indi go shop

I’d buy them myself, but i have enough already in my stash πŸ™‚


“shopfull” indigo revival

I had to make a new indigo vat, as the old one while having been successfully revived last year (after going through 3 frozen outside Calgary winters!), is now defunct, kaput, gone to the Great Blue in the Sky Vat. The 123 vat, well, we just won’t go there again…….i took the lid off and i’m sure the neighbours three doors down heard my horrified gasp. It’s definitely a note to throw out when it’s GREY, molded and has a suspicious pancake of solid yellow schmutz in the bottom that won’t break up……

As i was going through drawers and boxes, looking not only for dyes and chemicals, but fabrics as well, i realized too that it’s almost an anniversary, 8 years of natural dye, sometime around the beginning of August, and wow have i come a long way! In the beginning, i played and got lovely colours that didn’t last (no mordants!), used things that didn’t really qualify as a dye (lilac flowers, anyone?), but i learned from this what would give colour, a bit about post modifying, and got quite excited about indulging a childhood passion for “potions” and finally that actual RESEARCH means you can do it right, right from the start. I really knew nothing about natural dyeing, in respect to process, though i did know the basic history. Along the way, i also learned to ecoprint/contact print/botanical print, whatever you want to call it πŸ™‚

Subsequently, in the shop are some wonderful combinations of natural dye, ecoprint and indigo. The prices are low, considering the processes, and the size, so please, do indulge yourself:) As always, any extra postage you paid will be refunded!








mining the past again

That’s a page from a 2007 “fabric art journal”, a time for me of experimenting and heavy machine embroidery. “Kirlian Hand” is a portrayal of the so-called phenomena of a person’s “aura”. Named after Semyon Kirlian’s accidentally discovered observation in 1939, that if an object on a photographic plate is connected to a high-voltage source, an image is produced on the photographic plate—- and touted in the 70’s as captures of the human spirit! (My ex was heavily into this, Hollow Earth theory, pyramid power, Chariots of the Gods alien conspiracy, and the whole “new age” crapola of the time….used to drive me nuts…but then *he* was/is.)

Anyhoo, i did like the design possibilities of this, so wth. The hand was cut from screen printed fabric, all of the embroidery is by free motion and the abalone shell piece was attached with glue and beads (i think..the page is somewhere in a box with other relics of the time, in a little room at the back of the house so stuffed i can’t get into it. Note to self: do something about that this weekend, there’s some Good Stuff in there too…)

It’s interesting to look at old work and not only remember how and why it was done, but to go forward with it as well, in a new direction. Yeah, some of the results from the way back machine are either embarrassing or weak, but some of it is still valid, good, intriguing, and touches a chord. Let’s roll with it!

As i mentioned in a previous post, i’m working on improving my ecoprinting skills, and while my little tests are very quite promising, i’m not completely satisfied yet, BUT, i can still use some of the bits in the Summer of Madder Study project πŸ™‚ I’m going to “condense” the above layout a bit, due to the size of the moon i want to use, because the original layout would make too big a section to work on comfortably, considering the scale.

I’ll have to be tender with the moon too: a silk, i always have problems with stitching on this fabric, by hand or machine, as the threads of the fabric tend to “pull” when the needle goes through. I’ve tried finer threads, and smaller eye bulbed needles, but haven’t solved the mystery yet, so minimal stitching on the moon. Given though that the details are so fine and so delicious, less is more anyways: not everything has to be encrusted!

And the potential layout–just pretend/imagine the fingers are separate so the moon shines through πŸ™‚

It’s now time then to set up the outside stitching corner!


while the water’s away, arlee will stitch play….

Some idiot at the major BRT construction site last night hit the water main feeder that supplies our two blocks. We’ve had no water since 7PM last evening, and nothing was done until about 10 this morning, because of course first priority was a fight between the city and the construction company about who was responsible for fixing it. ASSHATS. An emergency water services thingie showed up sometime in the night, and we have to lug big bottles in to flush, wash and water the animals. No word either as to when it will actually be DONE. Better i suppose than having to lug a bucket down to the river——which is impossible at the moment anyways, as the riverbank is unreachable now due to the construction of a new bus bridge and remediation of the banks after the 2013 flood………………..probably a good thing also because i have a hard time keeping a DogFaced Girl on a leash out of the river and balancing a bucket on my head at the same time. Things slosh.

