a natural moon

I’ve been slowly (and not so diligently, as other pursuits in the studio have “interfered”) working on this indigo moon, using my newly dyed naturally dyed threads. This is a lesson in itself, as the indigo i’m working on is strong enough to overshadow certain colours, necessitating some more neutral backgrounds for future plans/use.


The moon is worked with cotton, silk, silk/wool blend and wool threads in cochineal, osage, logwood, and privet berries, with the brown of the seeds coming from potassium permanganate (actually an inorganic compound). I found a walnut bath i had stored several years ago, when i was setting up in the basement, and shall test to see if it’s still “live”, for some of my browns in future, though i do love all the permutations the PP gave on the skein of cotton. On the background surround, in cotton, silk, wool and silk/wool, the colours i used are privet berry, cochineal, brazilwood, rhubarb root, hollyhock (and that’s where the “oh-oh” happened, as some of the colours are so soft, they are barely discernible), osage, logwood, and sandalwood. Using pre-mordanting (VERY important), and post modifying methods, changes the colours to a wide range. (Ha, just realized i used none of the wonderful madder results!)

I have two other moons still in the finishing stages, and hope to get them done soon too! All will be in the shop.




nothin’ like the smell of senescent soymilk in the morning

GAG. You know that garbagey, something’s-dead-and-liquescing smell that tells you there is something rotten in the State of Denmark?  I searched the entire house yesterday, thinking i’d find a decaying apple, a bag of decomposing rose leaves or an ancient pizza crust maybe that the DogFaced Girl had stashed. Turns out it was the soymilk i had made up for mordanting fabrics. GAG. Into the basement with that! I have one more dip to do tonight and then that crud is getting flushed!!!!!! GAG. Fortunately too, the Dye Dungeon is quite cool, the basement of a 107 year old house after all, and nothing is wafting up through the air vents!

While i was down there, i also poked the old indigo vat. I started it in the summer of 2011, managed to revive it even after it being outside and FREEZING through 3 Calgary winters, but Long Live the Indigo Vat, the Indigo Vat is dead………….

BUT Great Excitement abounds also! While the henna experiments failed as a dye, it’s working in a 123 indigo vat!!!!!! This is the stock solution below, and i’m hoping to get some indigo dyeing/shibori in this coming weekend.

Also started a conventional “chemical” vat, because i wasn’t going to hedge my bets that the 123 would work. That being said, i can now compare the two to see if i get the greener turquoisey results from the 123 i noticed while in a Yoshiko Wada workshop a couple of years ago.

And my threads arrived yesterday from my favourite supplier 123Stitch:

AND this weekend i am going with Susan to the UjaamaGramma’s sale, which means no doubt that some sad eyed puppy of a bag of thread or two, and sundry other heart-wrenchingly abandoned bits will follow me home. Good thing i donated too, so there’s room 😉


“dyeing when hell freezes over”

I ordered madder seeds from Salt Spring Island (BC), and casting around, found little info on growing in a colder clime. Fortunately, the natural dye group on FB has some experienced growers, and some of those are in zones similar to mine–or tougher!

I suppose buying these seeds and hoping that in three years i can harvest my own reds might be a bit delusional. Calgary has a shorter growing season, colder nights (even in the summer) and hard winters, but for the price of 6.00 (including shipping), what the hell. Never know until you try. The first step will be to germinate in the Dye Dungeon, under lights, and in sand. Hoofies crossed that the seeds are viable! Though i have yet to get a true red from any commercial madder i’ve used, i keep trying!)

I also have to find my woad seeds–i did grow some the year before the flood, but alas, after the move to the shithole, the pot froze under a roof run off and the poor things didn’t survive. Specifically grown for cold zones by Sarah of Joybilee Farms in BC, i put the darn remaining seeds somewhere “safe” and haven’t found them yet. (I don’t think she sells them anymore either…)

The old indigo pot remains downstairs in the Dye Dungeon also—haven’t used it in a year, but i’m not only hoping to revive it, but to start a more “organic” vat as well. And ordering seeds for these as well…) Picking up a load of calx, henna and other assorted dye goodies tomorrow, including some proper mordants in the form of gallnut and soy!

Hope springs eternal this first day of March!