Tuesday, September 27, 2011

heavy machinery


There is something to be said about simple machines. Heavy steel casings, uncomplicated mechanics, and not a computer chip in sight.

I've been longing for an old manual typewriter for a while, wishing that I had saved the one we had at home when I grew up. After much searching and looking I found this Royal Futura in Agent Obsolete's etsy shop. It was made int the late 50's and arrived in perfect condition, original manuals and leather case included. I can't wait to use the typewriter for upcoming book projects, labels, and business cards. The writing looks amazing on the eco printed paper.

I bought the Viking sewing machine soon after I moved to the US in 1988. She was made in the late 70's in my home country Sweden, and was always super strong, durable, and easy to get along with. Unfortunately at one point I used the wrong thread for an upholstery project, and ever since something has been awry with the tension. The Viking was relegated to the attic for years, replaced with a series of expensive finicky German machines. Until I found the right repair man to coax her back to life. The stitch is as beautiful as ever and she has returned to the top of my sewing machine arsenal.

Friday, September 23, 2011

weekly bundles no. 4

It is that time of year. Walnut husks are soaking and stewing to coax out their delicious brown color. A couple of dozens of green husks were left to soak for two days, and then boiled for two hours. Only linen and paper went into the pot this time, which means more mocha than dark chocolate hues. I tried a bit of shibori – soy beans wrapped and tied and some pulled running stitches. The fabric received two half-hour sessions in the dye pot, with alternating dips in the alum mordant solution. Then it was left in the dye overnight.

The paper, layered with rust colored dogwood leaves was folded and clamped between two wooden boards. They were left barely simmering in the pot for about 2 hours and then dried overnight. The marks from the leaves, and the dark edges from the dye is just magical. Sigh. I also love how the wood was stained by the walnut color.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

blandy farm

We spent some time in this beautiful place last weekend. Our friends live right next door to Blandy Farm, the State Arboretum of Virginia. In addition to great companionship, and delicious food, we were introduced to a array of farm animals, historic buildings, and unusual trees and plants. The grove of ginkgo trees across the field from their house is most alluring. I hope to return soon.

Friday, September 16, 2011

weekly bundles no. 3

Bleak and blurry was what I got. Bold and boisterous was what I wanted. I prepared an iron pot full of rain water after all our storms, added some more iron scraps, and in went the bundles, linen fabric filled with fennel, dog wood, bishops weed, white oak, linden, roses, and walnuts. Everything simmered for about two hours and was left to cool in the brew overnight, except the paper stack which was removed after an hour. While unbundling the next morning almost everything came out muddled and pale, orangy and splotchy.

rose on paper

oak on linen

oak and something yet to be identified on linen

walnut on linen

I may sound a bit disappointed, but that is not quite true. I never get truly disappointed when unveiling bundles. I think I did not wrap them tight enough this time, and maybe the lack of our chemical laden tap water made things more bland. But honestly, I adore the faint rose leaf impressions on the paper and the impressionistic qualities of the large oak leaves. And then there was the walnut. There is rarely anything disappointing about the walnut.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

all done

Remember this, almost exactly a year ago? Well it is all done, just in time for cooler weather. This is my first completed knitting project in over 20 years. I am bursting with pride. I love the design of this sweater. It is simple, the wool is exceptionally soft, and the color is perfect. The roll neck is fun, and there is this little fleck of pure black in the yarn on the front that exemplifies the imperfection of hand craft. The only problem is that it is about 1/2 size to small. Just slightly too short, and a bit snug over the shoulders. It will not prevent me from wearing it, but I will be more careful with measurements in the future (all you knitting experts out there, feel free to jump in at any time...)

Clothing, fashion, and the way we dress ourselves is on my mind. I am in the midst of India Flint's book Second skin which offers plenty of wisdom. I also recently learned about Rebecca Burgess' Fibershed  a wonderful project that highlights the need for more thoughtful local textile production (via Kathryn Clark's beutiful blog). Then there are creative companies like Alabama Chanin and Imogene + Willie, who strive to produce their beautiful clothing with local labor and materials. But they are the exception and not the norm. I wish there was a realistic way to commit to wearing only domestic and hand crafted clothes. I will ponder this and return to the subject, I promise. For now I think this lovingly hand knitted sweater is a good start.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin