Smoothing the Hurt, Feeling All of It

Solace in creation

When the world is upside down and feels underwater

I turn to creating;

baking

sewing

dyeing

sorting colors

clean spaces in the studio

pulling beads out of drawers and hanging the strands on the walls

cutting

tearing

pressing leather into shapes

spending time at the lapidary wheels, communing with stones

tea

ink to paper

watercolors rinsed from brushes

steam curls from the bath

tears down cheeks

oil blends that comfort

There is more, this list could be endless, it is endless, this is but a snippet of soul-soothing. My friends are here, too. The ones that know the hurt deeply themselves. The ones who might not understand, but see it and smooth out the ruffled fur and feathers of my heart. I love you all, you know. Deeply, closely and from far away. I need you just the same, and more every day. Love is the answer, love is the question, love is the path I know and choose in little and large ways. The duality of pain and love takes my breath away, I am learning to live with the sharper edges of love.

When I find a blue feather, lost tobacco, pieces of stone and wood, know that I remember you, you far away souls. I miss you and I love you, my dear ones.

{for my Kellys, especially}
blue feather

For the love of color

Since I've been dying so often, I've taken to plopping handfuls of Wendsleydale locks I was gifted by a friend. It's been fun building my collection of colors. I expect the wool to turn up in weavings and cocoons in the future, but who knows! 

For those curious- the blue was indigo dyed towards the end of the vat. The other two were dyed with your garden variety acid dyes that I've used for years. 

Karla in Blue

I'm loving making these dresses. I have two in the queue to dye this weekend and can't wait to see how they turn out. 

Summer of Basics: Part 1

My Ebony T Shirt Dress is done and it is flipping fantastic! All in all, it is super comfortable and easy to wear. It's also a great echo of the store bought dress I've been wearing a ton! 

I made it out of a rayon blend I picked up at the local Joann store, not wanting to experiment with the knit linen fabric I've been eyeing. I followed the pattern, which was written clearly. The stitching is a combination of machine zigzag stitch and hand-sewn felled seams along the cuffs and neckband. The hand stitching happened out of frustration with my machine, which is now being serviced (thanks mom, for letting me borrow yours while mine is in the shop!) I used scraps of silk at the shoulders to reinforce those seams. 

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Pattern from Closet Case as part of my #summerofbasics group! 

It is also perfect for twirlling. 

The Karla Tank Dress

Named after my first Charlotte friend, one of my bestest pals and trouble makers (seriously, look at that face). I am thrilled, excited, and a little terrified to introduce you to the Karla Tank Dress. Thebe

IT HAS POCKETS.

The Karla is made of raw silk, which has a light, cottony feel, and is just dreamy to wear. Like linen, it gets softer the more it's worn. The neck and arm bands are secured with habotai silk bias tape. The patch pockets are angled for easy hand resting and phone grabbing.

I was so excited to get this dress into Karla's hands that I didn't have time to take proper photos of it. Whoops!! I am nearly finished with two other dresses, one has a home, one is waiting to find its place. They'll have a quick photoshoot, and I'll wrangle Karla down for some more photos soon, too.

Everything is cut by hand, including that tricksy bias tape. I sew it up using French seams for a clean and durable finish. 

Then the dress takes a swim in the dye pot. 

This is where the real magic happens. I work intuitively with my dyestuff. I don't take notes, I trust my instincts and experience. The raw silk plays on it's own, taking in as much dye as that batch of fabric can stand. Bright and vibrant hues are subdued into easy wearing galaxies of color. Each dress is unique to its wearer. Some may be sisters to each other, but there will never be another dress exactly like yours.

As always, please feel free to reach out and ask any questions you have! 

Crafting a Wardrobe (a make-along)

I'm diving in to Fringe Association's Summer of Basics make-along! I've been slowly adding to my wardrobe, with a loose goal of someday wearing only handmade garments, and this little scheme is just the ticket to motivate me to get stitching! 

My plans so far are mostly sewing, since that's where I'd like to strengthen my skills, but I also have a sweater almost on the needles so we'll see what happens as time allows! More is better, right?! 

Dress No.1 in a silk charmeuse fabric I'll dye once it's mostly sewn up 

Archer Button Up  in a fabric that's TBD, but I still miss the grey chambray shirt I lost years ago- so if you have a favorite chambray fabric source, let a woman know! 

