The First Dyeing of March

blackberry cranberry strawberry tumericEarlier this week I decided to tackle some previously dyed silk. I had originally dyed it with a project in mind, three pieces were even sewn together, but as I looked at the silk over the last few weeks it just looked weak to me. I didn’t want to abandon the project, or continue working with some really average looking fabric, so I decided to tackle the silk and see what happened.

The above piece is a bit over 3 feet long, it is actually 3 strips, originally dyed separately, then sewn together. The main problem with this piece was that the three strips looked too separate and just needed a little bit of unification. With this piece I rubbed frozen cranberries into a few spots then steamed the fabric and it created an interesting bleed over the original dyeing. I also did a random spattering of turmeric, then steamed the silk again, just to bring in a hint of yellow.

blackberry cranberry onion tea tumericThis piece of silk, when it was first dyed, had to be the ugliest and most depressing blue/purple/grey color I have ever seen. When I redyed it I chose to bundle it with tea, onion skins, whole frozen cranberries and turmeric….then did a little cranberry finger painting (or smushing) for good measure.

strawberry cranberry onionThis piece of silk, originally dyed in strawberry, was rebundled with onion skins and then had cranberries smushed (technical term! LOL!) into the surface for a random patterning.

blackberry cranberry strawberry tumeric #2I am quite amused to look at the items used for coloring the fabric in this post. Almost all of the items used for dyeing have at one time or other completely wrecked one of my children’s pieces of clothing with a stain. I guess that is one way to know color will last, if stain remover and a washing machine can’t get rid of the color, the color is probably there to stay.

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Little Stitchings – part 1

Eco-dyed leaf on arbutus dyed silk. The leaf measures 2.5 inches by 2.25 inches.

Eco-dyed leaf on arbutus dyed silk. The leaf measures 2.5 inches by 2.25 inches.

I have been thinking a lot about my approach to fibre art recently, perhaps I am thinking mostly about the logistics. I have been wanting to do a larger piece, but every time I start plotting the piece “real life” gets in the way. The other night I was really frustrated as to why I am not getting around to working on a large piece and then I reflected on what the last seven weeks have been like. We’ve had: seven people with the flu, followed by a toddler with an ear infection, Christmas, 10 days away on a trip, a week with a child with high fevers, a child who may or may not have a broken arm (we need a second x-ray), and we currently have two children again with high fevers……plus running a photography business on top of all that. I think I have figured out why not a lot of fibre art is happening (yeah, call me Sherlock!). So I have decided to change my plan of attack.

Blackberry dyed silk on marigold dyed silk. Circle is 2.25 inches in diameter.

Blackberry dyed silk on marigold dyed silk. Circle is 2.25 inches in diameter.

I have come up with the idea of “Little Stitchings”. I have decided to work on small compact pieces, no bigger than 6 inches by 6 inches, with the idea of being able to eventually combine them into larger pieces. I have started on stitchings geared towards two different final projects, one with geometric shapes and one that is nature based. Both projects are using naturally dyed silk and  eco-dyed silk fabric, with the stitching threads being silk and bamboo.

Arbutus dyed silk on marigold dyed silk. Circle is 2.25 inches in diameter.

Arbutus dyed silk on marigold dyed silk. Circle is 2.25 inches in diameter.

I think this new approach will allow me to feel like I am accomplishing more, plus it will give me the freedom to work on the pieces anywhere due to the tiny size. I can see a lot of stitching going on in the school parking lot as I pick the children up from school!

Tansy Strawberry Blueberry Scarf

This scarf is one of my natural dyeing pieces. . The scarf is 100% silk and has been dyed in strawberry, blueberry and tansy. The scarf measures 10 inches by 58 inches. The patterns have been achieved by tying the fabric in different ways in between the different dyeing sessions. I feel the results are quite beautiful and very unpredictable making for a true “one of a kind” piece.