letterpress work

The last two days I have been printing.  Printing on paper.  I have been printing business cards for the boyos and cards for the ribbons I sell in my Etsy shop for me.  I actually need to print business cards for myself as well but I could not find my plate.  I have been thinking I need to change it but I have not taken that action.  This may be a sign.

I had a friend say that it appeared that I really enjoyed the ecoprinting.  Bottom line, I enjoy printing as long as I am not in an office all day.  When I used to work in an office, coming home to print just was a lot.  I have spent sixteen hours in the last two days printing and it is just work.  Making the plates, making the designs is very creative but the process is very repetitive.  I can be stressful and hard when your body and head are not in the game.

Since I have not been in office, the printing is much easier.  The standing has not been!  Part of that is my foot.  Part of that is injuring my hip on top of the arthritis in that same hip.  Also, I need to look into a larger paper cutter. 

Making bundles does speak to me.  It is the printing with plants and on fabric.  I know I can do the same thing with paper but fabric is what speaks to me.  It is a happy place.  I never know what I will get where the creativity with letterpress is more of that I can make the same thing over and over.  

I might go collect some plants tonight.  Take evening walk.  The wise thing is to take a bath after two days standing and then go to bed early.  

I just want an ice cream cone.  If not that, a hamburger.  Obviously, I am a little tired.  I can always do more tomorrow.  I know with the life I live, enjoy, love, nothing happens fast and there is always something to do.  Tomorrow will probably be about cooking beans, coaching, maybe a bundle or two, and working on sweaters.  I may get a chance to work on some Christmas presents but probably not.


more twirling

There was surf yesterday and I really thought I was going to go surfing.  But between my hip and being told to slow down, I did not go.  It was probably for the best but it still does not mean it is not a bummer that I do not have all the energy I want back or that I tweaked my hip a week ago today.  There will be more surf and hopefully I will be healed.

Part of this weekend was doing a few things for me.  I liked my twirly skirt so much that I found another piece of fabric in my stash large enough to make another.  I did have to use the grey linen as a waistband but it works.  I have two more pieces of linen that I am looking at and thinking it is possible for more skirts.

I like the twirl.  I like the length.  I like the pockets.  I look at them though and can see how they will transform as they age.  Not a when will it wear out and I will be sad but when will it wear out in such a way that I can dye you.  That I can add a cool patch or a bit of embroidery to the skirt.  Maybe another pocket to hide a mend.  

I have a Christmas present in mind for my best friend that will be similar but different.  Adding a bodice to the skirt to make a dress.  I am calling it a witchy dress because she can always send it back to me and I can mend it.  It could become more and more her. 

My Dad talks about when people only had two outfits, work and good.  Good was for church, weddings, and funerals.  I will never have that because I sew and I made myself so many things I really like that sit in my closet.  But the idea that I can take something I really like and make it become even more as the years go on is really a cool idea.  

I have been mending sweaters again.  Cardigans.  They have just had too much wear and some have been attacked by moths.  But I would rather spend the time mending them then going shopping.  It is much more restful, even online.  Though there is a backpack on eBay that I am covetting.  Absolutely no current need for it but it is the one I want.  Oh well.  That is life.



I have known I have been a bit tired, a little off.  My body has been hurting more then normal which is partially the season.  The news and politics are just depressing and sad.  On top of all of this, I tweaked my hip Thursday night. 

How badly?  I slept a lot of Friday and hardly moved Saturday.  It was the best for the pain.  I decided it was a weekend to be quiet.  When I could sit, I worked on a couple large projects that are just taking time.  I laugh at myself because everything I do takes more time then you would think.  I had a chef today tell me I needed to open a bakery but then his favorite bread that I bake takes three days to make.  I just laugh.  He still wishes to learn to bake.  That is going to be some work for me.

Even before I wrote the tutorial on how to ecoprint, I have been wanting to make more bundles.  See what happens if.  When I go into a new area lately, I check out the thrift stores to see what I can find in the linen sections.  I have been spending less then $10 on fabrics to play with.  But standing until today meant that it felt like bone on bone in my hip and I just did not make it very long.  Today, I was able to collect some leaves, acorns, sticks, and moss to see what will come of it.

I changed the mordant on the cotton to tea and iron.  It made the cotton go grey, almost purple immediately.  I have a layer of silk in there as well which I made sure was well saturated with the vinegar solution.  I created two bundles and they are now sitting on my work table in a bowl.  I am very tempted to leave them there fro a few days and see what happens.  Or leave them resting before I steam them to see what happens.  I am in the see what happens stage of experimentation.  

I need to post about some of my other works in progress but the ability to take a walk for some leaves, make some bundles and wait, is very healing in the craziness that is this society currently.  Quiet.  A still place.

I do think I need more pockets though!  I am thinking about making the forager vest from Taproot, Issue 28, so I have pockets for gathering and yarn.  I do know that when my skirts start falling apart or get stained, part of the witchy will be more pockets!  I love having two.  I do need more.

