I have just updated my etsy shop with about 20 skeins of superwash sock yarn.
I returned recently from 6 weeks in Europe, primarily in Germany, where I improved my language skills at the Goethe Institute, but also a week in Switzerland. It was amazing, of course. Upon my return a week ago I dove into yarn-dyed and creating memorial envelopes for the local chapter of Newborns in Need. The primary goal of Newborns in Need is to provide a bag of supplies to parents of newborns who have absolutely nothing for their new baby. Usually these bags contain at least one handmade item, such as a knit hat, a crocheted blanked or a hand-sewn changing pad. A secondary goal of Newborns in Need is to provide items for parents of deceased infants, which is my special interest. Currently I am making multiples of the item shown below, an envelope that parents can use to keep birth and death certificates and other small items such as a hospital bracelet, photos, a lock of hair, etc. The primary materials I use for these envelopes come from donated wedding dresses. If you want to put your sewing, knitting or crocheting skills to good use, go to the website to find and then contact your local chapter.
We had one of those occasional sunny and hot (73 degrees!) days in Anchorage yesterday and I was sunprinting like mad. For the fabrics in the first three photos, I used my favorite blueprinting method: Dipping the fabric in a cyanotype chemical solution consisting of potassium ferricyanide and ferric ammonium citrate. I purchased the chemicals from www.blueprintsonfabric.com ten years ago. I mixed some solution (chemicals plus water) a month or two ago and keep it in the garage in an opaque plastic container, covered–for good measure–with a black garbage bag.
I included some different fabrics in yesterday’s dyefest. At the bottom center of the photo is linen (the two small ferns). On the lower left is wool–not a big success this time! Continuing around clockwise is silk velvet. To the right of the silk velvet is Kona cotton that was previously dyed green, yellow and turquoise. In the upper right–the four ferns–is a piece of silk.
You can see that I used a variety of items as masks this time: Lace, two types of mesh, paper clips, washers and a big metal grid.
The white fabric (here, Kona cotton, PFD) is yellowish right after it’s removed from the solution. I work in the garage–with the garage door closed–to prevent UV light from exposing the fabric until I am ready. You can see that I raided my husband’s workbench for supplies! Then I carried the fabric (on its “bed” of, here, foam core board covered with batting and then plastic) outdoors, left it in the sun for 20 minutes, brought it inside and rinsed it. Here is the result:
I had better luck this time with my Lumi Inkodye prints. I think I overexposed them previously. Now I need to figure out how to use the fabrics in quilting!
If you are an Alaskan, you probably know who Barbara Lavallee is. If not, click on her name to see some of her amazing artwork.
Ms. Lavallee made a presentation at the Anchorage Log Cabin Quilters Guild meeting last month. I had just heard about the guild and became a member the day of her wonderful presentation. Ms. Lavallee brought along several practice pieces to give away as doorprizes and I had first pick because my birthday–out of all the audience members–was the closest to that day’s date! Here is the prize, which I have had professionally framed–and am now just waiting to find the perfect spot on the wall for it.It is perfect for me, since I love bright colors, combining different colors and patterns, and of course I dye and knit yarn. Best of all, at that meeting I made new friends who share my interests in creating color and texture with fabric and fibers. I had been depressed about turning 60, but now I view that birthday (actually 2 days post-birthday) as a positive turning-point in my life.
On that same note, this morning I learned about Wishcraft from Lynn Bishop’s blog and I recommend this free e-book very highly. It’s all about recognizing what it is that you love to do, how you genuinely want to live your life and strategies for doing so. It’s much better than any self-help book I’ve read (including the wonderful Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin). Live the life you want–right now. At least, that’s what I’m doing.
I was dropping off yarn at The Quilted Raven (in downtown Anchorage) and bought these gorgeous fat quarters. Don’t ask me which ones I’ll use for what projects: I just selected the fabrics that spoke to me. I had only 40 minutes on my parking meter (and no more quarters) so wasn’t able to go totally nuts, which I was definitely tempted to do! The shop carries gorgeous yarns, wool embroidery supplies, buttons, kits, jewelry and probably lots more that I didn’t notice–along with their unique Alaskan fabrics, patterns and kits. Check out their online store if you’re not in Anchorage; just don’t confuse this awesome shop with another shop of the same name in Yellowknite, Northwest Territories.