Gill Back bio: I started handweaving after I was given a large 1930’s Harris floor loom and that was the beginning of my love affair with weaving!
I now have my own studio in France, where I have lived for the last 18 years. I produce a certain amount of my own wool yarn from a small flock of sheep and handspin and dye wool and silk. Sometimes I go for a completely natural effect/product and use organically produced yarns and natural plant dyes but I do also buy commercially produced silk and luxury yarns like cashmere.
Most of what I produce are ‘one-offs’ and I certainly don’t do production runs as I enjoy the challenge of designing new patterns and textures and experimenting with colour combinations.
For the scarves and shawls I usually work with silk, from very fine shantung to a thicker handspun with colours ranging from lovely golden natural tussah to a myriad of jewel bright colours. For other items like napkins and cushions I use cotton, linen and wool as appropriate.
All the scarves and shawls are handwoven by me on a floor loom. I prefer to use natural fibres, especially silk, but also use cashmere, alpaca, linen and cotton. Sometimes the yarn is handspun by me and I dye most of the silk myself. Each item is individually designed with much thought and care so you can be sure that anything you buy is totally unique.
Sarah Clemens Clothing: I am a stay at home mom, homeschooling my 3 young kids by day and sewing by night. I love flowers and fabric and sewing, so i decided to put them all together and sell my creations!
Clothing has always been a love of mine, but nothing out there was different enough or fun enough. I’d daydream about the things I would wear if I could, and then spend hours drawing them. My mom and grandmother taught me about sewing at a young age, and over the years I taught myself everything else I know by just trying things out…
Linen is mainly what fabric I use, the way it drapes and rumples and wrinkles and all it’s little nubs and the way the dye is always just a bit muted… there is no comparison!!!
I hope my clothing makes you smile, every outfit is made with lotsa love!
Wow. Just wow. These quilts are fabulous.
Melody Johnson: I’m making art for the wall, not a functional bed quilt. I choose to fuse so I can be expressive with fabric in ways that would be impossible with any other construction method. After removing the release paper, I cut my fused fabric directly using the scissors or rotary cutter as a drawing tool. I don’t finish the edges of my shapes because that would alter the character I have drawn with my cuts. I also dye my own silks and cottons so that my colors are rich and saturated. I’ve found that I can use both appliqué and piecing approaches without the sewing machine even though eventually the piece will be quilted with a machine, or lately, even by hand. I especially enjoy working improvisationally, but often find myself making up a design found in my sketchbook.
I imagine the supermarket sales of white eggs soars this time of year. Soar may be a strong word, but I can’t imagine the increase is insignificant in any way. I’ve known even those with their own backyard chicken flocks to lament the need for supporting the corporate, commercial egg giants around Easter. I’ve overheard regular local shoppers, small farm subscribers even, who routinely add a dozen supermarket eggs to their shopping ritual just before the spring holiday, in fact.
Why? Because you can’t dye brown eggs.
Our Grandmothers would be rolling over that last statement. Absolutely rolling with laughter.
Of course you can dye brown eggs. Not only can you, you can do so with all natural dyes. And the result is stunning. Simply stunning. But somewhere, at some time, in the past fifty years or so that fact has been lost on America’s masses. Somewhere, at some time, in the past fifty years or so we’ve been conditioned to believe only the brightest, whitest, factory washed eggs are suitable for the spring-time ritual of dying eggs. And because of it, we’ve been missing out.
So gather your local farm fresh eggs, brown shells and all, boil them up, stack them in a bowl in the center of the table and summons the children — and children at heart. You’re about to make the most beautiful Easter eggs you’ve ever seen.
All you need is a couple of small stock pots, a little water, a splash of vinegar and whatever dying materials you can muster up. Beets make a striking red dye, while blueberries and their juice make the most vibrant blue I’ve ever seen and turmeric — such as the organic ground you can buy on Etsy, pictured above — makes an amazing deep, golden rod yellow.
Tip: Remember, keep it simple. From just the three primary colors your dying options are endless. No need to make countless dyes. Get creative and layer colors instead.
But you needn’t stop there. Onion skins, wine, coffee and tea grounds, and so much more can make excellent dyes. Use your imagination and what you have on hand.
Once you’ve chosen the items you’ll use to make dye. Add each to a small stock pot all its own, one at a time. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Maintain at a boil until dye reaches your desired depth and vibrancy. Strain into a coffee cup and add a splash of vinegar to help the dye adhere to the egg shell.
The dye will be, literally, boiling hot so if children are helping it’s best to let it cool slightly before using. Otherwise, you’re ready to begin.
Tip: Be patient. Natural dyes take a little longer than store-bought kits. The longer you leave the egg in the dye bath, the more intense the final color will be.
Nickole of Hard Love Apparel took the plunge into selling her hand dyed tees when she decided to stay home with her son. Her tees are everyday rock and roll and each is unique. She has a degree in Fashion/Design and was looking for a way to keep active creating while still finding time to spend with her son. When she first found Etsy, she was THRILLED to find a venue to showcase her designs! With lots of support from her family and friends, she’s been working constantly to create new designs and make each more beautiful than the last!
For my shop, I draw up every stencil by hand and hand dye or paint each item. So, every t-shirt is personally created for you by myself. I take great care in creating high quality and beautiful pieces. And, most importantly every item is made with LOVE!
Nickole’s favorite item in the Hard Love Apparel shop right now is her Neck Tie T-Shirt. (Insert your own tie dye pun here.) She loved the menswear inspired fashions you see on the runways, but wanted to make it more wearable for everyone. I’ve seen a lot of these bleach dye type tees recently, and often they come off as too kitchy/80’s flavored for my taste (I actually lived in the 80’s and refuse to don jelly shoes and style wave bangs ever again). Nickole does a great job of making them modern in her choice of theme and execution.
Hard Love Apparel is heavily influenced by Nickole’s LOVE for fashion, art and design, but she also draws a lot of inspiration from interesting pieces that she sees along the way. Most of her sales have come from word of mouth, so let’s start talking.