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Being Back

September 5, 2009

It seems like I never got back from the course with Charlotte Buch about which I wrote in my last post… But, of course I did, I just never made it to my blog. Life has been hectic, with exciting as well as less pleasant events. The summer seems to be almost over, the school is back and I have more time to be creative again. Hopefully, I will summarize those three months of my absence at least in some pictures. But I will keep it simple. I have been thinking if to keep the blog or not, why to keep it and how…  I am not a great writer and often I feel comfortable to keep quiet. Making is important to me so I rather make than write about it. But since I still try to fit in my making into family life and houswife duties sometimes I feel time has passed and I haven’t made much. So for now my blogging will be about  keeping a record of my creative progress in some simple way.

Now, let’ s get back to the course. I had fantastic time!!! Here you can see me wearing the fruit of my 4 days labour. :)

jacket b

jacket and mum's scarf b

The first two days we spent sampling, looking for a design for a garment we were going to make later. I decided to use navy (on the top) and cream (at the back) fibres. As the cream fibres migrated through, they softened dark navy colour and the result is light grey/bluish cloth. I am wearing a scarf which I made later at home, but I will tell you about it in my next post.

I would like to thank Hi-Arts a lot for the financial support I was given, which enabled me to go on this (expensive) course. If you are anywhere in The Scottish Highlands, do check their site full of interesting and helpful info for all crafters, artists and designer-makers in this area!

AND, I would like to thank to all of you who left such  positive and encouraging comments on the previous post!!! As one lady on the course said about another workshop she had attended before :”Yeah, I also found it difficult to leave the kids, but by the end of the  cours, I was already looking for the next one to go to …” And I was the same. :)

before I go…

June 13, 2009

yes, mummy is going away – and is finding it – well, not easy…

I am leaving my nest for almost a week, I think it is the first time ever since I became mum that I am leaving our little family and going far away to England for a felting course on making seamless garments with Charlotte Buch. I booked a place long time ago as there are only 12 and the time has come. Of course, from a felting point of view, I am looking forward. I haven’t been on any course yet and I look forward to meet the feltmaking master as well as other feltmakers, to learn and share – and come back :)!

But before I go and come back :) and hopefuly have some garment to show you, I would like to show you what I have been working recently at. For a change, it was in black now.

Again and again I am drawn to the concept of combining felt with yarn, most of all I like how the yarn gives a bit of weight and hence good drape to felt, as the wool on it’s own is quite lightweight. Also, combining these two materials enables me to creat various textures and structures – and I feel there are still few things to be explored. In this scarf, I combined chunky acrylic yarn with fine merino and mulberry and tussah silk and then overdyed all with black acid dye. I wanted to achieve black as well as different shades of grey and charchoal, so I stuffed the scarf in a small pot and didn’t move it when dyeing. The scarf is almost 2 m long, yet soft, a bit chunky, especially when wrapped around the neck several times – and with a good drape.

bb b

And this is my second shibori piece. Again, I worked in white, merino embellished with mulberry silk. I was trying to make thin, but not cobweb cloth. Then I made a swirl and overdyed it with black. But, the end of the swirl opened and one end ended up being much darker. This turned out great though, as I feel unevenly dyed ends of the scarf just add interest to the beautiful pattern. I was tempted to leave the scarf to dry in a swirl shape, but my curiosity prevailed as I wanted to see tha patter. But I did’t iron it, so there is still a bit of texture there.

shib b

I wish you all have a good week! Speak to you when I come back!


my week

June 8, 2009

It was very hot and summery the weekend before the last one so I took my crochet hook to a (rather crowded) beach. Frist I made a circular piece, free form, just following my muse. It is too small for a brooch, so I am making a strap and it will be a cuff. I will dye it, am not sure about the colour yet. Either with tea, coffe or onion skins.

crochet b

And on Thursday I finished my first wire piece. Here it is. Silver plated and silver sterling wire + a square bead, just what I had in my stash, not much as I haven’t worked with beads so far.

wire ring b

And the rest of the time I spent with my white/wedding collection. It takes so much time to take/edit/upload pictures! But, it is all done now, hoorey!

mosaic wed coll b

PS: I was asked in the comments part if I made the collection for someone… I didn’t, I just had this need – after all those colourful pieces I made – to calm down :).  I also wanted to try out few different ways of combining the yarn with fleece and other designs of collars and felt brooches. I love colour, but I love  working in white too. It enables me to concentrate on texture and structure and push design so that it would be interesting even withot adding colour to it.

other than felting I did this

May 27, 2009


mosaic ring b

ring b

necklace b

My crochet homework for the last week done. Old design in a new material, copper wire from an old engine. Due to the material used, it could serve as a mini basket (for a doll’s house :).

And I recycled this

mosaic shrug b

unworn scarf into shrug, needed to shorten it, but my overlocker is far away from me, so used just zig-zag stitch, works well.

shrug b


May 25, 2009

I have mentioned it here before – I love to finish my projects, I grow restless if there is work laying around and piling which is half done, half not and  can not be  used/worn/listed in my shop. Finishing – that’ s what I have been doing last week and today, finishing, finishing and more finishing. But first, let me tell you, what I was doing last Thursday.

