zondag 31 juli 2011

eco dyeing

While Connie gave some good and simple instructions
I made a fresh start with my eco-dyeing adventure.
It really is a matter of trial and error for me,
error it was, most of the time to be honest.

I hardly ever get the bright and sharp prints I see with others
but, I'm still going strong and trying again.

The picture of my Sanguisorba gave Connie the idea
that I might give it a go with thát one.
I also took some flowers of the red Persicaria (syn. Polygonum)
and the little yellow ones, fallen of the Verbascum
and some green leaves.

I had some silk, with chiffon on top,
and some strips of the etamine (wool) and cotton scrim
I used at Pam's workshop, which had not much colour on them.

In the front garden I found a lovely dark red Alcea (hollyhock)
that gave good colour at Pam's.
( the hollyhock was hidden and I hadn't noticed it,
while the bigger plant was all eaten by those nasty slugs or snails )

So, ready for the steam pot

They went in there for half an hour
and I let them cool down over night in a plastic bag.

This morning I hoped for the "aaaaah"- moment ......

... which I got !!!

( The green leaves didn't do anything at all !
The orange colour in the right bottom photo is from the first onion skin dye bath,
while the reddish swirls in the bottom piece in the same photo
are from sari silk threads
I got from generous Siets in the dye / felt workshop )

vrijdag 29 juli 2011


I made the felted strap for my blue bag today
It's drying now
and I'll sew it on probably tomorrow
so not much to show.

But in the garden one of my favourites has come back
and has come back beautifully.
The Sanguisorba officinalis was in a place
that wasn't quite right
( at least that's what I thought ! )
so I moved it two years ago to another spot
more in the background because it grows rather tall.
But ...
my Sanguisorba didn't like that place at all :
a few leaves
and that was it !
I was very sorry but didn't dare to re-place it once again.
Last year there was a new smal plant
just where the old one used to be.
This year it has restored itself
( almost ) in it's old glory !

a good one and a half metres high
and waving its dark red flower dots above the surrounding plants

with lots of insects visiting

I will leave it right there
in its own place !

donderdag 28 juli 2011

pots of gold

This day day started gray and clouded.
I had to feed our daughter's cats for a day
so went away in a dress, legging and a jacket.
Then I visited a friend and it was already getting really warm. 
I ate my late lunch in the garden
and had to change my clothes because it was hot in the sun.
At dinner time the sun was still shining brightly
but there was a distant rumbling of thunder
and heavy rain came pouring down !

You know they say there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow ?
Well ...

I think we definately were at the end of the rainbow
and in that pot of gold !!!

This afternoon I recieved a package with scraps I ordered
from Connie :
a little plastic bag ful of leftovers of her hand dyed fabric.
I layed them all out on the floor after ironing
( to see how big things are I have my own toes on the photo )

and a closer look

Don't you agree : another pot of gold !!!
Thanks Connie !

Me, with my new ultramarine felted "Dragon" waistband

... or ...

should I say "Dragon" collar

woensdag 27 juli 2011

a wand ... and a bag

Last Monday we had a birthday girl : 10
and one of her presents was
a wand !

She's quite mad about Harry and all of his books
( the last one is being read to her now, although she could easily read it herself )

The wand came in a box and was brought by owl
( ofcourse )

( Man, daughter and me went to see the last movie yesterday ....
I think we plan a marathon view someday : all eight movies in a row !!! )
Because the felted bag I use every day is getting a very weak spot,
which badly needs repair, I wanted to make a new bag.
The plan for a new one was there for quite some time already,
but as such things go  
I couldn't decide about the colour, the size, the model ....
( and my bag is getting worse every time I use it ! )

Finally I decided to use the "holy blue"
that is an ultramarine blue I bought at HAWAR's over a year ago
and it is an exact match for the colour
of my blue Cora Kemperman clothes ! 
That's why it was kept apart in our stash for such a long time :
"you can use blue, that's okay, but : not the "holy blue"  !"

So now it was the time for the holy blue, with some turquoise and purple for the inside.
The bag should be rather simple this time
but I wanted to add an inside pocket in the felt.
That's not a problem, I did that before, but I wanted it to be big,
almost like another compartment

So I made a template out of  IKEA plastic for the bag and some bubble wrap for the pocket
and I made some holes in the flap

All went quite well

I removed the rather sturdy template of the bag
ánd removed the pocket in one go !
I considered trying to felt it on again, but decided against it :
I'll sew in a pocket.


the bag is drying now with a lot of towels in it
and when the strap is finished and sewn on

I will be happy

While I was at it, I made a waistband too out of the "holy blue" 
After I finished felting, it was still way too big
I rather boldly put it in the washing machine 
( never did thát before ... ) 
on the wool washing program
and now it fits !

