Update:2014 Indiana Cotton Crop

I am still obsessed with the idea of growing my own fiber for spinning and weaving. Living on a small city lot leaves me few options. Sheep  won’t work  here and flax needs special tools to process. Last year I was given a single cotton boll with seeds intact. I planted them in my kitchen that February. They grew!! Read here

I decided to plant more seeds this year. Read here.

The little cotton patch. There are about 26 small plants

The little cotton patch. There are about 26 small plants

When I put the seedlings outside in June they were very weak and spindly from lack of sunlight. They have since really perked up. There are plenty of blooms (by northern standards like 6 per plant) and 4 bolls of natual brown cotton have opened up so far.

The nodes where the cotton flowers bloom are forming underneath the leaves

The nodes where the cotton flowers bloom are forming underneath the leaves

A newly opened cotton bloom. It will only last 1 day then turn pink and fall off. The cotton boll forms underneath.

Here is a close up of one of the cotton bolls. It could be white or brown cotton when it opens up. I didn't mark the plants

Here is a close up of one of the cotton bolls. It could be white or brown cotton when it opens up. I didn’t mark the plants

I spotted the 1st boll open last week. It’s brown cotton

Close up of the 1st brown boll

Close up of the 1st brown boll

I found 3 more cotton bolls opened today. More brown.

I found 3 more cotton bolls opened today. More brown.

I’m looking forward to seeing how much cotton I will get this year since I planted twice as many seedlings.  At this point I can only grow them on the east side of my house so they do not get much space. The odds of me growing even 1 pound of cotton in northern Indiana are pretty slim. Nonetheless I will just as happy if I grow 3 ounces.  I should have enough to make a spectacular shawl when I combine the 2 years crops.

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Just Married: Keepsake Wedding Sash

Not, me. A dear friend got married yesterday. I wanted to make a gift for the couple and thought well why not weave them a keepsake wedding sash.

I have been learning about weaving Lithuanian sashes with my friend, Donna for the last few months. While I love the supplementary warp patterning technique I am still learning to merge my design asthetic with the traditional Lithuanian colors and patterns.

Perle cotton thread used for the warp. The dark blue will be used for the background

Perle cotton thread used for the warp. The dark blue will be used for the background

I am very fortunate to have someone that can help me translate my ideas in to a finished project. In this case we came up with an original floral motif and modified traditional heart motif to separate the names. The letters are all Donna’s original charts.

Part of the charted design

Part of the charted design

This book is written entirely in Lithuanian but thankfully has lots of pictures

This book is written entirely in Lithuanian but thankfully has lots of pictures

 

The book where we found inspiration for the heart motif between the names and waves (snakes) to underline them

Inside the book Lietuvos Etnologija where we found inspiration for the heart motif between the names and waves (snakes) to underline them

None of the books we have for this technique have letter charts included. In fact most books we use for reference are scholarly works written to document this nearly lost baltic sash weaving tradition. We have to redraft or transfer every pattern from pictures in the books.  I chose a dark background color instead of the traditional light neutral background for this project. For some reason bright colors on a dark background excite me in a weaving.

Frame loom ready to weave

Frame loom ready to weave

Weaving the original floral design.

Weaving the original floral design.

The sash turned out really nice although it departs from tradition in pattern motifs and color. Weaving took  about 20 hours  not including designing, creating the charts and dressing the loom.

Time consuming but I have to say I enjoyed every bit of the process.

The finished wedding sash

The finished wedding sash. It took me more than 20 hours to weave

 

Wardrobe Essentials: Summer Maxi and The Little Black Dress

Sewing clothing has got me rethinking my wardrobe lately. I am one of those rare creatures that hates to shop for clothes. I mean seriously I would rather buy plants and craft supplies. There must be some kind of treatment for this condition, right?

After looking through my closet I realized a few things.

1. Dang I have a lot of polyester stuff. Like most of it.

2. I hate how all 3 pairs of my jeans fit.

3. I only wear about 1/3 of this stuff. The rest is either uncomfortable, too small, or ready for Goodwill or trash.

4. I need more separates, everyday dresses and jackets, natural fibers, a maxi dress, and a little black dress.

5. I want more Handmade and less cheap mass produced.

So I have decided to be a little more strategic about what I sew for myself this summer. I started with the summer maxi dress.

Last month I found this cool rainbow, painterly looking fabric. It’s polyester but I I like the shimmery look of it. The pattern I chose is really simple, Simplicity 1355 which has jumpsuits and maxi dresses.

Simplicity 1355 has easy to sew jumpsuits and maxi dresses

Simplicity 1355 has easy to sew jumpsuits and maxi dresses

The dress went together fast. I probably should do another in a different color for variety sake or maybe the jumpsuit.

Simplicity 1355 View c

Simplicity 1355 View c

Simplicty 6184 (1)

Simplicity 1355 with rainbow fabric

Simplicity 1355 with rainbow fabric

My sister decided to try it on too. She is about 5 inches shorter than me so she had to blouse it up more at the waist.

My sister decided to try it on too. She is about 5 inches shorter than me so she had to blouse it up more at the waist.

For the little black dress I chose a basic sheath from Simplicity 2455. This is a really nice discontinued pattern for sportswear separates. I like the little collar pleat detail. The dress is very wearer friendly with a side zip and soft A-Line silhouette.

Simplicity 2455

Simplicity 2455

My new Little Black dress Simplicity 2455 with neckline pleats.

My new Little Black dress Simplicity 2455 with neckline pleats.

Simplicity 2455. I can wear it with my cowrie best to jazz it up a little

Simplicity 2455. I can wear it with my cowrie belt to jazz it up a little

Simplicity 2455 with neckline pleats

Simplicity 2455 with neckline pleats

I’m so happy I can finally wear what I want rather than just accepting whatever I can find on the few shopping trips I attempt thoughout the year.

Simplicity 1417:A dress fit for a wedding…in Vegas

My sister and brother-in-law recently decided to renew their wedding vows in Las Vegas to celebrate their 10 year anniversary.

I thought, well how cool! We would always joke about how they got married at a courthouse in plain clothes. They didn’t want to break tradition getting all fancied up. Afterall it worked for my parents and grandparents. No divorces to date.

This time my sister surprised me by wearing the pink and navy stretch denim dress I made for her a few months ago to her wedding. The pattern is Simplicity 1417. As far as she is concerned it is a dress fit for a wedding. I have to agree. She looked great!

Simplicity 1417

Here comes the bride in Simplicity 1417

Here comes the bride in Simplicity 1417

Vegas wedding. My sister and brother-in-law renewied their vows at the Las Vegas sign. 10 yrs and counting

Vegas wedding. My sister and brother-in-law renewed their vows at the Las Vegas sign. 10 yrs and counting

Just married in Vegas

Just married in Vegas

My sister all dolled up in her Simplicity 1417 dress for her wedding

My sister all dolled up in her Simplicity 1417 dress for the wedding

I Do Love This Dress!