tougher than it looks

i've been seeing posts about solar dyeing, and thought i would give it a try; as it's still in the 90's here and the thought of turning on the stove and standing over it for an hour is rather unbearable. using the leftover dyestuff from past dye projects, red onion skin and avocado skin, i pleated and wrapped some of my prepared alum mordanted cloth bits and let them soak outside in the sun for two days. the avocado is still soaking, so no results to post of yet.

i was happy with the results of the cotton swatch soaked in onion skin; finally some patterning to my dye efforts! as i've been going through my selvedge magazines i've been reading a lot about resist dyeing, i think that that along with shibori will be my next area of study. the linen piece was okay, some dye penetrated the edges but the inside of the pleat was still white. pretty, but not as interesting as the cotton.

i've been admiring the progress eva of tinctory has been making with her smocking pieces, and have to say that i was impressed and enchanted with her work last year, but am really enthralled by her current natural dye artworks. one day i shall own one of her lovely pieces for my own.

i had tried my hand at smocking in the past and every attempt was quite sad, so pulling out the art of manipulating fabric, i tried once more using the dyed linen swatch. after several eh stitched attempts, i ripped them out, and tried to simplify my approach. two rows in and i thought of what could fit in the niches to make it more interesting, and to aid in holding them open. looking through my bead collection, at first i tried seed beads (too small), then swarvoski crystals (too saturated in color), and finally my pearls (they popped right in and added a delicate glow to the soft coloring of the dye). as i sewed, the piece started to take shape and i pictured a 3-dimensional brooch; so when i was done, i sewed it to a bit of felt and a pin. at the finish of this project, i have to say hats off to tinctory, as this was a more difficult skill than i had previously thought, and requires a good deal of thought beforehand. i'm not sure if i shall make further attempts, but a skill learned is never lost.

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