August 6, 2011

Handmade and Homemade

The question I get asked often about my eco-dye fabric is, what are you going make with it? People with the same passion about eco and natural dyes understand that, it's not the fabric we want, it's the challenge of what colour we get from certain plants that drive us to experiment with the different plants. The excitement and participation before you unwrap the bundles is nearly as good as having Belgium chocolate melt in your mouth! Dyeing my own fabric has always been my passion. Years ago I started dyeing with Procion reactive dyes and that got me hooked to dyeing. Since I discovered eco dyeing I would never go back to using chemical dyes again. Of course natural dyes don't give you the bright pinks, yellows or reds. Instead you get the colour of the desert dunes with brown, golden, sand, silvery gray and pale yellow. I'm now content with the colour and patterns I get from natural dyes and I love it...!

I signed up for another of Jude Hill's online workshop 'magic diaries'. I have been very busy lately so I haven't been following the lessons as closely as I should. The idea of magic diaries is to build on what you already started. I have two small cloths I made earlier. With those two cloths I added dyed fabrics and built up to a large cloth. I have used invisible basting ready for quilting. The colour and patterns on the cloth are made by me. I called this cloth "I Heart Nature". 

A weekend at home dyeing. On my daily walk I try my hardest not to pick any plants along the way, but sometimes I just can't resist. I have two favorite eucalyptus trees that I keep an eye on to make sure that the gardeners don't accidentally cut them down. That day I only picked a few bottom branches. I threw in a few oak leaves for good measure. 

These bundles are a family. Can you see father, mother, the twins and the grandmother in front? They are all dressed up ready for bed. 

And this is the family sleep-over. I have to wait to next week to unwrap the bundles and see what colour the family bundles give us!

The result are here after a week of family sleeping over! I really agree with India that the result of the dyed had a lot to do with the water you used. We have had so much rain this year that all the moisture the tree absorbed translate into brilliant colour! Thanks Mr Rain, come again any day!

The whole family got unwrapped and rinsed. They are now hanging together to dry. They are so red I need sunglasses to look them straight! I did experiment with scrunching them instead of rolled in this batch. The effected is interesting! 

Now for something homemade! When I got back from Japan my so called ornamental olive tree was full of olives. It is only three years old, but it produced so many olives that all the branches were droopy because of the weight of the fruit. I love all types of olives, but had never preserved them myself. To have my own home grown olives I thought it was time I learned to preserved them. I got a good instructions from Youtube. I looked at a few different methods and combined them into one. 

After a couple of weeks in the brine the olives were ready to bottle. I picked them twice, the first time when they were still green. After a few weeks they turned darker. I have used different herbs in each jars. Some with only a piece of lemon, some with chilli, and some with thyme and bay leaves.  

I have got more than a dozen jars of preserved olives from one single tree. I'm so thrilled. I have given some away to friends who I know love olives. Some will be taking to DGD, I know she loves olive just like her Yah Ya...!

I don't know where the days have gone since I came back from my trip to Japan. Before the trip I was counting so much for it to happen, but when I got there I wanted the time to just stay still so I could stay longer. It's now August, the month of my birthday and the month I do blog giveaways. I got something for you that I brought back from Japan. So come and enter on the last week of August. There will be an exciting announcement in my next post so please come back for that as well....!

Do you have FAD (Facebook Addiction Dependency!)? I don't know if I got it or not!!!


Simone de Klerk said...

Yes, I think the process of making those gorgeous dyed fabric is even better, than actually using them. Beautiful, Nat!
I had to laugh when you wrote: now something homemade. I think those fabrics are very homemade too!!!
Have a lovely weekend.

kaiteM said...

i know what you mean by that question about your dyed fabrics. i too just love the surprise of what colour i get without taking it any further until i want to.
Lovely bundles of colour awaiting you.

Marie said...

What beautiful hand-dyed fabrics and your boro cloth is looking lovely.
I like the nice "Earth" hughes : )
I was thinking that waiting on those lovely fabrics to complete the dye process is liking getting a box of "Cracker Jacks". Remember the anticipation of finding the prize at the bottom of the box?
Wow, that olive tree is such a gift of abundance.
I love the idea of canning my own produce.

Janet said...

What fabulous colours you're getting Nat, the red is gorgeous and how exciting to uncover the patterns. Ireally love the cloth you've made up of the different cloths.
Lucky you with the olives, you can learn lots of things on you tube.
I don't have facebook but Dh does, he's calmed down a bit no after having it for a short while, lol.

deanna7trees said...

your family bundles turned out great. and i agree--the fun is in the process. doing something with the dyed cloths is a bonus. i almost planted an olive tree last year and now i'm glad i didn't. given the drought we are in, it surely would have died.

Needled Mom said...

Those dyed fabrics are just stunning. I love seeing the way you scrunched them into the family bundles. I think you need rains all the time!!! I can only imagine the excitement of unwrapping them.

It is so nice to see someone using their olives. I see so many trees here with a pile of olives on the ground under them. I can't wait to hear your taste review of them.

I am no FB addict. I just do not have the time to get on it.

Kim said...

Oh my I wish I could come spend a week with you and learn dying!

I have avoided Facebook so far because I am afraid of getting addicted. I already waste so much time at my computer.

Have fun Nat, you have PLENTY to keep our fingers busy.Happy sewing

Kath said...

How delicious! I got the bug for dyeing last year after attending a "play day" at our quilt shop.
I now live in a house that has a wlnut tree in the garden and I am planning to dye with the leaves, bark abd shell husks!
Your work looks very exciting.

susis quilts said...

dear natima,your fabrics look very good, i dyed myslf once,but only wool i had spun myself,have a nice week,hugs,susi

Nedra said...

You are right, it's about the creative process that calls to us so much. You have a very beautiful "family"!

Sandie ~call me crazy said...

Wow, your fabrics are beautiful! And olives too? yum! Have a happy weekend!

Anonymous said...

oh lucky you, with access to eucalyptus. love the family, gorgeous colours. I'm not good at the waiting part, have 3 bundles due for opening next week. I was eating sun dried black olives as I read your blog, yummie!

Rae said...

The Eco Dyeing bug has just caught me,too! The results you get are always so surprising. Love the reds from these bundles. Are they going into your Magic cloth?

Nancy said...

1. Love your collage quilt so much!
2. Your family turned out beautifully! It's so har to wait isn't it?!
3. Mmmmm... olives YUM!

Thanks for sharing all of these wonderful things! :)

Bev C said...

Hello Nat,

Your family bundles reminded me of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie from the May Gibbs stories. Olives YUM!!!!
Happy days.

Michele Pacey said...

I cannot believe those reds Nat! It's amazing that the rain has this effect on the dye-ability of tree parts. Your family bundle story is so sweet too, I love that.

My parents "can" all the things in their garden as well and have a pantry full of homemade goodness. Your olives make me think of delicious home treats!

Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Hi Nat...we are back now and missing the warm days of the Gold Coast...the dyeing you are doing is fabulous...And I love the olives, perhaps I will be able to try some when you are here ha ha!!! Have a great Friday...Dzintra

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