Thursday, September 29, 2011

Shabby Chic Lace Collage

I've started a series of Shabby Chic Lace collages using all vintage lace.
 I've used one of Rengin's oyas at the bottom of the image.
The small metal findings are French. There are 50 collages in various stages and many are going to an art event and some will find their way to etsy. It was frightening to see the amount of lace I've collected over the past 20 years! It's great to see the laces finally displayed in small vignettes instead of residing lonely in plastic totes.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dyed Silk Carrier Rods in Mermaid colors

I dyed these silk rods last night to use in the Mermaid Collage. I wanted to match the Sea Cove bias-cut silk ribbon, so I used Silk dyes in Evergreen and Teal, blended with Rayon dye in Cinnabar. Just received silk cord in the color-way Abalone and plan on using these bits for a "bolo" lariat with the silk cord.

Dyed Silk Carrier Rods

This  is the result of dyeing the carrier rods in fall colors. Pulling apart the pieces, yields "duck down" soft silk bits.

Dyeing Tutorial Step Eight Silk Carrier Rods

Dampen the silk carrier rods with water. Using a paint brush, brush each side of the silk rod with dye, allowing the two colors to flow into each other. Again, rayon dyes in Olivine, Antique Gold were mixed with the silk dye Cinnabar. I wanted to dyed specific colors to be used for embellishing the clay cuff.  Microwave for one minute, allow to cool. The rod is a by-product of reeling the silk off of the cocoon. The rods are not de-gummed, so after dyeing, they may be a bit sticky. The luster is brilliant. Pull these pieces apart and they have a "feather-like" quality. Once they have dried after being dyed, they will dry into a curled, wrinkled shape.

Silk Tutorial Step Seven

Dyed Fibers
Once the fibers have dried, the ribbons are ironed on the back, then wound onto spools and placed into plastic containers. Left to right ~ bottom left corner is the over-dyed brown velvet ribbon, upper left corner is the mauve over-dyed mauve velvet ribbon, top of the photo is the 2mm silk cord, top right corner is 30mm double-sided silk satin, bottom right corner is the 3/8" glitter single-sided velvet ribbon. All the dyed fibers can be purchased in our OldElements etsy site and the undyed fibers are available in the Dyer's Ribbon section of our site. We have an assortment too of velvet ribbon that can be over-dyed.

Dyeing Tutorial Step Six

Wet nylon velvet and silk satin yardage ready to go into the microwave. The nylon velvet will dry to pastel shades. I used rayon dyes on the fibers in Olivine, Antique Gold, Victorian Rose. Some of the velvet was brown or mauve and over-dyed, which adds more of a vintage flair to the finished product. I normally microwave everything for 2 to 3 minutes and then air-dry. I do not rinse the fibers when they come out of the microwave. Fibers can be gently hand-washed or dry-cleaned but as a rule I do not machine-wash any of my hand-dyed fibers, since I use them for embellishing. All embroidered wearables are dry-cleaned.

Dyeing Tutorial Step Five

All of the silk cord has been painted with dye. The color looks very vibrant. But since I used rayon dyes on silk cording, and the cording is very wet, once dried, the cording will dry to soft vintage tones. The silk will only absorb so much dye. When the cord is removed, there will be puddles of dye in the foam plate.

Dyeing Tutorial Step Four

Since I am always in a hurry, my favorite method of dyeing, is to use a pipette to apply the dye. I draw up a pipette of dye by squeezing the bulb on the pipette, and then spritz the dye onto the fiber, in several locations. Allow it to bleed into the other colors, which creates a vintage palette.

Dyeing Tutorial Step Three

With the fiber damp, randomly brush on dye in three-inch sections. The colors used were Victorian Rose and Pansy in the Ribbonsmyth Rayon Dyes. 2mm silk cord is the fiber. Since the cord is damp, the colors will flow into each other and create new shades. Once the top is dyed, flip over the cord and continue adding dye. Normally I would not dye so much yardage at one time. This was cording I had stored in a plastic bag and instead of detangling; dyed all the cord at once. I don't wear gloves when dyeing, which at times, has me wearing dyed finger-tips for a day or so. Our dyes are non-toxic and wearing gloves leaves me clumsier than usual!

Dyeing Tutorial Step Two

Dye fibers in a foam paper plate. This prevents the dye from seeping into a paper plate.
I dye a variety of fibers using one combination of dyes. Supplies - water,  foam paper plates, pipettes, brushes, paper towels and an ice cub tray for mixing dyes. In this photo, approximately 30 yards of silk cord is dampened and placed onto a foam plate. Wet the fiber and wring out all the water. The more water left in the fibers, the more pastel the ribbon. I keep a paper towel beneath the plate and use the paper towel as a palette, to test the color before applying to the fiber. If you are new to dyeing, keep a small notebook, notating the drops or teaspoons of dyes combined with other colors. Once the dyeing process is finished, tape a swatch of the ribbon or fiber to the page to note the outcome. All of this information is in my book "The New Ribbon Embroidery". An entire chapter was dedicated to dyeing. The book is no longer in print but copies do come up time-to-time on Amazon.