Ebony T-Shirt Dress in a rayon blend I bought in an attempt to duplicate my favorite knit fabric dress BEFORE it falls apart (planning ahead- whaaat?!)

Modified Luna Pants in shot cotton. I've already re-drafted the waist to make it a high-waisted situation... now I just have to pull my bravery about me to cut the real fabric. If the first pair works out, be prepared to see more pants! 

There's also a stripy sweater that's almost on the needles. I need it to supplement this thrifted sweater I'm in looove with in a linen/cotton blend yarn (Zooey from Juniper Moon). I'm using the guide from Knit.Wear.Love, we'll see how that goes... 

photo by my momma

photo by my momma

 

I'm almost finished with a Dress No.1 in raw silk, which needs to be dyed, but it's so far along I'm not counting it for the make along. I also have a bit of woven linen that is destined to be some sort of top... we'll see what happens there. 

It sounds like I've got my work cut out for me (ha!) and I'm sure more will come. It's nice to see my plans all on one page! 

Kitchen Recovery

Now that the kitchen is ‘done’ (what home project is ever done- really?) I have found myself at the crossroads again. The one where I step towards the next big project.

This is how I seem to cycle when making- one BIG project studded with little side projects as I need mental breaks from Ol’ Biggun.

During the Kitchen Time these things happened:

Wove yarn I had dyed months previously, making a squishy cowl and a light-yet-warm scarf

Designed and constructed two purses

Tooled a guitar strap for a lucky fellow (not my husband, someone else’s)

Watercolored a bit

Made a few small tapestry weavings

Stitched on felt for a new series of cocoon maps

I went to work at the office job every day, cooked as much as I could, spent time with my lovely family, and managed a few friend dates in there too. Plus all the usual everyday crapola like laundry and cleaning the kitty litter.

The kitchen took just over a month of solid demolition, which I did the majority of. It was good, hard, physical work that threw me just enough curve balls that I was EXHAUSTED by the end of it. People- I forgot the July existed, jumping from June to August when trying to plan a deadline for work.

Sure, I could’ve let my art take a break while all of this was happening, but my brain feels so much better when I’m in that studio. Admitting, in the last week or so, I did take a break from the studio. Mostly because my hands and arms were begging for a break, the poor dears. My brain, as foggy as it was, still missed making during that break.

My hands are back to normal now, time to rebuild those creative muscles! I've got big plans for the next new big thing, more coming soon! 

the felt series in progress...

the felt series in progress...

 

 

Finished Kitchen!

It's finished!! Well, we need to pick a backsplash and find & hang a light over the sink, but who cares?! I have a beautiful place to cook, that suits my style and fits our house so well! 

Enough chit-chat, photo time! 

Before

During:

AFTER 

Dudes, I can't be happier with this kitchen. The space, the colors, the countertops. It's been a week since I got my sink back and every time I walk into this space I'm so chuffed. I'm proud of my work, and really, really, really glad we paid for professional installation. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to my 'To Bake' list... 

(We're keeping the blue film on the cabinets until I can get one last coat of poly on the floors, they're really all white, promise) 

Kitchen Silence

The kitchen is being renovated. The demo is in progress. The studio is not neglected, but not getting quite as much time as she's used to getting... 

We keep finding new 'wonders' as the demolition continues... We wonder why a hole was left at the base of the wall instead of patching it up... 

Or why the cabinets removed so far were hung with 3" drywall nails, and not enough of those?! (seriously, we are lucky they haven't fallen on our heads! Bless this house's old bones)

So far the 'fridge wall' which is what you see above is 97% complete, the floors are around 30% done, and I have more wall to repair, plus the remaining cabinets need to come out. 

We're doing counter tops-down in the rest of the kitchen, or I'd probably be freaking out by now... I'm glad we decided to upgrade to professional installation! Deadlines and a kitchen in a day- I'll take it! 

 

Grey-Warp Towels

New towels, on an all grey warp, mixing in with coral, aqua, cream and butter yellow weft. I'm taking these to the Finder's Keepers Market today, and will update the shop as soon as I can with any that don't find a home! If you're in Charlotte, come out to Noda Brewing (N.Tryon location) from 1-6!