THREE days (including today) left for SALE in shop. ENDS June 17/21.
Please read the listing itself for advice on how to add the discount code to your basket. Don’t add this listing to your cart A. that’s why it’s priced at a thou (as place holder!) and B. it has nothing in itself to do *with* the discount code 🙂
I will be constantly listing through this period, so keep checking back. Don’t miss out on what you want either though–whatever is already listed when you check, is all there is of that item.
What could be better than an amble along the riverside, finding little secret coves and mossy banks to sit on and dream? As the wind sways miniature willow stands, you daydream, floating in the clearness.
This pack includes silk noil, cotton velveteen and silk/rayon velvet, solid and streaked and mottled, with osage and logwood dyed in historically accurate processes, giving elegant calming blues and soft Monet mossy yellows and greens. (Note, threads are not included, just to give you an idea of depth of colour. Threads will be in a different listing!)
Good morning, Blogland! (How many blog anymore anyways?) (How many people subscribe, then just let the email go to the spam folder?)
I’ve been in the last month or so, trying to keep the shop fuller with offerings, but that darn old “word of mouth” has meant most of my sales have been “offline” in a sense! I’m not complaining though as my naturally dyed fabrics and threads go further around the world 🙂
I have right now a listing for small “decks” of silk velvet in varied colourways. But wait, what? Silk is too difficult? NAHHHHHHH!
It *is* a slippery animal, but there are a few tricks you can use to wrangle it. I prefer hand stitching it, whether that’s piecing chunks together, or adding cut shapes as a form of applique. The simplest way to handle it is to underline/stabilize it with either a thin cotton (think lawn or fine muslin, harem cloth is too shifty), or if you prefer even more depth to your stitching, a piece of cotton flannelette. (Yes, that stuff your jammies are made of, your winter sheets, and the soft soft baby wear and diapers that Mae Junior is in.) When you stitch on this combo, the depth can get quite “crunchy” and shows more shadows and highlights because you are compressing the fabrics more—delish!
If you are piecing silk velvet, give it time 🙂 Pin, pin, pin–i use regular pins rather than silk ones but make sure yours are SHARP and fine. I use two lines of running stitch at the seams, with small as i can get stitches. Brush the right side seam line lightly with a soft toothbrush to fluff up the pile. (Note: i still stabilize for simple straight seams, it gives the weight it needs for handstitching the seams, and to prevent creases and bias distortion.)
Above pieced velvets in this moon for the background. Remember also to “open” your seams on the back (just finger press them, no ironing!!) or you will be stitching through 3 layers instead of 2, and possibly have a bulge or hard spot there.
Also pieced, a little more difficult with curves,but you can plan out and draw on the underlying layer to show the seamlines for stitching.:
Don’t plan on getting too intricate with the embroidery! Covering velvet densely (in most cases) doesn’t let the velvet work its magic, and isn”t that the point? Also, if you have to rip out stitches, be aware that there may be a visible line through the backing: sometimes you can hide it a bit with a damp toothbrush riff. If that doesn’t work, try to work in the same line with a different stitch/colour/ply, but keep it simple.
Are you champing at the bit yet? See the all five of the colourways available in the shop! Affordable, large enough pieces to play with, delicious combos!
By the way, these greens from mossy to deep moraine were created without indigo! A little dye magic in the pot with weld and logwood!
As always, i refund any extra shipping paid, whether on purchases of multiples, or a single.
And these are available too!
Below lac, brazilwood (sappanwood), and onion, and combos:
A comparison of the previously dyed onion:
Some of these will be in the shop, announcement to be made when listed 🙂 Obviously being as delicious as they are, i have reserved some for a special person: ME!
The onion gives greener tones initially, but there doesn’t seem to be much difference when overdyed. My lac and BW however were a stronger WOF for these babies, so deeper shades resulted. YUM!
These are from previously used dyebaths, after doing cloth. I don’t waste a drop! From Lac, the natural dye that shows up in searches as anything but a natural dye: lac, lac with iron, and eucalyptus:
These above are included in a new fabric pack in the shop.
