becoming a purple thread

Certainly a vanity, thinking one knows everything, but i’ve always subscribed to “Learn something new everyday, and you know you’re not dead” — i *don’t* know everything, but i do my research and i’m happy to not only do the correct thing, but to riff on that once the lesson is learned. If i need an affirmation of something i’ve done or a puzzlement needs solving, i’ll ask, but i don’t JUST ask and expect the whole answer “with 8×10 glossies and paragraphs and arrows on the back” to be handed to me on a silver platter.

I remember asking a Contextural member a long time ago how she achieved a certain shade in her natural dyeing/ecoprinting, and she sweetly and truthfully replied “Every dyer has her secrets” with no smugness, and in all honesty. I took that to heart, learning what i could and often failing because i didn’t follow the basics first.

I’ve got that part well sussed now, and am quietly thrilled with the tried and true, and the experimenting. All of this past week’s naturally dyed threads here have notes on each as to what it is, but you’ll have to figure out certain parts for yourself 🙂

And the details in close-up:

Where these threads go next will be “the long white gown”,  metaphorically speaking.



Excuse me? Because i count the hours it takes to make something, do my stitching, i’m “cheapening” and “commodifying” my work???????????????????????????????????????

I’m not one to get into that mind-set that all creative work is “meditative”, but there are moments when it comes close. Often, my hands are occupied, while my brain sorts other tasks, or tunes out completely while watching tubage, whether it’s informative, trash, entertainment or “current”. I also sit without outside stimulus, sometimes i’m outside listening to the birds, sometimes i’m on the train conversing with fellow passengers. Time slows and speeds during these periods. “Mindful”? Well, all of creativity is mindful, whether good or bad. Intuition and spontaneity still spring from the subconscious, whether or not my brain is in Alpha, Beta or Theta mode. I will not/do not buy into that arena that says i can be/am only an artist when i am zoned out. I certainly can’t do it while in Delta, but maybe, just maybe, perhaps more likely, some of it is Gamma. Look all that up, the types of brain waves. When you come out of your coma, maybe.

When you PM me to take me to task for counting hours, instead of just “going with the flow”, you are saying my way of working is inferior to yours. You want to get nasty? I think your work that consists of attaching ragged scraps together in a cacaphony of colour and pattern, “embroidered” solely with running stitch and “completed” in two days is the cop out in this case. But that’s just my opinion.

I count hours for good reason. Deadlines must be met, commissions must be paid for –i can’t start a project that takes hundreds of hours to do if the deadline is in two weeks; i can’t AFFORD to sell work that takes hundreds of hours for a pittance, like maybe you’re fine with, because “you love doing it” as you “release the love into the world”.

In the final analysis, i do what i do because i DO LOVE it. You don’t like the way i work, tough beans, BabyCakes. My methods are my own, and they are no more “wrong” than your way. If it turns your crank, go ahead, but hands off the keyboard when you criticize my way as perverse.



not political but…..

But i AM a citizen of our beautiful fragile world. I keep seeing blacked out profile photos as people protest the Dumpster. Mine is a little more hopeful. I am VERY grateful that i am Canadian, but fear the way the world may will be affected by this narcissistic lunatic.



And i spend way too much time on FB, gonna have to cut that back, as it’s really starting to get me angry from that man, abused animal pictures, photos of dinners had, what Mrs Dump is wearing (i should give any shits???)  and poorly sourced quotes.

whatever makes us happy

At first i was pissed off and scared about all the bad news posts this morning, then i was afronted and pissed off by the alternating flowers and pussycats posts, because it seemed to trivialize the point, but you know what? Let’s do that: art, shoes, cats, babies, flowers, sunrises and all the good stuff–because we need a reminder that the world in our hearts is still good and *these* are the things we affect and are affected by to DO GOOD ourselves. Here’s my DogFaced Girl Nessie, having yogurt for breakfast. THIS makes me heartened.


still hopping

Second rabbit is almost done–and there won’t be anymore in this time frame! (19 days till set up!) As much as i love them, the work involved getting them to sit properly is time consuming, and sometimes frustrating! I just about threw “Darkwoods Rabbit” in a hissy fit at one point the other night. “Next year i’ll start earlier for Christmas” as we all so  brashly say 🙂



