RSS Feed

Tag Archives: cotton

Coffee Dyed

Handmade cotton doilies Cotton doily Doily Coffee Doily Coffee dyed doilies Solar dyed cotton doily using coffee grounds Solar dyed with coffee Coffee dyed cotton doily Coffee dyed cotton Coffee dyed


A little bit of my own boro

I made a hideous dress. One of those no closures but still shapely – or not.

The fabric is a gauzy cotton and so, with boro in mind, I ripped it up to mend it. Here are some pieces.

Stitching with scraps of silk from a cheongsam redo

Stitching to mend the holes

Boro mending on cotton

Stitched pieces

Boro mending on cotton kimono jacket piece

Square placed to be hand sewn onto sleeve for boro kimono jacket

Mending on the inside of the jacket sleeve

Boro Kimono Jacket pattern and sleeve with stitching

Pattern for Kimono style jacket made out of cotton with boro mending

odds and ends 004

stitching up close

Slow Wardrobe Inspiration – Boro

A little slow wardrobe inspiration.

Silk and cotton han juban with some hemp thread stitching from Sri Textilles, New York

Silk and cotton han juban with some hemp thread stitching from Sri Threads, New York

 When most people see a rip or hole in their clothing they immediately discard it, viewing the item as no longer fit to wear.

Hand Stitched Sashiko Farmer's Boro Jacket, handspun and hand-loomed cotton fabrics, early 1900s From

Hand Stitched Sashiko Farmer’s Boro Jacket, handspun and hand-loomed cotton fabrics, early 1900s

For the peasants in Japan a couple hundred years ago this was not an option. Clothing was simply too valuable to discard because of a hole.

Rag sellers would travel through rural Japan selling bits and scraps of cotton. The women of farming and fishing families would purchase these scraps and use them to mend their homespun items.

Patch over patch, stitch over stitch, generation passing on to generation.

A sleeping kimono intended for warmth - often lined and stuffed with okuso, the leftovers from the hemp yarn making process. Used like a duvet. From Sri Textiles, New York

A sleeping kimono intended for warmth – often lined and stuffed with okuso, the leftovers from the hemp yarn making process. Used like a duvet.
From Sri Threads, New York

Boro comes from the “mottainai” sensibility, or the idea that the object is too good to waste.

Boro Shimacho

Boro Shimacho – Strips of cloth stitched into an old ledger for boro inspiration.
From Sri Threads

How long will your clothing last?

Antique kimono, boro mending with sashiko stitch

Antique kimono, boro mending with sashiko stitch

For more information and examples of Boro

Stitches and Hair

Posted on

Some Stitches

Stitches on Cotton

Sorry, these pictures were taken at night so they are not the greatest. 

Stitches on Cotton Stitched

And for any of you that were interested in the Shampoo Free post – I’m still at it.

It’s been about a month now and my scalp feels fantastic. I had to fiddle with it to make it work for my hair. Some suggestions really didn’t work at all. I also had to do some more research because I found my ends really dry and I would get weird buildup at my neckline.

For my hair, all I need is a bottle of

1 tbsp of baking soda {otherwise it’s too drying}


2 cups water

I add a couple drops of Peppermint,


and Rosemary essential oils.

I pour that onto my scalp and really massage it in.

Let it sit a couple minutes, then rinse.

After that I have, premixed in a bottle,

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar


2 cups water

with the same essential oils

I pour that through the entirety of my hair and then wash it out immediately, or, I find it weighs my hair down too much.

I was using the baking soda once or twice a week but I got a weird build up at the base of my head around my neckline. My hair felt kind of sticky or waxy. I think this is because the baking soda, for whatever reason, was just staying there once I poured it through at my scalp, even though I really rinsed my hair.

Too much baking soda = not cool!

So I’ve started using herbal rinses more often then the baking soda.

My hair was super dry before at the ends but now they are manageable, and not frizzy, and I still have that awesome volume at the roots.

