Good Water and Co. began as the brain child of Sami and morphed into a mother-daughter adventure. Sami has had a knack for sewing interesting colors and patterns together to make something new ever since she discovered her mom’s fabric stash. This led to her getting her first vintage child’s sewing machine. She is a self taught knitter and has never met a bag she hasn’t admired. This has led her to create unique, funky and innovative project bags and accessories for fiber art enthusiasts. Not only does the bag have to be a statement piece, but it has to be functional.
You can usually find one of us in the basement working in our studio on a new bag design, playing with fabric combinations or, lately, block printing and stamping our own designs on linen fabric. Of course, we always have the help of one or more of our adopted shelter pets! The shelves of our studio are filled with fabrics, upcycled trims and buttons, books, paints, stamps, stencils and interesting items we come across to add uniqueness to our bags. The design wall is covered with sticky notes of new ideas, patterns and prototypes. Another wall is filled with embroidery floss of all kinds and colors and thread, lots of thread. If you happen to drive by on a nice day you might see some of our natural dyed linen blowing in the wind to dry. Based in central Pennsylvania, each Good Water and Co. bag is handcrafted from start to finish in State College.
Our original bags are made from 100% quilters grade cotton, canvas or linen; this means that the colors will not bleed and the lines in the design remain sharp. Our fabric is sourced from other small businesses or upcycled from linens we come across. Each of our bags has a unique character and no two are exactly alike because we purchase only limited quantities of fabric —- even fabric we really love!
We aim to minimize waste and choose sustainable, eco friendly materials.. The closures we chose are likewise upcycled or vintage buttons.
Our newest bags are simple clean designs. We have begun making our own hand stamped and stenciled designs on linen we dye in our studio using plant botanical dyes to create one of a kind fabrics. Once sewn, our bags are then hand-embroidered or appliquéd to give them a bold, energetic and contemporary feel.
Our line ranges from a variety of project bags, perfect for your small to medium needs;to our signature Build A Bag, a take-everything-and-go knitting solution(how it all began). The “extras” in our kits are made by other local crafters in both the US and England. You can find them in our Knitter’s Survival Kit, some of our larger project bags, and in our tea towel bags.
We are regularly asked how we got the name Good Water&Co. The answer is simple: Sami has an affinity for 1930s aesthetics. Hobo code is a big part of that time. She liked the symbol for good water, and alas it became our logo and the name of her company.
WHY DYE NATURALLY?:
Artisans have used what is found in their environment to add color to cloth for thousands of years. It is only since the mid 1800 that the textile industry turned to synthetic dyes. Natural dying is as much an art as it is a science. Colors can be coaxed from many different renewable, non-toxic and natural sources. The plants around us provide the largest range of natural colors: leaves, flowers, roots, berries, nut seeds, wood, bark, fungi, lichen and even bugs! The color is achieved from natural dyes because it is made up of particles of varying colors. Once the fabric is prepared for dyeing it will soak up the color. Manipulate any of the elements of dyeing and you can alter the color.
We never know which bag or tote design we are going to make until the dye process is finished and we can see the end result. We let the color of the fabric determine the bag rather than the other way around.
Once we have selected our piece of fabric into the scouring pot it goes. We scour our fabric in boiling water with homemade soda ash and Norwex washing powder. Once scoured and rinsed, off to the soy milk (Yes, we make our own soy milk from soy beans!) or oak gall bath. If we are using soy milk, we do two or three baths, allowing the linen to dry between each dip. It acts as a binder to help the dye attach to the fabric. If we are using oak galls as a tannin, we soak our fabric and then use an Alum bath as a mordant. Finally, off to the dye bath our fabric goes. Natural dyes are not like paints: dyes combine with fibers to give character and personality, depth and texture. They do not produce a uniform, even, shade. It is these variations that give an added dimension and excitement to natural dyes. Dyes will give slightly different shade each time they are used. The colors will alter when you change the dyeing conditions.
Every bag or tote starts out as a piece of linen. Linen is known as the world’s strongest natural fiber and is far more durable than cotton. The strength of the fiber directly contributes to the strength of the fabric from which our bags and totes are constructed. Environmentally friendly, ethically sourced is becoming increasingly popular. Linen inherently falls in this category because flax plant cultivation is by far more sustainable than that of cotton. The flax plants are very resilient, can grow in poor soil, and requires very little water. Every single part of the flax plants is then used in making all types of products, from linen fabric to varnishes. Linen fabric is also recyclable and biodegradable, meaning you won’t be adding to the growing piles of textile waste all over the world. That has always been our business model. Even when we use commercially produced and dyed fabric in our bags and totes, we have turned our scraps into other products, thus reducing our waste.
VISIT US AT WWW.GOODWATERANDCO.COM TO SHOP AND LEARN MORE!