Jobo Designs

Letting the crafty creative juices flow. Knitting, spinning, crafting, dyeing, rabbits, sheep and more!

29. May 2009 22:46
by Jobo
0 Comments

Knitted one... Quilted too!

29. May 2009 22:46 by Jobo | 0 Comments

Finally got the shawl finished and photographed a little better (and dragged it around in my purse to show it to anyone who would look!)  I'm not sure if people wear that sort of thing anymore, but I sure like the way it feels draped over the shoulders.  I decided that it wouldn't hurt to try putting it up on etsy, since I already have a store set up and such.  Who knows, maybe someone will fall in love with it too, and if not I will get to remain in love with it!



... I like anything that matches with Blue Jeans...



I was having fun playing with my camera in the fading sunlight also...shows just how light and airy the shawl really is!



In other news, I am teaching my first class down at Mae's Fabric and Alterations - Paper Piecing Hexagons. 

For most of my life... whenever I saw something crafty that was interesting or intriguing, I would find myself a book, or an internet reference, or seek advice from my mom or grandma... and gosh darnnit I would read and fuss until I figured out how to do it!  I've taught myself to do many things reading books... Shuttle and Needle Tatting, Embroidery techniques, Recently Spindle and Wheel Spinning, Fiber Preparation.  The only "formal" spinning lesson I have had thus far is the 15 minutes I got to test out my wheel at the yarn store I bought it from.  I take a lot of joy and satisfaction in knowing that I can figure things out if I work at it hard enough and find references to guide me through.

I have always loved the Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt pattern.  Something about it is just so classic.  When I picture a vintage quilt, crafted in the past by hand by an experienced quilter, my imagination always brings me back to those old classic patterns; Hexagons, Dresden plate, Baltimore Albums.  For some reason I am drawn to the hand pieced and applique designs.  I think it's the tactileness of those particular patterns - each piece will be hand sewed and hand-loved, probably multiple times before the quilt is finished completely.  Myself, I enjoy that hand work can be done anywhere, whereas machine piecing limits me to my studio.  I also like the no-muss-no-fuss approach to hand quilting.  You need your needle, thimble, thread, fabric.  Simple.  Machine piecing requires a power outlet, cords, some table surface to work on, a more permanent workstation which takes up more room and is a pain in the butt to take out for 10 minutes of sewing and then put away again. (If my sewing machine didn't have it's own home in my studio where it could stay out all the time I would probably never sew anymore)  I have hand pieced laying on a towel at the beach;  Hand pieced while waiting for someone to pick me up and go out; Hand pieced at work on my break.  It doesn't get any more portable or transferrable than that.

Anyways, Here are a few tidbits from the class in photo form... and I have to go pack my stuff into the car!  I'll let you know how it goes :)

 

The english paper piecing technique involves the use of paper cutouts to stabilize the fabric, and allow for piecing perfect angles everytime!

 



Gotta run!

3. May 2009 12:16
by Jobo
3 Comments

Natural Dyeing Series... Blueberries

3. May 2009 12:16 by Jobo | 3 Comments

Yet another installment of Dyeing with household items...

We had a bag of leftover, quite freezerburnt blueberries left in the back of the deep-freeze... so I thought hey, since we wouldnt be eating them, why not try out their dark purpley goodness for dyeing!

I unfortunately did not measure anything.... I think I had about 2 cups of frozen berries.  I basically defrosted them at room temperature, then added about 2 cups of water and then gently simmered in a heavy bottomed pot for about an hour.  I squished the berries with a wooden spoon to help all the color come out.

I actually had considered blending it, but decided against it last minute (nightmares of tiny pieces of blueberry skin all over my nice Polwarth top) I wasn't sure if Blueberry dye required acidity to set, so I added about 3 tablespoons of Lemon Juice, since I had some in the fridge anyways.  To be honest, the kitchen smelled very much of blueberry pie.  I seriously had to fight the urge to go out and buy a pie and decimate it.

About 30 minutes into the simmering process, the water level looked low, so I added about another cup of water.

To drain the blueberries, I scooped them up into a metal sieve and squeezed as much juice as possible out with the back of a spoon.  I ended up with approximately 1.5 cups of very dark Purple/Black looking liquid (and about a half a cup of blueberry mush)  Looking at the colour of the liquid in the glass, I wasn't sure if I would en up with a more reddish dye than purple.  You can see around the edges where the light shines through the glass it looks almost vibrand red, with almost no blue in it. 



