a journal: textiles, inspiration, musings

A fleecy journey

Little Gem and I are becoming better acquainted, after an initial period of not talking to each other in the same language..thanks to lovely and patient friend Mandy, I am actually starting to produce something resembling yarn, and enjoying the process!

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So of course I am wanting to try another step…..learning how to turn Rosemary’s old but lovely fleece into a spinnable [and dyeable] yarn.

Progress so far:

this

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to this

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to this!

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Beautiful bounty

There was a time when I saw seaweed as something almost polluting the beach, and I do understand that there are people who want to “clean it up” ( although I’m not sure how that would be achieved, a constant battle against nature)…..But once you’ve really looked at it, really seen it, studied  the  colour, form, textures, the way it creates its own little glorious compositions of art on the beach….you realize it’s all in the way we see.

 

 

Indigo at last

A very fun blue-letter day: my first attempt at an indigo vat. Used the natural 3-2-1 pickling lime and fruit one, used fructose today but will try with bananas next. I muddled along a bit with the proportions and getting the lime to dissolve into the brew, so as I always seem to do, I was learning on the job! but it seemed to follow the general process which all the instructions point to, and I managed to sample -dye a number of pieces of fabric! very exciting, will keep practising with this over the next week or two; a change from my favourite eucalyptus – based dye pots . Will be pleased to see how the fabrics look tomorrow after washing: can’t quite believe it has been so successful and so quick! The vat was very strong, I actually weakened off some of the brew for the lighter pieces but I suspect they will be lighter in any case after washing………..watch this space !!!

 

new toy

thumb_IMG_0830_1024.jpgLittle Gem! collected her today…..now to learn how to drive her……

Trio

Basics of new wardrobe, hand-stitched, naturally printed and dyed……….very satisfying!

trio of hand-stitched and naturally dyed:printed dresses

glorious colours, a new dress, very happy with this one!

So inspired by wonderful March workshop with India Flint; sometimes [rarely] a class can be life-changing: having already been starting to learn to construct simple wearable pieces  with cloths woven on the Saori loom, India’s  Second Skin class taught me that I can make simple garments stitched by hand with lovely natural or recycled fabrics, then dye them  in the ways I have been learning to do, with plants and natural mordants; a meditative and gentle process that feels totally right to do, and causes no harm. So I find myself enjoying wearing the garments that I am making; I love the comfort of them, and the ethos of them, they make me feel connected to the earth.  Community  awareness of the destruction the textiles industry is inflicting on the environment, and the exploitation of its workers, is growing; as with food, it is impossible to un-know the realities of mass production and of the inherent problems with the toxins in synthetic materials once we understand them; and the power we have is to individually change our own approach first.

Have spent a week here in our holiday cottage stitching  some simple dresses, skirts  and tunics with Marion’s lovely silky merino [Beautiful Silks at Allansford]; and now the cauldron is simmering with local eucalyptus leaves and bits of metal [the Daylesford market is a treasure house for old metal discards!] and garments being bundled with autumn leaves, eucalyptus leaves and sundry other mark-making bits and pieces…………..as the garments come out of the pot it is always a surprise; the beauty of this method is that if the surprise is not entirely positive, there are always ways to cut/patch/cover/re-dye!!

In between the stitching and the dyepots, lots of long walks in the glorious autumn landscape; a beautiful environment to work in and be inspired by: