Grevillea Wrap: a knitted treasure

I like the knit designs of Ambah O’Brien. Her designs are on Ravelry. (https://www.ravelry.com/designers/ambah-obrien)

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So I bought her Grevillea Wrap pattern and also a kit of yarns for it produced by Koigu.

It was not my preferred colourway but it was OK. I ordered Shadow.

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Koigu’s Shadow colourway in fingering Merino yarn for the Grevillea Wrap by Ambah O’Brien
I was pleased with the outcome.

Posted in Clothing, Kits, Knitting | 3 Comments

Kicking the fast fashion habit

A friend alerted me to this absorbing and powerful book which I read before Christmas.

First published in 2019 in the UK, it is packed with startling facts.

For example:

*100 billion garments are produced every year.

*The average garment is worn only 7 times

*20% of all garments go unsold

*Fewer than 2% of workers in the clothing industry receive a living wage

*1 t-shirt and 1 pair of jeans uses 5000 gallons of water. For those of us more familiar with metrics, this is nearly 23,000 litres.

*Over 60% of garments contain fabrics derived from fossil fuels.

You get her meaning? I did. In fact I began to feel increasingly uncomfortable with my practice of buying on-line from a particular chain. A quick look at the inside labels of the first six garments hanging on the nearest wardrobe rack revealed that two were made in China and four came from Vietnam. All were polyester or polyester mixes.

Was it finally time to break away from my dependence on these relatively affordable (and very often available at massive discounts); easy to wear and wash; and convenient- to-order on line clothes?

Yep. Certainly. But how?

When I was young and broke, and store bought clothes were made in Australia and expensive, I did make my own. It wasn’t a pleasant experience though. Paper patterns for home sewers were complicated. To compensate for having only one size pattern in each envelope a quantity of what was called “ease” was allowed by the drafter. Ease translated more often than not to an ill-fitting garment. Too tight in some places; too loose in others.

The actual instructions were often complex, involving much marking of stitching lines and notches and little circles….plus redundancy of language (see image below for repetition of putting right sides of fabric together) and unnecessary steps like pinning AND basting.

Well, I’m not going back there…..

Enter my local patchwork store which stocks the patterns of Sew To Grow (www.sewtogrow.com.au)

I booked a quick lesson in their basic pattern called The Bondi Top.

That had me walking out with a top that actually fitted! A bonus was that I also discovered how nice patchwork fabrics are when used for light tops.

Blue 100% patchwork cotton made in three hours from The Bondi Top pattern adjusted to fit me. Easy!

This could go on forever!

Another excellent patchwork cotton print.
A longer line top made in a 100% linen. I turned the fabric around to avoid horizontal stripes and centred the black lines. The making was then easy using my already fitted master pattern.

Since these were made I’ve gone further and made longer tunics.

Tunic made with fabric from Woven Stories ( https://wovenstories.com.au/) which sources hand-printed cottons from small villages in India.

Also skirts. My friend Liz Arnold ( http://www.lizarnold.com.au/ ) designed these easy to make skirts.

Skirt made with 100% cotton hand-printed fabric from Woven Stories.

Here endeth the lesson…….

Posted in Clothing, Design | 1 Comment

Tassels

I love making these.

I made this one as a Secret Santa gift for a member of one of my sewing groups.

It’s constructed using a variegated Perle 8 thread crocheted with beads into a tube then inserted into a white plastic cylinder that had previously had another thread wrapped around it. The skirt is simply made from the same thread and the hanger is a knitted i-cord.

Posted in bead crochet, Design, freeform crocheting, tassels | 1 Comment

Venation Shawl

Today I sat down to start blogging another experiment.  I found lots of Covid-time blogs in my drafts!!! Here’s one below.

Sometimes one eschews the pressure to create. One simply wants to “make”. Preferably while sitting on one’s front porch in the mellow Autumn sunshine watching the birds.

That’s a reaction to a lot of things.  In this case I put it down to isolation due to COVID-19 and my severance from the usual stimulus of friends.

It’s Monday (20 April 2020) and I want a sort of instant project. I look in my files and see I have purchased and downloaded a pattern from Ravelry. It’s the Venation Shawl by Ambah O’Brien (https://ambah.co). I liked it because it looked simple to knit while being very drapey and light.  I live in the relatively warm west of Australia so my knits need to be not too heavy.

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/venation-shawl

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As it happens, I had also bought some time ago a box of fingering weight pure merino yarn from Canada called Koigu Pencil Box. Spotting it on a walk through my studio, it seemed ideal, notwithstanding the fact that its yellows are not part of my personal palette.

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So  I decided to leap straight into making up Ambah’s Venation scarf with the Koigu box.

First, of course I had to turn the mini skeins into balls:

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20200420_220733Then I rearranged the balls into my desired shading order:

20200420_221924I am a relatively loose knitter so I decided to use a circular 3.5mm needle rather than the recommended 3.75mm needle.  I did not do a tension test as I rely on my own judgement and, besides, a wrap’s dimensions are not as critical as those of a worn garment.

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After two days I was on my second colour exchange and enjoying the ease of the instructions.

Thereafter progress was simple. At this point I must praise Ambah O’Brien for the clarity of her instructions. As an example: when doing a recent Stephen West project I came across the instruction “ssk”.

Stephen West’s instructions for “ssk” in his pattern Marled Magic Shawl were simply “ssk: slip slip knit ” where Ambah O’Brien says “ssk: slip, slip, knit. Slip the first stitch as if to knit, slip the second stitch as if to knit, then slide the left needle into the front part of both stitches and knit them together”. While making the Marled Magic Shawl I could see that slipping two stitches then knitting the next as implied by Stephen West’s pattern was not going to end well. However, it took my friend Liz, sitting in a cancer chemo centre, to tell me what I should do.  That was lucky.  If Liz had not been there I would have probably had to trash the whole project.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

It’s now 8 May 2020. Australia is doing very very well so far in managing COVID-19.  Today our new COVID- 19 institution, called the “National Cabinet” and composed of our 8 State and Territory Premiers and Chief Officers and the Prime Minister, agreed to a staged and careful relaxing of our social restrictions and a reopening of businesses and other public places.

So since I have been steadily working a bit each day on the Venation Shawl, it seems appropriate that today I finished it.  Of course, it’s not yet blocked so officially it’s still a newborn. But I’m pleased with the marriage of the pattern and the yarn.

Here’s what I have left so there is another project or project element waiting….the weight of these leftovers is 108g so I used 250-108= 142g of the yarn.

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Below is the unblocked scarf.

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Here, on 12 May, is the fully blocked scarf.  I’m pleased.  I hope whoever gets it will be too!

Ford Venation wrap after blocking

Postscript: I can’t find this wrap so I must have given it to someone!

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Natural dyeing : a tongue in cheek look at the vicissitudes of a cotton sheet’s life

cotton label

Life as a cotton sheet can be fraught.  Not always of course.  The lucky ones get bought by people who use them on their beds for years.  They get to serve a very passive but important role. They mature and soften and are appreciated in a gentle way by numerous sleeping humans.

Not so for me. I am a victim of the “upsized bed” phenomenon.  That means that SHE (who shall remain nameless) decided that Queen sized was not enough.  When the King Sized bed moved in, with its accompanying sheet sets, I was lucky I suppose.  I was neatly folded and put into the back of the linen cupboard.

For a while I enjoyed the freedom of breathing fresh air (well, relatively speaking, if you imagine the cupboard was fresher than the bedroom….) and of not having my fibres stretched and polluted by the heaving of human bodies.

THEN something that is becoming increasingly common happened.  SHE got the “natural dyeing” bug. You will have heard of it.  Victims are usually members of a privileged society with every material benefit, yet they feel disconnected from “nature”. They may not be over-familiar with what “nature” is, but they know it is GOOD.