This is kind of a babble. I should apologize.  It is where my head is.  I am living in a cabin in the mountains in my head which not where life is around me everyday.  It is keeping me sane but it does mean that I need words to other beings at times.


going down the rabbit hole

I am feeling very creative but only in one direction currently.  Which does make it very interesting for anyone reading a blog!  I still eat very well, bread is being baked, mending is being done (which I will take some pictures of soon), sewing is being done, my shop is being stocked over at Etsy, but I just want to work with plants!  I laugh at myself.  When I realized how easy it is to wrap plants in fabric with a little bit of moisture and see what happens, that is all of what I wish to do!  But it is pretty boring to anyone else unless you are interested in it as well.

There will be more around here then most people will want.

But I said I would write down the process so here it is.

The first thing you need to do is go collect plants.  Any plants.  Fall leaves give very nice prints.  I read where flowers do not print as well as you might expect.  Give it a try.

Lay those plants on top of a piece of fabric that has been dampened with mordant.  In this case, I used a 50% solution of white vinegar (50 percent vinegar, 50 percent water) in a spray bottle.  The flatter the plants are, the better they will print.  

I do not use cling wrap underneath the silk.  Using cling wrap limits how far the colors bleed through the layers.  It becomes more modern art doing it this way.  However, I have prints of leaves and acorns with out the cling wrap that are very clear.  In my class, many people used the cling wrap and there were a lot of leaves.  The little red maple leaves are especially clear.

If you wish to, you can add another layer.  I make big bundles.  This is a cotton sheet that has been ripped into lengths.  It was put into an iron solution where 1/2 teaspoon of iron sulfate was dissolved in 1 liter of water.  Again, this is a mordant.  The goal is to pull the color from the plants into the plant fiber.  On a protein fiber, a  mordant can make a color more vibrant or deeper.

I make sure every layer is damp, whether it is vinegar, tea, iron, whey, or soy milk.  Something.  Even plain water will act as a mordant because tap water has other chemicals and minerals in it.  You can even add some dye to your mordants to see what happens.

When your blundle is as big as you want it, tie it all up.  It needs to be rolled tight so if you think you will not roll it tight enough without help, roll it around a stick.  You can also put a weight on the end of the fabric so you have some resistance to pull against when you are rolling.

One of the tricks I learned at my class, was using a turkey roaster for steam.  My parents had one they did not use so I brought it home.  Put water in it, bring up to a boil, place your bundles in it and leave for 90 minutes.  If you do not wish the water to color the bundles in any way, left out of the water.  You can add dye to that water and over dye them as you are printing.

After 90 minutes, you can turn off the turkey roaster and wait for them to cool so you do not burn yourself.  That is my suggestion.  But if you cannot wait, you can open them right away to see what you will get.

Usually the unexpected.

I have been doing some reading and you can print by just making bundles.  Dampen the cloth or plants, or both.  Lay the bundle out the same and roll it up.  Just let it sit for awhile.  Open it like a surprise!  

I wish to play more with this technique.  The skirt I made recently, that I adore, I look at it and think, "I can mend it this way, print it that way, and dye like that" when it eventually starts to show wear.  Making witchy clothes.

I just do not feel like I have enough time to be creative!

Oh well.  More walks.  More plants.  More bundles.  I can just be told I am going a bit crazy.



It was an eventful weekend.  Most mornings, before I get on the computer, I spend time on my computer.  It was very dark Saturday morning and I went to turn on my light near my chair.  It would not turn on.  I checked that it was connected to the outlet.  It has been pulled free in the past.  Then I realized the ceiling was not moving as fast as it should have been.  No power.  A tree had fallen on the power lines a couple blocks over.

Since I was in the house I am used having power in, my first thoughts were along the lines of what am I going to do now.  It just threw me for a few minutes.  Then it was time to just go forward.  It was not very hot out so I did not feel like I needed to track down air conditioning.  I had enough gear from camping that cooking was not a problem.  I did not have bread rising so there was no need for the oven.  Later in the evening would be when I would need to worry next.

I did take tea the boyos.  I got asked how I made tea.  My response is I camp a lot and I am more addicted to tea then you are.  It was funny.

I had gotten my autumn quilted basted that I am making as a wall quilt so I started working on it.  I had enough light from the window.  It was a good head space.  I really liked the quiet that it caused.  Usually there is some electric humming noise as back ground.  

I was wandering around in the apron I had printed.  It looks like a dark splotch from here but if I looked down I could see where I printed acorns.  It was cool enough that it did not get warm wearing it until much later.

The power did come on late afternoon so my one worry about lights was not a worry.  It would have just meant an early night which I need many more of.  Power being out changed all my plans for Saturday, and in some ways, the weekend.  But you know, I did not mind.  The days were excellent.  Calm is good because my thoughts are still whirling and I am having a hard time calming them.  Quiet is good.