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Scrap Happy August

August 14, 2020

this was going to happen eventually – of course I would have to make masks

the pattern is one I found on the internet

after exploring several I settled on one from


I prefer a fitted mask, the instructions and photos are excellent and it explains how to measure for a personal fit

the one pictured above was the first trial

made from a soft denim fabric saved from a friends old shirt

on the second one I lengthened the side measurement by 1/2 inch

the fabric is from my old yukata (cotton summer kimono)

I made bias tape to fit over the ears

to get the length right I pinned them and wore the mask around the house and made  adjustments until the fit was snug but comfortable

 I found that a nose wire was necessary with glasses – I used jeweller’s silver wire that someone gave me years ago

the first mask was lined with the yukata fabric, I liked it so much I used it for the main fabric on the second one

the second lining is from my old shirt that I used for stitching hexies

of course I couldn’t stop without doing some stitching

and now shibori dyeing for a third

the end of a closely woven cotton the I had stenciled and dyed with woad several years ago

the medium weight, tightly woven fabric was difficult to gather up tightly

and I needed pliers to pull out the threads

the pattern is different on this cloth, too

it is still damp so will be lighter when dry but could have done with a couple more dips in the indigo

it is the nature of shibori that you can’t go back and add more dye or change the pattern

now to find something really wild for the lining

my neighbour left these sunflowers on the doorstep this morning

a bright, thoughtful way to start the day – thanks Jeanine

here are the links to other happy scrappers

Kate Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean (me),
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin and Vera

marking time

August 10, 2020

during these strange, stressful times I have become acutely aware of how fluid the passing of time can be

as the days rush by, at times, it seems like an hour takes forever

and I try to fill those hours with something meaningful

another hexie – another week

24 weeks – 168 days – 4,032 hours

marked by the change of seasons

outside the window the mountain ash is loaded with berries

when I was a young bride, in England

the wise old farmer I bought my veggies from told me

when the berries are plentiful in the hedgerows (and the rooks are nesting high)

it’s going to be a hard winter

the final four book pages are finished front page – with the book title stitched in the center of the hexie

and last page – hexies from all the scraps

Japanese shibori patterns each have a descriptive name

extensive patterns of small dots are kanoko (fawn spots) shibori

these are my very crude spots – I need to practice shown with a silk haori (kimono jacket) I bought in Kyoto 30 years ago

the haori spots are square and known as square ring dots (yokobiki kanoko)

there are several different variations of dots each with their own name

skilled artists use a tying stand with a fine hook on the end (yokobiki dai)

picture from “Shibori”  by Yoshiko Wada, Mary Kellogg Rice and Jane Barton

still the best book on the subject

this pattern, that looks so faded and worn

was created by stitching, gathering and capping the white squares

I used a double layer of plastic wrap, tied tightly over the gathered square, to resist each white area

the stitching and wraps were so close together the indigo didn’t completely reach into the dyed squares

lessons learned

and now I off to wind a warp for woven shibori

summer colours

August 5, 2020

my lazy, crazy days of a pandemic summer

can’t really seem to get interested in much of anything

what are you doing to keep busy and sane?

  after logwood dyeing silk hankies I kept the strong dyebath

and dyed (from the right) handspun silk, wool and cotton

 alum mordant with tannin and alum on the cotton

my natural dye challenge for August

for once the camera captured the colours perfectly

the grey cotton had an iron modifier added

I was hoping for black but as iron is very harsh on fibres I stopped at grey

colours are similar to the one hibiscus flower the deer missed

I’ve been blending the silk hankies on hand carders

and spinning a fine 2 ply

another 4 pages for the shibori sample book are finished

stitching patterns in one long piece but wanting separate pages is challenging sometimes

after dyeing – with six dips in the indigo

it can take several hours to remove all the gathering threads – without cutting the cloth!

the little hexie “quilt” is finished

I used an indigo dyed damask napkin for the backing

the fleur-de-lis show up nicely

and a label with the title “Forget-me-not”

the nandina (heavenly bamboo) flowers are blooming profusely in the heat

but I’ve never had the red berries that it is known for

daughter-in-law gave me some giant tree lilies

planted in a big pot of compost this volunteer  – zucchini?? – is taking over

now back to the dye pots


weaving generations

July 31, 2020

another month – and I wonder what happened in those 31 precious days?

daughter-in-law’s birthday today – one of those significant ones

granddaughter Carrie is weaving in the studio

she learned at an early age – here she is at 7 years old

and again at 11 years- demonstrating at Fibrations

and now at 19

it is good to start them when they are young

her great grandmother was a weaver – Betty Kinnis -president of the Victoria Handweaver’s Guild in 1952

here she is visiting the studio in 2013 – four generations – only three are weavers

she would be so proud of her great granddaughter

Happy Birthday Kathy

all it takes is time

July 22, 2020

more silk hankies

some of the yellow went into the indigo vat

two dips and then there was green

it seems that the yellow yarrow is a good base colour to get a true green

logwood gives a dark, royal purple

starting another sample book – this time shibori

using more of the lovely linen fabric

the indigo vat has responded to our hot weather – it is outside – and needs to be put to work

four pages – six dips

simple stitches as I hope to use this as a teaching tool when the time is right

I could do an entire book with this text

poetry in stitches

bright and beautiful

July 16, 2020

when I started my monthly natural dyes this year I had a plan  – but typically it has changed