And a combination of the two (because with natural dyes, purple/pink and yellow don’t always make mucky brown):
I have had through my dyeing days (years now, wow!) ONE skein of lavender thread. I don’t remember what i used, but i suspect it was cochineal, and the thread was silk. I’ve been partial to lavender as an accent with rust and neutrals since the days when i first started all the hand stitching. The ones i used below are commercial, but there’s no reason not to try for a natural version. The purples and lavenders on the fabrics however IS natural, from Brazilwood, and i covet those various shades!
Mother’s Heart, 2013:
Strange Soul Take Flight, detail, in progress, 2013:
The Mini Goddess Moons, 2018, lavender leaves on 3 of them. (These are *completely” done in natural dyes, both fabric and threads.) I like the way the lavender gleams amongst all the stronger natural dye colours.
I suspect it’s time to get the cochineal out and try weaker solutions to get that glowing shiny shade!
Had my first Covid vaccination on the 13th and happy to report very few side effects, for me no more than a regular flu shot: bit of dizziness, sore arm and LOTS of sleep with LOTS of fluids. I’ve never been so excited to get a needle before 🙂 I was also lucky enough to get the Greyman booked before the system crashed so we’re rather happy Chez Stately Barr Manor. We’re still observing physical distancing and masks though, as we ain’t stoopid. Honestly, it feels strange *not* to mask up when out and about.
I’ve been farfing around with some new natural dye colours —-LOVE Lac for its wide range of reds, purples and pinks, similar to my Quebracho Rojo results, but feeling somewhat warmer on the colour spectrum. I also simmered up a batch of dried out eucalyptus that i bought way back in August of last year, set on a shelf in some water and then promptly forgot it was there/anywhere—this is the first time i’ve got some warm yummy sunset-ty orangey yellows and am just in love with it. Of course, the next batch i will buy will be different! I’d tried previously and got a rather insipid butter so am rather chuffed with this batch, especially on the cotton lace trim. I think it will go nicely with some of the indigo dyed lace, cotton or rayon, and silk on the first wearable art piece i’ve planned. (That got sidelined a bit with Life Happening, but i have a desktop photo to remind me how much i love the idea, and to GET TO IT!
I wanted to use the open eyelet trim i had used on “Tower to the Moon”, partially shown in the mock up photo above, but haven’t quite enough so will go for the more flowery one i just dyed–still very very pretty!
Remind me to rev up the indigo again………..
I’m trying to build some purple vocabulary with the Lac–i desperately need some purple family threads myself, and am hoping to get some in the shop as well. (And other colours there too as “demand is increasing”, as they say 🙂 )
I’m learning with/about a new mordant as well: Symplocos, a plant that is an alum accumulator, so we’ll see how that does too.
As to the shop, i have finally decided to “standardize” the size of fabrics offered. My velvets have always been either 6×6, 6×12 or 12×12, and i think that’s the way to go–6×6″ are small enough pieces to offer a variety for a reasonable price and be big enough to use and appreciate, and the 2 larger sizes (still very reasonable 🙂 ) for more impact in your work. I cringe sometimes (OFTEN) when i see the mingy bits some offer for a lot more coin (and in US to boot) and with no identifying dyes listed, just “botanical/plant/natural/vegetable dyed”…………
I’m also very pleased to let you know that i am now on Jude Hill’s approved list of trusted resources for fabrics and threads.
I’ve been dyeing all week:
Swanky Panky: Packs of teasing texture in pearlescent cotton damask, mellow cotton velveteen, sultry silk habotai, crisp cotton and slinky silk/rayon velvet, naturally dyed in madder, quebracho rojo, lac, marigold and eucalyptus with historically accurate processes.
Making piles. Sorting bits. Prepping projects. Skeining threads.
And then it’s time to play!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Much frustration the other day: i’ve been experimenting with different techniques and dyes (because some dyes behave differently than others), wanting a little more dimension and visual interest in the naturally dyed cloth i offer in my online shop, and thing just weren’t doing what i wanted/expected them to do.
So i XXXXXX’d and BBBBBBC’d and even XXXBBCD’d and then turned off the damn stove and lights and went to pout.
At the end of the second day, i had these:
Above, lac on madder (silk habotai).
