Sunday, 26 August 2012

Eco print experiment shawl

Over the last few months I've been really inspired by the work of my blog friends Terrie and Heather  and Nicola..  They have been ECO dyeing, using leaves and rusty objects to naturally dye silk fabrics and felt, with no nasty chemicals just vinegar and heat.. and creating really gorgeous prints!  

Last month I FINALLY got round to having a go myself :)  For my first experiment I collected leaves from trees and plants in the wood at the bottom of my garden.. and nabbed a rose leaf off a neighbours bush.  The  results of the first experiment took 'subtlety' to the exptreme lol.  I had a lovely golden glow to the previously white silk.. and a hint of a print.. but nothing distinct. 

Terrie has written some very helpful posts covering her eco dyeing method.. and I think my problem might of been that I didn't soak the fabric in vinegar/water before bundling and boiling.. though I'm sure that many of the leaves I'd collected are just not so good for dyeing with.

As the rose leaf worked best for me.. and Terrie has had fab results from rose leaves I decided my 2nd experiment would be rose leaves and a scattering of olive leaves (from my parents garden).

The rose leaves came from my Nan's favourite rose bush.. but I didnt want to take too many. SO I decided to use one to print rose leaves onto the silk fabric using my silk paints.. 

then nuno felt a shawl using the tumble drier to speed things up..

Great tip from Heather to use the body part of a pair
of tights (pantyhose) to tie the bundle up ready for the tumble drier!

I laid the leaves out on the wool side of the shawl for eco dyeing... remembering to soak it in vinegar water first this time :)

After simmering for a good hour in vinegar water I took the covered pan out into the garage and left it there for TWO days - I could not believe my own patience!  Usually it'd be opened up as soon as I can do so without burning myself :)

opening the bundle up

My rose leaves show up quite nicely.. but there is no sign at all of the olive leaves.  It is still very subtle.. but actually I like that in THIS piece.  I definitely need to find some leaves which will give stronger prints though for futureprojects!

Eco print rose leaves after drying
This is the silk side (with my paint/printed rose leaves) after nuno felting and boiling etc..
I'm impressed at the colour fastness of the Jacquard paints!

Big, soft and snuggly shawl

I am planning to give this to my Nan for her birthday in November.. I think that she will like it..  I hope she does anyway :)

I did find that there was some mottling of darker colour on the part that had been on the bottom of the pan.  Not sure if that was due to heat, or because I let it sit for so long.. maybe the colour settled at the bottom.  I don't know, but I like the effect on this piece so I'm not complaining :)

Friday, 24 August 2012

I spy with my little eye, something beginning with.... S


Sea Shells...

Silvery Seas..

Sun Sparkley Seas...
Small, Secret windows..

Still pools...

Small pool with Silvery fish hiding in the Sea weed..


Rust can be so pretty!

Stripey rocks..

Smiley family :)

Sleepy dog..

Sneaky dog...

And of course..

Then NOT beginning with S, but shared 'cos I like them :)

My lovely Jesse

So pretty!
This might be translated into felt one day
A few photos from our recent camping trip to Cornwall.

We have had very odd weather here in the UK this summer.. I think there have only been about 3 weeks of summery weather all year.  We have recently returned from a camping holiday in Cornwall, where it was (thank goodness) very warm, so even when it was raining we were happily playing in the sea.  Didn't get quite as much walking done as usual (slippery mud and high winds were taken into account there) but we got LOTS of time in the sea!  When it was calm, and all the surfers were getting fed up with the lack of waves, WE were having a whale of a time on our kayak.  When the waves picked up too much for safe family kayaking we wave jumped and body surfed (Note to self: next time remember the body-boards!)  And the weather just did its thing.. Some days were lovely and sunny.. some not, we had a lovely time anyway :)

The main impact that the weather had on us over the last few days was turning the campsite into MUD!  Not good!!   I have never a) spent so much time in mud.. and b) seen so many people camping in wellington boots (I had never suffered from welly envy before either :)   I am not complaining - at least our tent didn't flood!  

