Sunday, 25 September 2016

Peacock Mat

Two years after I started it, the Peacock mat, my Phase 4 Japanese Embroidery piece, is finished. For a large portion of the time this has been a background work in progress project and a fair chunk has been done while demonstrating at craft fairs.

A wide range of beads were used in this design. Seeing it come to life as each different colour was added, was very rewarding. The kit came only with a design sheet and a picture of the finished mat, so some judgement was needed when deciding which beads to put where. This means that every version of the design will be slightly different and personal to the embroiderer who worked on it.

If I was making it up into a mat I would need to add tassels on the corner but I think I will probably get it framed.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Shibori Silk Style

When I go to the Houston Quilt Festival I meet up with my sewing friend, Steph, who now lives in New Zealand. We get to spend a whole week together doing the things we enjoy without dragging bored families behind us. Our last visit to Houston Quilt Festival was in 2014 and as usual the workshops played a big role. The first workshop of the week was a 2 day class called Shibori Silk Style. The first day was spent shibori dyeing with  Glennis Dolce, and the second day was spent sewing together a jacket using our dyed fabrics with Katrina Walker. When we arrived at the class we each had a package of beautiful kimonos all ready for us to dye. As soon as I saw this package, I knew it was going to be a fun day.

We used different techniques on each piece of silk. This piece of silk chiffon was wrapped around a pipe with string and gathered up. The result reminds me of a Doctor Who monster.

This silk damask was already interesting, so it was simply dyed, bringing out the detail of the embossed design.

I can't remember what this fabric was but I think I scrunched in a ball and let it float around in the dye bath.

This was my favourite piece. The long strips of silk were folded concertina style and clamped between 2 perspex circles. Of course there are names for the all the techniques. But I'm afraid I was too busy getting on and having a go to take notes.

The mandala on this piece of silk was created by circles of running stitch and tightening it up around a broom handle. This was to be the centerpiece on the back of the jacket.

The last piece of fabric was a simple piece of cotton. I think I just folded this and dipped the edges in the dye bath. I love the unexpected images that appear. I can see a dog's face on the right side of this fabric.

A washing line was setup in the corridor outside the classroom so we could peg out our strips to dry.  There were 2 large dye baths at the front of the class, one dark and one light. I chose to use the lighter bath for all my strips

 At the end of the first day, we found the indigo dye was coming off on our hands so we did a rinsing session in our hotel room. We made sure we cleaned up after ourselves. I won't say which hotel it was in because we'd quite like to stay there again some time.

Here's the full set of dyed fabric ready for the second day of the workshop, sewing up the jacket with Katrina. Dressmaking is something I'd like to do more of but I haven't really got to grips with it yet. Fortunately the design for the jacket was fairly simple. French seams were used to construct the back and front pieces. Katrina then helped us all fit the jackets at our shoulders. After that it was just a matter of sewing up the shoulder and side seams. The silk chiffon strip should have ended up as a scarf but I wasn't able to finish the edges without damaging the fabric. Perhaps I should have taken better notes.

Steph and I are heading back to Houston this year. The hotel, flights and workshops are all booked. All we need to do now is organise the workshop supplies.