Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Here's a sampling of a few bags I've made.

Felted, either knitted or crocheted.

This is my sock knitting bag. Perfect size for a pair of socks on the needles and another in waiting. See the little zipper around bottom...it's an old cd case. The case easily holds extra circs, markers, snips, and tape measure, and makes a nice flat bottom if I want to stand the bag upright. The body of the bag is worked in tunisian crochet using various colors of embroidery floss. The colors are FABULOUS, see extreme closeup.

And now for something a little different....
Started out as just a scrumble but began to scream fish to me. So here's a FF fish bag. Front is a fish, back is a coral reef. My daughter has taken it and it's now part of a mixed media design of hers.

Hmmmm so much to learn....wonder why the pics rotated in that manner.

Monday, September 18, 2006


Huh...I had no clue how few pictures of garments I have!! I really thought I had a fairly good record of most the garments I have made in last few years......I thought wrong. Well one of these days I'll get pics of what I have still hanging around here, and visit the places where some other items reside now. I did find these pics though: A front and back pic of a jacket made quiet a while ago. There are 18 different yarns in this garment and it was crocheted in one piece. OK, make that two pieces, I made the hood separately.

Oh wow...a paragraph!!! (now how the hell did that happen?!?)

Huh...did it again!!!!!

Oh I am soooo liking this!!!!!

Yes, I confess, it's the simple pleasures that really thrill me!!!!

More pics:

Look familiar?? Yep an utter ripoff..........

My first freeform garment:

This is the only pic I have of this vest. It zips up the front. I used a thrift store vest as the base. I have no idea how many different yarns are in this piece. To be honest, it is still a "work-in-process" but I have been wearing it for years. I wonder sometimes if this vest will ever be done. Every now and then I add a bit of surface work here and there, and lately I've been thinking about adding some beading...like I said it's still a work in process.

There you have it. See??? I said there weren't many. That is about all the garment pics I have that can be posted at this time. There are others, but I'm thinking about submitting the designs so they won't be showing up here for a while. There are other garments that are NOT my design that I've done but haven't taken any pics....maybe someday I will, but I really don't see the point of taking pics of all the socks, sweaters, scarves, hats, etc. that is all the same old stuff everyone else has done. And of course I have the obligatory closets full of unfinished garments and projects just as most people do. ;-)

Spaced bleach and splashed bleach

Here are few pics of my play days with bleach. The fibers used were 100% cotton, both recycled from thrift store sweaters.
"Spaced bleach"......Here is a 9yd. skein. The darker color is the original color, the other two sections were created by letting the bleach work it's magic. Obviously the lighter section had the bleach on/in it longer than the middle color. The next photo is a swatch worked up showing what kind of striping it worked out to be. Um, yeah sorry about the wonky stitching!

And this is the only pic of the "splashed-bleach" yarn I have. I'll post some pics of things I've made from it some other time. I call it "splashed bleach" cuz that's exactly what I did. Originally this yarn was once a dark navy, almost black cotton sweater. After making a huge skein from the freshly pulled sweater, I soaked the yarn in water, took the hank outside, laid it on the ground, and randomly splashed bleach straight from the bottle on it. The poor quality of this picture does not do justice to the depth and variety of color this yarn actually has. Perhaps when I get the garment photos up you'll be able to see and appreciate the multitude and depth of color this yarn now has. I'm LOVING it!!!

I can't wait to do this again with other recycled sweaters!!!

Did you notice something new??? Yep paragraphs!! YIPPEE!!! Still a little iffy on the placement of pics though.

A load of sari

As promised, here are some pics of what I did to deal with the often/sometimes not-so soft sari silk.
Yep, that's my dishwasher. I'm a lazy person at heart and the thought of simmering 18 skeins of sari silk on the stove just wasn't my cuppa. So I tied each hank multiple times and laid them in a single layer on the top rack of my dishwasher. I did NOT add any detergent...bleach and silk don't like each other very much. I let it go through a complete wash cycle then opened the door and let them cool in their own time. I did NOT let the drying cycle run. BTW the wine bottles (empty) are laying on top of the silk to hold the silk in place. I really had no clue what would happen, and considering all the high power spraying that goes on during a normal wash cycle, I was fearful of a opening the door to a huge tangled mess. As it was there weren't many problems. I would like to caution anyone that might be trying this on their own (is there really anyone else out there that would do this?!?) to be very mindful of where those spinning arms may be in your dishwasher! As carefully as I tied the hanks off and as mindful of their placement on the rack I was, there were some pieces that hung down a bit after they got wet. I shudder to thing what would have happened if one of the threads got wrapped around a spinning water-sprayer-thing. Now I have 18 scrumptiously soft silk hanks and I don't have to worry about them bleeding. I did use some of it already and made an E.Z. mobious vest but that was a mistake. All I can say about that was I got carried away in moment. The silk took several days to dry and I was just itching to make something the second I could use the stuff. The intelligence of the design is completely lost when you use recycled sari silk for that pattern, don't do it!!! For those wondering....yes there was a very slight pinkish color in some areas of my dishwasher, not a problem though. After I removed the hanks I ran an empty dishwasher through another wash cycle with detergent...no more pink!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Bleeding hearts