These natural dyeing converts often also feel guilt at their consumption patterns. Mind you, they don’t often eschew their purchases of Chinese or Vietnamese or Sri Lankan -made garments but they do want to make a statement.  One option is to put their bras into a (plastic) bag and mail it to China where it will somehow be used to power a city.

Another option is to create art or fashion based on  dyeing with plants on  “natural” fibres.

Natural fibres can be plant based (like cotton or linen) or animal based (like silk or wool).  Wait a minute!  What will the vegans think?  Best to stick to plant fibres, eh?

So notwithstanding the prevailing wisdom about animal fibres taking natural dyes better than those of us made of more cellulosic stuff, SHE decided to dig me out of the back of the linen cupboard.

And chop me up!

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I used to be a lot bigger than this……..

And boil bits of me in brews of oxalis or gum leaves or oak galls….

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And I used to be clean……

And put itchy bits of plants from HER garden or the local park onto me, pressing them in and screwing me up hard so there was “good”, albeit painful,  contact between these weeds and me.

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If you think leaves are painful, try these gumnuts!

“But wait, there’s more”, as one of those damned humans says.  I then get to be either boiled or steamed  for a couple of hours.  I can’t sensibly tell you which is better. SHE says it depends on whether iron or copper or ash or…..is involved.

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It takes a lot of rusty iron up close and personal to me to get this kind of geranium stain on me

 

Before I disappear entirely I want to introduce a distant family connection.  It is a sheet formerly owned by one of HER friends.  In a callous act of sheet trafficking it was passed into HER hands with malice of intent.  That is, the trafficker KNEW of the likely exploitation that would result.

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It’s hard to see from this photo but my fellow cotton sheet has a most distinguished set of stripes that will make it hard for sheet traffickers to disguise.

 

Ensuing blogs will undoubtedly feature this hapless victim *, albeit unacknowledged. Vale cotton bed sheet, originally woven for a very different purpose.

* for a taste of this sheet  exploitation, see the following result of BOILING a piece in avocado pips laced with caustic soda!!!!  Aaaaaagh!!

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To paraphrase Milton: “They also serve who only stand and wait”

Or should that be “.…….who only get ripped up and boiled“?

 

Posted in dyeing with avocado pips, Geranium leaf printing, Iron mordant, Natural dyeing | 3 Comments

Natural Dyeing from the Greengrocer

Artistic inspiration, always an elusive commodity for me, has left the building over the past week.  It’s rainy and cold: it’s soup weather here in Western Australia.

So my inner Earth Mother must have kicked in.  Why not add a few things from the greengrocer into the basket?  That way, you can dye yarn in the kitchen rather than in the windy outdoors.

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Brown onion, avocado, turmeric tuber, purple cabbage, avocado pips and a purple carrot.

Dyeing with vegetables is a lot easier if the plant matter is cut as small as possible.  I know that those of us who own Thermomix appliances are regarded as wealthy and gullible dilettantes but, hey, they are useful when you want to make your turmeric tuber /purple cabbage/purple carrot yield as much dye as possible.  It’s all about surface area exposed to water, right?

[I realise, reading this again, that I have merely fed the poor reputation of Thermomix owners!]

Of course, when you have finely minced plant material as your dye medium you really need to keep it from getting into your fabric and yarn.  Voilà. Enclose it in silk and you keep the dyed fibres clean while giving yourself some lovely pieces of fabric.

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Top to bottom: Purple carrot, avocado pips and turmeric on silk

To keep the whole indoors process safe, I decided not to try any mordanting.  I just lowered the yarn skeins into the pot containing a silk-wrapped bundle of the vegetable concerned, brought it to simmer, turned the temperature down and maintained it at around 60 degrees centigrade for at least 30 minutes.  In some cases I left the whole pot to cool to room temperature overnight.

I raided my stash of undyed, white or cream natural fibres (that is, silks, cottons, wools, kid mohair) and made small skeins from them.

