Conscious by Chloé

Chloé Lepeltier - Conscious By Chloé

Bonjour & Welcome! Conscious by Chloé is a Sustainable Lifestyle Blog focusing on Zero Waste, Slow Living, and Ethical Fashion.

Darning Socks with The Far Woods

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Last summer, a friend of mine mentioned a show she had attended the previous night and snippets of which I had seen on Insta Stories. I inquired about the artists, quickly started following them on social media and fell in love with their work and philosophy.

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Living on a small organic farm outside of Portland, sisters Nina and Sonya Montenegro aka The Far Woods are talented designers and slow-living advocates. Because of their beautiful prints and their couple-year-long clothes-shopping-ban, we were bound to meet sooner rather than later.

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Fast forward a couple months, and I finally got the chance to meet Nina, one half of the power-sister duo. Indeed, she had come to attend my first (and only to date) Zero Waste PDX event. And you will never guess what she showed me… One of the envelopes I had donated at Scrap, our local second hand art supply store, and which she had recently purchased (note to self: remove personal data from donated items).

We’ve kept in touch ever since, and I’ve been loving discovering how much we have in common through their daily posts on Instagram. I was already a fan of their art (I got Octave their Oregon Rivers poster and got myself their lunar calendar), but really fell for how they incorporate magic into daily tasks, and eventually got their Mender's Companion.

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Nina & Sonya took the mundane act of mending socks to a playful and artistic level. So one Saturday, after a disturbing week, I dug through Octave’s drawers and gathered all the socks that needed a little TLC.

To be totally honest, I had previously put them in a bag to donate them, then thought that I should not be the one to take care of this and put them back in their drawer. Until I finally decided that darning them would be a fun experiment and that acts of service might be Octave and my love language (I still have to read this book) since we do help each other out a lot in many aspects of our personal and professional lives.

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The experiment was as meditative as it was time-consuming. I literally spent a whole afternoon just darning socks.

I'm not really patient, but I'm also very stubborn. I knew that if I did not do this task until the last sock, I would never finish it. I also figured that I would only have to do this once since I'm planning on not waiting until 10 pairs of socks have holes in them to start taking action.

My first socks wasn't a work of art, but after a couple trials I really started having fun, especially since I had chosen some multicolor sashiko thread. I also did regret investing in a couple embroidery needles that saved me from poking my fingers with sharp regular ones.

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Do you darn your socks? Have you ever tried the sashiko embroidery technique?

TRY THIS AT HOME and let me know how it worked for you! Look for an old pair of socks and try to give them a new life by darning them.

Also, what’s your love language?

Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.

Shibori dyeing

Shibori dyed linen hanging from line by Conscious by Chloé

Last week was a craft-making week.

After having finished a big work project, I needed to step away from the computer for a bit and do things with my hands. Also, I had a pile of things to mend, some fabric that was waiting to be cut and sewn and, with the rain season coming, some leather goods that needed weather-proofing.

I'll spare you the boring details of socks and jumpers mending and jump to the fun stuff.

Last summer, as soon as I arrived in Portland, I searched for classes and workshops to sign up to for the new school year (I still call these my extra-curricular activities).

There was one thing I was looking for in particular: wheel-throwing. And other things that kinda showed up during my search, like shibori dyeing.

So on a Thursday night, a couple weeks ago, I rushed to my favorite fabric store (it was already closed, but Cameron was kind enough to reopen it for me) to get some cotton fabric to dye for my shibori class with Bramble Workshop at Field Trip, a cute shop in South East Portland.

The process of shibori dyeing is pretty simple, but it's typically the kind of thing I want to learn outside of home. For me, it's not as much about the process, which I could easily learn through an online tutorial, and more about discovering a new spot, meeting inspiring people... and drinking wine!

Ever since I took a fiber workshop with Kristin Morrison at Open House Creative in Southern California, I've wanted to do more dyeing. I had heard about shibori, but truth be told, I still sometimes want to call it kabuki (not even close) or limit it to tie & dye.

So, for those of you who don't already know, or who are not exactly sure of what shibori is, here's a short definition:

Shibori is an ancient Japanese dyeing technique which involves binding, stitching, folding, twisting, or compressing cloth while dyeing it in order to create different patterns.

Shibori dyed linen hanging from line by Conscious by Chloé

For this class, we used indigo. And I used 4 different techniques to create patterns. 1 on the napkin that was provided during the workshop, 2 on my fabric, which I had cut in 2 pieces and 1 on my white t-shirt, on which a girl in the class spilled indigo. I just figured that totally dyeing it would be a better option than trying to get rid of the stains. No, I didn't finish the class bare-chested, I did have a long sleeved t-shirt on as well!

Shibori patterns by Conscious by Chloé

Shibori is not really my style in terms of clothing, so I decided that the t-shirt would be part of my wheel-throwing uniform, with a pair of distressed jeans which I don't mind being covered in clay at the end of the studio session. I ended up making napkins and kitchen towels out of my dyed fabric.

Chloé sewing shibori dyed napkins by Conscious by Chloé

During the week, I also made myself an apron (which you may see in further recipe articles). I had no pattern and ended up making it a little too big. I might have unconsciously done this on purpose as I later figured that it fits Octave perfectly... I used regular canvas that I waterproofed with my current favorite Portland-made product: Otter wax!

I also used another kind of Otter wax to waterproof and nourish my new Danner boots and my old leather jacket (which owed me compliments from a girl at the market last week-end, wait for her to see how beautiful it looks now that it has almost found its original aspect).

And I started to make a few goodies for Christmas. Man, it looks like I didn't want to take my sewing machine (which is still on my desk as I type) out for nothing!

Anyways, that's it for today, I hope you enjoyed reading about my productive side-projects week. Let me know if you'd like more details about the process, I might start to show you some step-by-step DIYs and I'm dying to try natural dyeing again (I read a few interesting food-based recipes and Cameron recommended me classes in Portland).

Update: I spent an afternoon dyeing kitchen towels with my friend Kayleigh, check out her recap + tutorial on A Beautiful Mess.


What about you, what do like to do during your free time? Is there anything in particular you'd like to learn? Also, Portlanders, where do you take classes? DIY, dance, cooking? I'm always looking for more fun stuff to do/learn! Tell me everything here in the comment section, don't be shy!