Thursday, May 12, 2022

Shibori Natural Dyed Silk Potpourri Bags

Project Dates: April, 2022

Quick little project that spans six years.  I can't believe it's been six years since Dave and I travelled to Milwaukee, WI to attend 2016 HGA Convergence.  These bags were made from the naturally silk Shibori scarves I made during a seminar.  They were dyed with Cochineal, Indigo, and something for the yellow/gold, which is escaping me at the moment.


The bags were filled with natural moth repellant that included sage, lavender, cedar, peppermint, and clove, and tied with navy and burgundy cotton ribbons purchased from Etsy.

Great use of that dyed scarf fabric!


  As part of our experience we went to the Milwaukee Art Museum which is an incredible building.  The wings actually open and close daily to manage the sun.  Vey cool!

Monday, March 7, 2022

Copper Arm Rests

 Project Dates: 1/26/2022 - 3/6/2022


Morning tradition is coffee, now tea for me, and knitting or some other fiber project also only for me, and conversation with my spouse.  Our spot is a couple of orange faux leather recliner chairs that we purchased some years ago.  We noticed recently that the arms are beginning to wear.  The solution, a fiber project, or in this case, a quilted sewing project!


Seems like it took much longer than it did.  This project was a bit laborious.  But, we are done!  Born from a functional need and a desire to make things last, the arm rests look nice.  Despite using metallic copper thread, the quilting is understated. The photo color makes the arm rests fabric differ slightly from the chairs, but in reality, they are a near match.

The design morphed throughout the project.  The original plan had a lot more quilting.  Once the foundation pieces were put together, sewing based to hold the backing and padding in place, I tested a stippling quilt pattern one of the arm end pieces.  It seemed like that would be overkill, plus the lines of the chair seemed to want something more subdued and linear.  So, I added a couple of lines across the middle in both directions of the main arm piece to stabilize the quilted pad.  That coupled with a little stippling on the ends makes a nice compliment to the modern lines of the chair.  

Quilting sixteen end pieces and eight thirty-inch long arm pieces took quite some time.  Though it was meditative, it was also a bit boring.  I did that in little spurts interspersed throughout my day to break it up and mixed in some mending to boot.

I was going to use a typical quilted binding edge across the entire bottom. But, funny story.  After the quilting was done, and I pieced the ends together, I looked for the remaining fabric to use.  I searched the house and basement one end to the other.  I could not find what I did with the remnants!  A couple of frustrating days later, my spouse inquired “ what the heck are you looking for?”  Upon mentioning I misplaced the remnants, he reminded me that I used up the remaining bolt, and there was no remnant.  OMG, gotta love the amount of time I’ve spent on this planet!


So, online I hunted.  My tendency is to over-engineer.  A wee voice said, why not just turn the hem?  It was a suing fit, and adding the bulk of the extra quilted binding might make them too tight.  Low and behold, that was perfect.  Edged stitched, turned and quilt stitched, and they fit perfectly with a little snugness.  Thank you for simplicity!


Voila, my little project born of necessity made a great distraction and respite before moving onto more involved and serious projects!

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Baby Yak Woven Scarf

 Project Dates: 2021 - 2022

This little project started with an innocent comment from my husband.  I would like something made out of baby yak which is supposed to be the softest fiber.  Well, you don’t have to ask me twice when it comes to a fiber project!  That innocent comment was made with enough time that I just might be able to find the product, purchase it, design and make something in time for the holiday! Or maybe his birthday!  Or, doesn’t matter, because it’s a fiber project for crying out loud!
So, onto the net I went in search of baby yak fiber.  Not many carry it.  But I found an outlet that not only supplies baby yak fiber, but supports them and their caretakers directly in Mongolia!  The Ula and Lia label started out as a peace corp. volunteer who went on to stay in Mongolia to create their fashion label as a way to stay and live in Mongolia.  Ula and Lia sustainably sell yak fiber products.

I don’t often do dull.  I did want however to stick to the fiber’s natural characteristics.  I chose a chocolate brown.  The fiber seemed soft enough, but not sure about the title “ softest ever.”    Well, I was committed, so onwards to design the scarf.  There’s a lot of details to consider.  It’s not just a rectangle of yarn.  Knit? Crochet?  Weave?  Definitely, weave.  So, still had to decide on a texture.  Didn’t’ want to do a simple vanilla balanced weave, so, I perused my library and online.  I decided on a satin four shaft pattern (well, I only have four shafts!).  I decided on a scarf size of 12” by 48”.  A cozy neck covering. 
I dragged up the big horizontal mill from the basement to measure the warp.  I tried different setts to sample the weft picks.  I was worried about how the end product would turn out.  On the loom it was really tight and felt the opposite of soft.  I know this is somewhat normal.  The fabric really doesn’t come into its own until after removing from the loom and finishing.  But, after weaving about five inches, I was not craze about the sett I had picked.  It felt very stiff and whatever soft it had left the building.  
Also, the pattern was setup on the loom so that when weaving I looked at the back side of the fabric.  Not my favorite thing to do.  But that gave me an idea,  I decided to change up the design.  The bulk of the center of the scar would be done at a very loose sett, and in between the beginning tight sett and the center field at a looser sett, I turned the design around.  I changed the tie-up so that I was facing the front for most of the work, and only a small one-inch border between the ends.  It meant I had to change the tie-up four times, but that was worth it.

I started weaving the center a with very loose sett and again I panicked about that choice. It looked like a very loose lace and I was worried it would be too see-through and not warm.  I chose to keep that sett, which was just about a thread width apart.  I was hoping that fulling the wool later on would make up the difference, make it not see-through, and would help to make it softer.
It didn’t take very long to complete the weaving.  Definitely in time for the holiday gift giving time!  I also added fringe.  Something I rarely do.  But I kept it short.  It was wet finished using a lot of agitation.  Checking periodically how full it was becoming by scratching underneath the fabric looking to when the fibers would not move.  At that point, I wrung it out in a towel, and put it in the drier.  Just for about ten minutes but checking after every couple.  I wanted it to full a lot.  It then got to lay out on the beach, or rather the top of the washer and dryer for a couple of days.
The end result was rewarding. Leaving the loose sett in the middle and wet finishing to full the fabric, delivered a really soft drape.  The ends were a tad heavier which helped the scarf to sit down in the front.  It is very warm.  And it is, as advertised, VERY soft.  It was a fun quick project to make for my beloved.