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The elusive scarf has finally surfaced. Two scarves, actually…and fabric samples. And although they are not really scarves I can wear, they are scarves all the same. You can’t have EVERYTHING, Greedy McGreedersons!

I finished up the shibori dye class at the Eliot School and it was pretty great. If the pictures in this post look like adult tie dye, it’s because it’s pretty much adult tie dye. If you’re really skilled at shibori techiques, then it is shibori. If you’re like me and lacking in those skills at the moment, then you just tie a crap-load of rubber bands around things, throw it into the dye pot, and hope for the best. Then you post pictures pretending like you know what you’re doing.

I LOVED the process of dyeing the fabric. When I start dyeing at home, I’ll post the detailed process with pictures, but the short process is:

1) Weigh your pre-washed fabric.

2) Calculate how much mordant you need to mordant the fabric. Mordant helps fabric take and hold the dye.

3) Heat your water and add in your mordant and fabric.

4) Take the fabric out, rinse, and dry the fabric (I don’t think you always have to dry the fabric but I have to double check that again).

5) Calculate how much dye you need for your fabric.

6) Heat your water and add in the dye.

7) Keep your fabric in the dye for the recommended time. You can also take the fabric out earlier or later to get a lighter or darker color. Rinse out the excess dye and dry the fabric.

Here are some pics and some of the techniques we learned. Ignore the dirty windows. These are a mix of cotton and silk samples.

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The scarf above, on the left isn’t my favorite. This was the only dye pot where the dye was already in liquid form and I didn’t like it. The fabric didn’t hold it very well and I just thought the other dye pots had a richer color. The fabric sample on the right was one of my favorite dye pots – logwood. Such a great color. I think this fabric was just folded into squares and clamped with a clothespin.

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These two samples above are from the madder dye pot. I love this color too – especially for the spring. The left sample had a marble in the middle with a rubber band around it and the edges were also rubber banded. The sample on the right I actually used a shibori technique called mokume, where you sew lines of thread throughout the fabric and pull them tight. They are supposed to look like wood grain. Mine weren’t pulled quite tight enough but I still like it.

More logwood! The sample on the left involved more marbles and rubber bands. The scarf on the right was folded into triangles and clamped with a clothespin.

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These are the natural dye starter kits that I bought for dyeing at home. I bought them from Maiwa. Can’t wait to try them out.

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I couldn’t resist getting the indigo starter kit too. I love the dark color. Winter scarf? Indigo clutch? The possibilities are endless, as is the dust that is collecting on top of these kits. Sigh. More updates to follow. I KNOW YOU CAN’T WAIT.

As you can see, the blog has taken on a different look which is still being edited. I’ll spare you an entire blog post on why I needed to change hosts, domains, layout, etc. In short – I don’t know what I’m doing and can’t afford to hire help and I’M BITTER ABOUT IT.

Anyway……….

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IT’S FALL!!!  So, last weekend, we took a trip up to Franconia, NH to do some leaf peeping.  Oh, and to attend a wedding and also to half-ass our 6 year wedding anniversary which consisted of ordering Indian food and renting the worst movie ever (Neighbors) on Friday, and then hopping in the car to climb Mt. Washington on Saturday before the wedding. That’s the traditional celebration for your sixth wedding anniversary, right?

Climbing Mt. Washington in the car is both amazing and terrifying. I don’t mind heights, I just don’t like ledges, but it was worth it. They even give you a CD to educate you about Mt. Washington’s history and varying climates. I think it’s to secretly disctract you from the fact that with one slip of the steering wheel you will plummet to your death.  Eventually, your cold sweat dries, and you start to take in the scenes of Mt. Washington. You also get the famous “This car almost fell off the edge of climbed Mt. Washington.” I didn’t understand the bumper sticker pride until we made it back down to the bottom.

I took some shots as we climbed our way up. I’m openly admitting here that I committed a cardinal sin of photography in not checking my camera settings before I started shooting and accidentally left them on the settings I was using to shoot a wedding reception in low lighting. So, my ISO was pretty high, I should have noticed it, but didn’t really notice until I was at the top. What can I say, I was in “weekend getaway” mode.