And now we are home.. the kit is cleaned, dried and packed away... laundry has been caught up.. and there is just a week of the children's summer holidays left.  Time does fly!

Hope you are all having a lovely summer..

Sunday, 5 August 2012

When making one pair of slippers just wouldn't go right..

I've made quite a lot of pairs of slippers over the past few weeks..  

I've made boot slippers..

Low backed summery coloured slippers..

His n Hers slippers..

And THEN the troublesome slippers :)

UK size 2 
So tiny they looked like they should be for a child.

I'd had a request for a pair of UK size 5s.. I ordered in a new batch of luuuurvly coloured Icelandic wool and set to making them - using the same resist, fibre layout and system of working the felt as I ALWAYS do.  I could not believe it when I couldn't shrink the darned things any smaller than a UK 7!  I even gave them a quick go in the washing machine to try and bring them down a bit - no dice.  They were stubbornly staying 7s.  So I finished them up and listed them as 7s.

Process of elimination.  I'd either layed the fibre thicker than usual (didn't think so though) or the shrinkage rate was different from all the other Icelandic I have used.  Next step was to make a pair using the same resists, but laying the fibre down very thinly.  I ended up with a lovely lightweight pair of size 5s from this..  not what the customer had ordered - but just what I needed for a gift for my mom!  

Next I did the thing that I absolutely hate and detest doing..  I sat down and did maths YUCK!!  And then I gave my lovely hubby the task of doing it too just to check I'd worked everything out right :)  see how generous I am to my man?! ;D

My Icelandic had always shrunk by around 35%.. but the new fibre was only going about 23%.  SO I worked out my new resists, laid out the fibre to the normal thickness on the next pair and voilĂ  they came up just right.. phew!  

Mind you I'd been working to make size 5s all this time and then the lady they were for decided she wanted them for a different person who needed a UK size 2.. so the next challenge was to make the tiniest pair of slippers I've ever made!  

The purple & green boots at the top of the post were felted from fibre that was in the same batch as the colour which gave me trouble.. and they shrunk to the usual rate!  I'm thinking that is must be something odd and specific to that particular batch of fibre.  

I so enjoyed felting the boots.. its been a while since I made any.  These are new colours and I used some gorgeous hand dyed Teeswater curly locks that I brought from Sara.. I love these colours :)  You can't really see the locks on the main photo, so heres a close up..

Tourmaline Teeswater Locks
from Saras Texture Crafts
Right I'm off to feed the fish

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Where to begin...?

My goodness its been a long while since I blogged!  I got took to task over my lack of posts by my lovely aunty last week lol (in a nice way) - sorry Aunty M :)

SO.. what have I been upto?  Lots of felting..  I have been making cobweb & featherweight wraps:

Looks solid on the model.. but against the light you can see its  quite fine

I've felted a nice bright mat.. could be either a table runner or hearth rug really.  This was meant as a sample piece - trying out fibres for a rug.  The planned rug was to be so HUGE and thick though it would take me forever and a day just to prepare the fibre.. let alone lay it out and felt it!  I'm very happy with the little mat though :)

I'm not going to do a great big monster post as my first one back, so I shall show you some other makes next time.

This week I have been experimenting with an eco dye project.. in between watching the Olympics on TV (did anyone else find the beginning of the opening ceremony weird?!)  and COOKING!  I recently added 3 new cookbooks to my bookshelf; Soups, a Mediterranean cookbook and Rivercottage Veg Everyday.. so many mouthwatering recipes to try out!  This evening we shall be having vegetable tagine with summer couscous :)  Followed by banana and blueberry (from the garden) muffins baked this morning.  An odd mixture maybe - but I think we shall enjoy it :)

We have also FINALLY got some summer weather - which is so lovely it's not been as nice this week as it was over the last couple weeks though.. hope that's not all we are getting!  I had a few lovely days gardening in the lovely sunshine.. mind you the blisteringly hot day that I decided to set up an irrigation system for my fruit and veg pots ended up being hard work!  And I still haven't got the whole lot dripping nicely! :( oh well.. it'll be better than nothing when we go away.

Anyway.. promise to be back soon