Sunday, January 31, 2016

My 1860 Prairie Dress and Oatland Harvest Festival

I am so lucky to have an amazing fiber guild in Savannah. My guild, the Fiber Guild of the Savannahs, has a wonderful relationship with Oatland Island Wildlife Center.   Oatland allows use of their facilities for meetings and a weaving room/studio, has an annual Cane Grinding and Harvest Festival at the end of November every year. The guild  has a table with items for sale in front of an old cabin, members bring their spinning wheels, and we demonstrate different fiber arts.  There are also some interactive textile activities for kids.

I decided to make myself a period prairie dress for this event.  I used Past Patterns 1860 Homestead Dress, supposedly based on a historical garment, and used some reproduction civil war era fabric. I found some vintage lace from my old sewing box and added a muslin apron. 

Underneath I am wearing a rope hoop skirt purchased from Heather at Treadle Treasures

Had a grand day...I got some very useful advice on getting my old spinning wheel going from Ruth

saw the wool wheel in use...

And I remembered the words to "Erie Canal" when I met this sweet mule who was part of the cane grinding operation. I have been reading Rinker Buck's "The Oregon Trail" in which Buck and his brother take on the Oregon Trail with a wagon and a mule team, so this meetup with a real mule was timely...

Here's the cane grinder

Friday, January 22, 2016

Christmas making, 2015

Here are some photos of things I created for Christmas gifts in 2015, a bit late.

One of my favorite yarns to work with is Mountain Colors' River Twist.  I originally spotted it some years ago at Knit, a yarn store in Charleston SC that no longer exists. I realized this year that it is really beautiful paired with another color

I started knitting an afghan inspired by Kaffe Fassett's poppies pattern.  I ordered more then realized that this would be YET another afghan that doesn't get used much (I also contemplated wall hanging).  So, that was scrubbed. About the same time I realized that I still knew how to knit a kid's pullover without a pattern. So the yarn turned into sweaters for neice and nephew

And then, there was a pair of these...  my friend C had worn out the heels on these handknit socks which were done by another friend. I purchased some leather slipper sock bottoms and sewed them on, after repairing the holes. I used some of the original yarn plus a strand of kidsilk haze. The repair is a success according to C!

And finally, I made myself a gift. I love the Knit Father Christmas pattern available from Interweave, and have done this in the past. This year I knit a Green Father Christmas!

I needlefelted his face and added an armature from floral wire, as I was inspired to do at SAFF. I love Sarafina's needlefelting videos and used this one to do his head and face

 His hands need to be replaced with needle felt ones, and  there are directions here:

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Needlefelting: Making Faces at SAFF 2015

There is something very almost empowering about making creatures with faces.  One has the opportunity to create a being with, simply by virtue of their expression...personality.

At SAFF (2015 that is) I was lucky to go to a workshop with Anne E. Magrath on "Magical Figures: Needle Felted Fairies, Mermaids and Witches." Anne is a fiberartist based in Asheville. 

I was excited to learn how to build a a figure using an armature, and to create a head and face.  We used floral wire for the armature, who knew? Here are some of Anne's figures, which she sells are some photos of the process of making mine

The next stage is scary

Anne suggested romney as making a good core wool. She suggested mixing herbs with the core batting for a pleasant aroma. Anne suggested as a source for supplies and a "face kit" with small amounts of what you need to do a face. 

I managed to break 3 or 4 needles and learned that it's important to hold it straight and not try to move wool with the tip of the needle.  We used a smaller 40 gauge needle for the face.

I dressed her in a dress that I had done for a cage doll (who is now cold) and a the very top of a failed top down shawl. I think she looks like an Irish gypsy or perhaps Baba Yaga. I do love her

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Indigo Dye Vat 2015...cheating with prereduced AGAIN

My guild had a special event planned this last autumn, an indigo dyeing day at Ossabaw Island with Donna Hardy of Sea Island Indigo.  An advantage of doing this is the ability to use fresh indigo leaves as harvest time. The event was in October but the first date was cancelled on account of rain.

I worked and worked to scour (wash, mostly with washing soda) my textiles and a bit of yarn to bring.

There was also a bit of pretending to do shibori resist dyeing going on

On the SECOND appointed day I gathered up some friends, gear, and camera, and we drove to the dock in the south part of Savannah for the boat to Ossabaw. Unhappily, the day was cool and looking (again) like rain.  The boat captain was not daunted by the weather and ready to go. Donna however was not happy...she had had a group the day before and the dye results were not good as the vats are sensitive to the cold.  So...cancelled again.

So there I was with a bunch of clean ready to dye textiles and no opportunity to dye for another year...but then I thought...I can cheat and have my own session at home, right?  

So off to Dharma Trading for a box of prereduced indigo dye kit.  Prereduced = cheating, but at this point I was not willing to wait another year!

 We tend to use the word "magic" in relation to indigo oxidization, but indeed it is really a chemical process when oxygen mixes with the indigo (molecules? gotta learn more about that...)

and here are some results

an exiting part of this dyevat was some yarn which I had dyed last year with goldenrod, now overdyed with indigo and which made a stunning mossy green!

If you want to try your hand at cheating with prereduced indigo yourself, join me in late February. The Fiber Guild of the Savannahs conducts it's "Taste of the Fiber Arts" workshops in January and February.  Here is a link to our Facebook page which includes a pdf download of the signup form.  Workshops are three hours in length and address other arts as well: knitting, using a drop spindle, weavine, saori,  and Dorset button making, to name a few.