The power of plants

For a while I’ve been reading about natural dyes, but I was bit hesitant to try because my lack of time (one more thing on my plate). I had dyed with eucalyptus and walnuts in the past, because the source is easy available to me and because the fact that I don’t need to pre mordant the fiber before. But when I stumbled upon India Flint’s book it was too dificult to resist the temptation of trying dyeing with plants again. The book is filled with beautiful photography of her hand dyed fabrics and projects. I like her approach of natural dyeing without the use of toxic chemicals that causes damage to our environment and our health.

India is a designer, feltmaker, writer and probably the inspiration source of many fiber artists.

I didn’t wait too long before I founded myself gathering eucalyptus leaves and bark to dye a piece of silk perfect for my first project. I have a grove of Eucalyptus growing near where my workshop is so I went ahead and get some piece to start my project.

Eucalyptus is a great way to experiment because it doesn’t need mordant. Great for a beginner like me.

I played a little bit with the design of my project. I know that the best time to harvest the leaves for dyeing is during summer or dry season, because the pigment is more intense and since it has been raining here lately, I predicted that the colors were not going to be of much intensity.

This is the first bundle ready to be steamed. I put it in the pot for about an hour. The nice smell of the eucalyptus vapors filled my small workshop. Eucalyptus is also a great moth deterrent, so I always keep a bunch of leaves near my wool. I will post more pics of my experiment later…

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So, What’s in the box this month?

This month the theme for the Phat Fiber Box is “For the Love of Books”. It gave me lots of ideas to work with. Too many. Finally I decided to pay a little tribute to Beatrix Potter, famous for her children books with beautiful illustrations. How many of us have read about Peter Rabbit or Mr. Jeremy Fisher?

The milk fiber that I just got fit perfectly for the theme.

I’m sending also as part of my samples a blend of Kid Mohair, Nylon and Merino Wool. This blend has a nice sheen and it is really soft and silky. I had a hard time keeping myself from spinning this fiber.

I just hope my samples get to the Phat Fiber headquarters on time for the video. If you want to be notified about when the box goes on sale, sign up here.

Don’t go into Mr. McGregor’s garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Japanese Craft Books

Days have pass in front of me without getting anything done. I don’t even know why. It has been one of those days when I don’t know where times goes. It has been rainy here in West Marin, so I haven’t been working around my dye pots as much as I usually do. Finally, yesterday I was able to dye a pond of fiber! But two days ago, I had to pick up a friend at the Airport so I planned to leave earlier and pay a visit to the Kinokuniya bookstore, near the Fillmore St. This is one of my favorite bookstores.

I was able to spend ONLY one hour! I always get a little rush before I can get my hands in  one of those wonderful knitting and crochet books. I love the designs as they are always a good source  of inspiration for me. I was able to get “only” three books, since I’ve been watching my budget lately,  more that I did in the past. But I just couldn’t resist the idea of leaving the bookstore empty handed.  Leaving behind so many wonderful books with “I can’t wait to try” projects! No way! The problem now is… Which one to choose! They are so many!  Why I can only get one? How about this little one? Is ONLY 12.99. And this one? Oh Gosh!!! Well, this is what I got: Hand-knit works by Setsuko Torii

Setsuko Torii

I love the minimalist style of her designs. The book is beautiful and follows the same minimalist outline which makes a nice frame for the simple clean pictures. Very attractive book that I just couldn’t let go…

Setsuko Torii

Setsuko designs for Habu Textiles and they are working on getting the English version of the book.  Unfortunately this project has been postpone due to her busy schedule.

Domino Knitting

I’ve been very tempted to try domino knitting and I found this book very helpful with great pictures and instructions in English! Advance Domino Knitting with Vivian Hoxbro ISBN978-4-579-11219-7. I want to try the Navajo Square.

Advance Domino Knitting

I also couldn’t resist to buy Knit Factory from the Heart Warming Life Series ISBN 978-4-529-04503-2. The designs are easy and whimsical…

Knit Factory

Knit Factory

The instructions are great, the diagrams are wonderful and easy to follow, the designs are very attractive. I always wonder, why nobody has made an English version of these books? I think they would be so popular amongst us!…