Dyeing Fibers Tutotial Step One

Here's a simple tutorial on dyeing fibers. All of these were dyed in less than 30 minutes using Ribbonsmyth non-toxic dyes. Once dyed, they were heat-set in the microwave.
I mixed silk dyes and rayon dyes together.
In this photo: double-sided silk satin, brown and mauve nylon single-faced velvet, a gray rayon motif, 2mm silk cord, glitter velvet, white silk ribbon and silk carrier rods. Whatever you have on-hand, dye it!
Nylon fibers will dye only in pastel shades.

Mermaid Collage Close-up

I was hoping to capture the luster of the silk carrier rods, but the sheen is subtle. I pulled one of the rods apart while still damp and one rod can be pulled into several pieces. When pulled apart the rod is almost feather-like. I'm probably the last person on earth to discover silk carrier rods, but thrilled I found the bag among my drawers of silk fibers. Once the rods were dyed, I microwaved them for 2 minutes, which dried the rods. After I embellished them, I dabbed Gilder's paste onto the rods as well as onto the fabric. I hoard old brass buttons and now is the time to use those buttons! Above the Mermaid head, I twisted and tacked into place, bias-cut silk ribbon. Since I wanted raw edges for the collage, the raw-edge ribbon added a bit of texture to the piece. I added a piece of Mica over the mermaid face to add a bit of texture.

Mermaid Collage with Carrier Rod and hand-dyed fibers

This quote is great and it can be interpreted in many ways.
"And I said, with rapture, here is something I can study all my life, and never understand".
Samuel Beckett, Moloy
Since I've not read the book, I would like to think the quote can be used in describing women!
And since mermaids hold much mystique for us; thought the 1920's Mermaid image would work for this collage. The collage is approximately 4"x6" with uneven edges. It has been finished with a wool back.

I used Key West hand-dyed rayon tape to make an uneven fringe. Trimmed the sides of the image with silk carrier rods that I dyed to match the Sea Cove bias-cut silk ribbon.
These are elements taken from my new Mermaid CQ Block kit.

Clay Cuff with silk rod top view

Here's a top view of the cuff with a bit better detail.
Still have not been able to capture the luster of the silk rod! 

Clay Cuff embellished with silk rod

Silk rod embellished clay cuff finished!
Gotta love that E6000 glue! I have allot to learn on how to photograph cuffs, but taking the photo outdoors is a good start. I roughed up the clay surface with an emery board before gluing the silk carrier rod to the cuff.
Glued to the rod are two Victorian buttons, one large honeycomb faceted copper bead, a gold metal cage bead and a brown pearl. Once that was completed, I added small bits of gold metal thread I purchased at the factory in Lyon, France,  harvested from gold bars used to create metal paillettes and bullion. The silk carrier rod now looks like it is sitting in a nest of gold metal bits.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Clay Cuff, FiberFusion and a silk carrier rod

I'm still playing with clay and can't wait to see this cuff finished. The cuff is nestled on top of FiberFusion and beneath it is a silk carrier rod. I have a large bag of Japanese carrier rods I picked up in New York. Just dyed this piece and it is still wet, thus the brilliance of the rod. The luster of the silk is amazing. These will be super to work with as they can easily be stitched, pulled apart into layers, etc. Will dye a few more and get just the right color to use on the cuff. Will tone down the rod with gilder's paste and then fill with different copper tone glass beads and probably a bit of wire.  Waiting for a spool of silk cord to arrive and then will use a rod on the silk cord as a focal for a necklace.

Crazy Quilt Vintage white block kit

Crazy Quilt Vintage White Block Kit
I have a few of these kits left and am sending some to Japan today, so thought I would take a picture while packing the kits. The components because they have so much potential. I know I would throw all the contents into a  pot filled with tea and tone down for a vintage block. The white lace motif is harvested from a wedding gown bodice. The beautiful, green tamboured embroidery came from a formal gown and I'm sure it originated in India. I've added a white vintage 12" dinner napkin, velvet, ivory and green toile fabric, complete with yards of braid, a muslin base fabric, and topped off with silk ribbon. I know it speaks "Bridal" but it reminds me too of a winter "Ice Queen"!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lacey Cuff Closeup

When I have booths at trade shows; I spend time doing dyeing demonstrations. Last night I came across a bag of demo samples and found this lace motif.  The piece was dyed with RibbonSmyth Rainbow dyes using dyes in Olivine, Antique Gold, Lilac, and Victorian Rose. Dyes that have been heavily diluted with water. Use a damp motif before applying dye, so the dyes will flow into each other and create additional shades. Once the motif is dry, iron the back of the lace piece to heat-set. I cut the motif into 3 pieces and then reassembled. I added  vintage 1920's amethyst rhinestone sew-ons for flower centers.
The metal-coated glass rose is a 1920's flat-back piece. I have several hundred and will get them loaded, as well as strands of assorted rose montees,  onto my etsy sites, once the studio rehab is completed.  The base of the cuff has been finished with gilder's paste in bronze and olive green. This piece is neutral and could be  dressed up or would look good with  jeans and a cashmere sweater.

