Eucalyptus: More Eco-Printing with Leaves

Eco-printing brings delight in every carefully simmered package!  Some results are better than others, “better” being very subjective.img_2982

img_2981Some of the brown tones can be subtle, quiet.  Pleasing. But sometimes you are looking for a splash of color.  Eucalyptus leaves usually deliver.

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Second Chance for SunMoonStars

Unhappy with my first try on the SunMoonStars, I decided to start again with new cloth and new ideas.  I spent several days just “debuting” cloth. Thinking about it.  Just going along.

I decided on using linen cloth scrap, backed by old gauze cloth–both were dyed with black walnut last year.  I chose silk square samples, previously dyed by me.  But I only had six of them.

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So no 9-patch.  But I scrounged for other scraps–indigo-dyed linen and an indigo scrap over-dyed with chamomile.  There’s a small square of naturally-dyed organic cotton jersey as well.

Next time!

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Gone crazy over fresh eucalyptus

I finally took the opportunity to eco-print with my fresh eucalyptus over the weekend.  Whole Foods surprised me last week with a small selection of eucalyptus branches.  I recognized the shape immediately, and I was told by the manager of the floral department that they would be stocking eucalyptus through the Thanksgiving holidays.

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Wool pre-felt eco-printed with eucalyptus and rose leaves

Gathering my previously mordanted fabric scraps (wool and silk), I got a pot boiling and steamed the wool and silk, after laying out the eucalyptus leaves, along with a few wild rose leaves.  I was pleased with the results, particularly the small scrap of dupioni silk (below, right).  The wool was not as clearly printed (right), but I noted that my handmade white pre-felt was uneven in texture.

Not willing to quit while I was ahead, I decided to print two camisoles that I had previously mordanted and stored in the refrigerator this summer.

Both the silk camisole and sweet gathered cotton top printed well.  They included eucalyptus, rose and geranium leaves.

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Next time:  Second Try with SunMoonStars

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Silk scrap eco-printed with eucalyptus leaves

Contemplating Cloth: SunMoonStars

The fact is, I am not all that pleased with my SunMoonStars cloth.  It doesn’t look like I wanted it to be, like I had imagined it to be.  Perhaps I was imagining cloth similar to Spirit Cloth’s many lovely versions by Jude Hill.  Or perhaps like the ones I have seen within her Circle of friends.

I may need to begin again.  Start over.  With new/old cloth.

SunMoonStars in progress…but I may start over.
SunMoonStars in progress…but I may start over.  

But in the meantime, I hauled in two big scores this week:  black walnut hulls and florist’s eucalyptus.  Thank you, my son, Matt–for the walnuts. Thank you, Whole Foods, for finally stocking fresh eucalyptus.

Black walnuts, ready to be smashed and cooked
Black walnuts, ready to be smashed and cooked

I will be dyeing, boiling and eco-printing tomorrow.  And thinking about a new constellation for SunMoonStars.

Scored large at Whole Foods:  Fresh Eucalyptus for Dyeing
Scored large at Whole Foods: Fresh Eucalyptus for Dyeing

A 9-Patch: SunMoonStars & Constellations

My 9-patch is slowly blooming with suns, moons and just a few stars.  Stars have always been tricky for me.  I usually cheat and make the Jewish star with two triangles.  But here, for the 9-patch, no cheating.  A star made with bits and pieces.  And a growing constellation.

9-Patch Growing
9-Patch Growing
SunMoonStars Evolving
SunMoonStars Evolving

Patching together a slow-stitched journey to the Universe, I thought about Jude Hill’s idea of holes (Spirit Cloth)….looking through cloth to find stars.  I had a difficult time finding textiles in my house with holes.  But finally, a vintage, much-loved Huck towel with a few holes.  Made-on-purpose holes and a few not.  Thinking of adding to SunMoonStars as Constellations.  Maybe.  That means cutting the towel.  Maybe next time.

Holes in a vintage huck towel…Constellation?
Holes in a vintage huck towel…Constellation?

Ready Now for SunMoonStars

It’s been bothering me all week.  The pieces and scraps I had collected for my journey into space, or SunMoonStars Circle with Jude Hill and friends.  Nothing seemed right.  There wasn’t  a fit.

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Trying out cloth for the SunMoonStar Circle

So I dyed some more cloth.  No moon, star or sun shapes.  I plan to use hand-embroidery.

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Natural dyed cloth ready for piecing

Still didn’t seem right.

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Pinning, stitching seams…

Then I figured it out.

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Indigo dyed linen. Just right for the 9-patch backing. Ready now for SunMoonStars.

There’s nothing like a piece of indigo-dyed linen, thin, muted, soft–and just right for backing the 9-patch.  Ready.  Finally.  Ready for “Invisible Stitching.”

Starting somewhere: SunMoonStars

Not knowing where to start is a frequent problem for me, no matter what type of art I am doing.  There is always the question of color, design, thread.  What colors look best together?  What is my overall plan?  Should I use regular DMC cotton, Perle cotton, or some fancy silk thread?  This is what bogs me down.

So Friday eve, I began to attach cloth scrap to cloth scrap.  Thinking about design but not really planning.  And I came up with two pieces:

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Hand-stitching for SunMoonStars
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Will the sun shine today? SunMoonStars

These were meant to be vertical strips of cloth. The sun has been on my mind, or lack of sun.  So gray skies with barely visible moons and a sun trying so hard to break through.  But then I realized these pieces didn’t feel right for what I had in mind.  Back to Spirit Cloth–ah, plan a design?  Sketch it out?  Hmm I don’t do that.  Ever.  But I can start.

At 9pm, when I am usually reading, I grabbed the remainder of my Bengala dyes set (these Japanese-made mineral dyes are so fast and easy!) and proceeded to dye 4-inch squares of cotton cloth.  Enough for a 9-patch.  On Saturday, I ironed and heat set the marbled designs.  Pinned and ready for SunMoonStars.

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Bengala-dyed 4-inch squares for patchwork
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Playing with hand-dyed cotton cloth for a 9-patch