Sunday, May 28, 2017

Avocados Are Pink

Hidden inside the avocado is something rather pink.  And this shirt was dyed with that something pink.


I never really noticed before, but if you really look at the pit of an avocado, it actually has a pinkish tint to it.  This was my first real natural dyeing project.

I saved the skins and pits from about 20 avocados in a bag in the fridge.  I simmered them in a pot (an old stainless steel pot) of water, just enough to cover them, for about an hour.  The smell was pretty interesting - kind of sweet.  Then I strained off the liquid and put it back on the stove, this time with two old shirts that I had scoured for 30 minutes - one cotton and one linen.  I wanted to see if they would take the dye differently. 

I then simmered them for an hour.  The color that you see in the pictures is pretty much how they looked after an hour.  This being my first time dyeing with avocado, I decided to leave the shirts in the dye bath overnight.  I don't think it really affected the color much at all. 

Also, I think both shirts took the dye pretty much the same.  There is not much difference in the final color - though the linen one might be a tad lighter.




I am really happy with the results.  I am not typically a pink wearing person, but this pink feels so very natural.  It's the sort of pink that really goes perfectly with brown, which is the color I wear most.  I think there are actually some brown undertones in the dye.

I also wanted to find out what shade of pink, just a quick dip would produce.  I found a remnant of lace (I think it's cotton) that I decided to dye.  It came out in a very light shade of pink with the same undertones.



One thing I want to note is that the dye did not take completely even.  I was a bit disappointed at first, but every time I wear it, I feel less and less that way.  It is a really nice feeling to wear something that you've dyed naturally.  And, some of the unevenness is due to staining that was there before I dyed the shirts.  The linen shirt is actually my garden work shirt.  It had all kinds of stains on it.  And the cotton shirt is one that I've had for awhile.  The dyeing did make some stains more apparent than before, but again, it sort of just adds to the overall natural feel and look to the shirt.

I am saving up more avocado skins and pits right now for another dye pot.  I think I will double up the amount of material that I use next time to find out if the shade of pink can be made any darker.  This has been a great fun!


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Lone Star Baby Quilt

I joined my local Modern Quilt Guild back in February of this year and I'm so glad I did.  I've met so many encouraging women who love, love to quilt.  Many of them have been quilting for years.  There are also some like me, who have only just begun our quilting exploration.  A special part of each meeting is show and tell.  It has been very inspiring!

I was so inspired that I made my very first quilt.  I found a design that drew me in and got the creative juices flowing.  The Lone Star Baby Quilt was the perfect size to dive into.  I got out all of my scraps and began hunting for color combinations that worked together.


Amy did a great job on the tutorial - I followed the instructions with no changes.  The only trouble I had was getting all the points to meet in the middle - easier said than done.


In the end, it worked out pretty well.  I like how the blue, brown, and coral tones work together.  I didn't realize until taking pictures of the final product, but the darker tan and peach solids that are part of the framing make a couple of the areas look like elongated cubes and somewhat detract from the star shape.  I think if I did it over again, I would use all white background fabrics for that area.  I really like the dark binding that I made from scraps of the darker fabrics.  I think it frames the quilt nicely.  And, I really got to practice hand stitching.  I did all of the binding with a needle and thread and my own two hands. 


For the back, I decided to have some fun with the leftover scraps.  It took just as long (maybe longer) to do the back as it did to make the front.  I curved the strips of fabric, which made the piecing a challenge.


To me, it sort of looks like a row of books on a library shelf.  Even though I used all scraps, there are still some scraps left.  I guess they weren't small enough to begin with.


The quilting shows up pretty well on this side of the fabric.  I experimented a bit, but just ended up with some straight line quilting along the each of the edge of the star and the surrounding pieces.  I may be more adventurous next time with some free motion quilting, but I do like the simplicity of the straight stitching too!

I really like this pattern and would highly recommend it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

One For Him and One For Her >>> Sacs of Wool

I recently made a bag for him from wool...


...that used to be a coat.  Or rather, two coats.

I really enjoy making bags.  It is an especially nice way to upcycle garments that just don't have much going for them anymore.

And wool is super expensive, unless you pick it up at the thrift store for a couple of dollars in the form of a coat, or a sweater, or a skirt.

So, these two coats came together as a gift for my husband.  This is a much more manly bag (and more suitable) than the Trader Joe's reusable bag that he has been using for quite some time.

I like to put lots of pockets in the bags that I make.  There is one in the front for hard to find items like keys.


There is also a very large one inside for a water bottle, a wallet, or other things you don't want to get crushed.  And, it would not be complete without a small pocket to hold a pen.


I used the striped fabric for the inside to give it a bit of a nautical feel.

The idea for the flap came from the coat itself.  As I thought about closure for the bag, I saw that part of the collar from the coat already had a button hole, ready to go.  I cut it across making a triangle so that the button hole would line up with the button on the pocket.  And it was done, just like that.  It felt like a moment of upcycling bliss, using a piece directly from the coat that way.  No seams or button holes to sew.


then I made a bag for her...


....made from a tweedy, wool skirt.  Just one skirt.

I made this bag with a pattern offered by Noodlehead called the Trail Tote.  I was drawn to the bag because of the piping.  I really wanted to try it.  So, when I decided to make a bag to enter into the county fair the night before I had to turn it in, this is what I made.


Now for a peek inside...



I had fun with the mix of grey, red, and white.  The zip pocket on the front was also a great detail.  Another great place to stash your keys or sunglasses.


I used a button tab closure instead of the magnetic snap, just adding it like in my Bucket Basket Tote that I made a few months ago.  I also just made the strap one piece with no hardware attached.  I like my bags to be lightweight and don't mind not having the adjustable pieces.


The strap turned out a bit long, but it works well as a cross body bag.

The pattern comes in two sizes.  I made the small bag which is good for quick trips to the store or a night out when you don't want to carry much.

I know it's a bit late to be posting about wool now that we are in March...March!, but now is actually the perfect time to gather up some of your own cast off wool at your local thrift store as they make the transition from winter to spring time clothing.  Just remember, the longer the coat (or skirt!) you buy, the easier the fabric will be to work with.  For instance, the grey that I used on the first bag was from a very long coat with no seams down the back.  Of course, you can always mix different wool fabrics to make your own one of a kind sac of wool.

Thanks for stopping by!