beauty is… (and a shop update)

…in the eye–and in camera in this instance–of the beholder!

Here’s another thing i love about natural dyes: NUANCE. These two photos are of the same pack of goodies! Taken at different times of the day, the light conditions really show the subtlety of the colour components that make up each dye. Below, these are mixed batches of cochineal, madder and solidago. HOT CRAYONS!

I can “replicate” these in a sense, knowing what’s in the pot, but when you use “leftovers”, you can’t be sure of the proportions. Just/trust letting the pots do what they will, is much more satisfying. Oh sure, there have been a few Muddyduds along the way, but hey, overdye to the rescue!

One of the other delights of these deep colours is that they will last longer. I cringe when i see some of the weak pale colours that are an IG “standard”. Some of them *are* pretty, but they’re NOT going to last–to me it’s like putting 1/16 of a tsp of cinnamon in the cinnamon rolls–it’s discernible, but barely. Are people not aware of WOF, or are they being too cheap with it, or do they think it makes their pound of madder last longer which cuts their costs??? Here’s a perfect example, “madder dyed”:

How long is this going to last, under ordinary conditions of wear and light exposure, even under following “special care instructions”? I’ve seen clothing lines blithely calling this (and that photo specifically!) naturally dyed, and then producing multiples of the garment–that to me IS cheapness of production. Ever noticed that samples from extant collections are (for the most part) still VIBRANT, or at least very indicative of the original colour?

And yes, i DO sell softer colours, but they are NEVER as insipid as the above! There’s still a good percentage of WOF in my work πŸ™‚

Anyhoo, that’s my two cents. I have other offerings in the shop as well, if you care to peruse them, and thank you again to all the Lovely Blossoms who have the faith and trust to support my small endeavours.

 

the PHD post (Piling it Higher and Deeper), and shop update

I’m not hoarding, but it’s starting to look like that in my studio: piles and slipping stacks of various fabrics and colours, snarls and twangles of thread in more fibres and colours, and nowhere to move or work!

There’s so much here that i will never use–and never mind how much UNdyed i have still to work through! I’ve been putting aside small packs for myself with the intention of Making, but this time i slipped in notes and sketches so i wouldn’t forget what was so all fired fascinating about the selection at the time πŸ™‚

So….threads and fabric packs now in the shop!

A sampling:

just messing around

I “re-found” a treasure! When my MIL died, the place was full of everything from 73 hand towels, make up from the 70’s, shelves of laboratory glassware from a pharmaceutical company she had worked at, etc etc etc plus a sewing room full of mostly synthetics, bland colours, and truly useless bits. (We donated/distributed amongst family/charities/dump a full TON of her stuff!) I did however find a bag that contained a couple good handfuls of 2 deconstructed wedding dresses–and the overlaid laces are cotton, which i put In The Safe Spot–and lost it for several months!!!!!! Quite fragile, i had to be very careful while scouring and handling it, but it is LOVELY. (And OH the gunge that came out of it, eeeuuuuw!!!)Β Β  I see my European friends quite often showing off their “brocante” (second hand market) finds and obviously they are able to score a LOT of old linens, lace, embroideries and trims, whereas here in Canada, they are either long gone into other reconstructions, destroyed by time or snapped up at outrageous prices by collectors, so a find like this is very lucky.

(One thing i thought odd though was that the sleeves at the armscye seamΒ  had a thin uncovered very sharp wire enclosed! There was an apparent bloodstain there as well, so can only guess a weeping bride or a frustrated MIL trying to get it out!)

I threw some with other cottons in my 2 year old dried tansy pot (um, that would be just the tansy 2 years dried, not the pot πŸ™‚ ) and just about screamed: look at that ORANGE!!!!

BUT, i do know that what you see in the dye bath is NOT always what you get on the fibres. (I’ve had a purple dye bath dry to green, for instance!)

I was right however about the colour but did however get a reasonably medium to deep yellow this time, as for a couple of years for some reason, my tansy was giving weak colour. (Perhaps because it was picked from a ‘contaminated” area, an old gas station?)

Also combined older pots of lac and madder:

And quebracho rojo!

working with velveteen

My new favourite type of cotton!

Cotton velveteen has wonderful texture, is firm but malleable enough to manipulate and soaks in natural dye in vintage ways. (It takes a LOT of pre-dyeing steps to get it to absorb dyes correctly, due to the nap.)

 

Oops, put the wrong size of coral moon on the end of the top row–better go through those storage jars and check sizes! This was my sample piece, and i see a few areas where my measurements were a *wee* bit off. Three colours of velveteen used in above and two in the second piece below:

 

Much better seam matching, and the silk velvet circles are even across *their* colours.Β  These two chunks are 8×10″. I haven’t quite decided yet whether they need some simple embroidery or some beading to accent the circles.

 

THREE days left for discounts!

My fabrics and threads are all naturally dyed, with historically accurate products and processes. The soft and supple natural fibres i use are perfect for hand stitching in applique, as embroidery bases, for cloth weaving, Boro, piecing and small projects like cushion panels, bags, inserts for clothing, wall art, textile jewellry and 3D forms.

THREE days (including today) left for SALE in shop. ENDS June 17/21.

Please read the sale listing for information on how to apply discount codes for each category. If you can’t make it work, discount will be refunded from your invoice. As always, any extra shipping will be refunded, whether from multiple purchases, or a single item. ———> The shop is HERE. <———Β  πŸ™‚
FybreSpace will be closed from June 18th until July 9th, for a much needed break. That means NO purchasing allowed at all until i come back, because i figure no one will want to wait 3 weeks for something to be shipped to them!
Summer is here and i need some summer πŸ™‚ Have a great one, you Lovely Blossoms!
All listings available will be shown instead as “Coming Soon” as of June 18, and go live again on the 10th, so keep yer eyes peeled!

 

 

 

 

Summer SALE!

https://fibrespace.bigcartel.com/

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 πŸ™‚

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.

 

Mossy Banks

Calgary has FINALLY greened up completely: no brown highway verges, leaves budding and fuzzing, flowers just starting to pop. I’ve been craving these fresh colours, and whipped up some dye pots to accomplish that as well!
All in the shop now πŸ™‚
Luxe threads for stitching along and on Mossy banks! A mix of wool, silk and silk/wool in clear crisp greens and yellows dyed in historically accurate processes with osage and logwood.
 

 

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!)

shop update, and silk working tips for stitch

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 πŸ™‚

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!

The diamond above has been backstitched then whipped, and gives you a very tactile surface, visually and haptically! You can also see the white cotton flannelette i used to back it for stabilization.

If you are piecing silk velvet, give it time πŸ™‚ 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!

new threads, and the hunt for the elusive lavender

YUMMERS.

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 πŸ™‚ 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):

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is euc-and-lac-and-combo-b-1.jpg

 

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:

The a Difference Between A Plum, detail, 2013:

Strange Soul Take Flight, detail, in progress, 2013:

(2013 was a very productive year…..)

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.

Β I suspect it’s time to get the cochineal out and try weaker solutions to get that glowing shiny shade!

Β 

 

i’ve been shot! and other good things :)

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚ )

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 πŸ™‚ ) 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 resourcesΒ  for fabrics and threads.