My every day I need it Nourishing Rinse



1 small aloe leaf peeled

  • Makes your scalp feel amazing and can help with itchiness and flaking

  • Makes your hair beautifully shiny, strong and just plain awesome

  • Helps new hair grow

  • Balances hair’s ph levels

  • Great conditioner

1 tsp basil

  • Stimulates follicles

  • Promotes growth

  • Nourishes and adds luster

1 tsp ground flax seeds

  • Great conditioner because of the mucilage

  • May help prevent hair loss

1 tsp ginger

  • Increases scalp circulation

  • Great for thinning hair

1 tsp parsley

  • Super rich in vitamins

  • Makes your hair look and feel awesome

1 tsp rosemary

  • Great for your scalp and thinning hair

1 tsp thyme

  • Ditto above

Add herbs to a bowl and pour 2 cups of boiling water over them.

Let sit over night.

So how do you use it?

It really depends on how much benefit you want.

  1. You can just pour it through your hair in the shower and let it sit while you soap up, shave and do whatever you need to do. Then rinse out at the end. This doesn’t really let it sit in your hair though so it won’t provide the most benefit.

  2. Or you can bring a bowl with you, sit it in the bath tub, pour your concoction in and then sit your whole head in it until you get dizzy :) Ok, not dizzy but for 5 or 10 minutes. This lets it really sink into your hair.

I poured about a cup into the bowl and filled the rest with warm water. Then let my hair soak in it for several minutes. I knotted it on top of my head and had my shower, then rinsed it out at the very end and let it air dry. My hair felt amazing afterwards. No dry frizzy ends like before.

So now I’m thinking I’ll baking soda wash every so often but anytime I need a shower I’ll use the rinse instead. Hopefully then no build up or over-dying of my hair. I also found this site, Minimalist Beauty, where she suggests using green or black tea for a cleansing rinse. Haven’t tried it yet but it looks interesting. 

Have you tried anything like this with your hair? I’d love to hear what’s worked for you and what hasn’t?

Washed Purple Plum

Purple Plum

I’m amazed at how green the purple plum stayed. It seems to be a pretty solid dye. We’ll see how well it lasts though. 

Eco Dyed Cotton purple plum dyebath Eco Dyed Men's Cotton Shirt

Washed Cotton

Blueberry Eco Dyed Cotton

Some of the blueberry dyed cotton shirts after washing. It was hard to get a really good shot of the colour. Definitely much more blue then red purple. But I think that’s because I washed them in the machine and town water is full of chlorine. The red purple probably would have stayed if I had washed it in distilled water. 

Eco bundled with wild blueberry Eco Dyed Men's Cotton Shirts Blueberry Dye Bath Alum mordanted cotton with blueberry dyebath

Botanical Stitching

Floral embroidery using vintage darning thread on crab apple eco dyed cotton. 

Floral Embroidery using vintage cotton darning thread Stitching and Dyeing 029 Stitching and Dyeing 030 Stitching and Dyeing 031

A great way to reuse my husband’s lovely white cotton shirts when the collar finally gives out. 

yesterday was hectic

Hence only one project picture of portly pillows poked up precociously.

Ok, a pillow can’t be precocious…

I think.

Vintage cotton napkins, rust and botanically dyed, cut up and quilted

Moving on.

These are some of the cotton napkins dyed, deconstructed and then reconstructed.

It all started with a book.

I found it at the library.

I was never particularly interested in quilts. I don’t usually like the colour combinations or design. A little too grandma fussy for my taste sometimes.

Though I will say check out Kirsten Jane. She first got me with a post on shoes that she made. But I loved her Improve Patchwork!

Nine patch pillow, rust dyed and eco printed

Back to the book.

The title was – Around The Quilt Frame: Stories and Musings on the Quilter’s Craft by Kari A. Cornell.

A Great Quilting Truth of the Universe by Lisa Boyer made me laugh out loud, uncontrollably. It is me and my sister in quilt land.

It was funny. Though not a quilter, many of the stories touched on things that I definitely could relate too. Unfinished object takeovers. Husband’s in fabric stores. Hoarding tiny scraps, of bits of fabric, because you hate to waste any, because maybe you’ll use it, someday.