The results are pleasing to me.  They are not spectacular.  Nor should they be.  The thing about natural dyeing for me is that the colours are soft and, yes, natural.  They seem to play well with one another somehow.  Because I use small quantities of both fabric and yarn in my work I relish small variations. I don’t want to produce metres at a time of the one dye lot. Each small batch of dye produces a slightly different outcome, even with the same fibre.  Obviously, that’s because the amount of dye material in the pot varies, the amount of pigment in a particular plant varies with season, etc.

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Left to Right: Wool; Patons baby wool; mulberry silk; and cotton yarns dyed in grated turmeric

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Three balls on the left are all Patons 2 ply baby wool and far right is 20/2 mulberry silk, all dyed in purple carrot

 

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Left to Right: Kid mohair, cotton, silk cord. cotton dyed in purple carrot

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Left to Right: kid mohair; kid mohair; 60% cotton with acrylic and polyester; and 100% linen dyed in purple carrot

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Clockwise from top left: cotton thread; linen thread, kid mohair, 60% cotton with acrylic and polyester, silk cord, and chunky cotton thread dyed in avocado pips.

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From left to right: 20/2 silk; Patons 2ply baby wool; fine wool; and silk fibre from Loom in Bangkok dyed in purple cabbage

Natural dyeing onion - 1

Clockwise from top left: 20/2 silk; kid mohair; fine wool yarn; and perle #8 cotton, all dyed in brown onion leaves.  Leaf crocheted in 20/2 silk.

 

Now I just have to find that artistic inspiration that has been eluding me.  These yarns deserve that!

 

Posted in brown onion as dye, Natural dyeing, purple cabbage as dye, purple carrot as dye, Turmeric as dye, turmeric tuber as dye | 3 Comments

Yarn Dyeing: Buyer Beware

Last weekend I went to a fibre fair in a rural town.  Although i love dyeing my own yarns, especially with plants, I couldn’t resist buying some skeins of 70:30 merino:silk yarn dyed by hand by the seller with  what was described as “an eco-friendly acid dye”. [I have not researched this since the dyer could not recall the name of the product (!) and I’m guessing I might be disappointed at what I found – but then, I’m cynical]

 

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The pink skein with its blemish where too tightly tied

 

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The green skein also had a blemish

On this occasion I am not worried because I work small and quite like variations in any case. However, it would annoy me if I had bought the yarn for a garment!

The lesson here is to look closely at the skeins before buying them unless you know the product and can be sure that it’s been dyed correctly.

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The green skein when balled

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Hanging By A Thread: catch up post

Hooray!! A piece of my work will be in the landmark juried exhibition celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Western Australian Fibre and Textile Association Inc. (WAFTA). The exhibition will run from 22 October to 12 November 2022 in the Holmes à Court Gallery @no. 10 in the historic Pickle District of West Perth.

I can only show a sneak peek here:

This happy event has reminded me that I didn’t get around to recording the piece I had in WAFTA’s members’ exhibition in 2020. Called Hanging By A Thread, that exhibition was also hung at the Holmes à Court Gallery. Members were encouraged to submit work that was contemporary in nature.

I had previously made crocheted and knitted 3D work on a small scale.

For example, in 2014, I exhibited Bathing Pavilion and Public Persona.

Bathing Pavilion, 26cm wide x 39cm high x 26cm deep, silk, cotton, metallic and alpaca yarns and wood. Crochet. Wooden frame made by Edgar Arnold. Image by Josh Wells Photography.
Public Persona, 42cm wide x 48cm high x 42cm deep, Wood, silk, wool, cotton and synthetic yarns. Crochet . Wooden frame made by Edgar Arnold. Image by Josh Wells Photography.

