples of the 195 stitches it has - before I get to playing with them...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Machine Time

My bags are packed ready for the Mark Making with Machine course today,
and I've chosen red for the colour I will be working with. I found this fiery fabric in a thrift shop yesterday and it reminds me of a flaming sunrise - signalling new beginnings and creative fire. As well as gathering supplies ready, I've been cleaning and organizing my small studio so there is space for new things to unfold.