Years ago, one of my sisters gave me a bag of scraps, some of them Laura Ashley samples. Every once in awhile, I bring them out of their hiding place and play with them. They are mostly small squares, perfect for making 9-patch quilt blocks.
With no particular plan in mind, I improvised and decided to sew a few squares together. Then I remembered reading about “chaining,” a method used by quilters to stitch small pieces together without stopping and starting your sewing machine. Once your initial pieces are stitched, you simply carry on by inserting the next squares under the needle.
Last summer, I was busy eco-printing leaves and other plant materials for my ever growing collection of repurposed linens and naturally dyed fabric. As always, I ended up with more fabric than I could possibly use in a season, so I began to think of other ways to combine these treasures.
I wanted a new tunic to take on my recent vacation, so I gathered leftover 100 percent cotton jersey scraps of fabric, along with eco-printed scraps of the same fabric. Since I did not have enough of the same fabric color to create a tunic, I used natural oatmeal for the main tunic and sunflower seed for the sleeves. The neck facing was fashioned out of eco-printed scraps of the same fabric, as was the hem of the tunic to make it a bit longer than I normally wear. Do you ever just make-do with what you already have in your fabric stash? Stay tuned for the finished tunic, which is now in the laundry pile!
My eco-plants are blooming, which is making me very pleased and excited for the coming season of eco-printing and natural dyeing. Some of these plants are newish–just planted last autumn–so they have not been tested yet. Primarily I am talking about the Japanese maple tree and lily of the valley, both of which appeared to be dying last winter. But they are alive!
I know that the Japanese maple leaf will probably print well, as friends gave me samples last “printing” season. I’m unsure what can be done with the lily of the valley, but I really planted it because I have fond memories of collecting these for the May Queen (Catholic grade school).
And then there are last year’s proven eco-printers: wild rose, golden barberry and false indigo (turns yellow instead of blue).
And one last note: I have been working on slow-stitching Project Deux, which started out as our planetary system but which is now evolving in a different way. Stay tuned.
Finally, Project Une is complete. I did not work on other slow-stitching projects while finishing up this large piece. After photographing, I couldn’t resist adding some additional kantha-style stitching.
As the new eco-print and natural dyeing season approaches in Chicago, I have begun to focus on incorporating last season’s eco-printed fabric to my current wardrobe. One special piece continues to attract my attention. This was a scrap of silk which I eco-dyed with eucalyptus and rose leaves.
I gave serious thought about how I might use this piece to its best advantage. In the meantime, I remembered I had purchased organic cotton jersey, which I had used to make a few scarves.
This silk scrap seemed to go better with my purchased fabric. I am thinking of a tunic. The fabric needs to be washed first. I also found some naturally-dyed lace from last season, and if I decide to go ultra-feminine, there might be some lace added as well. Stay tuned!