For the WAFTA national juried exhibition twentyone+ (a celebration of the 21st anniversary of WAFTA in 2016) I made Family Tree:

Family Tree, 130cm high x 50cm wide x 50cm deep; silk, cotton, mohair, angora and stainless steel yarns, cane, linen string, florists’ and cake decorators’ wire; freeform crochet and knitting; dyeing with Eucalyptus wandoo; embroidery and knotting; image by Josh Wells Photography
Family Tree, detail, 130cm high x 50cm wide x 50cm deep; silk, cotton, mohair, angora and stainless steel yarns, cane, linen string, florists’ and cake decorators’ wire; freeform crochet and knitting; dyeing with Eucalyptus wandoo; embroidery and knotting; image by Josh Wells Photography

For Hanging By A Thread I made a triptych called There are so many colours in the rainbow …and I see every one. I decided to go bigger than previous works; to continue to exploit the potential for shadows; and to use wire rather than wooden frames. This work is now in a private collection

For the catalogue I wrote: I like to see leaves and trees as visual metaphors for individuals and social groups. Plants are endlessly variable, productive and complex. As are people.  I began this work by asking, “how should all this individual and group difference come together?”  In recent years, in Australia and elsewhere, political tensions have increased and economies and futures have been damaged by political opportunism, natural disasters and global disease.  We seem lately to focus more on what divides us than on what we have in common.  The future of humanity and the planet depend on our seeing differences as a strength of global society rather than as a problem.  A line from one of my favourite folk singer/ songwriters, Harry Chapin (1942-1981), gave me the title. Wouldn’t it be great if we could see all the characteristics and quirks of individuals and nations as part of a rich, coherent world ”forest”?

There are so many colours in the rainbow…and I see every one, 120cm x 156cm, triptych, knitting and crochet, natural and synthetic yarns. Image by Josh Wells Photography, 2020.
There are so many colours in the rainbow…And I see every one, Triptych 120cm x 156cm, knitting and crochet, natural and synthetic yarns and wire, Blue-purple detail. Image by Josh Wells Photography, 2020
There are so many colours in the rainbow..
And I see every one,
Triptych 120cm x 156cm, natural and synthetic yarns and wire, knitting and crochet, red leaf detail, image by Josh Wells Photography, 2020
There are so many colours in the rainbow..
And I see every one,
Triptych 120cm x 156cm, natural and synthetic yarns and wire, knitting and crochet, yellow leaf detail, image by Josh Wells Photography, 2020

I look forward to blogging the opening of the twentyFIVE+Crossover exhibition when it opens!

Posted in Design, freeform crocheting, freeform knitting, Knitting, Stash-busting yarn, WAFTA | 1 Comment

More Marled Wrap Magic

More than two years ago (in April 2020) I posted about making a Stephen West design called Marled Magic. I based its colours on a photograph and used yarns from my stash.

I’ve done it again. This time I was captivated by a painting of eminent Western Australian artist Philippa Nikulinsky. It forms the cover of the book Cape Arid by Philippa and Alex Nikulinsky, published by Fremantle Press in 2012 and reprinted in 2013 and 2016.

The plant is Eucalyptus sweedmaniana.

Normally I’d insert an image here of a mountain of red, green, and charcoal yarns in all thicknesses and fibres but I find I don’t have one.

I went further than last time with the blending of yarns. In some areas there are four threads combined and in many areas there are three. I enjoyed the blending of colours; it made me feel a bit like a painter with a palette!

Here are the images I took after blocking it today.

Posted in Clothing, Knitting, Scarf | 6 Comments

Crazy Diamond Wrap

I love to make the patterns of gifted knit artists/designers. The Crazy Diamond Wrap pattern of Australian designer Ambah O’Brien (https://www.ravelry.com/designers/ambah-obrien) intrigued me as it promised a complex-looking result from an “easy to work” pattern.

This time I ordered her pattern and chose to buy a “kit” of the recommended yarn. In this case it was a combination of 2 x2 skeins of a high quality fingering 100% merino yarn from Tasmanian company Louie and Lola (https://www.louieandlolayarns.com.au/).

