Monday, November 12, 2007

Felted bag

After kindly having been offered an inspiring book on machine felt, I produced this felted bag with a design of my own. The wool has been all hand spun and the structure of the cloth is really even. This way of felting is professional, neat and fun for spinners and knitters.The rest is the magic work of the "washing machine on wool". Or is it the "wool in washing machine"?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Fair "Moda INcomum"

From the 6th to the 15th "Oficina do Fio" is participating in it´s first fair. It is in Mercado Ferreira Borges in Oporto, Portugal, and organized by "AARN--Associação artesãos região norte". I have been spinning, dying and weaving for this fair.
Bracelets, book marks, crochet bags, dyed wool, pins, ... I chose some pictures. I hope you´ll enjoy.
Tita Costa

Friday, June 29, 2007

Beatriz and Eric´s wedding

Life has been hectic. I have been stitching and also participating in the most marvelous wedding of my "baby" sister. Everyone enjoyed it,and the occasion has been a joyous one. We also loved their friends and Eric´s family. Beatriz family is Portuguese, and Eric´s North American. I met plenty of people for the first time.
I have chosen this photograph of the event to show to all our ciber friends who know Beatriz since she was a child!!! Yes, she got a very nice man..... and what a memory!!!....
Thank you

Sunday, April 1, 2007

One should care

Lichens yield a lot of colour for a dye bath. Yet, they take many years to grow and are known to only grow in places where there is no pollution. They can be of many colours and textures. I see them as pure velvet.
I love lichens and my love for them prevent me from cropping them. Lichens are beautiful and appealing structures that are worth much more then any textile material. It´s texture, it´s colour, it´s shade, it´s indication of a healthy, let them be living in nature where they surely belong!!!
Photo: lichens on a tree in Trancoso, Portugal. Jan 2007
Tita Costa

Friday, March 30, 2007

"Lenços de namorados" revisited

My birthday has been recently.
In Portugal there was a tradition of woman offering their departing boyfriends- to war, to sea, etc - a kerchief with a naive love poem and embroidery. Today those are classic designs, often with spelling mistakes, that one can buy and eventually frame.
As a birthday present my husband gave me one of them. Also, over the years I have been embroidering "dating kerchiefs" (lenços de namorados) with my own designs and colours. He knew that I would love it.
For this post I have chosen two pictures: one of my own design and one of a traditional design
Web contact of a nice site for Portuguese "lenços de namorados":
The world of creation and textiles is endless
With embroidered love
Tita Costa

Monday, March 19, 2007

Early Spring

Here at home, nature is in full bloom. The weather has been very hot and the flowers in the trees are stunning.
I am posting two simple pictures of the aloes and the lemon tree with the magnolia in the background.

Friday, March 9, 2007

The Portuguese Spindle

The Portuguese spindle is completely different from all other spindles that I have tried or even have seen advertised in magazines. As a result the spinning method is also different. With common spindles, a spinner would let the spindle fall while standing up and, after getting spinning momentum,would draw the fiber while the spindle descends. One has to stand to do this well.
With the Portuguese spindle, the twist is made by the thumb and two fingers without ever letting it fall. This twist movement is given to the eye of the spindle that is shaped like a coarse screw. When the spinner is drawing the wool, this screw (and spindle) sits in the palm of the closed hand of the spinner. It is as "simple" as that. An experienced spinner never lets the spindle fall to the ground or even out of their hands. With this spindle and this method of spinning a spinner can be seated on a chair, sofa or even outside on the lawn and be comfortably spinning.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Colour Sensitivity

Is the world of strong conflicting colours colliding with the world of harmonious and soft colours? Is there a visual unrest? Riot in colour? And visual calmness? Should one take sides?

One has no memory of how a world with natural dyes looks like. Anilines brought a wealth of tones and shades and above all speeded up the process of colouring textiles.

Humans are realizing "globalization". For a growing number of people globalization also means the search for natural dyes. Nepal? India? Nigeria? Why not at our doorstep?

Natural dyes bite only in natural fibers. Natural fibers with natural dye colours are thought after more and more as they are better for the health. Natural fibers end up by being not that expensive. Acrylic yarn and commercial dyes bare on Petrol prices, that are often on the increase. So, it is to believe that long term wool is economically better then some man made fibers...let us all make this wish!!
Tita Costa

Friday, January 19, 2007

Grandma´s legacy

In our Portuguese grandma´s kitchen there used to be some oven mitts like these two. They were made in crochet with all the end bits of cotton tying-up string collected from various shopping parcels.
At present, people use synthetic padded gloves that stick to the oven tray the first time one used them....progress?
This entry in my blog is a tribute to those days where scrap string was gathered in the kitchen drawer to be crocheted later and it is also a memory to these useful and unique objects that really are...handy, economical and well designed for their function. Long lasting indeed!!! Are they a peasant heirloom? I do not want any other oven mitts. Long live my ones and also my Grandma´s legacy!!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Dog´s fur

As a spinner I love to spin dogs fur. This cardigan and the purses are all produced with the fur of our two "Serra da Estrela" dogs, a mountain shepherd breed from the Portuguese mountains. They are clever, funny, and quite big. Fluffier than mohair.
I can answer the F.A.Q´s----No, the dog is not sheared but combed and groomed when it is moulting!!!
Nevertheless a dog´s parlour ( gives me very good fur to spin.
In pré-colonial North America dog´s fur was the raw material for native rugs. Sheep´s wool was later introduced by the Europeans. Their woolly-dogs have since been extinct.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Oficina do fio´s launch

As a new comer to the blogger community, I am still to understand what this is really all about...
But I must introduce myself: someone with a strong crush on textiles. A happy day is a day weaving; spinning; dying; etc, etc...
At present I am dying a lot and trying to commercialize this prime quality wool dyed with plant dyes. Being amongst pots and pans in the kitchen to produce this wonderful colours is a long lasting love. One loves cooking, one is an artist, so one loves plant dying. This love for yarn made me launch "Oficina do Fio" which translates for "Yarn Studio".