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A guest post by Antje Ream

Creating this post for the forum I’m being very loose with the term fibre – my excuse is that both paper and plants are fibrous.

A few months ago I attended a great eco-printing workshop by Jane Hare of Pippin Textiles with fellow members of our local textile group. It was a full day of very organised activity with each person having much to show at the end. In addition to what we ourselves had gathered from our gardens, we were greeted with a large pile of interesting plant material.

We were given clear instructions and then let loose laying out our plant designs on paper, cotton sheeting, wool blanket and Tyvek….even kitchen paper didn’t escape! We tried a vinegar mordant and boiling our rolled papers and fabric, then it was paper, fabric and Tyvek with an iron mordant using the steaming method before steaming our rolls of alum mordanted paper bundles.

Thankfully it was summer and we could open all the doors otherwise pegs might have been required for our delicate noses.

Needless to say most of us were very impatient to open our parcels and see the results of our minimal efforts combined with mother nature’s magic. We were all delighted with our results.

We each had this amount to show at the end of the day. The Tyvek pieces are the 4 light squares on the left hand side in the left photo. The dark long piece is the wool mordanted with iron.


Following any workshop comes the dilemma….What do I do with what I’ve produced? In August our group holds an exhibition of members’ work undertaken throughout the year. This event always galvanises my thoughts and with it fast approaching it prompted me into action.

A while ago I received a bouquet of flowers that came with a large almost cuboid box – far too good to throw out….I’m sure I’m not alone with hoarding potentially useful objects…taa daa! I used the Tyvek pieces which were almost square (13 x 13 cm) and machine embroidered them to some linen fabric, cut to size to wrap around the box.

I used a different embroidery stitch around each square

I then added some gold gutta to provide some highlights.

One of the results of our workshop was a set of ‘book’ printed pieces of thick paper/card stock with the front of the leaves on one piece and the back of the leaves on another. I trimmed these totally square (10 x 10cm) and backed each with very fine/thin fabric dot glued to the surface, just to hold until I had done the stitching. This allowed me to machine stitch onto the paper without ending up with lots of pieces, or holes, all torn at the perforations. I stitched each to highlight the details of the leaf (and even red cabbage) prints.

these are the pieces before stitching

On their own they didn’t look much (or more accurately – ‘what do I do with these!’) so I then decided to book bind them together.

A little blurred but you might just see how I joined the pages together
The front and back of the book

I mentioned kitchen paper above – this was only used to ‘protect’ some of our plant designs but I found it gave quite a delicate appearance, so I acrylic wax varnished it….warning – don’t then let it dry on a hard surface without laying cling film down first, otherwise hours of scraping can be enjoyed! I then used some of this paper to cover a tall Pringles tin (as the kitchen paper was translucent I covered the tin with plain white copy paper first), then added another layer of the varnish. My friend was delighted with her very simple gift.

Very similar to the tin, this is a work in progress on a white lamp shade it looks lovely when the light is on

Whilst at a car boot I purchased some unusual pictures – stitched suedette fabric on panels of wood. Playing with yet more of my stitched squares I added them to the panels.

the small panel is 20 x 20 cm

In the exhibition there were many lovely creations using our eco-printed products including a scarf, a cushion made using the wool and a box made from the Tyvek pieces.

The Tyvek box is on the front right – Oh, I’ve just seen the Pringles tin in the background!

Finally here are some pieces that are a favourite of mine done on wall lining paper, which I have coated with acrylic wax varnish each measuring 100 x 15 cm. They are two sided, the paler reverse side shows delicate squares – where the Tyvek pieces were laid and then all wrapped up tightly together. I like both sides and as yet haven’t come up with a way to show them off to advantage….any ideas much appreciated.

Since this very inspiring workshop and as a result of my book being in the exhibition I have been asked to do a workshop on bookbinding in January. I have a few examples of fun bindings done years ago so I will have to brush up on the techniques. I only hope that I can be as organised as Jane and enable my ‘students’ to produce lots of interesting samples.