Below, lac on undyed cotton/silk blend (not sure which was the higher content, but i had premordanted for silk).
Below, lac on tansy (silk habotai), hard to see any tansy left!
Below, the truer colour.
Today, i will be testing the method on cotton and linen, expecting “harder” definition, and with other dyes than the lac, on previously dyed and undyed pieces. Hopefully, by the end of Monday, i will be able to share some in the shop!
And no, there is not even ONE bit of snow or ice used in these. That’s all 20 feet away in my wintery backyard, and can stay there. (Or rather disappear in our projected Chinook for this week 🙂 )
And yes, i am keeping the method to myself. It’s up to each dyer to develop and progress with their own techniques. Those who think that artists of any ilk are obligated to share the whole process are sadly mistaken. I see that every day in dye, botanical print, embroidery and mixed media groups with some getting quite huffy when you won’t lead them from step A to B to M to Finished. Learn the basics then find your style/practice/method! I remember asking a local ecoprinter how she had done XYZ and she sweetly smiled, winked and said “Every dyer has her secrets”. That may smack of elitism or Guild nastiness, but it isn’t, and it encouraged me to immerse myself, paying attention to the journey. And i’m still friends with that dyer 🙂
There will be “Broken Kaleidoscope” packs in the shop on Sunday Feb 28th. Not exactly as shown, as the velvets will be different, and I’m not sure how many packs I’ll have, but here’s a heads up! EDIT: Listing open, and going fast!
I love what i do, but it’s time to add a new approach. I had a reasonably successful run as a wearable art designer (Albedo Artclothing) from ’93 to about 2001, and my big big studio was always humming with work. Over the last couple of months, ideas have been popping into my head as to how to translate what i do into something one would wear, fun, bright, unique but comfortable, un-contrived and mixable with a person’s favourite skirt, top or pants, not so over-the-top as to be laughable or “inappropriate” for an occasion, but still completely different from what every one else has.
I have NO idea how long each piece will take at this point of planning. Making art by hand is not the same as whipping up something on the sewing machine or serger, slapping on a few applique and some exotic buttons—not that at that time there was anything wrong with that–it was “of the times” after all, and there were not a lot of truly hand crafted pieces, unless you were one of the 11tybajillion dollar rich persons who shopped bespoke couture somewhere in Milan or Paris or some exclusive by appointment only atelier on a hidden street in Lower wherever……
Yes, there will be machine work to assemble, because the “hand crafted” aspect i’m talking about is the design, the fabrics and embellishments, and the embellishing itself.
AND it’s still going to be with natural fibres and natural dyes, because that truly is my passion in all of this. I’m rarely attracted now to commercial fabrics, and i never wear synthetics as they make me feel strangled, hot and stinky, as they just don’t breathe.
This piece is what started me thinking about wearables again:
I’ve culled other ideas from previous work too, most done in the last 2 or 3 years. I’m also going through photographs of the previous work i did as Albedo Artclothing, because i know there’s stuff there that can be distilled as well, without being re-hashes or cop-outs. I believe it’s just ambitious enough to accomplish but not so much that i get bogged down or lose interest. Waking up excited this morning tells me i could be right about this, as i haven’t felt this way for a lonnnnnnng time!
“Unknown Sister” was a separate online shop and blog for awhile, for wearable accessories, and i decided to resurrect the idea specifically for this again.
Since i have no idea how long it will take to finish something like this as a wearable, i am projecting the first project won’t be done until the end of March. I’ll be keeping a log of sorts about time spent on it, so i can pre-plan future pieces, and re-learn time management (not a strong suit anymore!). Maybe it will be done before that deadline, but that IS the deadline, so we’ll see!
Mixed fibre packs (linen, silk, silk/rayon velvet,cotton lace, cotton) now in the shop: Ecoprints! Sprinklies! Solids! Bright colour for accents and enhancements! Malleable pieces of texture will delight your imagination and your needle!
Assorted natural dyes done with historically accurate processes, from prep to mordant to dye. (Indigo, madder, quebracho rojo, marigolds, tansy, osage, cochineal and rhubarb.)