Archive | Sewing

More dyed fabric … and a jacket!

I have been slowly washing out more of the fabric.  In between buying some gorgeous teal coloured boiled wool/viscose fabric and making it into a jacket!  More later on that…

I printed this piece of silk with corrugated cardboard (the yellowy bits) and then overprinted with a gocco screen made with the same stamp that I used for the maroon coloured fabric in the last post.  I think this one changed the least when I washed it out. 

screenprinted fabric before washing

Here is the washed version:

screenprinted fabric after washing

And a detail:

detail of above

For the next piece, I used these ochres from Clearwell Caves in the Forest of Dean, and soy milk as a binder, made from soy beans. 

ochres from Clearwell Caves

This is what it looked like when I painted it.

ochre painted fabric before washing

And here it is washed … I like the way you get more definition in the washed version.

ochre printed fabric after washing

Here it is on my design wall, next to a piece which had been previously rusted dyed and which I overpainted with the ochres, giving some subtle textures.

fabric on design wall 

This one looked the most unpromising when I printed it.  I’ve got a feeling I used it as a wiping-up cloth and then screened over the top with the gocco screen made from the image of a letter.

more fabric

It definitely looks more promising now!

all washed out

Last week I had a break from washing out fabric and did some dressmaking for a change! I went shopping in Cardiff the previous weekend and bought this gorgeous teal coloured boiled wool fabric from the newly opened John Lewis.  This jacket only took a morning to make! I did make a practise version with some green cotton/viscose fabric I had lying around and actually this one was easier to make because the curved seams were a doddle with this stretchy fabric.  Also, I didn’t have to hem anything as it is boiled wool and doesn’t fray!  It’s super warm and cozy and I’ve already worn it a lot.  Which is more than can be said for a lot of my previous dressmaking attempts!   I bought the pattern a few years ago meaning to use it with some of my dyed fabrics and I have even more incentive to use it now I’ve made it twice.  It’s the swing fever jacket from CNT Pattern Co (no affiliation).

wool swing fever jacket boiled wool swing fever jacket

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Happy New Year – and Bloggers Meet!

Happy New Year to you all!  I don’t know where the last week went, I seem to have been sleeping a lot; we went up to Stoke to see my parents and on Monday,  I had a lovely day because two people who I have known online for several years now came to visit me. 

Sara Lechner from Austria, who blogs at The Fabric of Meditation, was visiting her daughter in North Wales, and she had a three hour train journey to see me!  Wales may be a small place, but it takes a long time to travel from north to south… And Sue Krekorian of The Magic Armchair Traveller came to join us.  We had a lovely time chatting, visiting a local cafe for lunch and wandering round Newport’s shops, chatting again… and having the obligatory photo in my studio!   DS2 kindly obliged and took this photo of the three of us:

bloggers meet up!

While I was trying to upload that photo, Live Writer decided it wanted to upload another one and it’s such a nice one that I decided to let it stay…. This is one of the leaves of my avocado plant.  I thought the veins with the browning edges makes for a very interesting photo:

brown edged avocado leaf

While we were in Stoke we saw this ferris wheel which is in the grounds of Trentham Gardens factory shopping village (I think it’s called something else but since it was Trentham Gardens when I grew up, that is what it will forever be in my mind).  I had my first summer job there, working as a cashier in the open air swimming pool.  Sadly, the said swimming pool was demolished some time ago…

ferris wheel in Trentham Gardens

I thought the centre of it would make a good Gocco screen…. (without Stoke City football club’s sponsorship medallion … or maybe even with it)

centre of ferris wheel in Stoke

I wonder what 2009 will bring?  DH is going to India again later this month so I’m planning to do some gelatine plate monoprinting and some more screenprinting while he’s away.  So look out for lots of fabric photos.    I meant to do a blog post about 2008 and what had happened in it but time somehow flew away from me.    I think I will remember it for the Gocco and for getting involved in Etsy.  And for my two magazine articles in CTDG.    And for those of you who subscribe to Fibre and Stitch, look out for the January issue because I’ve got an article in there too!  Here’s a bit of a teaser…


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Stitching a Labyrinth

This is some stitching I did a few weeks ago.  For a while now, I’ve been thinking of making something in a labyrinth design, and I pulled some hand dyed fabrics out of my shelves which seemed to work well together.  They are loosely pinks and greens.  I enjoy layering fabrics, stitching a pattern into them and cutting back random layers to make the design emerge serendipitously.  I did this with quite a few of my favourite pieces of work – Dreaming Spirals, the namesake for this blog, is one of them.  My Landscape Series is another.