Writing this guest post has been quite a feat and I owe a HUGE debt of thanks to the ever-so-patient Ruth who across thousands of miles (and an ocean) has not only held my hand but carried my entire bulk through what we thought would be a relatively easy process. I hope that she will continue to offer me the opportunity to post now that we have solved the problems.

Today is a special day and the bells are ringing out for Christmas so I wish everyone….

Joy and a Happy, Healthy and Creative 2019

….and will leave with a photo of the card I received from Pat Moore from Canada in the holiday card exchange….Thank you Pat it is lovely.
Finishing an Eco Piece

Finishing an Eco Piece

Last year Cathy (Luvswool) and I did some eco dyeing.

They pieces have been hanging around and I was going through them again and decided I liked the heavy cotton one in particular.  It was time to finish it.  Of course, it wasn’t that easy to decide what to do.  At first I thought I’d stitch the flowers and leaves, but I’m not that great at embroidery. So it sat for awhile again.

I really liked the straggly edges. Besides, if I turned the edges over I’d lose some of the nice design. Here is part of the design.  You can see at the top the ragged edge.  The two long sides were not that way, but I spent some time in front of the TV pulling out strands so they would all look the same.

I chose some embroidery threads that reflected the colors of the imprints, but subtle enough not to fight the design.

I did three rows of stitching around the whole piece.

I had decided it would be a wall hanging so I attached a small dowel with loops on the back.

The next question is where would I hang it so it would really look good.  I have a lot of dark walls and some light gold.  It’s hard to see the gold here, but there was some contrast.

My kitchen is teal and generally sunny.

The living room is a deep bronze color.

The family room is deep moss.

We’ve had a lot of dark days here, so I know the photos aren’t the best.

What do you think?


Just a quick addition.  This past weekend I met with my siblings in Madison, WI for lunch.  My sister Car brought me a fleece from one of the twin boys born last year – Little Will.  Here’s a quick peek at the open bag which was quite heavy.

While we were having lunch Car’s Granddaughter Madison received pics of two new twins that were just born.  A little boy at 8lbs 12 oz and a girl at 9lbs 6 oz born to ewe Mary.

What a great way to celebrate the get together!


Out of the box Part 3

Out of the box Part 3

This is the 3rd and final set of pictures from this exhibit.   the first is here: and the second here: Again I apologise for some of the odd angles as it was very crowded with people enjoying the exhibit. In the last picture you may find it hard to see but the is a very long weaving draped across  the ceiling.

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A Peek at Terri Simon’s Eco Printing Class with Nicola Brown

A Peek at Terri Simon’s Eco Printing Class with Nicola Brown

Thanks to Terri Simon aka Meterrilee on the forum for sharing her eco printing experience today.

Today, I would like to share my experience with eco-dyeing. Most, if not all, of our blog hosts and many followers have experience with eco-dyeing, but it was a first for me and I loved it! I decided to take an online class with Nicola Brown from Ireland. She is a wonderful teacher—very thorough in describing the process in an online format, including several videos to illustrate further. She was available daily for six weeks to comment, problem solve, and encourage us as we journeyed through that week’s lesson. Like other online classes, there are “chatroom” areas to post pictures and ask questions, and to comment on one another’s creations. The online environment is available for six months and all of the lessons were downloadable in PDF format. Additionally, Nicola created a Facebook page for us to continue communication. Thanks, Nicola, for a great online experience!

As a dyeing newbie, I had to assemble equipment. At a nearby thrift store, I found an aluminum fish cooker with all kinds of inserts for steaming, an iron stake, and a length of copper pipe which I cut into pieces to fit into the fish cooker. We had an outdoor fire source…a propane tank and hook-up for deep frying a turkey. It worked perfectly on my covered back porch (this is Southern Oregon’s rainy season). Here’s my equipment:


All for $20. Not bad!