I used two colours for my wrap
At this stage I wasn’t sure I’d make it all the way along the whole wrap…..
But I did. Here’s the proof. Blocking on the dining table…
A detail of the design: a bit I didn’t make a mistake in!

A frivolous image: it just looked good after blocking as it draped on the kitchen bench top!
As it’s meant to be worn…
Looks really good with dark denim jeans. I’d personally also add pearls

The only change I made to the pattern was to finish each end with a reverse double crochet stitch to make both ends look alike. Totally optional.

Now I need to check who might want it…..

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Marled Magic Shawl by Stephen West

I like Stephen West’s designs (https://www.westknits.com). I have made them before. He backs the sale of his written patterns with videos which elaborate and demonstrate some details of his designs.

Buying the pattern for Marled Magic Shawl, I was attracted by the possibility of making it creatively from my stash. Not in the restrained way that the designer intended, but in a more adventurous way. That is, I intended to mix and match and blend yarns of different weights to produce various heathered and/or subtly blended yarns to add to the complexity of the result (and to use more than just the fingering weight yarns in the stash!)

My daughter was to be the recipient of this wrap.  That meant careful consideration of the colour scheme.  She lives in a coastal Australian town and loves her beach. I’d been lucky enough to find, in a second hand bookshop, a copy of Richard Woldendorp’s Design by Nature, Fremantle Arts Centre Press, North Fremantle, Western Australia, 2001.

On p.16 of the book I found a wonderful image of “An ancient limestone ridge cutting Big Lagoon from Freycinet Reach , Shark Bay, Western Australia”. I live in Western Australia.

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So I hunted through the stash and assembled a variety of weights of yarn in the colours of Woldendorp’s image. Below is a photo of some of the leftovers after the wrap was finished.  Linen, alpaca, wool, cotton, silk and mohair in thick , thin, boucle, s -twists and z- twists, even some with metallic threads.  I plied thin ones together to get variegations and split some thick ones where necessary.

Catherine's wrap yarn assortment
Some of the leftover yarns
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Above and below: Some of the stitch patterns used
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“Steady” and “Fading” marles were used to great effect in this pattern. A “Steady” marle is done by carrying one of two yarns throughout the section and only varying the colours of the second yarn. A “Fading” marle is achieved by changing both strands at random but only changing one of those strands at a time. In the above images the two lower ones are Steady marles, while the topmost one is a Fading marle.

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Blocking it on my exercise mat (tassel not yet finished off)
Catherine's wrap 4
The finished wrap

One of the interesting features of the pattern was the plait or braid running down the centre back and finishing in a tassel. It was actually formed right at the end from a continuous braiding of very long ends deliberately left hanging after each colour change on the Mesh section (seen on the right of the plait), which is the first block worked. The mesh is simply two  alternating YOk2tog (repeat) and purled rows but the marled technique makes it look more complex than that.

I just hope my daughter likes it!

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Brown Onion Dip

A new blog is well overdue but I’m not very productive or innovative at the moment so I am sharing something I did two nights ago after seeing a new you tube video from “Rebecca from Chemknits“:

 

The first thing I learned was that what I, an Australian, call a brown onion seems to be called a yellow onion in the USA.  I’d often seen yellow onions in American cooks’ recipes and simply substituted brown ones.  Turns out that was quite OK!

Secondly, Rebecca actually weighed her onion skins.  Never thought of doing that.  They colour natural fibres  so well that eye-balling the quantity I put in the pot seems to work just fine. Still, out of interest I weighed the two bags of skins I’d pulled out of the stash in the garage; 92g.  (I could put in an image here but I’m assuming that everyone knows what onion skins look like even if they are very brown-looking yellow ones).

While I was in technical mode I put the said 92g into a pot with 3.5 litres of water.  There was nothing more rational about that than it’s how much tap water fitted into the pot comfortably and covered the skins. I then brought the pot to the boil and simmered it for an hour. The liquor was looking very red by then and the skins very soft, although I’m sure they’d have yielded more colour if I’d simmered them again  in some fresh water.  I really don’t need to do that as I accumulate plenty of onion skins (both red and brown) from my cooking and they aren’t recommended for the compost where my other vegetable peelings go.