The stories about the history of the quilts was particularly fascinating. You used what you had – feed sacks, clothing, bits and scraps. Whatever you could find, or beg and barter for. Each piece meant something; it was a memory, something beautiful that only you and it knew. Pieces of the dress that made you feel incredible, your child’s first piece of clothing, a shirt of your husband’s that always had good memories attached to it . 

Rarely, if ever, could you go to the fabric store and perfectly match prints and solids in monochromatic or analogous splendor, double checking your colour dominance was just right.

This is my kind of quilting. Beauty carefully saved and treasured. Beauty purpose built from unmatched unknowns.

vintage cotton napkins, rust and eco dyed

Because that’s why I love natural dyeing so much. You start in and just enjoy as you go. Sometimes it’s what you expected, sometimes it’s better then what you expected, and sometimes you have no idea what happened but “that’s pretty ugly, what will I do with it now?” Each piece reminds you of the walk you took to gather those leaves or flowers. What you were talking about when you gathered that particular rusty bit. The scent of the dye pot. The truth in colour.  

So I thought I would try quilting with some of my recent dye batches. The Rusty 9 Patch Pillow turned out quite well, I thought. My starburst on the other hand…

But then I read an interesting post by Wendy Feldberg over at Threadborne which she appears to have taken off. She was talking about creating with her grandson and the joys of imperfection, seeing things through a child’s eyes and just being happy with something you’ve made – even if it’s not perfect. I appreciated the perspective. This definitely is an Imperfect Starburst. But I’m leaving it like that. In fact, I made it up into a lovely little tossing pillow – perfect for beaning someone in the head in a pillow fight. 

Cotton, rust and eco dyed, quilted, starburst, 9 patch, pillow

And we thoroughly enjoy it just as it is!

Quilted starburst pillow. Rust and eco dyed. Vintage cotton napkins.

Project Pillows

Project Pillows

Purple Plum














Crab Apple

Natural colour crab apple dye pink



Iron Mordant



Eco dyed, natural colour, no mordant




No mordant

Botanical Dye Project – Cotton. Part 2.

Cotton, alum mordant

Blueberry, crab apple, purple plum, coffee and cinnamon.

Cotton, eco dyed, alum mordanted. Purple plum, cinnamon, coffee, blueberryFree form cotton crochet.

Cotton, alum mordant

Top to bottom: Coffee, cinnamon, purple plum, crab apple, blueberry.

Cotton, alum mordant

Cinnamon, purple plum, blueberryCinnamon, purple plum, crab apple.

Snow and Projects

Cochrane Ontario

We should expect the snow, and earlier because we’re in the North now. I always hope that it will take longer for it to finally get here though.

As much as I don’t enjoy the cold, it is beautiful!

Iron infused leaves on alum mordanted cotton

Leaves from a bush outside {unknown} on vintage cotton napkins. Iron bath for about an hour. 

Knotted and soaked for a couple days

Men’s Cotton Shirt pulled apart, this is the back. Knotted a couple times and then soaked in coffee for several days. 

Men's Cotton Shirt mordanted in alum, wrapped with raspberry leaves then boiled in iron bath

Section of Men’s Cotton Shirt, alum mordanted, with raspberry leaf prints. 

Botanical Dye Project – Cotton

New Project

I’m really excited to start a new dyeing project with cotton.

I started this afternoon, but, of course, forgot to take pictures while working.

I’ll have to remember to take some tomorrow when there’s good natural light. Oh and we saw a snow goose today. So exciting! That’s bird #126.

Vintage Dress

Posted on

I also made this dress recently.

I needed a comfortable summer dress and this fits perfectly. I used one pattern for the top and one for the bottom because I wanted a slightly flared skirt for ease of movement.

I added some crochet lace to the top and I’m thinking of adding it to the sleeves as well. Funny enough, it’s the shell stitch from the Vintage Sweater on 2 rows of single crochet. It worked!

I also found it amazing that even though they were 2 different patterns the back darts and gores matched up perfectly. It made for a nice finished look.