a theme

i tend towards blues, creams, and browns in pottery. i don't think i do this with a specific purpose; more an inclination towards those hues. red is my least favorite color, followed by orange, but i do like pink rather a lot. primary and secondary hues aren't really my cup of tea (outside of yellow), they are just too strong and bright when used other than as an accent hue. tertiary hues and pastels though, those are lovely. give me a yellow-green, blue-purple, blue-green, or red-purple any day and i'm a happy kid. whites and creams allow me to admire the green shades of my tea, one of the nicest parts of drinking it. an explanation for the celedon color would be it's traditional, so you come across it a lot.

my collection of tea preparing pieces (clockwise from top left): bamboo chasen with celedon stand, tokoname kyusu, stoneware chawan for matcha, water cooler (my grandmother's), tea cup for sencha, hand thrown tea cup for bancha, tea chest in the upper right corner, chakin in lower right corner, teaspoon in lower left corner. it's a mishmash of pieces, i know, but i like each one and they make me happy (the only one i have to impress is myself, any how).


bigger, but better?

now for a full sized version! here is my second egg basket, a little asymmetrical, but it works. i'm pretty sure it could hold a few bricks, but i'm not really willing to try out the theory. there are a couple of other varieties i would like to construct; nantucket, onion, coiled, oh whichever catches my eye. we'll see.


pattern books

i've decided to part with some of my japanese pattern books, and have listed them in my etsy shop. i haven't made anything from some of them, so i thought it would be a good idea to pass them on to someone who will.



i've watched the final harry potter, and it was brilliant (i still think they could have squeezed it into one movie, or at least separated the two halves at a different point in the plot then where they did). but, all in all, quite good entertainment.



since watching the movie "the tourist", i've been infatuated with the wrap angelina jolie's character wore in the first half; so elegant and warm. when i was in asheville, i picked up 3/4 yd of double faced wool coating with the intention of making something similar.

i wanted it to be reversible, so i sewed the pieces together with a zigzag stitch so there isn't a seam. for some shaping i added a pleat to the back.

the wrap is off centered for flair, and i'm thinking of adding magnets as a closure, but i'm not 100% sure. for now, it's too hot to wear it, so i can keep collecting ideas.

how does your garden grow?

with the immense heat and little rainfall my garden isn't growing as quickly as i hoped. but, these past few days we've been getting afternoon rain showers, and i noticed a tomotillo hanging in the lower branches. the flowers are really pretty as well, like dragons.


weaving in three dimensions

since becoming a weaver i've started to pay more attention to baskets. i love to find them in yarn stores being used as display; they feel good together with fiber (a pb & j relationship), their natural hues being a perfect backdrop to the vivid colors. i want to start incorporating them more into my personal life, perhaps even into my artistic life.

my friend bonnie is a basket maker and has many of them about her weaving studio. one particular shape, the egg basket, has garnered my attention the most. she offered to teach me how to make one, and i gladly jumped on the opportunity.

yesterday, we started on a medium sized basket, getting the handle and rim together, but had to put them aside to wait on further supplies. after lunch, we got to making a small egg basket, which enabled me to understand it's construction, and near instant gratification. it's so dainty, it fills the palm of your hands when held together! i love small things.

finally, a completion

if you recall, way back in 2010 i stained some jersey fabric which i had bought to make a dress from the drape drape book; which i then put aside to do later (i didn't think later would be a year later). feeling anxious and bored the other night, i decided i would actually make it into the no 6 dress. the pattern sheets are a maze of overlapping lines and sections; unnerving to say the least. but, with careful concentration i was able to locate everything, trace it onto swedish tracing paper, make adjustments, and cut out my fabric with the aid of a chaco liner (thanks kathryn!).

the next morning i sewed it up, deciding to add some interest to the front by twisting the straps, and embellishing. i enjoy embellishing, i think perhaps, a little too much. but there is definitely a fine line between Gaudi and gaudy, as a college instructor of mine was fond of saying. i prefer to think of it as my rococo impulses.