Recycled Silk and Banana Silk.....There are strong opinions out there regarding both of these fibers. Most either seem to hate them or love them. I've been told that the quality of these fibers especially the recycled sari silks vary greatly, I don't doubt that they do. That being said, I can only comment of the silks I have in my possession. I love them for their depth of color, not so much for their occasional inconsistency of twist. Not loving the veggie matter and garbage often found in the recycled silks either. The sheer weight of these fibers are also an issue that needs lots of attention. But today this post is going to deal with the color issues. Can something this vivid really be colorfast??? Working up swatches I have not had issues, but many friends have. I've heard a multitude of complaints from many who say that their needles/hooks and/or hands were stained by merely working with these fibers. Then there are the cries of those that had no problems while working with the fibers but when washing/blocking them the troubles began. I purchased my first hanks of both these fibers at Chain Link Oakland July 2005. That first night I had them, I swatched both. Then used and abused them in my hotel room sink. Hottest water possible and hotel shampoo. I pulled, stretched, wrung, and tortured them. Yes, I'm a lunatic, but I have an inner need to know the limits of the materials I plan or working with. I was dumbfounded that night at the amount of runoff dye. It truly was incredible, and yet with that much bleeding, there was no discernible lightening of the original color. The first thing that crossed my mind was that perhaps an all purpose dye had been used in each case, thus the protein appropriate dye "wasted" on the banana silk and the cellulose appropriate dye "wasted" on the sari silk. The second thing that was apparent to me was the softening of the fibers. After the swatches dried, both were so incredibly soft!!! They were 'like butter'. The sari silk had bloomed into a lush drapey river of.....um....silk (duh). The banana silk has an ever so slight creamy soft haze that glistened in the light. My love affair with these fibers was transformed into a committed relationship. Soooo.....lets fastforward a few months and below are the results of my colorfast experiment on the recycled silk and the banana silk. The fibers I used the to "catch" the runoff dye can be seen here. 100% merino wool (Knitpicks), 100% cotton (Bernat kitchen cotton), 100% mercerized cotton (Reynolds Saucy) and a 89/11% cotton/rayon blend (Paton's Sabina a slubby boucle). To test the colorfastness I used 4 mini hanks, 3 yards in length, of each "mother" fiber and placed them in 8 small jars. I added approximately 1 cup of water to each jar, plus I added a tsp or so of vinegar to the jars that held the sari silk mini hanks. All of the small jars were then placed in water bath on the stove. I let them simmer approximately 45 mins. (Ooops didn't take terrific notes wish I would have). Anyway, they simmered about that long, I was watching them not the clock and when they looked as if the dye was no longer leaching. I removed the mother mini hanks and added the "daughter" hanks. Once again they simmered about 45 mins. Until the water in the jars looked clear (oops again no notetaking...sigh). After all the mini hanks, mothers and offspring, were cool enough I washed them with dishsoap and warm water. NONE of the mini hanks, mothers nor daughters, bled!!!! I couldn't have been more pleased with the results!! The banana silk lightened just a tad bit the sari silk showed no sign of color loss. Some of the lighter bits of the sari silk were dyed though. For example the areas that had bits of white were dyed to various shades of pink, which frankly gave the overall color of the hanks a more harmonious scheme. The daughter hanks from the banana silk were dyed much darker than the daughter hanks of the sari silk. Kind of figured that was going to be the case because the banana silk did seem to have more runoff than the sari silk did in the initial swatch abuse it had gotten in the hotel. Here is a picture of the results. Yep, I'm pretty pleased with this. I've got some rumblings in my brain regarding some designs for these fibers, especially now that I know I can make these fibers colorfast and get the added benefit of dying a coordinating fiber in the process!! Although I'm probably not going to bother with catching the runoff of the sari silk, the colors just aren't rich enough to justify the process...now the banana silk on the other hand....yeah, I'm thinking it's a big YUP. I'll be dying with it's runoff when I have these rumblings sorted out. There are a lot of issues to consider when working with these fibers. I've got color undercontrol, as well as softness, (next post up will demonstrate how I dealt with that issue) and of course as mentioned before the sheer weight of a garment made with these fibers.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

In the beginning

Greetings to all who may drop in. I have created this blog merely as a place to keep a record of comments, thoughts, and pictures, of some of my fiber "experiments". I have not intended for this blog to have any sort of "readership", but if you are here welcome. Be forewarned though that I'm NOT an organized person, and I am NOT computer savvy. Case in point, I can't even figure out how to start a new paragraph yet!! Perhaps I'll figure it out someday, perhaps not. I really don't care much about that today, maybe I will tomorrow, maybe next week, maybe next month, all I do know right now is that the wind isn't blowing in that direction. I have no plan as yet (if I ever will) as to what, when, or why I'll post what I do. Even if I did have some grand idea about creating one of those really nifty easily navigated blogs that I enjoy reading myself I wouldn't know how to do it......So let the posting begin, be they jumbled as they are.