Sunday, August 24, 2014

Log Cabin

After successfully making a dent in the pile of granny squares that I have crocheted (by sewing them together to make a baby blanket), I decided that I wanted to try my knitting hand at some bigger squares by using the pattern called Log Cabin.  I have been wanting to try this particular pattern for a long time because it's a great way to use up all those small balls of left over handspun yarn and it's all done in garter stitch and is a kind of "no brainer" knitting that can be done without a tremendous amount of concentration.  I have completed two squares so far and have started a third.  I really love these.  They are much bigger than my granny squares at 7.5" x 7.5" and will be less of a hassle to sew together.

Now I am off to the Sunday farmer's market.  Last week, I discovered a vendor there that has fresh squeezed pomegranate juice, tastes just like the freshly picked fruit.  I must have more!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Summer Workshop at Shakerag

I have had the pleasure of attending the Shakerag summer workshops in Sewanee, Tennessee, many times.  I have taken spinning and dyeing with local fiber artist Lynne Vogel, two workshops with wearable clothing artist Jean Cacicedo, a felting workshop with Scottish artist, Jeanette Sendler, and natural dyeing with Rebecca Burgess from Northern California.  This summer my friend, Margie, and I had a wonderful experience learning about Japanese boro cloth, shibori, stitching, clamp resist dyeing, Japanese tsunobukuro carrying pouch, and indigo dyeing. Our amazing teacher was Yoshiko Wada, author and shibori artist, from Berkeley, CA.  

There were 17 in our workshop and each person brought their unique artistry and creativity to the class and their work.  It was remarkable how the work of each student was so different. 

Some samples of boro cloth from Yoshiko's collection.

One of our indigo dye pots. 

Here are pictures of the work some of the students in our class.  Where I can remember whose work it is, I will give their name.  (I apologize to my classmates when I can't remember who did some of the work in the pictures.)

A couple of my indigo dyed pieces - clamp resist

Tsunobukuro carrying bags

Patricia's meticulously stitched quilt which she bravely plunged
 into the indigo pot with miraculous results

Lovely indigo dyed pieces

My hand stitched vest - work in progress

Appliques of eco printed handmade felt

Pamela's indigo dyed silk pieces and her work stitching pieces from
 a quilt made by her grandmother 

Margie's handstitched boro cloth, indigo dyed yarn and clamp resist pieces

 Jody's fabric book - hand stitched on linen embellished with pieces of 
cloth from old book covers

More lovely indigo dyed pieces

 Chris' eco printed pieces, one over dyed with indigo

Judilee's display of yarns and embellishments on a leaf

Dakota's work -- including a handwoven ethnic bag deconstructed

Claire's quilt -- a work in progress -- started in our natural dye class
with Rebecca Burgess in 2013

I believe this is Judilee's work

Melanie's indigo dyed shibori piece

I think this is Ilse's work

More pictures, but I'm not sure whose it is. Very nice.

What a wonderfully creative time we had at Shakerag this summer. How can you not love it when -- for a week --  you are tucked away in a creative environment, fed the most delicious meals, free to work into the night, take walks, swim in the "Res", have an opportunity to make new friends and see and commune with old friends.  I'm hooked and already looking forward to my summer camp at Shakerag in June 2015.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Checking in . . .

It seems like every time I post on this blog, I have to begin with an apology for having been absent for so long.  But, stuff happens and I guess keeping up with a blog ends up way, way down on the to-do list.  Absence, however, does not mean that I have been unproductive. I have traveled a bit this summer, having taken a wonderful week long workshop at Shakerag in Sewanee, Tennessee, with the most amazing Yoshiko Wada, shibori artist from Berkeley. My friend, Margie, traveled with me to Shakerag and we learned boro cloth, stitching, and how to do indigo the right way.  Prior to our workshop, we spent some time roaming around, ending up in Asheville, NC, for a couple of days. After a week at Shakerag, everyone ends up with sensory overload and with ideas swimming around in your head and upon arriving home, both Margie and I promptly got our personal indigo pots going.  

This is a piece of fabric that I over dyed in the Shakerag indigo pot.  I had earlier eco printed the fabric using eucalyptus leaves and marigolds and coreopsis from my backyard. I used a clamp resist so that the indigo didn't reach the clamped areas.

Once I got home and started my own indigo dyepot, I experimented with a clamp resist on some silk.

One of my projects at Shakerag involved using fabrics I brought from home that I had tea dyed and eco printed.  The vest that I started stitching on at Shakerag is still a work in progress but it seems to have morphed into a duster.

The Spring and Summer have been a time for further exploration of felting, something that I love to do -- creating fabric from raw fibers using my hands.  I have only scratched the surface of all the ideas I want to try, but I have had some real successes.

I have been working on a vest using newly felted pieces and adding some eco printed felt I made last summer. After piecing the vest, I began adding embellishments and handstitching, both on the front and back.  

And I have been working on felted scarves and shawls, hand knits and handspun yarn for my booth at Artistic License, which is right around the corner on Friday and Saturday, October 24th and 25th.  I plan on having a very colorful display.

And yesterday, after mulling it over for too many months to count, I pulled out one of my many piles of granny squares and forced myself to sit down and sew a bunch of them together.  I am sure that many of my friends who get that granny square obsession with their handspun yarn can completely relate to the enormously daunting task of stitching squares together. And I can report, Yay!!! I have a beautifully finished baby blanket today.  

No promises -- because I am way too distracted with fibery things -- but I am going to try to pull together all the pictures from our Shakerag workshop with Yoshiko Wada so that you can see just what a fabulous time is had at Shakerag.  Margie and I had already signed up for next year before this year's workshop was over.