Lacey Clay Cuff

This is a cuff I made last night  using a dyed lace motif attached to an aluminum cuff blank.
The edges of the lace have been tipped with German iridescent glitter and the cuff has quite a bit of sparkle, that I've not been able to capture with the camera. I added RibbonSmyth  1920's vintage amethyst rose montees, (rhinestones) finished with a 1920's metal-coated rose cabochon and two pearls. The base of the cuff was finished with gilder's paste. Can't wait to make more!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Needlepoint Floral Rose Cuff

Here is the completed needlepoint cuff. I've still not mastered the best way to photograph cuffs. The piece is lined with a cinnamon Ultrasuede. I discovered in using a 2" wide cuff blank, that the end result offered a  2 1/2" wide piece. I thought the cuff was too large for my wrist, but once the needlepoint piece was completed; it fit perfectly.
These are components for making a Needlepoint Cuff that I just finished stitching until the wee hours of the morning. The needlepoint canvas is very old. I found the piece at a thrift store for $2.50. The canvas is printed with the words "British Hong Kong". There are enough floral repeats for a few more cuffs. I bought wool skeins in a variety of colors for $.50 a skein. Each color background will offer a different look.

 A student that often frequented my classes, gave me the hank of glass Victorian Jet beads. The beads are hex-cut and offer just the right amount of "flash". I ordered in the cuff blanks, which are a great quality, and will fit a variety of wrists. The cuff blanks can be ordered from my etsy shop OldElements.

Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA Bell Tower

Today and everyday, may we feel fully the love in our hearts and act on that love by believing rather than doubting, embracing rather than judging, and celebrating diversity rather then seeking safety in sameness. May we reach deeply within and widely without and together create the world we envision.

Silk Ribbon Embroidered Beret

This is a gorgeous wool beret embroidered by Laurel Mazziotti of Virginia. One year Laurel was here at the studio taking classes, and I had just received a shipment of wool berets from New York. We  were all  stitching them for gifts. Laurel used RibbonSmyth Variegated Silk Ribbons for her work.

Isn't this piece lovely? Her embroidery is beautiful.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Crazy Quilt Initial Banner

This is a RibbonSmyth Victorian Initial crazy quilt banner  that I just discovered in a trunk of class kits and projects.  I taught this class in La Bouboule, France, and was lucky to find a Versailles Cigarette Silk. It brings back great memories. I stamped the initial onto the fabric and used RibbonSmyth buttonhole silk twist for the Satin Stitch. I gathered 3" pieces of RibbonRuffles to make the little hollyhocks growing out of the clay button pot. Love those little clay pot buttons. They add so much dimension and embellishment to any piece.

Mokuba Cuff Kit

This is a doupioni silk cuff kit I made during one our recent rain marathons. We have had 16 inches of rain in two weeks. I wish I could send the rain to Texas! 
When finished with the ribbon work on the mauve doupioni; I added Mokuba trim for the edges. It is a  "girly" piece. Not an easy piece to photograph. I used hand-dyed lavender rayon tape to make the roses, added a rayon-tape gathered flower and finished with a gathered trailing rayon tape tendril. Filled in around the design with silk ribbon stitches, pearls and flower sequins. I added a rhinestone button closure with a seed bead toggle. These would make great Christmas gifts. I put all the components, with instructions, into a kit. The pattern/kit offers a cuff for a 7 1/2"  length wrist, but simply shorten the fabric or extend the fabric length to accommodate any size wrist. The kits are $19 and we have a few left. Great Beginner basic kit.

I purchased a large piece of Needlepoint in reds and black poppies. I've ordered in the cuff blanks and can't wait to make some Needlepoint Cuffs.

Mokuba Cuff Kit

This photo is a bit washed out. And hope to replace it, when we see sunny weather again.
This cuff is 1 1/2" wide and I decided to turn it into a Beginner class kit. I've used Japanese Mokuba braid around the edges. The embellished roses are stitched onto rose mauve doupioni silk. Fun to blend in rayon-tape roses with 7mm silk ribbon stitches.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Jackson with his Elizabethan collar

This is a picture of our little papillon, Jackson. He had surgery yesterday and now he has to wear an "Elizabethan Collar" for two weeks. The vet said they did not have a collar large enough to contain his ears!
I feel so bad for him, that I doubt he will be in that collar for two weeks! He's getting lots of snacks and pain meds for a week!