Color riot

I have been noticing these days that my use of color is all over the map.  I am not consistent: I move from reds to blues to oranges to greens as if I were changing moods at a whim. Maybe I am.  So this scarf just fits: it a color riot!

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How I do it- Solar Dyeing with Summer Heat!

Wonderful ideas by Jazz turtle on how to solar dye
Get some mason jars, dye, mordants, and in sunny Southern California, just go outside. Awesome!

Jazzturtle Creations

There are some hot Summer days ahead!  The best way to use the heat is for Solar Dyeing!    When the temp’s are predicted to hit over 90 degrees dyeing becomes easy as setting jars outside in the sun!

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Dreaming of the beach

Spending a weekend at the beach just
activates all those beach memories: the summer I lived in Santa Monica and rode my bike along PCH to work everyday at Champagne Towers, the breakfasts at The Cottage in Laguna shared with friends, fires on the beach on Lido Island in Newport when such

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Capistrano Beach Saori scarf

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things were possible, watching grunion runs in North San Diego County under stars and the night sky.

For anyone who has experienced Southern California beaches, the glow, glamour, and gorgeousness are not just a daytime thing: more like a 24 hour carousel of moods, shadows and glare.
Trying to capture impressions is near impossible. But we try…

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Here are shots of how my weekend at Capistrano Beach inspired me.  All Saori on my loom back in the desert…

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Back home in the desert where suddenly aloe are blooming and another kind of beauty reigns.

What to do with Art Yarn?

Some days you just don’t know what to do with those art yarns. Some have several strands plied together; other are so bulky that it is hard to use them in cloth. They throw off the balance of the piece.

Look at Stephanie Gorin’s hard core yarns in her Loop shop, they tantalize the senses. But weave with them? Knit, yes.Crochet, yes. But weave?

So I am setting my challenge for the summer and fall on how to use extreme bulky art yarns.

Check out what I have done so far with art yarn from yarn girl and Carrie Pugh: both sell on Etsy.

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Art yarn by yarn hirl

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I wove  Saori style on my Saori loom in a very loose weave using a comb reed.  The bulk of the art yarn is at the end ; most of the scarf is woven with cotton from Valley Yarns and recycled sari- silk from Nicole’s  Darn Good Yarn. Easy peasey.
Enjoy!

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Close up.

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Art yarns from yarn girl below.

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Making cowls and scarflettes!

How can I push the envelope with my weaving?  I started with small scarves: scarflettes. Why? Because I wanted to experiment with smaller pieces. Small is good: it lets you change color, style, textures. It lets you experiment with closures. And just figure out what works.

Basically I created a response to a tourist from the Bay Area at the Desert Art Center Art Fair last December. The woman loved the felted scarflette and suggested that others would appreciate having just something small to tuck under jackets, sweaters, and coats.  A pop of color holding its own against the cold.

So here are my experiments!

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They are all on sale in my Etsy store:pullo

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Weaving bits into necklaces and bracelets: how to finish

Having fun these days with my Saori loom. Pulled out my stash of kimono bits, art yarns, vintage buttons, colorful anything and everything and just started weaving.
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Above are some bracelets.

First I started tying off the bracelets but didn’t like the effect. Then I finished by using my leclerc twister.
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and twisted the ends. Then with a crochet hook, I pulled the twisted ends through a large bead– did this with both ends–to create an adjustable bracelet. Certainly better as you can see.
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I like this technique of finishing off the bracelet. It looks more professional and it accommodates different size wrists.

But I also like–and perhaps prefer–hook and eye fasteners.

Some brass
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Others done with sewing notions
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Or covered hooks and eyes
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I tried loops with buttons as well.
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And jewelry clasps
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But I guess my favorite fasteners are the covered hooks and eyes by Dritz. I found them in black, white, and brown.
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They seem to work the best if you know the wrist size.  Unfortunately, they are not cheap: about $3 for 2 sets, but they offer a finished look. They are easy to sew on and they fit the style of these handwoven Saori bracelets. So these fasteners are a hit in my book!

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I used the same fasteners for necklaces but may re-evaluate.

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I will see how the necklace wears. And that is the way things go: experimenting by trying new things out, figuring out what matters ( adjustable or not; cost; the look, the ease of sewing, etc), and then making the decision. Or not.

Because in the world of OOAK ( one of a kind), each item has its own “best” way calling out to me.

And so it goes…

Felting vessels

How does one make seamless felted vessels? 

Yesterday I took a class at New England Felting Supply with Carolyn Tebbets. It was a great intro into felting vessels and the beginning of 3 dimensional objects.

Working with a resist, we felted 6 layers of wool ( 3 on each side) and massaged our objects into shape. What a wonderful day having fun and making friends.

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Above are our class projects. Below is the packet I am massaging into my vase.

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And here are the finished projects!

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A new direction to explore in the highly addictive, fabulously fun world of felting!

What did I do this summer vacation?

