Posts Tagged ‘hand dye’

Barking up the Right Tree: Making Tree Bark

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

 

747 all time is spiral in a garden

There’s a reason to hug trees. The texture of tree bark is an incredible experience. Here’s a great way to recreate that texture using an applique technique and some simple machine couching.

applique scissorsI started with a special pair of scissors. Applique scissors have a special bend that makes it possible to cut straight to the edge of your stitching.  I free motion stitched two layers of brown hand dyed cotton. .I stitched my tree shapand stitched inside the  bark in chevrons. Then I cut into those chevrons  through the top layer through the channel. Then I clipped through the edges  up and down the stitching

 

 

tree bark stitched and cut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

restitched slashing Once the top surface has been slashed, I go back with my darning foot and irregularly  fold back and stitch the edges to make them textural.restitched slashing 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the bark is formed there are all kinds of chanels through the surface.

couching yarnscouching footI took all kind  of yummy heavy yarnd  and couched them in place using my couching foot.The couching foot has a special thread escape for larger yarns and cords.

 

 

 

 

couching

 

With the feed dogs up, couch the yarn through the chanels of raw bark. 

I love to use this trick when I’m working with wood or trees and I want something more than just brown hand dye.

Nifty Notions and Ginger both make applique scissors. Sadly I don’t know of someone who makes them for left handed people. 

 

 

747 all time is spiral in a garden detail672 Willow detail3

885 turtle in the lady slippers

Aging Fabric: A Time Honored Art

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

So many of us have astonishing stashes. My favorite stash story is about a woman who’s husband just built her a sewing room . He said” I bet you have as much as $100 worth of fabric.” God bless the ignorant. And long live her stash.

So we keep fabric we haven’t used. Sometimes for quite some while. I have a 20 year old piece of black wool myself. I just felted it.   I just got a felting machine this year. And I’m delighted I still have it.

So it was with equal delight I saw that Tina Rathbone had blogged on a piece of fabric she dug out that we shopped for over 10 years ago. Tina is a California lunatic who quilts brilliantly, water colors beautifully, and bird watches obsessionally.  

Her discussion of how she makes a pattern work for her in her blog Pattern Abuse is brilliant. And what she came up with for her garment is gorgeous.

It couldn’t have happened if she hadn’t aged her fabric. 

I think the things we love change much more slowly than the technology and abilities that come and go through the sewing world. If you love big bugs and fish, it’s unlikely (and I know this from experience) to completely go away unless you’ve had a truly unfortunate vacation experience. 

The other truth is that fabric is ephemeral. You often really only see it once. Some companies reproduce the same designs over and over. But it’s not the normal practice. Often you have just one chance to buy that silly thing. I still am grieving the robots over Manhattan fabric I gave to someone. I’ve never seen it since and it was fabulous!  

Of course we all cull fabric.There’s never room enough and time. And it’s a great thing to give someone a stack of new possibilities. Although I had one dear friend who would announce the fabric she was bringing over to me with the word, “Incoming!” And it was sort of like that. Fabric Explosion!

Hand dye is especially that way. It only happens once. I tell people if they’re in love they’d best just consummate the relationship because it won’t happen twice.

So age your fabric well. If you love it, you’ll still love it. Toss what you don’t. Keep what you adore. And wait for the moment where it’s right.

You’ll find Tina’s delightful process on pattern making on her blog at Artelicious.blogspot.com

You’ll find amazing fabric everywhere. But most especially, in your stash! It’s material wealth!

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