I don’t think i’ve given my studio a good deep clean for more than a year, and certainly some drawers haven’t been touched, or even opened (!) in longer! When the space is so bad you can’t bear to go in there,and don’t want to work on *anything*, in face feel like just giving up period, it’s time for a purge.

Hauled out 2 bags of actual garbage, picked through said drawers and sorted, tossed and “refiled” a few “projects” that went totally out of sight out of mind. Moved the serger and extra sewing machine to the basement, along with the huge plastic bag of plastic bags stored in plastic bags (apparently i have a secret fetish for them…), paints which i rarely use anymore (after sorting the dried up ones out), stuffing materials, and assorted cosmic debris.

My extra chair has room for a person now, instead of piles of books, cloth and EMPTY storage containers. The books are all put away, but easily accessible, the threads are back in their colour drawers, and the dyeable cloth is in one three Rubbermaids, and the dyes are all in one spot along with their tools, bottles, instructions and adjuncts. I have a floor again! And worktable space!

I found some things i haven’t Seen in a long time: a baby bootie pattern i thought i lost 16 years ago (they were ADORABLE, and i may make more), a sheer curtain i was beading with dragonflies (obviously lost the other matching but unstarted one) which needs only ONE wing to finish, and a blanket “fling” i’d really like to complete as well.

All this was because A. the owner of “Tabula Memoria” will be picking up the work in September, B. because i got tired of tripping and sliding on things (think minefield, not obstacle course) C. i could rarely find what i had in mind, and when i did i had no room or gumption to work on it.

And D. i bought new dyes and i want to be able to use them! Because i had a Lightbulb moment at the beginning of the week: get into the ACAD bookstore *before* res ends. They don’t just sell books, but all the art supplies students need for their wonderfully varied programs. And i don’t have to pay for shipping!

I bought Osage, Logwood and Cochineal, having never worked with the first two, and only minimally with the third. I decided to go the true route, and suss out the real deal from both Maiwa, and Jenny Dean’s books.

I’m realizing too that haste makes waste. I’m sure that stubbornly doing things my way was the reason that my madder dyeing has been less than stellar! Instead of using proper WOF dye material to fabric, i have wasted a LOT of dye materials, thinking there was “enough” being used, and then throwing it out because it gets moldy as i get discouraged and ignore it………………READ THE INSTRUCTIONS: just because the dye bath *looks* rich with colour, doesn’t mean it is.

The logwood and the osage are now soaking, and tomorrow i hope to start dyeing cloth with them. YUM.


making book

A real learning curve! I tried several years ago to do a Blurb book, but got so bogged down that it’s still sidelined.

However, i’m older and smarter now :), and have more patience and persistence, so i go i go i go–for hours, working on the accompanying journal for “Tabula Memoria”.

I knew from the beginning of this project that i didn’t want to send off a haphazard accumulation of the writing, sketches and samples i did as i went along, that it had to be something that would last, possibly be passed on (to “heirs”?), and that looked professional. From the start of this to the end, i kept a separate file for the physical work (said writing, sketches, samples) and a digital one with folders and sub folders (and sub sub folders….!), planning somehow to collate and correlate at the end.

Once you learn the program, it *is* easy. The hard part is picking and choosing what truly is relevant, deciding what should be featured and what is less “interesting”, writing coherently and in a timeframe sense for each photo, and then deciding how many pages really are needed.

From the initial query from Mr X, to the first concept scribblings, through process and progress, thoughts, changes, references and honestly some blah-blah, i’m up to 45 pages, with only a few left to do. You have to know when to stop too! There could always be another book for the “extras”, incorporated for a “how to” maybe…..

And maybe, just maybe, i’ll finish that first one, because there are others i’d like to do too.



progress is as progress does

Day three, when ever that was (i’m losing track of what day i worked on what piece for this commission):

Added a bit more shading as well.Β  Though i don’t want the figures to stand out too much once they’ve been applied to the background, i want them to integrate a bit more as well. That slight purple addition references some of the shades of brazilwood on the main cloth.

Day whatever, but as of March 14th:

The left panel is within two hours of being done, at least the hex memory part……

pay off

Ya just gotta stick with it, and try to ignore it.The irritation, i mean, not the work. A delicate touch is tough when the fabric can’t move. I’m used to warping, bending, folding when i stitch: it’s part of the fun.

