Humble Beginnings

Sometimes those things relegated to secondary roles become amazing and first rate themselves. Above is a small piece of old cotton (was a sheet once) that was used several times as a wrap over scarves when I didn’t want the wrapping string marks to show on the finished piece. Under the final prints and dye bath color can be seen shadowy shapes and colors from previous uses. This piece will now be set aside to be used as a backdrop for some stitching. It will grow up to be greater than it was.

This piece was an ‘iron blanket’. In my workshop it is a piece of cotton (a piece of old sheet) dipped in a diluted iron solution then placed over the top of a scarf before it was rolled up for the dye bath. This piece has even more interesting color and shadow prints than the wrap above as this was placed directly over the leaves on the scarf before it was rolled up. The last time it was used there were some beautiful oak leaves and a dye bath rich with madder extract. This beauty is destined to be a wall hanging.

Maybe I Will Weave! (and a New Book)

Last year I took a workshop using the Schacht Cricket rigid heddle loom. I already owned a Harrisville Easy Weaver but the Cricket looked more ‘grown up’ so I bought one. To make it seem even more ‘grown up’, I bought the 15 incher! Well as I spend most of my time doing eco printing, prepping for indigo shibori and, of course, kumihimo, my new loom sits quietly on the shelf. One of the problems I found (which contributed to discouraging me) was that propping the loom on the edge of a table, which works well for the smaller loom, does not work so well with the larger one. My heddle kept flopping forward when I placed it into any of its positions. That being said, I did find there is a stand available for the loom. This would mean I could sit under it, leaving it relatively level so the heddle would stay in place. I did have some nice sales last year of my various items so I am going to treat myself to a stand. Hopefully, this fix will be as encouraging as I hope.

Before I put the loom on the shelf, however, I did warp it for a project. My workshop leader may not approve of my warp choice but it does look so nice with the handspun I’m going to use for the weft.

To further inspire me to weave, I found a new book on rigid heddle looms. The title is Inventive Weaving on a Little Loom. The author, Syne Mitchell of WeaveZine fame, reviews the different portable rigid heddle looms available and goes from start to finish on how to warp, weave and finish pieces as well as doing some troubleshooting. She also has several projects using different weave structures. The book is packed full of great stuff.

This is a well done book.

A Beautiful Sunday

What a beautiful, bright day. A new year has started and January is always a very busy month. There are birthdays, anniversaries, the business of clearing out last year’s files and setting up new ones and, of course, can’t forget planning new projects. I have eco printed some new scarves but they are waiting to be pressed so they can have their pictures taken.

At the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC), the first Hands On activity of the year was making paper flags. I didn’t have a chance to make them while I was there (we had lots of visitors) but I did bring home a couple of patterns and some paper and finished my project there. I think they are great and couldn’t wait to hang them up.

If I’m very lucky, one of my ‘grocery store’ orchids will bloom more than once. This one is in its third or fourth year and it has bloomed each year. There are still many more buds to open so these lovely flowers will be with me for a while.

‘Felt the Need’

Even though it’s a crazy time of year, I felt the need to do some printing. Above I used some eucalyptus, hamelia (hummingbird bush)leaves, and a bit of sweet gum.

Here I used sweet gum, maple, rose leaves, a couple of sprinkles of tumeric, oak and sumac berries. There was so much tannin the overall look is brown.

My favorite is this one. The scarf is covered with rose leaves, hamelia leaves large and small, some sweet gum and madder root.

I’m very happy I ‘felt the need’ to do these as the supply I had at 18 Hands Gallery was almost depleted. I took these and a couple more I had forgotten before down there today. I am very thrilled there are so many people interested in (and buying) my work. Next year I’ll try doing fewer scarves and do more table runners, pillow covers, etc. And of course, I’ll be doing a lot more indigo shibori.

It’s been a good year. I’m looking forward to even bigger and better things next year.

More Fun at 18 Hands

This Saturday, December 12th, the “Normally in January but
why not in December” Earring Slam Jam is being held at 18 Hands Gallery. The show is from 11 am – 5 pm. 18 Hands is located at 249 W. 19th St in the Heights. Phone Number is 713-869-3099. There will be champagne and chocolate fondue.

Below are some of the earrings I’ll have there and there are also some of my eco print scarves available in the gallery.

A sampling of my scarves.

Always Time

The past month has been very busy. There was the Handweaver’s Sale, The international Quilt Festival, getting the Guild House Gallery back up and now my Trunk Show. But in spite of it all, there was still some time to be found doing a bit of eco printing.

I’m not overly fond of satin silk but when it’s printed there is a shimmering depth to the prints that can’t be ignored.

A more difficult fabric is silk chiffon. Due to the sheerness of the fabric, it is difficult to see much of a print. This one, however, surprised me.

The first 2 prints were processed together in a madder root bath and had a bit of tumeric sprinkled on them.

This was done with a combination of dry and fresh leaves. The print turned out more faintly than I had hoped but a quick dip in iron water gave it new life.

Another combination dry and fresh print. This one turned out more to my liking especially with the wonderful purple prints of the dried Texas Star hibiscus flower.

Another combination print. With the eucalyptus and tea sprinkles it looks completely different than the rest.

The last 3 prints were processed together and are silk habotai.