a journal: textiles, inspiration, musings

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Little Gem becoming part of home

IMG_1523Have found a lovely part of the house to sit and spin ūüėć….. spinning improving and becoming much more relaxing, although as with most things I am learning that the more I learn the more there is to learn! I am spinning some lovely Beersheba Farm Castledale fibre, purchased at the Bendigo Wool Show.

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Bloom on the vat

A very promising sight this morning, lovely blue bloom on the fructose vat

IMG_1414And the ph was good at 11.4; so I had high hopes for a good strong colour; but in fact it was a fairly pale result, proving that my vat often has a mind of its own! Nevertheless some multiple dips and some over-dyeing produced some interesting results

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And even a couple more misty moons!

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My first indigo moon

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I have managed to revive my dormant fructose vat with a combination of methods…. heat, more fructose, more hydrated lime and finally a new starter added in! I ¬†find I want to overdye some of the pieces after they dry . Nice pile of garments growing, also small bits of fabric for a slow cloth that i am starting to plan. But most exciting was my first successful moon….

I love the moon circles that Jude Hill uses in her lovely Spirit  Cloths, and I have been learning some indigo and Shibori techniques from the  Shibori Girl website. I think this  will be the forerunner of quite a few moons!

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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 !!!

 

Trio

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

trio of hand-stitched and naturally dyed:printed dresses

latest bundle unwrapped

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

autumn holiday in daylesford

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: