Sunday, 6 April 2014

a glimmer of summer

it's slowly warming up here on the prairies, and none too soon! we've apparently had the coldest recorded winter since 1890-something. i don't think anyone would argue with that. it's been miserable sometimes, even with the advantage of getting to wear all of the knits (literally all of them, otherwise you freeze). it's hovering a bit above zero right now, which makes the sunroom lovely to hang out in. i'm even wearing shorts! to be fair, i'm not venturing out of the house at all, but still. it's progress.

which means i was finally able to do a photo shoot with the silk top!

this used not much more than 100g of tussah tweed silk, and is a heavily modified version of lidia tsymbal's l. 2 for shibui knits. the back is the same as the pattern, but i changed basically everything in the front, switching the eyelets to an arrow lace stitch, widening the chest width, and dropping the neckline so it didn't cover the collarbones. i also grafted the shoulder seams because i wanted them to be invisible. before i blocked it, i really wasn't overly impressed with the fit, but now i love it. it's a great layering piece. definitely not something to be worn alone (i.e. sans bandeau) but other than that, the possibilities are endless. i wore it on my last day at the spring break camp, and my kids really loved it ha. (i wore it over another shirt, just fyi. this look is purely for the photo shoot. or camping. or the studio. actually, probably most of my life.)

i also finally took pics of the natural dyeing i did last weekend. the photo above is of the superwash merino that i overdyed. the original yarn is in the centre, while the swatch on the upper left was done with avocado skins and pits mordanted with alum, and the lower right swatch was daffodil heads mordanted with alum. i think that next time i work with flowers, i'll make sure i have a whole lot of them. while you're meant to go with around a 12-20% of dye materials to dry weight of dyeing material (i.e. i had 5g of wool to dye, so maybe 1g worth of daffodils or avocados), i used way more avocados and probably just enough of the daffodils. as you can see, the colour came out much richer with the avocados. i love colours that are more saturated and away from versions of cream, so i think my next few trials will involve a much higher percentage of dye materials. at least when it comes to kitchen/garden scraps. 

these are the cotton squares that i also dyed. the pinkish one was in the avocado pot, and the yellow one was the daffodils. i'm actually pretty disappointed with the cotton, i have to say. i was expecting it to take on a lot more of the dye. the dark spots on the daffodil square were made by me squishing some of the daffodil heads into the fabric after the dyeing period and drying them on it. then i washed the heads off after the square had dried for a few days. overall, it was a fun and interesting process, but i don't think i'd make a point of dyeing something for a specific colour or intention until i've done a lot more messing around. 

speaking of fibre projects, if you're in winnipeg, i'd highly recommend going to the edge gallery for melanie wesley's "there is always thread" exhibit. it's on until april 16, and is a collaborative show that's all about fibre. basically, the best thing ever. it's full of inspiring pieces (if you're remotely interested in art or costume or design or fibre or anything sort of related to those things), and melanie is lovely. a couple of my friends, cara mason and kelly ruth (who taught me how to do natural dyeing, if you recall an older post), collaborated on pieces too. so go if you can, because it's very cool. there's also a gallery cat who is very emphatic about cuddles, so that's fun too.

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