some of the embellishment was inspired by this shirt from park vogel.

the shape of this dress is definitely different from what i normally wear, and i hope it does not appear matronly on my hourglass figure, but i think with the right accessories i should be fine. the front is what throws me at times, but once you see the back, everything is forgiven. i hope to make more pieces from this book, and i have my eye on the second volume of drape drape. i will also have to search for more drapey material as well.

tea is good, but cats are better

driving here and there to fix my computer took us to augusta georgia, then over to aiken south carolina where we found a lovely yarn store. i am quite bad at remembering to take photos, but i did manage to capture this pretty bloom that was right outside the store.

when i arrived back home it was to a waiting box of tea yumminess. since coming home i've tried den's tea, and now ippodo tea to get my sencha and genmaicha fix. i had visited ippodo while in kyoto, so i felt comfortable ordering from them. their website is so whimsical, with illustrated instructions for brewing the different types of green tea.

meiko decided the box would be a comfortable sleeping spot. she often puts me in mind of a muffin top.


weaving plums and purples

i love the look of entrelac knitting, but don't feel like having a lap full of wool right now. so, instead, i decided to work on some weaving. i chose to mimic the feel of entrelac by using an m's and o's pattern, which created a lovely texture.

looking at my yarn stash, i found several purple hues in my wool box; enough for a shawl. the body of the piece is a tweed wool that has a bit of stretch to it, along with some cochineal dyed merino i did while in japan, grey bamboo, and plumy alpaca (which decided it wasn't going to shrink at all once i fulled the finished piece).

for the shawl ends i finished them by starting and ending the weft with a chain stitch, and tying the warp threads into chunky tassels. i'm very happy with this finish and will use it again.


um...where are the other veggies?

this year was going to be THE year of gardening. i was going to aerate the soil, mix in my compost, start seedlings, create rows in the soil, maintain everything weed free, and reap the benefits of my labor. well. i did do most of those things, except that most of my seedlings died. all of them but the 16 squash seeds, and a handful of the tomotillo or maybe the huck cherries (they look similar and i put them in similar seed containers so i don't actually know which ones made it).

the other thing that happened is the weather; we've had more than 40 continuos days of over 90 degrees, and only 10 or so of those days had any rain. i've been out watering morning and evening (serving up a buffet for every mosquito in a three mile radius), and the squash have been thankful. they're ginormous! every time it does rain they grow another three feet i swear.

today i noticed my first fruit from my labor, a wee squash! it's like a lightbulb. it's incredible what the squash tentacles wrap around. here is some blades of grass entrapped by the vine.

thankfully, my trusty orchids are loving being outside this time of year. lady of the night is blooming (she is scented only during the evening), but i won't be wandering around in the dark to smell her (though it is an intoxicating musky scent).

easy peasy

wanting to do some quick and easy natural dyeing, i decided to try a technique using extracts from the extract dyeing book, "colours of the rainbow" by helen melvin. the process is quite fun! i had purchased some silk hankies when in asheville, and decided to dye them along with some wool, linen, alpaca, and cotton.

the two colors i used were osage orange and teal (from hue & dye). i presoaked the fiber in a copper mordant to bring out more greens in the colors. i was rather surprised by which fibers picked up which color more; the wool grabbed the most blue, the silk grabbed the most yellow, and the cellulose fibers tended to the paler tones. i was especially pleased by the alpaca.

i pried apart the silk hankies for spinning later (august when i take a silk spinning class), wound the yarns onto bobbins, and twisted the silk organza to get some pleats when it dries.

another experiment i have going is a traditional indigo vat which has been brewing for awhile now. this shibori example is from a piece of duckcloth i want to make into an oilcloth apron; i'm just waiting for some of the smell to air out of it. when i say traditional, what i mean to say is urine and indigo. but i must say, the vat itself smells less odiferous now than it did when i first started it.