I pre-soaked about 1.5 ounces of Polwarth super soft roving/top by soaking in warm water and lemon juice for about an hour, then squeezed out the excess water and layed it out in a glass pyrex dish in a single layer.  Then I poured the dark liquid over the wool and gently swirled the dish to mix.  Surprisingly, once poured over the wool, the dye looked less red that I had imagined it would.  Notice the little bits of blueberry shrapnel in the wool.  I was very pleased that those bits rinsed away in the wash



I then covered the glass dish with plastic wrap, and nuked in the microwave on high for about 2 minutes, followed by resting for about 2 minutes.  I repeated about 6 or so cycles, swishing the wool around every so often so the dye would take more often.  I would estimate the wool stayed hot enough (just below boiling) for about 60 - 90 minutes.  Next I let it cool and soak in its juice overnight before rinsing in the sink in lukewarm water.



The resulting colour was quite a medium dusty purple! after carefully wringing out the excess water and rolling in an old towel... the wool dried overnight, and I got this:



And it looked so good with the tea dyed wool from the other day... I had to braid them together!



Hmmmm... all this talk of pie and tea... making me HUNGRY!  gotta go!

25. April 2009 20:47
by Jobo
1 Comments

Natural Dyeing Series... Black Tea

25. April 2009 20:47 by Jobo | 1 Comments

and you say it's only available in Atlantic Canada?  Pity Ma'am...

The next colourful substance in my series on Natural Dying is Black Tea.

 

I had some older Red Rose teabags in the back of the Cupboard (since I prefer Earl Grey, the plain stuff seems to sit for quite a while) so I decided to grab some more wool, and give it a try.



For my dye bath I took a stainless steel pot (the same one I use to brew my tea for homemade Iced Tea actually... but thats another story)  and added 2 cups of boiling water to 5 regular sized tea bags.  Keeping the temperature hovering around boiling, I left the bags to steep for about an hour.  Resulting liquid - very dark brown tea.

For the wool - I used some polwarth top I had laying around... I had bought a pound of the stuff, and then played with a bunch of it and then forgot about it.  Well, time to enjoy it again!

I soaked the wool in lukewarm water for about 1 hour (while the tea steeped) and added in some lemon juice.  I don't know if tea needs acidity to dye or not, but I figured that since I had a bottle of lemon juice in the fridge, it really couldn't hurt anything could it?  For this experiment I did not mordant the wool... mostly since I did not have anything mordant-able in the house.

 

I laid out the wool in a single layer in a glass pyrex baking dish, after squeezing out most of the water first.  Then I carefully poured the now cooled extra strong tea over the wool.  My goal was a semi solid dye, so I added the dye in a blotchy pattern and then swirled the dish to distribute.  Then I covered the dish with plastic wrap and chucked the whole thing in the microwave and nuked on high for 2 minutes.  I followed the same method as my last dyeing attempt - cycles of 2 minutes cooking, 2 minutes resting, and of course waiting for a longer interval when it looked like the water around the wool was boiling.  I continued in this manner for several cycles, and unfortunately lost count after 5.  Basically I kept the wool hot enough to almost boil for around an hour.

Then I left the wool to soak in the dye overnight.  (it was bedtime, so I hit the pillow instead!)

The next day after work (soaking approximately 20 hours or so) I removed the wool from the dye solution and rinsed carefully in cool water in the sink.  After 3-4 rinses the wool no longer released dye when squeezed.  Of course all the rinsing and swishing were done carefully so as to avoid felting, though since this was all done at a cool temperature, I wasn't really all that worried :)

Next, the soggy wool was drained, squeezed out and rolled in an old towel to absorb as much liquid as possible.  I learned my lesson last time:  if you don't *really* try and get out as much liquid as you can... the Wool takes like THREE whole days to dry.  This means you won't be able to play with it for three days.  totally uncool!.  This time the wool dried on the mesh sweater dryer in a day.  Much much faster.  Point for me!  (wool 0 ; Jobo 1)

The colour?  kind of a brownish caramel gold.  My technique of pouring and swirling (very technical huh?) resulted in a varied semi-solid colouring, which looks like it will have a nice depth when spun up.  I am actually thinking of blending this with some other wool I dyed... which I'm sure will be another blogging project at some point.

The finished braid (set against a nice blue faux suede pillow off my couch!) is a warm comfy beige colour.  I think I would wear a sweater in that colour, since it would probably be complimentary next to my freckles!



Another view of the Braid showing some more dark/light sections of the wool

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