My design is loosely based on that of the labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral in France.  I drew the design and altered it so that it would work when cut back, and, using my light box, transferred the design on to tissue paper.  I then layered the fabrics, pinned the design on top and stitched along the lines using free motion stitching.

fabrics layered with tissue paper labyrinth design stitched on top

The next job was to remove all the tissue paper.  Here it is half done:

removing tissue paper from labyrinth stitching

Next I started cutting away to reveal the labyrinth design.  I chose to keep the green as the labyrinth and have the other fabrics poking through in the spaces between but I could have done it the other way round.

This was laborious, but meditative at the same time.  I listened to Brenda Dayne’s knitting podcast, Cast On to while away the minutes.

labyrinth design half cut away

Here it is three-quarters done.  Some of this got cut away a bit more to reveal an extra layer beneath, until I was happy with the finished piece.


And this is how it stands at the moment.  Not sure if I’ll cut away any more or if I’m happy with it as it is now.  Nor what I’m going to do with it next.  I think it reminds me a bit of the formal gardens with box hedges and roses planted between.  We shall see.

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Subscribing to my blog and a new laptop bag!

Thank you to Julie for letting me know that the rss button on the right of the header wasn’t working for some reason.  2 hours later, and by dint of deleting my Feedburner feed and creating another, it does!  I upgraded WordPress on 7 July and I think that must have caused the problem, so if you have tried to subscribe and couldn’t, I’m sorry but it’s now fixed!

If all the above is gobbledegook to you, I’ll try and explain a bit what ‘subscribing’ to a blog means.  The difference between blogs and conventional websites is that their content is continually being updated by something called an ‘rss feed’.  You can find out when a new post is published on any blog by subscribing to their feed.  You do this in two types of ways. 

  1. You can either go to a website such as Feedblitz, register and then enter the URLs of any blogs which you want to read regularly.  They then will send you any updates each day by email. 
  2. You can register with a web based feed reader such as Google Reader, again fill in the URLs (the web addresses) of any blogs you want to read and they find any new posts for you.  You then go to your Google Reader page whenever you feel like reading new posts from any blogs you are subscribed to.  You can sort them into categories and then just scroll through them by pressing the spacebar.  This is what I prefer to do, myself.  The good thing about Google Reader is that if you are already registered with Google you can just login using your Google username.  And if you click on the little ‘rss’ button on the top or bottom of any blog you want to subscribe to, you can just do it with one click usually if your preferred blog reader is listed there.  Another popular web based feed reader is Bloglines.

If you already subscribe to my blog and haven’t had any new posts since early July, you may find that they all arrive in your reader with this one!!

As we are going on holiday pretty soon, I decided this afternoon to make a bag for my laptop.  I usually leave it at home but this year I thought I’d better have it as I now have my shop on Etsy and the Print Gocco machines for sale here on my blog, if only to tell people that I haven’t disappeared off the face of the earth!

I wanted a felted bag, so I decided to use some old felted sweaters and a woollen dress which I felted here a few years ago.  First of all I thought I would stitch the felt from the woollen dress to the one shown in the link above to make it firmer and give it more protection but after some thought, I decided to make an inner bag from the woollen dress and an outer one from the felted sweaters.  Then I decided I had better line the inner one as it was a bit linty and I didn’t want any nasty lint clogging up my precious computer!    The advantage of having two layers is that for carrying it around outside I could just use the inner one and when it needed extra protection such as on the journey in the car, I could augment it with the second!

Here is the inner one:

felted laptop bag

It needs buttons or fastenings of some sort.  I bought some gorgeous raku buttons from Pearl of Fehustoneware and these are going to be a strong contender!   Here is one of them:

raku button

Here’s my laptop snug inside!

laptop in bag

And this is the outside bag:

outer laptop bag

And the other side of this:

felted bag

This one doesn’t have a flap on the top – I think I am going to put some poppers or something to fasten it inside.  Not sure what I’ll do for a handle yet.  Any suggestions for fastenings or handles gratefully received!!!  I’m very pleased with them as a whole – I am sure I’ll use them much more than I wore either the sweaters or the dress!  The woollen fabric was too thick for the style of dress I made and it made me look awful when I was stick-like.  I dread to think what it would look like now!

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