I can’t take this one anywhere either, as packing it will probably shift the cloth, which has to stay taut and on grain. Haremcloth is wonderful, but a bit of a shifty thing πŸ™‚ I loathe using hoops, however the tension was necessary for this. Not looking forward to the larger figure–until it’s done πŸ™‚ At least i know how i’m going to treat larger areas now with the other figure(s). (Still can’t decide if i need a third, or if after doing a first layout on the background will show that two is enough.)


I’m still not entirely happy with the shape of the foot, but when it’s applied to the background, can adjust that.




Subject matter sometimes determines approach. My usual method of applying elements for this work just wouldn’t suit, as that method is “heavier” and more solid, even with holes added πŸ™‚

Because of the scale of the projected piece, i didn’t want to just jump in this time, even though i have plenty of ideas and a reasonably firm vision of what’s going where and how. I spent yesterday doing more tests, and must say i really appreciate the virtue now of sampling first! The first run through always takes more time than you thought it would–and yet, less, which is always a good thing πŸ™‚

A single layer of cotton harem-cloth is a beautiful thing. It’s a little shifty, and takes a firm grip to keep it in line, especially when you don’t like using a hoop, but oh i do love the effect.

sample-figure-1d-cAin’t he the hunk?

I didn’t want him to be such a stark white however. First i tried coffee dyeing. Nope, too close to the white. Rinsed that out, dabbed on WEE WEE bits of Procion. Nope, too strong, and the colour was too red (that “rust brown” is definitely too red). Washed that out, or most of it, then got out the paint again. Good enough for sampling purposes, i’ll watch the dispersion and blending rate more consciously on the real deal, but am rather pleased.


I almost wish i hadn’t cut out centre portions, but only because the placement on the background didn’t take the dark areas underneath into consideration. Even so, i think it’s quite the look i want, but that fine fine grey thread i used was a pain in the Bazotski –i think i need new glasses again……………..

figure-sampling-1-cThe size of this is a standard “A4” page, and it scares me a bit to think of the shifting on a larger scale. I may have to dig out my largest hoop after all: the grain and weave of this fabric is so malleable, that i don’t want stitches skewing the angles. Because the larger pieces will have more interior space as well, that means more stitching inside, whether on the harem cloth itself, or in any voids. Best to get a handle on it right from the start!

Working this little trial also has the advantage of adding more ideas for other work. I think it will show up on this somehow:


Poor girl has been sighing and pouting in the stoodio since the beginning of September!



skeevey brights

prism-tie-dye-variegatedsLurid, ain’t they? None of these are numbered, or named, something Prism doesn’t seem to care about, hence the added numbers in the photo πŸ™‚

The Prism tie dye threads are what they are..a yellow, chunk, a blue, chunk, a pink, chunk, no blending except for an iota where they meet. These are the threads people hate, who hate variegateds. No subtlety, no sneaking in that bridge of green, orange or purple.

That being all said, they are kind of fun, definitely hippie and pop. The stitch used obviously makes a difference, a spiderweb reminds me of the old Ojo de Dios we made in the 70’s, wrapping hideously coloured synthetic yarns around wire coat hanger frames πŸ™‚Β  I can see some really nasty stuff happening with these threads in the future. They are a bit coarser than DMC, Anchor and the like, coarser even then the original Prism line used to be.

For 4.99 a package for 18 solids and 18 variegateds, i ain’t gonna complain too much! March 2013

I haven’t touched them since i made that entry on my old blog. The J&P Coats colourway 0250 though isn’t available anymore (used on the Pop Moon in the previous entry), which is too bad since it was a great blended rainbow effect, so again, use what you have.



I’m definitely feeling the need for some colourwork again. Maybe because the summer garden this year has bloomed so late–my Mexican Torchflower FINALLY has a blossom at three feet high (they’re supposed to get to 6-8 feet…), and with the exception of the sunflowers everywhere, nothing was fantastic this year, despite all my efforts. (Gardener’s rule: NEXT year will be better/different/easier/sunnier.) Awhile ago, i culled my fabric stash and kept a few loud 70’s and 80’s prints, and with the recent re-discovery/re-opening of the bead vault, i should be set for a few good sessions πŸ™‚

And by the way, this one is available in the shop now, shipping included, and at our low Canadian dollar value πŸ™‚ 😦 :Β  EDIT: SOLD


I’m working on more naturally dyed moons as well, and maybe someΒ  new approaches to the Alberta Rose series (2013) again.