last month lac and cochineal gave strong reds

this month – madder – a traditional dye used for centuries and grown around the world

found in numerous species of Rubiaceae and particularly rich in red colorants

it is the roots that are used

  I have a small patch growing but it needs to grow for at least 3 years before harvesting

it gives many different shades depending on the dye process

 if the temperature exceeds 65C/150F degrees the colour quickly becomes brown

here I have used a finely ground root from Maiwa

it was solar dyed for one week – with not many sunny days – so I put it on a low heat for one hour

from the bottom – cotton, silk, wool and wool felt- all on some silk hankies

more hankiesthe yellow was solar dyed with yellow yarrow

the brown dyed with young walnut bark stripped off the new growth

solar dyed for 2 weeks and then simmered for one hour

of course, some went into the indigo

I have a plan for the hankies


Scrap Happy July

July 14, 2020

Kate’s parcel of scraps arrived  and I couldn’t wait to get started

I was hoping to have this finished

but – well, you all know!

hexies are cut ready to stitch the right border

the dark, plain fabric was an odd shaped piece of cotton that I used to test the new summer indigo vat

and the vat is so strong I got dark blue with only 3 dips – yeah!

never having stitched hexies before I had to experiment before finding a way to finish the edges

the final 4 blue rows are Kate’s contribution

they worked perfectly – thank you Kate

hopefully I will have moved on by next month

oops! I forgot to add the list of other happy scrappers

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). If you’ve copied this list from previous posts, please use the one below as it’s the most up to date.

KateGun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean (me),
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin and Vera

time passes

July 12, 2020

too many projects on the go – it is a relief to near the finish line

wedge weave, fringeless tapestry – it still needs a title

started in April – woven with handspun wool and silk, all natural dyes

it measures  9″ x  11″

getting a little larger each time but now it is off the loom it looks so small

it is my way of working through our present circumstances

Spring flowers, walks in the park and always remaining separate

seemingly endless – reaching up to a stormy sky

(if you click on the picture you can see the flash of lightening)

and of course, there are all the loose ends to tidy up

the Romney wool was a pleasure to spin, finger teased open and spun on a Turkish spindle

plyed on a wheel and a test dip in the indigo – now the finished skeins can go in the vat as well

purple hollyhocks are blooming, they dye a pale mauve/grey, I’m freezing them as the blooms drop

the pink ones don’t give much colour

as they self seed the purple revert back to pink – (I never planted pinks ones) – nature is such a mystery

the yellow yarrow will dye a bright yellow

you can just see the pink yarrow peaking through in the front, it doesn’t give much colour either

I’m going to warp a table loom for granddaughter and ordered silk from Sanjo Silk

and some silk hankies to spin, they have been mordanted in alum and are ready for the dye pot

included was a little present of cricula cocoons

with the message “something to tickle your creativity while you’re isolating…”

they shine like gold in the sun

what to do first?

wind the warp or some dips in the indigo?

all the while thinking about the next tapestry

framed! – he jumped over the neighbor’s picket fence and headed my way

and I chased him down the street – in my pj’s


July 7, 2020

on the seventh day of the seventh month

the Japanese celebrate Tanabata

the meeting of two lovers, across the Milky Way, represented by the stars Vega and Altair

Vega was a weaver and patron of silk farming

in 1987, when I was a student at Kawashima Textile School in Kyoto we had a party

(click on the picture to enlarge)

the sensei (teachers) got a little bit drunk and the students had a great time

some/most? got a little tipsy too

we all wrote our wishes, for the year, on pieces of paper and hung them in the bamboo

for the wind to blow  them to the heavens

my roommates convinced me to wear a yukata

and then had to dress me!

 every year I hang my wishes in the bamboo – this year in the Japanese maple

and remember my roommate, Taeko-san (in the middle)

the fabric, origami cranes were made several years ago

and always fly outside on this day

Be Kind – Be Calm – Be Safe

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s mantra – we hear it every day

moving forward

July 2, 2020

back to the old normal

WordPress help desk replied in less than 24 hours

the fix and return to the Classic Editor was quick and easy when you know the trick

while I spent time talking to the flowers

the miniature rose is adding sunshine to a rather dull start to summer

often overlooked the hosta flowers are delicate, like fairy gowns

before the deer got in and ate them

fresh peas almost every night – until the deer torn the vines down

once again I’ve strengthened the fencing

so on to making good use of the indigo vat

several years ago I bought a large, unused, linen table cloth (52″ x 110″) at a charity shop

and had the brilliant idea to shibori stitch and dye it for a summer bedspread

well, you know what happens to some of those ideas

stitching was almost completed on 36 inches – I use extra strong upholstery thread

and then it ended up in the “to finish later” pile

last week, looking for fabric to dye

I finished the pattern, cut it off and tightly gathered up the shibori stitching

hard on the hands!

then dyed it in the super indigo vat – only 5 dips

carefully cutting/pulling out the threads took several hours

but it was worth it

not sure where this will go from here but it has given me some ideas

and look Kate, it even has a hexie!

finally Kate’s envelope from Australia arrived

with lots of beautiful “scraps” to add more hexies to the blue and white piece

thanks, Kate – maybe I’ll get some done for Scrap Happy July

better get to work…

p.s. – I should add, I only finished/dyed a 36″ x 54″ piece of the fabric so it is not the bedspread I started