June 22, 2015

My Eco-Dye Workshop

A picture says a thousand words! A heavily photographed post again this time. I was glad I remembered to snap all these photos on that busy day to share with you. A couple of months ago I was contacted by Helen Dunn. Helen Dunn is my bestie Myra Dunn's sister-in-law. Helen is a quilter and belongs to the Patchworkers & Quilters of Victoria. Helen asked if I would conduct an eco-dye workshop for the members. I have only given a proper workshop once before, but not to say I haven't taught before free of charge. I was excited to be asked again. The date was set for last Saturday. 

I put a lot of planning into the workshop to make sure that the participants have good experience on their first eco-dye workshop. I included all materials in the workshop to make sure that the results turned out as well as I hoped for. I would like them to carry-on dyeing in future. As you can see from the photos below, the results speak for themselves. 

The workshop was divided into three parts. Morning wrapping and rolling then steaming. Midday break for tea and lunch then a visit to the Treehouse Studio for a show and tell of my projects made from eco-dyed fabric. Then we unwrapped bundles from the morning dye batch. Much excitement at this time! Afternoon we wrapped and rolled more bundles, this time for jar dyeing. While the jars were boiling/steaming we unwrapped more bundles of silk scarves. More excitement from the great results. 


Lovely like-minded ladies showing their first ever eco-dye fabric in a group photo. I hung my own dyed pieces to add atmosphere to the day around the deck.

The table set - ready steady go!

Silk laid out and leaves were stuffed ready
to roll.

Arranging the leaves as they please

Head down and ready to roll!

After steaming, the bundles were rested until
they cooled.

As part of the workshop I included a visit to the Treehouse Studio to share my projects made with eco-dyed fabric. I was amazed how many projects I have started since I began dyeing using the eco-dye method. This lovely group of ladies told me that they have been reading my blog so they were familiar with my Treehouse Studio. 




Once they were inside they were blown away by what they saw! I hope they left with some inspiration. 

After visited to the Treehouse Studio we unwrapped more bundles. The results they got were beyond my expectations. All the bundles got amazing prints on the silk they used. 



Leslie Edwards a pattern designer was
pleased with her piece.

Jocelyn Chavvidan showing her dyed cloth

Mandy Smith and her cloth.

Glenise Gallagher and her dyed scarf

Sarah Quilter happily showing off her scarf

All nine in the workshop and their scarves

Mandy and her scarf

A picture says a thousand words here. 

Sarah was on the lawn admiring her scarf

I think Leslie was pleased with her scarf too!

Glenise and her fabric dyed with silky oak

After I posted a few photos on Instagram and Facebook I received some inquiries for another workshop. So the next workshop date is set for Saturday July 25th. If anyone is interested in joining my eco-dye workshop please leave a comment here and I will get back to you. 

I also asked to give a stitching workshop using eco-dyed fabric. I have been thinking lately that I would really love to teach a stitching workshop. I will start on small pieces. A "simple little stitch". What do you think? As part of the ageing process one would like to pass on what one knows to younger generations. I think I'm one of those people who loves sharing! 

Until next time
Nat









June 12, 2015

Textiles Books and Historic Tree

Not many creations in the last couple of weeks. The shorter winter days make me feel like snuggling in and get comfy in the evenings instead of being active. I have a few projects on the go that I should get on with! Ha, but I'm just too lazy! 

I did make a trip to Kazari Ziguzagu last week to check out for some vintage indigo fabric that my friend asked me to get for her. It was a lovely visit as always. I found some great textile pieces that I took photos of (not bought!). 

While I was looking for vintage indigo fabric for a friend I found some for ME (naturally) from an online shop KimoYes as well. 

I did put some stitching on my swirling cloth I'm making into a blog book cover. The problem with working without pattern is that I sometimes get stitcher's block so I have to leave it for a while. Does that happen to you too? Anyway, read the captions on each photo to see what else I did. 

Leaping bunny on Noren, indigo Katazome

Vintage Japanese textiles from KimoYes

A hemp Yukata is ready to be de-constructed, Kazari Ziguzagu

Swirly weaving with added stitching

Naturally dyed samples pieced into Bojagi cloth

Ayako's crochet blanket displayed by Cobie Lee.
Wednesday craft

Another Coptic binding book

Books and friends. Dot Christian, Ro Bruhn and Jacky Williams

Colourful Eucalyptus leaves found on a windy day

Lucky find 



I'm excited to share my lucky find with you! It's not like any lucky find I've shown you before. This time it is an historic Eucalyptus tree (Eucalyptus Camaldulensis). It is approximately 400-500 years old so it predates European settlements in Australia. River Red Gums can live up to 700 years or more. I discovered it on the campus where I work. When standing next to it, I feel like standing next to those movable trees in 'Lord of the Ring'!  

After 10 years of working here I thought I had discovered all the gardens and trees on this campus, but when I found this grand old tree I couldn't help but get excited. I have organised to take my colleagues to view the tree next Monday. A real treat for us all. 

Until next time.
Nat









June 2, 2015

First Day of Winter, Books, Market and A Lot More

First day of Winter! I know because the temperature plunged from 16'C down to 9'C just over the weekend! It's not too bad when you are keeping warm in a heated building, but it's not the best for a lunch time walk. I do miss our Aussie blue sky in Winter. I thought I had not been doing much these last couple weeks until I looked at the photos I took (good thing I took them!) I realized I was quite busy!