When I started to edit them, I kind of liked the grainy texture. It was a happy accident I guess. If I were smart I would have just posted these and said “LOOK AT MY NEW CAMERA TECHNIQUE I AM A GENIUS” but truth be told, I effed up.  I also discovered that I have some spots on my lenses and need to get them cleaned. I’ll add that to the growing list of “crap to do.” GIVE ME A BREAK, PEOPLE.

Alas, here are my beautiful effed up photos.

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The photo above is the one I really really really messed up on but I kind of love it. I think I accidentally sped up the shutter speed. This photo makes me want to photograph on top of the mountain at night. I don’t know if they let you do that but I’m researching it. The stars are probably out of this world….get it?

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I think this is Drew pondering life. Although, he could be thinking about the drive back down and trying not to throw up over the side of the mountain.

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Yup. I think it’s the latter.

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This is the Tip Top house, the oldest surviving building on the summit of Mt. Washington.

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This is me trying to take a photo without my sunglasses in direct sunlight when I can’t go without sunglasses even on a cloudy day. It did not go well.

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This is the little train you can take at the top which also looks terrifying…but cool.

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In other news – I’m in the middle of editing wedding photos this week so a post on the latest wedding is coming up soon. Also, there is a pile of fabric samples from my shibori dye class waiting to be dyed this Sunday. Can’t wait to see how they turn out.

It’s fall. Get ur (leaf) peep on.

 

I joined instagram shortly after it was released (cause I’m THAT cool) and I’ve loved it ever since.  I know there is some hate out there because people take ordinary photos and filter the crap out of them (which I’m guilty of as well), but I think it inspires people to be creative every day when they normally wouldn’t have an outlet.  I do wish users who constantly post selfies would be banned though. After you learn to turn the camera the other way once in a while, you can come back in, but until then, you kids get off my lawn! Anyway…the “gram” is one of the few things I still view through rose colored glasses (which I’m surprised isn’t a filter).

My two favorite editing/filtering tools for instagram pics are VSCOcam and PicTapGo.  PicTapGo is a little easier to navigate than VSCOcam and you can save your “recipes,” but I like VCSOcam’s editing tools better and they even let you create a grid where you can curate your own photos (oh, you fancy, huh).  VSCO curates a grid feed as well and there are some incredible images on there. Both are worth checking out unless you are a strictly “no filter” type of person. #respect.

Hopefully I can get it together enough to make this a regular post.  I know everyone is SO INTERESTED.

I wanted to make this a cool professional looking collage but I ran out of time.  In the spirit of Friday and getting crap done instead of waiting until it’s perfect, here’s what’s been happening in insta-land, in non-collage form:

 

More pics from the Jersey shore.  I didn’t bring my camera to the beach because I didn’t feel like looking after it. Then I got down to the sand and regretted it.

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This next one is probably a good example of a picture people hate because of the filter.  I don’t really care.  The heart wants what the heart wants, and that day, my heart wanted pink.

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AFFOGATO! It’s just ice cream and espresso.  Perfect combo. Favorite dessert.

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Drew’s dream in life was to take a water taxi, so we did…on the worst day to do such an activity.  A little stormy.  We lived to tell the tale.

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I use my friend for his roof deck.

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In short – date night. Tapas restaurant. Extremely tiny utensils. Still funny to me.

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Glad Friday finally got here.  May your weekend feel longer than two days…in a good way :)

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Who needs a scarf when you have a little random pencil/make-up/jewelry holder pouch thing?

I don’t know why I thought (and wrote) that we were going to make a scarf during my sewing class.  I went back and read the description of the class and it doesn’t say a thing about a scarf. I have my crap together as usual. I guess I just wanted to make a scarf…but look at my pouch!  Look at that beautiful mess!  It’s not even sewn straight but I’m so proud. It’s basically just two pieces of scrap fabric sewn together so that we could learn the machine.  We weren’t concerned about measurements, a lining, etc.  All of that comes later.

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My class was really fun.  I learned how to thread the machine and we went through the different steps to make this (unfinished) case. There was something really therapeutic about trying to guide the fabric so that the thread was straight.  I failed at that, but it was still therapeutic.  I would show you a close-up of my failure but I do not own a macro lens yet to take any close-ups. I’ll cut myself some slack since it was a first attempt.

