naturally dyed silk velvet listings open, shop update

Natural dyes and silk velvet have an affinity for each other, like a love poem whispered into a breeze, like feather soft caresses, cool water on hot naked skin, sensual and earthy, sharing the privacy of deep emotion and quiet solitude.

Pure silk velvet is a dream to turn into art, or functional but stunning accessories. For embroidery on this, i would advise backing with a soft but firmly woven cotton (cotton flannel is excellent!), and use bold embroidery stitches, like chain, whipped backstitch or whipped running stitch, in 6 strand floss or #3, #5 or *8 perle. If you are doing satin or other covering stitches, a small piece of stabilizer is recommended. Beading is wonderful as well!!!!!

Listing for the large squares is now active. 


EDIT: listing for smaller pieces is now open, 4 packs only. SOLD OUT


naturally dyed silk velvet

I’ve had a love affair with velvet since i was 12 and found a Vogue magazine that advised “A pant of lavender panne velvet is the essential in a bohemian styled wardrobe.” I’m not sure *how* i thought my 60cent an hour babysitting jobs were going to finance the purchase of an $800 garment, but that was obviously beside the point (I’ve never forgotten that quote either…) Natural dyes coupled with silk velvet have me quite giddy at the moment. 😍

I just have to fire up the indigo pot, do some dye combinations and extend the colour range a bit more as we need greens, blues, purples, almost-blacks, different pinks!

Listings will start on July 5th, with 2 differently sized packs, and as always, i refund any extra shipping paid!

Easter dyeing

No eggs!

OH MY GAWDZ, this 34 year old madder!!!!!

No fuss, no messing around, our mountain-hard tap water, a couple of Tums, a bit of a simmer and BANG.

I think i’d be hoarding this stuff if i was parsimonious with my cloth–but then what’s the point? Just wish the supplier was still around!

Coupled with a chunk of silky silk velvet dyed in quebracho rojo, there are TWO of these packs in the shop, along with others (ONE each) in various permutations of osage, sandalwood, quebracho rojo and cochineal. DELICIOUS! EDIT: ONE pack left of the seven.     SOLD OUT    

I will be dyeing again this week, and will have more packs in the store, slightly different.

a manipulative day

I’m doing some “self directed” workshops again, which means getting into the studio and (usually) experimenting with old techniques, or trying to make something from old techniques 🙂

Today, i spent four hours burying the cat playing first with my quebracho rojo dyed silk velvet, then some indigo cotton, and lastly an indigo and cochineal overdyed ecoprint silk habotai (reverse order in photo!) (Sorry for the crossed out bit–i always hear Monty Python when i hear “i spent blahblahdeblah hours blahdeblahblahing……..”)

Each type of fabric had it’s own attractions, and responses to the manipulation. I love the silk velvet, as it’s actually more forgiving than the silk hab, which slithers like an intoxicated snake, and the cotton is nice and crisp, though i may flatten that with an iron to set creases for a different look.  The silk hab and the cotton also have more “rounds” than the silk velvet, and better size variations, so they look a wee bit fuller. I’ll add to the next silk velvet rose as three i think, is a bit skimpy.

I dug through the bead/embellishment stash for the centres–gotta use them! Since i have 14 variously sized drawers full………..

No pattern for these, sorry, as they are “prototypes”. I developed them by accident while rolling velvet! Beyond a minimal minute spent on the machine, these are small, portable and easy enough to make by hand, though the enhancements have to be done in the day in the studio, due to light and old eyes.

the dye that keeps on giving, Quebracho Rojo

My previous results with a fresh pot were in the pink and purple range.

This dye/tannin was definitely worth the expense. I’ve had a pot sitting for two weeks in the back room, where it’s quite cold in the winter. No mold grew, no funny smells, no questionable sludge, so i decided to throw a few odd bits in to see what colours i’d end up with. (I know there’s still a lot of colour in the pot, as an experienced eye can tell when a pot is exhausted and when there’s still dye stuff left.)

A few scrappy bits of sheer silk chiffon from 8 years ago (the original hollyhock had completely faded: no mordant!), i love the purple/pink cast to this brown. The cotton lace was a surprise as well. (Note none of these were premordanted, in this case because QR is also a tannin, which can be a mordant. Normally i would have premordanted, even old scraps.)

Since most of the cottons i had done before were not terribly exciting with the QR, this bodes well.


The gold in the photo below, to the right, was an errant piece of previously ecoprinted POLYESTER, that had snuck into the pot long ago. GOLD? All right!

But that deep reddish brown on the osage (yellow) silk velvet–OOOOOOOOOOOOO!

So, the Quebracho Rojo has gone from giving striking pinks and purples to rich warm browns., money well spent.