I was in Melbourne City one Sunday to see Kitiya at her booth at Markit @ Fed Square and another Sunday I met up with my friends for brunch. Then another day I went op-shop browsing. I also did some hunting and gathering for dye materials/plants. 

I came across some great books these last couple of weeks. Some of them I had requested with our subject librarian since last year, but for some reason they turned up all at once this week.

I know that I don't blog much these days. Dearest MIL who lives in NZ is keeping up with my blog so when she doesn't hear from me she starts to worry! Enjoy some photos and the short captions:

Weaving in circle for blog book cover to-be!

Bible cover from exhibition

I got inspired by the Bible cover that I posted here. I revisited the exhibition again to get a closer look. I want to make a cover for my blog book using the swirly looks similar to the Bible cover. I might have to make a few because I've ordered 4 blog books so far. 

Eucalyptus leaves lovingly appliquéd on a
sweat shirt. Saw it at an op-shop, not bought!

Natural dyed samples page

Back cover of natural dyed samples book

Leftover natural dyed pieces for Bojagi cloth

Last year I attended natural dye workshop runs by Ilka White, my weaving teacher. I made a dye samples book too keep the samples together. I have some samples left that I will stitch into a Bojagi cloth. 

Privet berries are in season  

Stuffed and wrapped

Bundles star

Dyeing green

Hunting and gathering for dye-able materials change with seasons. The same leaves will give a different colour effect in a different season. I used to get bright orange from the same leaves, but I got green this time around in the above photo! 

Hand crafted potteries by Bridget Bodenham

Kitiya and her friend Steph at Markit at
Federation Square

I was in Melbourne City to see Kitiya's booth at Markit at Federation Square. The handmade market happens only once a year. Kitiya made a lot of her products in bright and happy colours.

Great books and magazine

More great books for inspiration

Gee's bend quilt creation

Punk by Jungo Oki

Lucky find: A lucky find today is this metal discarded document holder I rescued from my work. It was used for filling work documents, but it doesn't go with the modern office fittings we have got today. I love everything rustic and it is perfect to display my vintage fabric. It now has a home in the Tree House Studio. 


Only three months before we leave for around the world in 80 days trip. It wasn't my intention to go on an 80 days trip, but as it turns out from the day we leave until the day we arrive back is 80 days! I have been having fun making gifts for families and friends we will meet on our way.  Our itinerary is interesting and covers the places that we will either be returning to or going for the first time. Mr Notjustnat and I are both well travelled. Having lived  the life of expatiates, we can't help getting excited every time we travel. It's in our blood to keep moving.

Until next time
Nat




May 18, 2015

Blog Book and More

The blog book I ordered has arrived. I've been trying to come up with an idea how to print my blog. Both Mr Notjustnat and I came up with various ways, but in the end I decided to get it printed with Blog2Print. I decided to print one year at a time. My first book for the 2014 posts has arrived. The next one is ordered and it is on its way. I'm very happy with how it looks and feels. The photos are as clear as I see on the web. 

Apart from that, I had a busy couple of weeks yet again. I visited a great exhibition: Exquisite Threads, English Embroidery 1600-1900s. I took some photos of my favourite pieces to share with you here.

I was sick for most of last week. The doctor ordered for me to stay home during that time. No good giving my cold to the rest of the team at work! The weather was horrible the whole time I was home, but I managed to complete small sewing projects and put on a batch of dye during that time.

My first blog book for 2014

2014 when I went on a textile trip to Vientiane
Luang Prabang and Siem Reap.

Below are some photos of the embroideries at the Exquisite Threads Exhibition. The first one is a Bible cover from the early 17th century. What caught my attention was the work of free-form embroidery. To use it for a Bible cover was comforting to me because I'm making the same things, but for journal covers.  

Bible cover-early 17th century

Part of my hand-stitched journal cover

My 2015 travel journal cover

Coif - early 17th century. Linen, silk, gilt-metal
(thread, spangles)

Section of a larger embroidery panel 

Stomacher - early 18th century

Below are a few small projects I worked on while I was home sick:

Shibori stitched on linen dress, socks and
cotton threads ready for indigo dye

Quilt label for Red Star and Blue Sea
quilt posted here

The Civil War block I made using Barbara
Brackman's free patterns that I posted here 

I was given walnut hulls a couple of weeks ago. I soaked them until they were ready to be used. Steeping is another way to cook dye bundles. The liquid you steep bundles in could be anything from natural sources. All bundles for this batch had been steeped in walnut bath. 

Jars and bundles ready to be opened

Unwrapped bundle of wool and Eucalyptus

A peak into another bundle of silk and Eucalyptus

Another bundle using different Eucalyptus

Autumn maple leaves on vintage silk

Silk scarf dyed in walnut bath
Lucky find:

My sweet Abela

A lucky find for this post is not what I found recently, but it was a lucky find I found 15 years ago on eBay. This sweet Singer Featherweight is my proud and joy and I enjoy her every time I sew with her. I only use her to sew vintage fabric. I named her Abela to remind me of an Arabic name for a beautiful little girl. Abela was made in Scotland, but I got her from Texas, USA. 

Until next time
Nat