Thursday, December 9, 2010

Indigo Dyeing, Finishing Up

The yarn I dyed Tuesday is not quite dry, but I thought you might like to see a few things that are finished.
Silk Camisole

The lower edge was tied with sewing thread over black beans.  The upper area was pleated and clipped with clothespins. 

 Woven shibori scarf.  Cotton warp, rayon chenille weft.  

Arashi (pole-wrapped) Shibori, silk crepe de chine scarf.

Silk charmeuse scarf, dyed first, pleated and folded, then clamped between two canning jar lid inserts. 

The indigo dyeing process involved a full day of prep work and another day to complete the dyeing, rinsing, and removal of resist threads, etc.  Lots of work, but well worth the effort! 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Indigo Dyeing

I spent most of today with my good friend, Susan, and her sister, Kathy, who is visiting from Japan.  We dyed a variety of things using an indigo dye kit.  It was a perfect day to be outside in Susan's beautiful back yard.  I took several pictures of things as they came out of the dye pot; here is a silk scarf with marbles tied in:

This is an experiment in Arashi shibori, also known as pole-wrapped shibori.  The fabric (in this case, a silk scarf) is wrapped around a length of pvc pipe, secured with cotton yarn, and then immersed in the dye bath.
Susan set up a system of drying racks, here draped with skeins of yarn, silk scarves, Susan's tennies, etc.

Below is a close-up of Susan's Indigo Converse All-stars! 

The scarf on the left was folded, clamped, and overdyed.  The one on the right is the final result of pole-wrapping.
More scarves, various resist techniques:

 Some of our results after removing wrappings, bindings, clips, etc:

What a great day!  Fun to be with friends and experience something new!  Plus, we took a break and had a delicious lunch at Zena's in Orange, an excellent Lebanese restaurant.  

After coming home I rinsed my scarves and yarn and hung them to dry.  Can't wait until tomorrow to see the final results!  


Friday, December 3, 2010

Sari Silk Vest, Part 4

Finally!  I finished stitching the shisha mirrors and fabric squares to my vest, placing them at random on the fronts and the back.

The next step is to cut the lining and make the binding.  For the lining, I may incorporate some of the sari fabric scraps.  I like to make the inside of a garment interesting as well.  For the bias binding I found the perfect color silk; a shade of wine that is just the right accent. 

Following directions in the book, Happy Endings - Finishing the Edges of Your Quilt,  by Mimi Dietrich, I'm going to make continuous cut bias binding.  I've had the book for many years, and it's been a great resource; well illustrated and clearly written instructions.  Bias binding works well in many finishing situations and has a stretch that allows it to turn smoothly around curves, miter edges, and lie perfectly flat along a straight edge.  The method of continuous cut binding allows one to make one long strip of binding by sewing only two seams.  Much easier and more accurate than sewing a lot of separate strips together!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sari Silk Vest, Part 3

I've decided to do some embellishing on my vest, and since the accent yarn is made of recycled silk saris, it seems appropriate to use an embellishment technique often found on Indian garments.  I purchased sari scraps from tweedylane a vendor on Etsy.  I wasn't sure exactly what I would get, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a mix of colors that will work perfectly with my fabric.

The embellishment technique for Buttonhole Cup Method of attaching shisha mirrors is one I learned in a workshop with Anita Luvera Mayer
Here you see some of the mirrors attached to squares of the sari silk.

I'm attaching the mirrors first, and will later decide exactly what shape and size to cut the background.  Next step is to cut the vest fabric and sew it together so I can determine exactly where I want the mirrors.  

Off to the cutting board!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sari Silk Vest, Part 2

I finished weaving the fabric for my vest a couple of days ago.  This is how it looked immediately after being removed from the loom; The weave looked coarse and had the feel of  light burlap.  Not what you want in a handwoven fabric intended for clothing!  But, because I had used the same yarn before, I knew the washing and finishing would result in a very different fabric. 
 After removing it from the loom I hand washed it, experiencing several minutes of near panic as I watched the water turn deep purple and the fabric turn very reddish.  I hadn't tested the sari silk yarn to see if it was colorfast.  Fortunately, I was using synthrapol (soap specifically formulated for textiles to prevent migration of any dye released during washing), and, after several rinses, the colors returned to their original state.
Above is the fabric after it has been dried and pressed.

And a close up showing how the fabric changes with finishing.  The cotton in one of the yarns "blooms" and shrinks, drawing the threads of both warp and weft together and creating a soft, drapeable fabric.