I think it's a kind of  "dragon" waistband

vrijdag 22 juli 2011

last stitches

Sun and clouds today,
enough sun to sit a bit in the garden
with the felted vest.
Time for a few stitches.
Accents only, to bring out the subtle prints
of plants and string that survived
the felting process

The orange that stands out a bit is from a package
of yummy silk things and bits I bought,
the silk embroidery thread
is what I used to tie up the dye bundles,
so it matches nicely.

I also had to think about making a closure.
I took a piece of a stick I found at Dorie's place
and made a nice pin!
( I hope it will last ... )

Okay !

And some stitches on the back ...
... finished.

donderdag 21 juli 2011

garden time

With the felted vest drying,
no sun, but a lovely temperature 
it was just the kind of day to work in the garden.

There was a lot of clipping, pruning and dead-heading to do
One part (in the back near the water) looked just like a little jungle :
I carried arms ful from there !

Ofcourse there were a lot of little visiters

and there was time enough to admire them.

And in the water ...

... the grooming grebe

ready again
for another dive !!!

woensdag 20 juli 2011

finally !

Just one week ago that I had my first day (of two)
of Pam's workshop at Dorie's place.
Dorie doesn't live close by
so I was very pleased that I could stay for two nights 
with my long-time friend Anita, and having time to chat too.
( her house is only a five-minute-drive away from Nes a/d Amstel,
so I didn't have to get up really early! )

It was so nice, gathering up with a bunch of creative women
and a lovely teacher in a place where there was
room enough to hold a big party !
Unfortunately the weather was very bad on both days
but inside there was fun !
I'm new to eco-dyeing so I didn't know exactly what plants to bring
but others had enough and would give me some
so there was no problem.

It was kind of magic !!!
but I must say my results could have been better ...
although on the silk they were fine

We all worked very hard and made a lot of bundles :
... a tent full of them !

The next day we had to decide what pattern to use
and to start stitching all the bits and pieces together :
that had to be finished by lunchtime ...
( .... nobody actually was .... )

After lunch some of us started felting.
And now I must confess : I was faaaaar too hasty
and didn't do a very good job.
That's why I wasn't very pleased with the
first fiiting session with Pam ...
... but she gave me a lot of good advice and on I went !

There was a dye pot ready for a final dye of the garment ...
but no one was ready for thát
so Dorie cut up some pieces of her own silk and needle felt
and made good use of it !!!

I must say that it took me some time after I got back home
to view the results of this workshop.
And, when I'm completely honest, I had hoped for a bit more colour
that I actually had got ...
( there wasn't very much "rainbow" there !!!) 
Btw, I got some lovely advice from Kaite, for the néxt dyeing session !
( Thanks Kaite !!! )

So after a LOT of hesitating and thinking
I finally finished the little vest today !
yeaaaaaah !

I roughed up the already half felted (!) parts with a woolcomb
( especially the edges that had to be folded over )
and put an extra layer ón or únder them
of the coloured needle felt I still had left.
... it worked quite well I'm glad to say !

Then I did some serious felting
( this time without haste ! )

and finally :

I could try it on !!!

( I don't have a tailor's dummy so I had to be the dummy myself,
wich was nót too nice because it was still quite damp
and although the sun was shining it was quite clammy and cold after a while ....
but now it's drying on the table ...! )

for being such a wonderful teacher !

donderdag 14 juli 2011

two lovely days

Pfffffffft ........

Workshops are great !
( but you can get very tired )

Tonight I came back from
a wonderful eco-dyeing and felting workshop
with a bunch of very lovely ladies.
( The weather was lousy those two days and I had
a bumpy ride home through the storm and rain :
boy, what a summer at the moment ! )

The Australian felt artist Pam de Groot
was giving this workshop at Dorie's place.
For Pam this is the last stop on her European tour :
she's flying home to her family next week
after another workshop this weekend.

It was my first true encounter with eco-dyeing but I must confess :
it takes a lot of practice to make something beautiful !!!

The fun was bundling up silk and fre-felt with all sorts of plants,
letting it simmer in a dye bath pot
and unrolling it again ....

Only :
mine weren't very spectacular at all !
I definately need to do a lot of reading about
plants, mordants and other stuff
and then trying again !

( Enough for now, the results I'll show later .... )

dinsdag 12 juli 2011

hi there ....

Hi there, I'm back again!

After some days away :
some biking along the river Maas,
a lot of reading,
a bit of knitting,
some drawing
and a lot of other
nice things

... the river Maas ...

... a thunderstorm ...

... a bit of nature ...

... and some house guests.


And today I'm off again
to my  Pam de Groot  workshop !!!