Samara coming sooner-ish

The colours of naturally dyed velvet lately are starting to show on Samara, apt because while she represents Autumn in all its glory, these colours too are part of harvests and landscapes. (Click on her for a close-up.)

I’m fondling these as well, with ideas percolating. Velvet is a bit tricky, requiring more patience to stitch, but simple shapes and manipulation techniques might work. Maybe a sister to Samara? (As long as she doesn’t take coming up 3+ years to create….)

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Samara mock up, oh bugger

“Autumn after all is not just a time of endings, but of rich harvests and warm gatherings.” October 2017

So, now she is all colour, not rust and neutrals.

BUT. OH-OH. *NOW* we think of stay-stitching ALL edges????? Lesson apparently not learned well enough very long ago: bias stretches. Bias stretches a LOT. A LOT of LOT. Especially when it gets washed, dyed, washed, overdyed and hung to dry……

There’s a hell of a lot more space between edges now than i had envisioned. (This is a loose pin job, but even if i wonked her in there “correctly”, there’s still more space than originally “planned”……..) Shrug. More embroidery to add. (Oh darn.) I’ll also have to slightly, daintily, delicately manipulate by slight dainty delicate gathering to fit sides together, especially at the leg area.

However, we are happy to be working with each other again.

 

 

 

 

Samara, Samara, will you ever be?

I don’t know WHAT it is about this piece that keeps stalling work. I LOVE the idea, the form, the work so far (with a few minor colour quibbles), but she’s been pinned to the design wall again for 6 months with no more stitching done.

She started like this, created during my ACAD residency in 2016:

In August of 2017, she had this much (little!) work done on her:

Rolled up and stuffed away, until i got ruthless in October of 2018 and cut her into pieces:

She got this treatment also in October of 2018: body dyed in osage, wings in madder (the iron on this really purpled it!), and the background tossed in a weak indigo vat. (The iron of course affected the osage as well, browning it, which is okay because a bright yellow body would be NFWay πŸ™‚ )

In November, i start stitching the wings and the thread colours really livened up that dark purple:

And the finished wing (mocked in crudely) had ZING when backed with some of my naturally dyed silk velvet:

Like this:

The second wing was done in November also, but is STILL not attached to the velvet backing. SIGH.

But, looking at her last week, the background still seems both dark and weak at the same time. So, i got brave again–because it took some teeth gritting and hoofie crossing when i cut her into pieces the first time—pulled the background off its stabilizer, mordanted the cotton with tannin and alum because even though gawdz knows there’s already a lot of iron on it, cellulose fibres do better taking up dye with these premordants, and threw it in a fresh pot of the 34 year old madder.

And so:

Wow, the hexes shrank.

This has been scoured, rusted, washed, dyed, washed, mordanted, and overdyed again, so why now? Ah well, just means more beautiful fabrics behind the hexes, peeking out.

And of course, part of me is incredulous that all the rust and cream coloured fabric is now “gone”, but that’s how it goes. Because you know what? She has a sister! (I did TWO pieces like this during the 2016 session.)

I’m thinking too, her body is much like a husk at the moment, but husks hide secrets that are revealed through peeling away layers. Things escape husks as well, corn silk, seeds, errant old petals. We’ll go with that and see how she evolves there:

(Something else i realized too: if and when she is ever finished, this will be the first big piece i have done with all natural dyes, from fabric to threads.)

Bets on when she actually soars?

OOOOyeah, and shop update

After auditioning fabrics for the areas behind the wings, i was inspired enough to finish the second one in two days. Admittedly smaller, but the idea of the velvet really got me going! The first one is finished and attached to its backing.

OMG i love this.

Because the velvet itself is so tactile, and the colouring from the osage and quebracho rojo so gorgeous, i decided to keep the stitch there as simple as possible. No point in hiding all that beauty! This velvet, though lush as silk velvet is, was easy enough to do without having to lay any stabilizer to stitch over, but the stitches still had to be solid enough not to sink in, so i stuck to a whipped backstitch–i love the line effect of this on any fabric.

And Borgles. Gotta have Borgles, one of the FrankenStitch mainstays. Picking one out to redo though, and have to add one more small one.

Thought i’d share my results too with the Quebracho Rojo: obviously not a winner for saturation on cotton (cellulose), but it sure is on silk (protein)!Β  The description on the website is a bit confusing, i think: “Quebracho is suitable for dyeing cellulose fibers and also performs well on silks and wool, and yields a lovely pinkish peach to brown rose color.” It’s obvious that the silk is INCREDIBLE, and look at those distinctly explicitly PINK shades! Wasn’t impressed with the uptake on the wool (first photo left top), but perhaps it was the pomegranate it had been premordanted with…. However, some post modifying, and some overdyeing with osage did give me a wonderful range of colours.

Do i know what i’m doing with natural dyes? I do, confidently, correctly from first step to last.

And i am willing to share the current silk velvet bounty πŸ™‚ Small packs in the shop! You’ll LOVE Making with it, stitching on it, fondling it!

winging it

Because this is a large work, it’s a bit problematic sometimes to work AS a large piece: you have to shuffle around the whole thing, pinning it into folds so you can have access to the area you’re working on, making sure you don’t stitch one section to another, or to your pants, dragging cat and dog hair into the mix, and having room to manouevre it. On the other hand, cut up like this (because i wanted different effects with the natural dyes for each area), it flops around loosely, and the tension is hard to maintain.

This means both wings and the figure have to be finished, and then attached to the backing fabric they’re going on, and then *that* has to be attached to the rest of the floppy piece. I auditioned several fabrics to be the backing fabric, and because none are big enough for the whole area behind the wings and the figure–and i didn’t want all the sections that show to be the same anyways, i’ll have to do more stitching on those thin visible slices as well, to “blend” the joins. EDIT: i just realized i can back the wings and figure as one piece, work the “background” large area, THEN attach all the parts together.

I auditioned several fabrics: Indigo–WHOA, lovely but too bright–and i don’t have enough for both wings, even pieced behind where you can’t see the joins. It also wastes this indigo piece, as most of the patterning on it would be hidden. If i was going to use indigo then, i would have chosen a more solid dye job.

 

“Filler” cloth, deliberately designed for backgrounds orΒ  for “fussy cutting”. Nope. Motifs too small, too scattered, too much white.

Rust, maybe too “linear”, too “white”.

Velvets naturally dyed in the last week. Too much?

Nope, as in NOT “too much”, YES as in WOW. Admittedly since dyeing these velvets, i’ve been aching to use them, but honestly i do think this really warms up the whole piece.

Though this is very haphazardly pinned on my design wall, i can really see where she’s going now. Warmer coloured threads for the paler surround are now a possibility also.

It’s been worth the 2+ years to get her going!!!!!!