SIGH. So, dyeing requires water. Ain’t got none. Pause in the dyeing escapades then, perhaps a good thing, as i am capable of other things in the studio.

I pulled out the threads again, and have almost finished the first section of the garment for the Summer of Madder (Study) project.

I have a few leaves left to do, a bit on the yellow strip, and have decided that the big floaty roses that worked as big floaty roses on the pocket, need to be “grounded” on this section.

I love these little figures!

pomegranate as mordant and dye

I’ve wanted to try pomegranate for a long time, as it’s both mordant and dye material. I had been saving the peels given to me, until i figured i had enough to make it worthwhile. This isn’t an experiment by the way: it works, and is historically used in India as both a tannin rich mordant, and a greenish-yellow dye.

I don’t eat pomegranates, as they are expensive, and to my mind a waste of time as an edible πŸ™‚ You can buy an extract from Maiwa, if you don’t have someone saving the skins for you, and can’t be bothered picking out all those seeds for consumption. The price is a bit spendy, BUT at the same time, the WOF because it’s an extract, not just powdered peels, is low, so a little jar goes a long way.

Since the season here for pomegranates in the grocery stores is Autumn, i simply picked off the labels, put in an OPEN plastic bag and set them near a heat vent to dry out, and saved them as i got them, over the month and a half they are available. No mold or ick resulted, just crunchy red bits, that i then stomped to break up more. The weight came to 625 grams, so i just filled my biggest pot with filtered water (not sure what our hard tap water would do), threw the skins in, brought it to a low just starting to boil temp, then immediately turned it off, and let it sit overnight. I threw in 2 skeins of cotton threads on a whim, leaving them overnight also.

Yup, a few errant eucalyptus leaves, nothing to worry about.

Good colour as soon as the heat hit.

The threads seem a *wee* but stiff, maybe due to the high tannin level, but i can live with that, especially as the cotton embroidery floss is an almost metallic gold! (SO hard to photograph!)Β  (OOPS, just remembered both threads had been previously tannined in gallnut, but never made it to alum.) I post modified the left cotton thread.


Below on the left skein, colour changes are left copper, middle iron and right ammonia. Biggest surprise was the iron, as i assumed i would get green!

In the morning, i strained out as much of the skins as i could, because leaving them in can result in spotting fabrics, due to contact. The pot is a huge canner, so i tossed in 3 kinds of unmordanted silk (habotai, dupioni and a light charmeuse), several unmordanted cottons, one cotton with a previous tannin/alum mordantΒ  pale madder dyed and one premordanted with tannin/alum no dye, and 2 skeins of wool (a superwash and a lace weight both premordanted with alum), total weight about the same as the peels. Technically, i should have had 2 pots, one for cellulose, one for proteins, as uptake is different, but since i’m more concerned with it as a mordant than a colour, i’m not too fussed about this. The previously mordanted and dyed cotton almost immediately changed colour, a warm goldy yellow. The beauty too of pomegranate is that it’s not fussy with temperature regulation and doesn’t take more than an hour after it’s being used, to get results.

DogFaced Girl and i went for our morning walk, so the whole stew was left a little longer than an hour, probably closer to two and a half πŸ™‚

Above, hard to photograph, the cottons are closer to a creamy yellow, with a noticeable difference between the previously unmordanted and the tannin/alum premodanted. The silks are almost metallic as well!

The two skeins of wool are a pale cream, no surprise or big surprise, can’t decide πŸ™‚

I’ll keep sections of the silks and the two darker cottons as they are right now, and play with their other bits in different dyes (and ecoprints) now. The cottons showing little colour will be used for other dyes/ecoprints and more tests.

And i’m pretty sure, i can add the saved used peels back to the pot and get more colour,Β  after i’ve exhausted this “extraction”. I don’t know either if the use of hard water would have greened the dye more, but i suspect it would have, as we have iron and minerals, especially calcium, in our tap water. Adding an alkali or an acid would change that as well, but doing a few little tests first in smaller decantings.

If the results with dyes and second extractions are deemed worthy, i may buy some of the extract from Maiwa in the future!