Once again, a good reminder that when you weave; sample and test everything!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Weaving Records

One reason I decided to blog my weaving and other textile adventures is to create a visual record of my work.  Over twenty years ago I worked on commision through interior designers and furniture stores.  As crazy at it seems to me now, I kept very poor records.  Perhaps because I was doing mainly decorative accessories - rugs, pillows, and bedspreads - I thought they didn't merit the same attention that an "art" piece might.  Who knows?  I don't remember exactly what I was thinking then, but I realize now what a mistake I made.  There are a few things I know the location of; a rug I wove for an art gallery in New Mexico, a few pillows, and a bedspread made for my parents.  

In the 70's and early 80's Danish modern furniture was very popular, and I was fortunate to have one of my bedspreads on display at Danica in Beverly Hills and California Design Center in Orange County.  I recently came across this postcard from California Design Center showing a bedspread I wove.  Other than the one I wove for my parents, it is the only record I have .

The point of this post is to encourage you to keep accurate records of your work.  Take lots of pictures and record the details... even if you think something is hardly noteworthy. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Color in Crackle

The  weave structures study group I belong to spent some time last year exploring crackle, a structure renamed by Mary M. Atwater who thought the Swedish name Jamtlandsvav  was "to English speaking people something of a mouthful" and "because of the background effect which somewhat resembles the crackle in pottery."  (Quote from Mastering Weave Structures by Sharon Alderman.)

While I don't quite see the pottery connection, I love weaving crackle because of the opportunities for mixing colors.  I've been experimenting with different palettes and it has been a great color exercise as I've woven the fabric for these small shoulder bags.  In the series shown here, there are four colors in the warp, then those same colors in the weft plus a fifth.  The fifth color changes in each bag resulting in striking differences in the overall look.  The button loops and straps are made with the fifth color.

These bags will soon  be in my Etsy shop:


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hats for the Orange County Rescue Mission

This is one of the hats I made for a project of the South Coast Weavers & Spinners guild I belong to.  The striped fabric is handwoven using 8/2 cotton warp and space dyed cotton chenille weft; the brim and lining are polar fleece. 

Members of the guild have been weaving, knitting, and crocheting hats for several months for the Orange County Rescue MissionYesterday we gathered them all together and tagged them for giving.  

Following the meeting, a small group of us delivered 173 hats!  We were warmly received at the Mission and treated to a tour of the facility which is aptly named "Village of Hope."  What an inspiring place!  For information, visit:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Handwoven Vest w/ Knitted Collar

The idea for the vest I'm currently weaving was sparked by a vest I designed last summer.  

I used the same yarns for warp and weft and the accent yarns were three color related yarns by Trendsetter.  After weaving and finishing the yardage, I pulled threads on the fronts leaving a gap along the edge where I could insert my knitting needle and pick up stitches for the knitted collar.  This created a very neat, flat transition between the knitting and the woven fabric.  The collar is garter stitch using the three knitting yarns in random order.
Because knitting yarns are often too stretchy to use for warp (they need to withstand a lot of tension),  this was a interesting way to incorporate them into my weaving.  I crocheted a button loop on the right front and found just the right button to finish the vest. 

This is an idea I would like to explore more in the future.  How about you?  Have you found any interesting ways to combine weaving and knitting?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hand Dyed Silk Scarves

I'm making progress on my woven vest fabric but thought in the meantime you might like to see some of the dyeing I've been doing.   These are silk scarves I ordered from Dharma Trading Company.  They're called blanks, come hemmed and "prepared for dyeing", or pfd.  They're dyed with procion fiber reactive dyes.  I love the way the silk takes the dye, and it's always a thrill to see the final results.

The scarf above is silk crepe de chine, and you can see it has an almost suede-like texture.

This scarf is silk charmeuse, and it has a gorgeous, luxurious sheen.  Dharma calls it the Rolls-Royce of silks!  I love the texture of both types of silk; each has its own appeal.

This is a detail of a silk charmeuse scarf; a great example of what magically happens in the dye pot.  

Oooh... now I'm in the mood to dye!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Handwoven Vest & Recycled Sari Silk

Welcome I'm so glad you're here.   I'm passionate about weaving, color, and texture.  I also love to knit, dye silk fabrics, and have recently begun designing reconstructed clothing. 

I belong to a local weaving guild, South Coast Weavers & Spinners Guild, and one thing I like best about the guild (in addition to it's variety of wonderful people) is the Show-and-Tell portion of our monthly meetings.  I plan to expand that concept here by showing some of my weaving projects as they happen.  Currently, I'm working on fabric for a long vest.  The warp is a combination of rayon baby rikrak and a cotton, rayon, flax blend that is quite slubby (is that a word?).   The weft is the same with the addition of yarn accents that are recycled sari silk.  

Here are a couple photos of the warping and weaving process:

Now back to the loom!