As any student and teacher knows, each fall offers a chance to review what one did over the summer months. What adventures came my way?  How did I use those days to further my craft? What did I do exactly?

Normally I can’t explain what I did. Days flow into other days; books read pile up on the floor or are pushed onto book shelves with too many other books.  I count how many days I went swimming or how many friends I saw for lunch. . .

But these days, no longer a teacher, I get to think over my work.  So this is a kind of retrospective out loud–a kind of retelling what I did do– to the blogosphere. How did I grow? What did I learn? Where am I going from here?

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The above picture shows most of the most I did this summer minus a few key pieces.

One piece–Back to the Garden– is in the member’s exhibit at the Riverside Art Museum.

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That piece is my favorite because I worked at it with a variety of fiber skills: neeflefelting, nunofelting the flowers beforehand, embellishing with beads and embroidery. I went outside my comfort zone. It is also felted rather than nunofelted. It is light but sturdy and has a beautiful backside. See?

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What I learned from that work motivated me to try capturing images in felt.

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I loved the colors here and the way the felt moved the figures to make them dance.

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I knew that my work was changing when I started grabbing colors and different textures and testing them out in Summer Garden. With bits of silk, wool,  sari silk, handspun, locks, and-dyed cheesecloth, beads–a fiber artist’s palette– all placed on the table with just the concept in mind, I created my garden.

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I turned the scarf into a vest with felted in loops and vintage buttons and a practical garment was born. This vest was bought by a fb follower just hours after posting!

From there I experimented with art batts from Louise Player of Spincity UK who mixes together wonderful fibers into beautiful batts. Felters, check out her Etsy site!

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This came from one of Louise’s batts.

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This is another I called “Dark Night” that I turned into a vest with a horn button. It is nunofelted.

As I became more confident,  I just started playing with other wool fiber such as coldswold.

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Cotswold is rare in the US and possesses a beautiful curley texture. It is heavier than merino so it is better suited for colder climates but the texture is lovely– youthful, cozy. I love the feel of it.

I dyed my own cheesecloth for nunofelting to deepen the color and lighten the garment. It captures the wool in a supple way.

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I have experimented in other ways: some that didn’t work such as the tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright’s geometric design that just wouldn’t cooperate.

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This is the unfelted version. The felted version?  Better left unseen.  But mistakes and other oddities happen as one expands into the unknown.

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This is such an oddity. I tried a different shape. I may have rescued it with embellishment but we will see.

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Also the court is out on the two faced scarf made with the base of a prefelt.  I am not sure I like prefelts. The lime colored one is my first. We will see.

So, what did I do for summer vacation?
A lot of exploring, trying to capture images and dreams, learning to work with different fibers—and just having a lot of fun doing it!  Thank you as a reader for indulging me as I write myself into understanding what I learned.http://www.facebook.com/pullofthemoondesigns

The Mad Dye-r: Bengala Dye Redux

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Today I wanted to dye cheesecloth for my felting projects. So I decided to try the Bengala dyes from Loop of the Loom in NYC.  This time I purchased the fixer as the dye was very subtle last time.

For those of you who follow such things, Bengala dyes have been around a long time– think the caves of Lascaux.  These dyes are basically mud dyes or iron oxide and easy to use as they are eco-friendly. You can pour leftover dye into the earth ( or save it for another dye bath).

But once I had put all the cotton gauze and cheesecloth in the fixer bath, I decided to dye an old linen jacket from Blue Fish. It had stains but it is sacriligeous to get rid of Blue Fish so what to do?  I had read about turmeric in reading about natural dyes so I thought why not.

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So into the dye pot — 5 tbl. Turmeric and some 2 tbs. of New Mexican red chile.  Fifteen minutes to create the dye once the water has been heated and spices added. Then one hour to soak the garment. Then out to the yard for a rinse.

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Once rinsed off, the dyed cheesecloth dried off in the tree.

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And the details if the jacket came out just fine.

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I added 3 tbs. of apple cider vinegar as a fixative while the cloth was resting in the dye bath. I don’t know if that will work  to keep the dye from bleeding but we will see.  Some dyes will crock or stain when worn.  I am not sure if turmeric will crock  but we will see.

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Bengals dyes from Loop of the Loom

Meanwhile, lest you think I forgot about the Bengala dyes, I did not.  I used the fixer bath before dyeing this time.  This time I also focused on the dyeing and not on various shapes in the dyed cloth.  Once out of the fix bath, I rinsed
the cloth and then put it in the washing machine to spin it dry as suggested.

It was then ready for the dye bath: I chose two– akane ( reddish) and a grey color called Fukagawa.  I washed the akane into the gauze and cheesecloth. Then left it to dry on the spa.

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I also tried a bit of shibori dyeing with clamps and folding for patterns. 

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The clamps on the grey cloth material.

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And on the reddish cotton muslin.

Lots of sun will help fix the color of Bengala dyes, so there is nothing now to do but wait…

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To be continued….