I went to our local Multicultural Sewing Group which meets at the Merkinch Community Centre - not of Fridays anymore, but Thursdays and I met Anna there. Well, we had met on-line before and discovered that we live in the same town + she comes from the same region as I do. Anna is a jewellery maker, using wire and semi-precious and precious stones and her work is stunning. You can see more of it here and here on Flickr. She showed us some of her work and then demonstrated how to make a simpe pendant from a sea glass.

wire pendant b

 Now, I am quite taken away by this. For a long time I have wanted to learn at least basics of wirework, it has got a long tradition back home and when I was there on holidays last summer I even had a chance to attend a short workshop. What put me off was the hardness of the wire we used. You want to have it long enough to wrap your piece, but because it is long, it tends to twist and break… Anna says, it is because we used plated wire, with silver sterling, silver or copper wire this shouldn’ t be a problem. I hope not! She is coming next Thursday again to teach us how to make a ring, maybe like this. Materials and tools are ordered, just need to get a book :). Maybe this one?

I have been making more collars as a custom order and experimenting with abstract flower designs. I was surprised to see how much time it takes to make one brooch, especially the rose one.

collars b

The first and the third collar is made of pure cashmere in natural colours. It is amazingly soft fibre with a silky shean, a real pleasure and luxury to work with. The brown collar is made from very fine merino, embellished with nepps and silk. The pink collar is the one I wrote here some time ago, the one which kept changing the colour depending the bath it was in (alkaline/acidic) and is made of very fine merino dyed with brazilwood.

All of them close either with a button or snap fastener and the brooches serve more as and embellishment or can be used to reposition the ends of the collar, eg. to lay them more diagonal.

mosaic brooches b

And a few facts on the brooches :):  I like the first one the most and it sold very quickly, the second one made it to Etsy Stalker and the third one has been dyed with tea (the wool and tencel, not the silk leaves).

Wishing you all a good week! m.O.nika :)

dyeing with onion skins

May 18, 2009

Thank you for your lovely comments on my beginners crochet, I enjoy learning it, although this past week I haven’t done much. I tried to make a small flower hair pin and crocheted a simple necklace – just a chain stitch with a bead on every stitch. The beads have to be threaded on a yarn before you start to crochet. Here it is.

bead necklace

crochet pin b

I have done a lot of felting, which I still need to document, most of it is in white. And I have been dyeing with onion skins and I am very delighted with the results. Just look!onion dyed merino wool b

On the left, 50 g of merino dyed with skins from white onions, on the right, another 50 g dyed with red skins. There was still so much colour in both dyebaths, I poured them together in one pot and dyed another 50 g of merino and achieved very good colour, similar to the merino on the left, just a bit darker. And because there seemed to be still a lot of colour after this second exhaust, I continued dyeing…

comfrey dyed merino overdyed with onion skins b

This is comfrey dyed merino (100 g) which I overdyed with onion skins. Mind you, this is the third exhaust! of both white and red onion skins.  So, altogether 250 g of wool, dyed with 250 g of skins from white onions and 100 g of skins from red onions. I am sure I would still get a good colour from the 4th exhaust, but I got exhausted…:) and ala India Flint, I just wrapped the used and wet skins in a silk shirt and made a bundle. Now I will try to forget about it and open at the end of the summer to see the pattern…

It seems like we live on onions :),which we don’ t. This amount I have accumulated over the past almost a year and mainly from the groceries: whenever I would do my shopping I would take skins from the veggie part.

Oh, not to forget, this is silk and tencel, both dyed in the first dyebath, on the left white skins, on the right red. I am pleased especially with tencel, since it is a celullose fibre and doesn’t take up natural dyes as well as protein silk or wool.

mul silk and tencel dyed onion skins b

I mordanted the wool with alum and tartar and always had onion skins in the bath with the wool, not all as the pot wasn’t big enough. Also, I left the wool in the dyebath overnight, or sometimes even a day. Books say that lightfastness of this dyestuff is not good, wheras the washfastness is. It should withstand felting, but will probably fade after some time. Never mind, I like these colours very much as well as  the fact that it is  so available and eco-friendly. 

New Adventures

May 10, 2009

I am learning to crochet. So far I have mastered crocheting in a spiral, dc – double crochet and tr – treble crochet :). I don’t remember when exactly I have started to be interested in this technique, problably when I saw some crochet beads. My interest has been growing and growing, so I bought – a book, then another. Then Mitsy from Artmind asked me, if I wanted to join her while she crochets this beautiful piece, so I couldn’t wait any longer and picked up a hook.

Now, the systematic me was fighting with the spontaneous me: should I start from scratch, learning stitches, making a sampler… or should I just go for a project? The second one won (but the first one is still very demanding :) and here is the result.

The choker is a project I saw in this book. Seemingly I didn’t count the stitches properly as the pattern should be all round and I used a different thread so it is more loose…, but still wearable. I like wearing fibre jewellery as it is very soft, I hardly feel it. This is soft, except the wire neck ring, which helps to keep a nice shape – but I was thinking of using a leather thong/cord instead to make it  softer. Worth trying.

bead necklace b

crochet 2b

Making this I have learned how to crochet with beads and used it to change the design of my crochet ring.

bead ring b2

bead ring b


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