damn dyelot differences again……

I KNOW it’s impossible to get consistency in dyeing, especially with variegated threads, and over a period of years, but wow. The original dyelot i bought in 2012, at the top, the new one below:

Fortunately, this is one time i don’t need to worry about “matching”, as neither is already being used in anything!  And i actually like the new ones better 🙂 I do however when buying now, order 2, preferably 3-5 skeins of each so that interruptions won’t happen with colourways. Minor differences may not make or break work, but major ones *might* if you can’t integrate the different look.

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 20, 2017 in Probably talking to just myself


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 😉



lightfastness, and other current pursuits

Annatto, while initially strong, does fade substantially. I wrote about the marvellous depth of colour here, but after 5 weeks in the sunny Stoodio window, there is quite a difference in shade. Considering too that spring in Calgary does not have the longest amount of daylight or the strongest UV rating, this does not bode well for future use.

Left silk, right cotton, both with the folded over section on the left in sun, while the behind section was covered.

I’ll be overdyeing these, using them as a base colour, but will do more lightfastness tests, because it may still affect the final outcome. I do wonder though how substantive dyes allow other dyes over top—-indigo works, so will the annatto???


I also started two indigo vats today, one a conventional indigo/soda ash/thio and the other a 123 with indigo, calx and henna. Since the henna did not dye fabrics for me in a straight dye bath, i’m hoping it still has enough “chemistry” in it to work for the vat!

My friend Susan (also in Calgary, so we have location in common, but our water as well 😉 ) has started a separate blog too, for her natural dye processes. We’ve been trading notes and she generously shares much info on dye subjects i have little knowledge of.



1 Comment

Posted by on April 18, 2017 in annato, Dyeing, Indigo Dreams


Bah, Humbunny ;)

And waiting. For Easter birds, Easter rabbits, Easter other cats, Easter porcupines, Easter whatever. No wonder my jade keeps breaking……


Posted by on April 15, 2017 in Day Job at the fffFlower Mines


revving and refreshing skills

Honestly, i haven’t done any ecoprinting in probably over a year, so thought i’d best get back at it. I need to refresh my skills for the upcoming res and for some slated workshops in the fall.

Below, cranesbill on privet dyed silk with annatto overlay:

Very soft but quite clear detailing, but you’d have to be very close to appreciate the nuances.

Dock dyed silk, with Grevillea ecoprint, softly coloured, but not wishy-washy at all. And look at the detail from the Grevillea buds!

One thing immediately apparent with this method, is that the base colour has to be STRONG, as some of it disappears in the cooking method. (Steaming has NEVER worked for me.) Next up, some premordanted fabrics to be dyed. In cotton, because that’s what i work with, and prefer, i’m hoping the recent gallnut excursions help with colour development. I never had problems before getting richly detailed, deeply coloured prints from leaves and flowers on cotton/cellulose fibres, but now i want true depth, more colour laying and dye fastness also.


pursuing perseverance

I figure i am actually at midpoint with “Tabula Memoria”, which makes me feel better. Mid point still means half again still to do, which makes me feel bad. I’m at Dithering Stage, second guessing, re-ordering threads to replace ones i’ve run out of, and measuring by the inch what goes where and why.

That darned second figure is *a* bugaboo right now. The aborted one is filed, and i’m re-figuring (snarf) how to do it so that it means what it’s supposed to mean. The centre of the top moon is *the* bugaboo though, has me bamboozled–not sure how i want to treat it. What does it mean when a moon is divided?

It’s also time to fill some negative space with some discrete, minimalist stitch for anchoring and to keep it “void” but not empty. My brain is trying to wrap around what it’s saying to me……i *know* what i mean, just can’t express it in words. Invisible memories. Impalpable boundaries. Undisclosed but there. Can something Not Be and Be?

Meow. Not Meow.



Posted by on April 10, 2017 in Commission, in progress, Tabula Memoria


oh sorry, am i boring you?

I keep slogging away at the side panels for this piece, each day ending with me thinking “almost done this part!”, and then seeing it ain’t so. (Don’t get me wrong–i love what i’m doing for this one, but it gets SO SO SO myopic at this end of the needle…)

This morning i realized i can start other areas as most of the piece is side stabilized now with all the stitching that *is* done. Figure One is pinned to the bulletin board, Figure Two is still in my head after i aborted the first attempt at it, but there is another area that’s really important, and that’s the moon.

There will be dense work on this area, but “blending” in, so to speak. Two colourways in floss and perle, i’ve chosen DMC 4140 (Driftwood) to do the darker areas like the rust, and DMC 4145 (Sand Dune) to do the highlights/lighter areas.

I work by committing to something, and the best way to start this area was to clearly mark where the moon is. That’s commitment!

Now i HAVE to work that area, because the marks don’t come out. The moon is off centre, (i can’t abide symmetry!) and that’s something that will be worked with, as i intend to ghost a bit around it— the template (a huge stainless steel bowl for popcorn 😉 ) i used to mark for the circle, was not the same size as the original mark made by the rust and dyes. For the record, yes i do so use pencil, and occasionally fine black micron pens to mark some areas. Intuition is all fine and dandy and “sensitive to the cloth and intent”, but sometimes you have to have a guideline.


While i work this, i can think how to balance the top of the left panel, as it’s empty, unlike the top of the right one!


Posted by on April 4, 2017 in Commission, in progress, Tabula Memoria