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This is the archive for the ‘fiber’ Category

Fiber Book and my Very Fine Hat

May 2nd, 2019

Spring has come, all of a sudden everything is green… and magenta and yellow and violet—Philadelphia has a very wild burst of color when spring arrives. I’ve been busy working on a new set of paintings but I spell it with stitching.

My latest “rabbit hole” is a fiber book based on my grandmother, her mother, and her mother. Using many bits and pieces from their collections of saved fabric, lace and trims—my grandmother was the youngest and as all this was passed down it ended up with her and then to me—I descend from savers or some might say pack rats. All three women sewed so there is a wealth of scraps.

Slowly the pages have been taking shape as things are rearranged and reassembled. I learned to print photo’s on fabric—that was a big break through… my dyed fabrics make an appearance as does my stitching. And finally I made a commitment on a cover. So here is the cover and the pages for each woman.

Image of book cover tied shut Image of book cover untied

The cover is piece of canvas dyed with tea and rusty bits. It is stitched and has self ties. When untied it reveals a pocket with a photo of me with what I thought was a most wonderful hat when I was four years old.

Image of my grandmother Image of my grandmother's mother Image of my grandmother's mother's mother

Three generations of women, all “Stitchers”, although I don’t think they would have used that title.
Other pages and spreads consist of fabric and buttons and feathers and prints and lace and … some are still in the works…

These women have inspired this book but it isn’t necessarily about them but rather about women in general, things that were important to them in their time and that belonged to them in their time.

Learning to spin a fine yarn!

February 12th, 2019

WOW—haven’t posted since mid Dec. The holidays came and went. Cards were made and sent. Friends and family came and returned home. Gifts were given and received. Decorations went up and down. and then it was Jan and now it’s Feb.
A lasting allergy/cold/general malaise hung around for a long time, get better and then here it came again, BUT… now it seems to be under control—I hope—and I’m getting back to work. Have worked on the paintings of Ireland but they are still a work in progress, so I turned to fibers. My painting and my fiber work help each other.

Late summer/early fall I bought some carded/dyed fleece from Flying Fibers in Landisville, PA and have been trying to spin a finer yarn. I bought small amounts so I could see how things went. Previously I mainly spun for the joy of it and was happy to get a bulky, lumpy yard with which I could knit/weave bulky, lumpy fabric. I could get a rough control if need be but it was still anything but fine. and I wanted to spin a fine tight yarn to use as weft for small tapestries.

Image of Original roving with pre drafted fiber ready to spin
Original roving with pre drafted fiber ready to spin.

At first I tried just spinning from the roving as purchased but that didn’t work. Next I tried hand carding which defeated the use of the ready made rovings. Sooo, I did some research, lots of tests, and ended up pre drafting by hand—slow but I mainly want small amounts for small tapestries—and I find it very calming to sit and pull the fibers by hand.

Once my fibers were predrafted, I began spinning. I have an original Louet Wheel and was trying to gain some control of the twist. Before I would just spin away and my mood determined how tight the twist was. Now I’m trying to be conscious of the revolutions in each release of fiber. I’ve gotten better but have a long way to go!

Image of Samples of testing
Samples of my testing. Got better with practice. Some are finer than others.
Still working on it.

Image of handspun used in my test. Image of my finished test,.

After spinning, I washed the results, blocked them as they dried and wound them into little balls. You can see my earlier (thicker) yarns and the newer (finer) ones.

My spinning was getting better but I still wasn’t sure how this would weave. I warped my 6 dent Hokett loom at 12 epi and worked up a simple test design that could show a number of yarns. I’m pleased—some worked, some need work! I still want to get more control before doing a series of small weavings. Guess I’ll be heading back to Flying Fibers for more!!!

In addition to my fiber work I’ve been sketching, making marks with charcoal from my fireplace, and drawing my hands. All posts for another day. In the mean time my painting is calling!

Fiber Keeps me Sane

October 28th, 2018

This week the world has gone to the dark side or so it seems. So much hate and violence, fanned by those who should unify and comfort and put a stop to this. I can’t paint at a time like this with angry/sad thoughts racing through my mind. But the slowness of stitching, its zen like calming, focus on the task at hand—that’s where I burrow in and find some sanity.

This project has been in the works for a long time—first as the long green warp woven with Theo Moorman’s Technique. Much of it involved squares. Now it’s cut apart and I’m embellishing the squares to bring out their personalities—woven portraits of time and space.

It doesn’t fix the world but it allows me to gather the strength to live in it.

Image of Embelished Squares
Here’s a selection waiting to be finished and framed.
Some might still be worked on – they let me know.

Machiasport ME

September 21st, 2018

After the intense art retreat in VT, I really needed some down time before heading home. We headed for a place we have stayed before in Machiasport, ME—all the way at the end of the peninsula—the road ends in the driveway—high enough to see over the trees to the ocean but with a magical path down to it’s own beach. We stopped in Machias at the Hannaford to buy groceries and made it in time for wine on the deck as the sun set. Let the unwinding begin!

Image of Maine trees and water Image of deck chairs
View from the deck.

The next day was misty and over cast – perfect to laze about in, but we did take a short run back up the road to Jasper Beach.

Image of Jasper Beach in the mist
Jasper Beach.

I always think the ocean gives you gifts, you just have to look and this day was no exception. Bits of seaweed, sticks and feathers, lichen and of course those Jasper Beach stones!

Image of found seaweed and stones on Jasper Beach Image of found seaweed and stones
Jasper Beach closeup and my new treasures.

Back at the house I used the small bit of wood as a tiny loom and wove a tiny tapestry to commemorate our visit.

Image of a tiny tapestry
Jasper Beach Tapestry.

The next few days were sunny and we headed to Campobello in Canada (Important rule – always travel with your passport!) and to Maine’s Quoddy State Park for days of hiking, photographing, and just being! That’s another post…

Expositions

July 15th, 2018

Two of my little Tapestries are in current expositions. Here they are with an image of their installation. I won’t be able to get to either exhibition—my work seems to travel more that I do— but I’m excited to be included in each!

Image of tapestry  weaving Image of tapestry  weaving

“Have a Cup of Tea with Me” is in the ATA (American Tapestry Alliance) exhibition, “The Biggest Little Tapestries in the World!” in Reno NV. This piece will be included in the exhibition catalog.

Image of tapestry weaving Image of tapestry  weaving

“…and She Looked out the Window” is in the Webster Arts Gallery‘s exhibit, “Warp and Weft”, in Webster Groves, Missouri.

I’m new to tapestry weaving and am thankful to both organizations for giving me a chance to exhibit my work!!!

Dyeing Tests

April 1st, 2018

I have been exploring natural dyes with my Harrisville Koehler Yarn to use in mixed bundles for my tapestry. These small balls were dyed with madder, and iron & black tea.

Image of dyeing result samples
Samples of dyeing with madder, and with rusty iron and tea

The one on the upper right is just iron and tea in a jar left to set for days. The others use madder from a plant I grew and harvested years ago. The top left ball is pre mordanted with alum and a bit of cream of tarter – the lower left was a mixture of iron, tea, and madder all together, the lower right was pre mordanted with alum, then soaked in the just the tea/iron mix for days and then into the madder dye overnight.

I’m not going for exact dye recipes as I did years ago but rather letting the magic take me where it does. And it is magic!!!