First Spring Batch

Started my resist stitching last fall. Took my time and ended up with a small basket full of fabric.

Finally made up my indigo vat (was waiting for the evenings to be not as cool as they had been) and dipped my basket of fabric. Didn’t wait to iron my pieces before I took the photos below (although they are washed).

Loved these. Tried several stitch options. They are destined to grow up into a couple of pillow covers.

Another interesting piece. Maybe this design on a couple of larger pieces. Would make a lovely top.

Can’t decide which side I like better. Maybe good for a pillow cover. Each design on a different side.

Only did one clamped fabric. Now that all my stitched pieces have been dyed I’ll clamp some pieces for my next dye day.

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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.

Been Too Long

I can’t believe it has been over a month since my last post. I have been busy with my eco printing and testing more indigo resist patterns. The scarf above is silk printed with rose leaves, Purple Heart and some woodland fern with a few brushstrokes of indigo.

Unfortunately, I also had a computer crash so many hours were spent trying to find all the software and drivers to reload. Thought maybe the computer experts could copy my disk drive to a new one but the best they were able to do was load the operating system. Well at least I had a bit of warning before the crash so, in spite of backing up my data daily, I made a special backup with my ‘can’t do without’ folders and pictures. Experience has taught me now to have a copy of the system image (at least updated weekly) and to do backups that make sense. Finally back in business.

This week I plan on a heavy indigo session. Have several scarves with sewn resists done and plan on starting to prepare the shape resists today.

Continuing with Botanicals

Interesting to see how my work has progressed since last year. But there are times we go back to the tried and true. Here we have rose leaves, fern leaves, violet leaves and some purple heart. This silk habotai piece was processed in the same pot as the two below so it ended up with a little langiappe – a touch of madder root in the corner.

Here was a bit of silk chiffon with oak leaves, crape myrtle leaves, bamboo and a bit of madder root extract. The black was a result of the rusty can the scarf was wrapped around when processed.

This was a piece of silk habotai that was processed with oak leaves, sweet gum leaves, bamboo and some madder root. This, too, was wrapped around a rusty can to achieve the black areas.

There may have been a touch too much madder root in the last two as some of the yellow from the leaves (resulting from the a pre-mordant of aluminum sulfate) was a bit overwhelmed.

I am busily prepping some scarves (doing a little shibori stitching) to get ready for my next indigo day. As it is so warm outside, I want to make sure I have everything ready for a busy day of dyeing. Not sure if the indigo pot will last more than a couple of days in the heat.

New Life for an Old Stole

I had a cream colored stole that I don’t think I ever wore. I believe the fiber was rayon but wasn’t really sure. So I decided to mordant the fabric as I would a cellulose fiber and gathered some leaves. I used tallow, oak, fern, violet and hamelia leaves; some dry, some fresh. The bundle was simmered in a madder root dye bath. Close up I see traces of the fern and oak but what really stands out are the tallow leaves. The rest of the leaves did leave a wonderful greenish yellow color on the fabric and the madder is a beautiful red.

As it was a bit cool on Easter I decided to finally wear my stole. I loved it and it got many admiring glances.

Eco Prints with Tumeric

Still had some wonderful leaves left on my Hamelia (they turn red when the temperature drops). The Peruvian lilies are all up so I decided to find out if they would print. I thought, too, that perhaps I would add a little tumeric to the mix.

Above is the print I got on silk habotoi. Don’t really see any of the Peruvian Lily leaves. I may try those again a bit later in the season.

Above is the print I got on silk chiffon. The lovely purpleish/blue is really a reflection of the background I used behind it. The actual color in that area is more like the habotoi.

In keeping with the yellow theme, I thought I’d include a picture of my Carolina Jessamine. It doesn’t know it’s a bit chilly out.

Eco Prints and a Little Fall Foliage

From Surface Design

We don’t get much in the way of fall foliage in Houston but I have been picking up a few leaves and combining them with some of our evergreen botanicals. Above is a print on a cotton/silk scarf. This was exclusively a ‘fall’ print of Mexican Buckeye and Tallow leaves. I went searching for all the red Tallow leaves I could find but, interestingly, they printed yellow.

From Surface Design

This scarf is silk chiffon and was printed with Turk’s Cap and Texas Star hibiscus leaves, fern and some ‘Wandering Jew’ leaves. These botanicals were all fresh from the yard. The prints were very pale so, after the scarf had dried, I dipped it into an iron bath. I like it much better even though it lost most of the pink coloration from the ‘Wandering Jew’.

From Surface Design

This was a silk habotai scarf that has a combination of yellowing Mexican Buckeye leaves, old oak leaves and some fresh asparagus fern. The result was good. I use a bit of asparagus fern in many of my pieces as it makes a nice resist.

From Surface Design

Depending on the combinations I plan on printing in a batch, I’ll try to include a piece of cotton fabric in the mix. Having these cotton pieces provides a ‘stash’ for future embellishing projects. The piece above had a wonderful oak leaf and a bit of my yellowing Mexican Buckeye (which only acted as a resist) and a bit of ‘Wandering Jew’. The color from the ‘Wandering Jew’ is on the fabric but too lightly to be seen in the photo. This is going to be a great piece to embellish.

I have a few more pieces in the fermentation pot but it will be another week or so before I see them. Meanwhile, I’m anxious to get started on some paper printing.