This is my new favourite variegated from Caron’s Wildflowers collection. Oft-times when i choose a thread to use, it’s late at night, and i am depending on the Ottlight in my stitching corner to “match” colours. On Sunday, i was in the stoodio with the sun was shining on the worktable as i pulled various flavours, and i saw this colour combination as it truly is–deep grey, deep indigo, soft charcoal and that wonderful rust shade, perfect!

stones-colourwayCaron Wildflowers collection # 260, “Sticks and Stones”

There are other pieces, just moons, and something else i’ve come up with to produce for this sale, all laid out in an ever burgeoning pile in the stitch corner……but whatever gets done, gets done. I haven’t a clue how much more i can do in 19 days, but am giving it my valiant best to have enough to show what i do, and interest people!


I was finishing one of my small moons on the train last Friday morning and the lady sitting beside me started talking about what i was doing, asking intelligent questions and truly interested. After she asked me how much i would sell it for, another woman sitting across from me sniffed and said derisively “$XXX for *that*???”, whereupon my seat mate smiled, leaned over and put her hand on the woman’s knee and sweetly but edged said “yes, isn’t it awful how we undervalue handwork?” HUZZAH! #somepeoplegetwhyhandworkisvaluable

cell phones vs Real cameras

I had to finally upgrade my poor old abused flip phone to a newer model. The 20 year old technology won’t be supported after Jan of next year. While it’s still a better camera than my old phone had, it’s still a pain in the Bazotksi. No focus capabilities, bad light, no anti vibration setting, no subtle nuances to lighting or the actual colours.

Here’s the best reason for using a REAL camera to photograph work with. Left is cell phone (Samsung), right is NikonD90. I had to enhance the cell phone shots, and they’re still crap, but the camera took perfect shots right off the bat. If you’re proud of your work, photograph it properly as well.


Cell phone case made from one of my FrankenStitch class samples 🙂

I find it sad that so much work is posted in groups that just looks awful, because the camera photo will never be as good as a real camera. The shots are dim, out of focus, no ambiance. If you can afford to stand in line for umpteen hours, just to get the latest overpriced model, that will be obsolete next year, just so you can say you have one, forget that, and go invest in a good brand of DSLR. Your exhibit and publication entries will thank you!

place your hexes

Subject to change without notification, but i am betting this will be the most likely configuration.

from behind the mirror a CAnd i’m having a terrible time photographing things this last week–the weather has been strange with dark moody skies and then a burst of blinding sun, and then thundercracks and lightening!

Doing some natural dye experimenting as well. I gathered dock (Rumex) seed stalks, after seeing the results someone else did in a REPUTABLE, SCIENTIFIC, FACT BASED FB group. Currently these are in various vessels with different modifiers and mordants.

fresh dock seedsFresh above, dried and drying below.

dry and drying dock seedThough someone else with 40 years of natural dye experience got a range of colours from yellow green and brown to red and orange, i’m getting some glorious shades of    ————————— ———————   yellow again………..but i like yellow now, and the more threads i have in the arsenal, and to over dye, the better my thread stash looks. Could be the season, could be the weather, could be the soil, could be the stage of growth, everyone gets different results with some things. My rhubarb root dye pot gave me the most luminescent glowing gold threads that i had to try these, and there were good results from burdock as well, but i can find no roots due to recent “herbicide” spraydowns. The bastards.

And why am i harping on PROVEN DYE methods again???? Because this kind of crap is still around:

gag me with a spoon full of stoopidThere’s a whole chunk of “dyes” listed for various colours (some are REALLY dumb…), but ANY site that immediately tells me i can use SALT and VINEGAR as a MORDANT or “fixative”, is IMMEDIATELY scoffed at by true natural dyers. Do a little research. (For one thing, vinegar is a MODIFIER, (and a Ph adjuster)not a mordant. Go look up the definition of mordant, you idiots.) Just because this is “Pioneer Thinking” doesn’t mean it’s true. “Pioneer thinking” also includes a hell of a lot of old wives’ tales. There are SO many good books, fantastic teachers and methodology sites, there’s no excuse for this ignorance. Stop perpetuating it, UNexperts……………

Back to regularly scheduled stitching again while things stew and rest.