Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fabrics to Stitch by Hand

A client asked me recently which fabrics do I like best for hand stitching?

I do have a lot of experience stitching shibori by hand. I can tell you my favorites for hand stitching. I'm always on the lookout for new fabrics and love it when I find something that works well for shibori AND is sustainable and organic.

Here are my choices for hand stitching:

Hemp Linen

super easy to hand needle. Threadcount is 54 by 54. Has the look and feel of flax linen, but feels sturdier to me.  Takes a beating. Compresses nicely for crisp shibori patterning. Available in my store, but look for it online too -- you may find a better deal elsewhere, depending on how much you buy. Sometimes called "summercloth". A really fine quality cloth.

Hemp Silk Blend

Easy to stitch but more delicate than the linen. Have to be careful when removing stitches -- the silk content means you can get small holes in it if you try to rush through and pull the stitches out aggressively.  Heavier weight than a crepe de chine with an interesting weave and a nice subtle sheen. Difficult to find.

Organic cotton gauze

Not sure what the threadcount is on this, but it is tighter than standard cheesecloth.  Works beautifully for stitched shibori, especially if you are looking for something sheer to layer over other fabrics in your fiber art. 

Whether you use these fabrics dyed or undyed, you'll enjoy the pleasure of using them with needle and thread.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Steamy Days Bring Cool Vegetables

Wow. I was stunned to realize I haven't touched this blog since March.  Where did the time go?  When we say that, do we regret that time went so fast? Not really. Time seemingly quickly spent is usually full of activity. That's not a bad thing.

The hands of time whirled around the face of the clock as I gardened, worked, dyed fabric, and saw my son graduate as class valedictorian. Yes, there was a lot more mundane stuff involved in the mix, but you have to slog through the sludge in order to enjoy the spice.  

It's stifling hot here and for a change of pace, I'm sharing a quick recipe for grilled zucchini as I drink some very cold iced tea. 

Slice zucchini thickly. Baste generously with canola oil, salt and pepper. Grill on medium high heat until you have nice scorch marks and zucchini is soft. You may need to baste with more oil to keep from sticking to grill. Layer warm zucchini with mixture of 1 part good quality olive oil, 1 part red wine vinegar and lots of shredded fresh basil. (I cut the leaves with kitchen scissors). Let sit at room temperature for flavors to develop -- around half hour. I made it the night before for a party recently and refrigerated it -- brought it to room temp before serving -- and it was perfect. A great do ahead dish.

Alternatives: mix 1 part fresh lemon juice, 1 part olive oil; shred fresh mint instead of basil. The zucchini mint version is a classic dish from Naples cuisine.