I ordered a bunch of silk, silk/wool blend, and 100% wool scarves from Dharma Trading, which had a good selection and reasonable prices. I also made pieces of felt to experiment with. For vegetation, I used rose leaves, loose tea, red and brown onion skins, strawberry and blackberry leaves, Japanese cut leaf maple and eucalyptus, donated to me by a friend who has several trees. The rest came from my garden (and kitchen.) There are lots of different “brews” for obtaining the prints. Some involve rust water, others vinegar water and other things thrown into the cooking pot (different metals, plants…). And of course, there are multiple ways to prepare the fabric for dyeing, none of which use harsh chemicals (the harshest chemical used is vinegar). I really like this aspect of eco dyeing…it’s all very natural. I am amazed that the beauty of a leaf can be imprinted substantively on fabric, right down to the intricate veining.



Here are some photos of my experiments.pic-2

This turned out sort of dark and muddy. These are Japanese maple leaves. The scarf actually looks good with the right outfit, but the prints are very subtle and not what you want when you are just starting out (at least not what I wanted!).

These are pieces of handmade felt, with eucalyptus (the skinny and bright orange leaves) and strawberry leaves. The purplish looking circles are cut from red onion skins.


Next is a blend of wool and silk. You can really see the details of the onion skins on this fabric.


The scarf below is 100% silk. The print is much softer looking. I like the tie lines produced when wrapping the bundle.



Finally, I made some felt placemats and while they are interesting, I am not a fan of the muddy yellowish background. I found out it was operator error for not keeping the heat up high enough for a long enough time. I had to go out for a bit and turned off the flame under the pot, letting the placemats sit for about an hour until I got home to untie them. My mistake! Had I kept the heat up for the full five hours, I would have produced a much clearer print, such as the example pieces I have included in this picture. But, they are still pretty in a muted way.


I highly recommend Nicola’s classes. She is an excellent teacher, very thorough and organized and she has a delightful wit as well.  You can find more information on Nicola and her classes here:



Eco Printing

Eco Printing

Cathy  (Luvswool) and I had an Eco Printing day this summer.  I mordanted my fabrics before hand and picked some flowers and leaves from my garden and froze them to bring.

Elizabeth had kindly sent Cathy some Smokebush and Japanese Maple leaves.  Cathy generously shared some with me.  Thanks Elizabeth and Cathy!

I had brought some coreopsis, day lilies, lobelia, verbena, petunias and leaves from my neighbors tree.  I have no idea what kind, but they were red, not maple, and a little wavy.  Other than a few faint marks none of my stuff did much with the exception of the coreopsis.

Cathy also had some coreopsis, a little bigger in flower size, plum, geranium and rose leaves and pansy flowers.

Of course, time was at a premium and we were anxious to get started and forgot to take pics with the leaves and flowers before wrapping.  My bad.

My first experience with eco printing last year was a disaster.  So, I had a lot to learn and fortunately Cathy had everything ready when I got there.  So we got right to work laying out, dipping leaves in iron water and wrapping. We used copper pipes, bamboo mat and binders and clips.


We had two pots going, one plain and one with  sweet gum seed water.  I had brought the seeds from California.

The light plum fabric below was Egyptian cotton from an old bed sheet. It’s too tightly woven to felt, but I wanted to try printing on it.  We also added a piece of handmade paper on the inside to print on both sides.20160719_130528

While still wet:

20160719_130657 20160719_130940

Now dry:


Here are both sides of the paper:

20161031_172412 20161031_172420

I had brought a variety of fabrics — silk habotai, cotton broadcloth, cotton voile and cotton kona cloth.  This was the kona cloth while still wet.


Here are both sides and a couple of closeups:

20161031_150330 20161031_150355

After drying you can clearly see the string marks and the bamboo mat marks.


20161031_150421The silk piece came out nicely. Here it is wet:


Then dry:

20161031_145914 20161031_145939 20161031_145950 20161031_150108I think the Japanese Maple, Smokebush, rose leaves, coreopsis flowers and leaves, plum leaves and geranium and pansies made the nicest prints.

The broadcloth didn’t fare as well except for the very ends.

20161031_150715 20161031_150724

The cotton voile:

20161031_150759 20161031_150808


Thanks Cathy for your guidance!  I’m pleased with the results.

Well, we’ve managed to hang on to summer for one more post.  Next time I hope to remember to take before pictures.  Now I have to figure out what to do with all this.  Any suggestions?



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