Still Frozen & More Sashiko

Yes, still frozen in Chicago.  We had a 2-day warm-up, then back to the deep freeze.  Teens and single digits.  Brrrrr.  But much of the country has joined with us in the cold.  Some of them just don’t know what hit them!

I completed my “colorful” sashiko design, tried stitching on heavy French vintage ticking, and played with my pile of scraps.  Looking for a new direction.


Chicago New Year 2018 Begins in the Deep Freeze

Arctic snap, Polar blast, or Deep Freeze.  Doesn’t matter what you call it.  It started snowing on Christmas Eve, and it was lovely.  Just a couple of inches–enough to make everything sparkling white.  And then the cold plunge into bitter weather began.  Below zero weather and that’s not counting the wind chill factor.  And then my pipes froze.  The kitchen drain pipe.  So no water in the kitchen, no dishwasher.  The plumber came twice.

No can do.  Wait for the thaw.  Put a blasting heater under the new hole in the garage inner roof.  Wait for the pipes to thaw.  You ask about a blow torch?  Too dangerous for the insulation.

And so, thanks for new snuggly socks.  Warm socks!

We have heat but no water in the kitchen.  Not so bad.  

After pouting for a few days, I began a new Sashiko project.  With a variety of colors, rather than the traditional white on dark blue.  I think that bodes well for the New Year.  Being bold, taking risks.

Ha ha

Natural dyeing projects have been postponed until I get my kitchen sink back.  The indigo can wait, but what about those lovely, costly persimmons I bought?

Happy New Year 2018!

Up-cycling Cotton Canvas Tote/Market Bags

Over the years, I have acquired many of those bags you receive at educational conferences or travel group trips.  They are usually–but not always–sturdy cotton canvas.  I use them as grocery bags and market totes, rather than using plastic or paper which are still offered at no cost in my area.

So I decided to take some of my patchwork scraps and hand-dyed natural cloth and put them together as up-cycled market bags.  I am just covering the conference name or exotic travel destination.  This was fun, so I will do this again.

What do you do with your old canvas totes?  Now you know what you can do, or if not, please send them to me!

Recycling, Reusing, Hand-dyed Scraps with Sashiko Stitching

With the plant dyeing season over in Chicago, I have begun putting my natural hand-dyed scraps together.  Patches. And patches with sashiko style stitching.

Combining vintage scraps with new sashiko patterns (well, new to me!)

Sometimes going for mood…

and sometimes not!

Brighter Acrylics Stenciled on Un-dyed Muslin

Another go with acrylics paints on cloth, this time mixed with gouache primary colors.  I had fun mixing the primary paints to create new hues, adding a bit of black and white.  This created a very different look from the metallic paints I had been using on natural dyed cloth.

Now back to the dye pots.  Next time:  more black walnut and Queen Anne’s lace.

Combining Natural Dyes and Acrylic Paints

Sometime ago, I purchased some stencils on Etsy–I am a seller and a buyer there–and have been waiting to be inspired to use those stencils with some metallic acrylic paints I have had for awhile.  Initially, I used the paints on canvases as background for artwork I was exhibiting, but I have leftovers a-plenty.

I decided to combine the eco-dyed fabric with the acrylic paints and a geometric stencil.  The result was pleasing, and so I painted a second design on a similarly (but less “busy”) hand-dyed cloth.

Metallic acrylic paints on hand-dyed cloth #1
Metallic acrylic paints on hand-dyed cloth #2

Next in line, I will use non-metallic primary colors of acrylic gouache with the same stencil.  I like creating textiles in a series.

#1 and #2 acyrlic paints on hand-dyed cloth, side by side

Using Copper as Color Changer (NOT)

I have checked out every library book on natural dyeing I could find at my local library, and in several of them, I read about achieving the color of green through using pomegranate dye with copper as a color-changing mordant.  I was eager to try this experiment.

You might think it would be simpler to acquire the plants that are known to turn cloth green or yellow-green or moss green.  Unfortunately, I have not found plants in the city, such as Queen Anne’s lace, sour grass, or many of the others mentioned in some of my dye books.  Most of the dyes I acquire are natural dye powders purchased on-line, although I do use my homegrown rose leaves, coreopsis, geranium leaves, etc. for eco-printing.

linen (left side) and silk (right).

After creating the pomegranate dye and soaking my cloth in the bath, I created a copper dip pot and an iron dip bowl to see if I could achieve the color green.  And the answer is NO.  I did get a range of beautiful tans, some deep browns with sienna and gold tones.  Beautiful!  One square even turned black!  But nothing close to green.  I tried the experiment twice, since there were directions suggesting adding vinegar to the mix. With or without vinegar, no green.

Cotton swatches double-dipped in pomegranate then iron or copper or both.

And I don’t know that I would use copper crystals again, as the pot surface looked like Mars after dyeing. More experiments to come! (I don’t give up easily).  BTW, that tiny small weaving with attached cotton threads above was already green.