Sunday, February 27, 2011

Building Blocks

Have you ever noticed that when something is on your mind, you notice it everywhere? I am noticing blocks and this pattern is one I've decided to put into fabric.
Here are some of the blocks not yet attached to each other so that once I have as many as I want completed, I can play with the design. I've used a few natural dyed fabrics and some of the snow dyes from my last batch, as I chose the dye colours hoping to get a match. I'm enjoying how the softness and variety of fabrics and the ripples created as I hand baste bring a more organic feel to the geometrics - a kind of shape blending. I have lots of ideas I want to try and these blocks will be perfect because I can get the variety in that I love, yet still create a unified whole through the consistency of some of the same fabrics and the overall block pattern.
I have also been buying silks in preparation for an online Shibori silk dyeing class with Glennis Dolce in a few weeks... I periodically dabble in shibori but want to take it further and learn more.

And I got out to the opening of the 'Turning The Tide' textile art show at the Martin Batchelor Gallery put on by Victoria Grandmothers for Africa that has been touring across Canada and whose pieces will be auctioned off to raise funds for the Stephen Lewis foundation and the Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign in a few weeks. Some heart warming and lovely work there!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Snow and Show

Here is a close up of one of the fabrics from my last pail of snow dyeing: And another:
After rinsing these out, I spent most of yesterday at the sewing show, getting tips about sewing with silk, buying books and even finding a bit of Japanese fabric! I had also heard about a product called 'Magic Bobbin Washers' that are little teflon discs that fit in a machine bobbin and help prevent thread build up or nests, so I added those to my basket, too. The roof of the conference centre where the show was held had a cap of snow, this year:

There were icicles on the fountain in the courtyard, too, but the sun reached right into these water glasses casting shadows onto the white cloth.
All in all, an exhausting but profitable day.

Round Two and Three

More snow dyeing on silk velvet: This one reminds me of a world map:
And in a different colourway:

It's surprising how the same dye pail can yield such a variety of values, patterns and colours.

When I see this one, I can't help but think 'beets'!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pinwheels and Pins and Needles

This contemporary boro block is basted ready for stitch. It's a mix of linens, cottons, silk and velvet. The light triangles are natural dyed, although alot of detail is lost in this photo. And today's snow dye crop - kind of like watching a pot of water, waiting for it to boil....

Immersed and Suspended

When I prepared the fabrics, I decided to put some in a bucket covered with cheesecloth so that as the snow melted, the fabric would not sit in the liquid. One bonus of this was the dyed cheesecloth! The results from the bucket without cheesecloth were not really different and just as pleasing - more linen:
Cotton close up:

Silk velvet:


I was up preparing more snow dyeing first thing this morning - a surprise to anticipate!

Pattern From Snow

Here are some of the snow dyeing results - I am really pleased with how the snow gives soft areas in terms of visual texture. This one is on linen and is my favourite: This one is silk:
More linen that was a grey/brown to start with:

And a close up of it:

I'll post more results in another entry.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Monochrome and Colour

I awoke this morning to a winter wonderland and immediately got dressed and was out the door with my camera before I even had a coffee! Snow was still falling and no other footprints were in sight.
This reminded me of weaving and boro, with the design and holes.

And later in the day I suddenly realized this rare occurrence of snow could provide even more fun...

Snow cones, anyone? You wouldn't want to taste these ones, of course, since the colour is dye.

I will post the snow dyeing fabric results tomorrow, but let me say that I am a convert!

Small Bits Adding Up

One more mini fragment from today's designing:
I pintucked some silk and have added pieces of it to a next contemporary boro design modelled on a traditional block. I'm leaving hems from discarded clothing in it because I like the extra interest of the stitched lines. In yesterday's Mark Marking With Machine class, we were exploring cable stitch, twin needles, and couching. I am feeling excited to discover more of my machine's capacities!

And someone in CWB had mentioned Pojagi - Korean textile wrapping of housewares - and I wanted to try stitching some transparent fabrics together just to see what it looks like. I used the machine, although I believe handstitch is the traditional method. I've laid the white and black joined fabrics over a quilted piece - so the only stitch I've done is in the purple thread.

I will do another post as I tried something unexpected, today...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Closing the Gap

The sun illuminated this holly tree outside my window and a rainbow appeared just after I completed this piece, and I noticed the parallel shape and colour. I have made cords and added them, as well as outlined shapes with stitch and added fringe to the focal point. It is about closing the gap or making the connection that is part of growth and I hope it creates a feeling of tension or uncomfortability, which is often the case when I reach a growth edge.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Turning a New Page

I have wanted to make a fabric book for a long time... This is silk, linen and silk velvet combined with lace edged cotton for a reversible cover that I will add pages to.
Here is the full front and back before and after tea dyeing:

I knew the fabrics would absorb the colour differently, adding contrast and pattern - the silks are darker than the cotton, linen and lace.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Unicorns Are Real

Shimmering and shining...
And unexpectedly, a unicorn following a path to the stars. I could have made a more 'perfect' unicorn if I planned it - perhaps a white, slim elegant one with a mysterious look - but I just grabbed the closest jean scrap and outlined it quickly and discovered how tricky the applique was on those tiny pointed ears. So - not elegant, but making do - learning as I go along, using what I have and accepting what comes - my version.

That fits what a unicorn symbolizes to me - not what's perfect but what's real.

Scrap Happy

A night sky in progress: And imagine my joy when I found that this old Hungarian cotton tablecloth I bought for a dollar at a garage sale has mended patches and holes! Signs of being loved and valued.
I notice how I'm drawn to the smallest scraps that seem to magnetically pair together, becoming more beautiful - the simple beauty of fabric itself.

This one reminds me of a feather.
And I have been developing a focal point with machine stitch in this piece - but still have further emphasis to add. I am understanding what it's saying to me now.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

New Blooms

Here's a developing piece I'm making as part of the Mark Making with Machine class using fabrics I've dyed and stamped, as well as a few solids. I chose to rip strips and have the hems facing up for maximum texture. Former classes I've taken with Nancy Crow and Jude Hill came to mind, as it is strip pieced but looks a little woven. I will be adding stitch and any embellishment I think will enhance it. And my second year of blogging book arrived today, along with some crocuses in the garden.
And I have another fabric weaving on the go...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Altered Weaving

Weaving a weaving of woven fabrics into a weaving - if you can get your head around that! And I am now wearing my heart on my sleeve.