This class also answered two sewing mysteries for me.  If my brain could process patterns and the whole “sewing fabric inside-out and then turning it right side out” thing, I probably could have figured out the answers on my own. Actually, I’m lying, I wouldn’t have figured it out and now that I know the answers, I feel sad and dumb because it’s pretty simple.

1) What if your zipper is longer than your fabric? How do you size a zipper?

You open the zipper half-way first and then sew it in and cut off the excess, idiot.

2) How do you make the bottom of a bag flat so that it stands up on a flat surface?

You sew the bottom edges of the fabric so that the corners are pinched and then turn it right side out…idiot.

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Now you all know, too.  You’re welcome.

My instructor was great and I really like some of the other classes that the BCAE (Boston Center for Adult Education) offers.  I might take more sewing and other classes.  I recommend checking them out if you’re a creative soul who earns a paycheck doing non-creative things like me. I know, I know…being employed – LIFE IS SO HARD.  (By the way, this isn’t one of those fancy sponsored posts that real bloggers do where the BCAE paid me to say nice things.  They don’t know me.  There are like, three people reading this blog so no sponsorship here.  Plus, they’re a non-profit – it doesn’t even make sense that they would pay me, use your head.)

Now I’m looking into getting a used sewing machine to make some more things, like a damn scarf! I’m hoping to continue with this instead of adding it to the list of hobbies that I did for a month and then stopped. Photography stuck (thank god, because if not, who would take photos of the flawed results of all my new hobbies) so maybe there is hope.

On to the next class – shibori dyeing. I’m not kidding. I signed up for that too. My brain needs this stuff!  Here are more pouch pics:

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Til next time, three people reading this!

  • Susan Murray - Nice job! You must raid my scrap fabric boxes the next time you’re home!ReplyCancel

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Anyone else in the habit of taking on complicated hobbies that you have no use or equipment for?  ME TOO!

At some point this summer I started getting antsy because I hadn’t done anything creative in a while. So instead of being normal and doing some kind of creative photography project, I instead decided to overwhelm myself by learning new and completely random skills.  I eventually signed up for two local workshops involving leather working and sewing.  Why?  Several dumb reasons:

1) I can’t sew.  I have never been able to sew.  I am emotionally scarred from my last sewing experience when we learned how to make a pillow in middle school home economics. It was a struggle. This piece of crap pillow was simple to make – 9 stupid squares of fabric, some stuffing, and one large piece of fabric for the back. I think the instructions read: sew it together.  I used an actual sewing machine too, and I still couldn’t do it.  I used the seam ripper more than any tool in the classroom.  I don’t remember my grade. That was the last time I’ve touched a sewing machine.   I have to either redeem myself, or accept this lack of talent.

2) I like things I can’t afford, like leather bags and clutches.  Maybe I can start making some stuff????

3) Seriously, I have to master that damn sewing machine.

4) I get a little crazy if I’m not working with my hands.  Kind of like how you have to occupy small children with construction paper and safety scissors.  I hear pattern cutting paper is the grown-up version of this.

5) I LOVE the smell of leather.

All of my scattered thoughts combined to form a loose plan.  First, leather working.  Then, sewing class.

I signed up for a leather carving class at the Artisan’s Asylum and learned how to cut, carve, and stitch leather.  Naturally, this meant I had to visit Tandy Leather to sniff all the leather get my supplies. Tandy Leather is awesome.  I walked in right when they opened on a Saturday morning and asked them a billion questions and they didn’t get annoyed (or they hid it really well).  Great people there.

When I got back I surveyed all the tools. I had no idea what most of the tools did, and I just stared blankly at the huge piece of leather. I was clueless, but I WANTED TO MAKE SOMETHING.  I waited impatiently for my next class.

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During class, I started making a cell phone case, but I cut the leather pieces too small, so it will now become a sunglasses holder. My failures usually result in a string of profanity followed by a “this was my plan all along” delusion. This was no different.

I still need to finish my case, and I’m obsessed with the idea of making a clutch, which I’d like to do on a sewing machine.  I WILL master that beast.  I think they teach me how to make a scarf in sewing machine class. I don’t think showing up with the huge chunk of leather instead would go over too well.  Also, I think I need an industrial sewing machine to sew leather.  I’ve already searched used machines on craigslist because hauling an industrial sized sewing machine into a tiny apartment to sew one clutch is perfectly logical.

Finished products to follow…only if they look better than the middle school pillow.