I found a clean silk scarf which had been used in an unsuccessful botanical printing session.  So unsuccessful was the attempt that I couldn’t see anything much on it.  It did look a bit the worse for wear though!

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The  previously mistreated silk scarf awaiting a makeover

After straining out the used skin material, I brought the onion dye bath back up to simmer.

Instead of using my usual “dunk straight in and stir around a bit” technique, I decided to imitate Rebecca from Chemknits’ dip dyeing method.  I am a fan of her video tutorials and have seen her do it many times with yarn.  Why not see if it works on a piece of fabric?

So, let’s get to the point. It does work!

The image below conceals one thing. There must have been some action by the tannin in the onion skin bath that brought out previously concealed marks from the printing attempt.

After washing in baby shampoo, the onion aroma disappeared.  The scarf is quite wearable now but I’m tempted to print over it sometime.

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The refurbished, ombré silk scarf

Posted in brown onion as dye, Natural dyeing, Scarf | 2 Comments

Three-dimensional armatures

Recently I demonstrated simple techniques for wrapping a wire armature at my contemporary quilt group.  This is a summary:

 

Requirements

Version 2

Figure 1 Machine weight thread and decorative threads

CQG wrapped armature wires, wire cutters and pliers

Figure 2 Wires, wire cutters and pliers for bending

 

CQG wrapped armature wrapping examples

Figure 3 Cotton string, fabric strips and narrow strips of batting

Method

  1. Select wire

1.1 The smaller the intended piece, the finer the wire (the higher the gauge no.) you will choose. The example in these images is copper wire # 18.

CQG wrapped armature wire

  1. Shape wire. That is, bend it as you want. See above.
  2. Bind wire with string or batting. The smaller and finer the piece, the more suitable is something like kitchen twine as a wrap. Larger pieces, or pieces requiring some differential shaping (for example, muscles on a body form), warrant the use of 1cm wide cut strips of batting. The examples imaged here used batting. Contrast thread used for clarity.

CQG batting wrapped armature

  1. Wrap wire with fabric. The examples here are wrapped with a knit and finely striped fabric. Knit fabrics are easier to stretch and wrap around the base. However, bias cut woven fabrics also work well. Even straight cut woven fabrics can be used but these are best used when curvatures are not extreme. Rough or frayed edges can also add texture.

CQG wrapped armature catching down final layer 

Note 1: It’s not necessary to match the stripes. I was channelling a meticulous friend!

Note 2: During the demo I was asked if it would be easier to do all the wrapping and stitching BEFORE the bending. At the time I replied that I did the shaping of the wire first for two reasons. First, that bending afterwards can cause the batting to shift and expose wire. Second, that if you want to build up areas a bit more thickly than you need an idea of where those areas will be on the piece. However, in making the examples here I realised that slipping of the fabric can be prevented by just increasing the extent to which the strips are overlapped as they are wrapped, and unless there are to be some very severe angles twisted into the piece afterwards this should not be a problem. Moreover, nothing says that the extra padding you might want to add in some areas must be included in the initial wrapping. It could certainly be added afterwards when the bending has been done.

  1. Stitch the wrapping. Blanket stitch is my “go to” as it fits well with the edges of the bound fabrics. Extra embellishments can also be added.

CQG wrapped armature starting decorative stitching

CQG wrapped armature blanket stitch stage

Note: Much more stitching can be down here. Decorative cords can be wrapped around; beads stitched on, etc., etc.

  1. Think of something to do with the product

CQG wrapped armature keyring option

Figure 4 Key ring fob?

CQG wrapped armature neckalce option

Figure 5 Necklace or pendant?

My Future is...Now

Figure 6 My Future is….Now!

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