I have been waiting, not patiently, for spring to arrive so I could do some indigo dyeing. Finally, it got warm enough and last weekend my friend Sheila and I set up a dye vat.
One of the first into this spring’s dye bath was a pale turquoise cotton crinkle scarf. The colour was not intense enough and it was boring!
Handwoven organic cotton makes a luscious scarf, with a super fine crepe texture. I absolutely love the result. It is the scarf on the right hand side below.
These three indigo dyed crinkle scarves are so easy to care for. They can be machine washed in gentle and machine dried too. Ideal travel companions, wrapped around neck, shoulders or folded under to rest your head. Twist to pack, shake out and wear. You will always be elegantly dressed! Bon voyage!
I am so fortunate to be collaborating with a local craftsperson – Maria Nunes. Her hand made crochet jewellery is beautifully designed and crafted. Maria learned to crochet as a child, growing up in Portugal at a time when there was still no television, not even electricity! In school they were taught to knit and would make simple scarves and hats. At home, Maria’s mother taught her to crochet to make doilies, table scarves and trim for her ‘enxoval’ or trousseau.
Maria has continued to crochet and over the years has made many household items using traditional patterns. Recently, she has changed her style to reflect modern tastes, creating handcrafted pillows, wallhangings and of course jewellery!
Variegated, ombre, and with colour changes over very short areas have been a challenge for me. I have had to rethink my process as well as the amount of dye used! But it has been so much fun! I will also be indigo dyeing this spring and I can’t wait to see the jewellery she makes. I gave Maria all the indigo dyed cotton thread left from one of my projects. All of the pieces she made have been sold! It shows that blue and white is a much loved combination.
Magazines, and books are still places Maria finds inspiration, but more often she finds herself turning to Pinterest. Inspiration for her designs also come from working with the materials. A bead, the colour of the hand dyed cotton thread can start her on a new design. More and more often her jewellery includes beads, they really excite her with opportunities!
Maria believes that crochet is a dyeing art. She has tried to teach the next generation but with the competition for TV watching, and the internet with its so many social media outlets, it is a hard sell. Maria finds that crocheting is a relaxing and imaginative art. It has a calming effect allowing room for imagination.
I am collaborating with Maria on dyeing some new crochet cotton. More experimentation with colours, ombre effects, indigo and more. Follow Maria on Instagram @maria.n.designs to see what she is creating.
The outgoing president of the Yorkshire Rose Quilters’ Guild of Toronto issued a challenge to the guild: make a manhole cover quilt! Guild members were challenged to create a circular quilt the size of a manhole (around 24 1/2 inches) to celebrate Toronto. The design and technique were left up to each individual.
The mosaic quilt process:
My entry into the President’s challenge is created using a mosaic technique. I selected a variety of colourful scraps, ironed a fusible web onto the wrong side, cut the scraps into 1 inch squares and arranged them onto a solid grey.
I arranged them in a curved pattern, fused them to the background.
Each square was machine stitched 1/8 of an inch around the edge. The backing and batting were attached using the pillowcase technique. I under stitched around the perimeter, which helped to keep the backing fabric rolled towards the back.
Each section was machine quilted in a curved spiral.
All the quilts from this challenge will be on display at our quilt show Sept. 20-21, 2014. Visitors to the show will vote for their three favourites and the top three will be unveiled at our October meeting.
Artist’s Statement for Evolving Mosaic:
Toronto has been called a “Cultural Mosaic”. Almost half of the over 2.8 million people living in Toronto are immigrants. They speak over 140 languages and dialects. This quilt celebrates the diversity of Canadians that comprise our city.
The squares of the mosaic represent the more than 200 distinct ethnicities that make up Toronto. The quilt is a swirl of three primary colours, some squares are solids while some are a combination of colours. They symbolize the people of Toronto, all Canadians while still maintaining their rich ethnic, racial and linguistic heritage. We are fortunate that all the ethnicities have retained their uniqueness, contributing to, and strengthening the fabric of our community. The motto for the City of Toronto describes our rich culture: “Diversity Our Strength”.