Alberta dye garden woes

While you are all posting pictures of fields of buttercups, gardens of woad, and the leaves and flowers you picked on a walk, i am worrying about the madder i uncovered last week. This is what i woke up to this morning in Calgary!

It was a horrendous night: flickering lights, eddies of swirling 90K driven snow devils around the house, no visibility, and the DogFaced Girl sounding like a Dire Wolf (reacting to fire truck sirens, because of course, though snow happens EVERY year in Alberta, 90% of drivers forget how to drive in it….). So, we battened down the hatches, piled onto the couch with the last beer to share, some snacks and continued our binge watching of GoT. Typical Alberta winter survival mode 🙂

This madder has survived two of our usual harsh winters, by being heeled into the garden in its pot, but i’m concerned any new growth may be damaged this time. Previous years, there was no snow after the uncovering!

Since madder is a “crop” that doesn’t get harvested until it’s third year, i’m hoping too that the roots have survived, as this is the summer i’m supposed to start using it. I have three scraggly little plants inside, cuttings in the fall from the mother plant that took root, but having to wait another three years for them? POOP.

And of course, several days previous to this, i had noticed tiny leaves popping up from the dyer’s chamomile in the back40………

HOOFIES CROSSED that all survive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


magic horizons? shop update

Nothing subtle about these naturally dyed chunky ombre goodies! Wonderful for imaginative landscape effects, or to riff off intuitively.
4 packs available, 3 colourways.

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.

Heads up on an Easter weekend shop update

Spring Pretties luxe packs

$22.00 / Coming Soon

Luxury for the art stitcher! I’m dyeing this week, and will have more colours in these packs. (Timeline, April 21st/22nd)

Packs will include 2 separate 12″ pieces of cotton lace (one 4.75″ wide, the other 1.75″ wide), a chunk of cotton eyelet approximately 10×10″, a hunk of silk velvet 12 x 12″ and a small strip of dimensional roses (nylon).

Naturally dyed with correct procedures for longevity in wash and lightfastness, these gems will add dimension and texture to your work. Shown are quebracho rojo and cochineal, but there will be other colours available.

$22.00CAD, plus shipping, and as always any extra shipping will be refunded.

part 2, of many

Not going to show you the aborted and horrifying first attempt for the euc leaf on the second section 🙂 I decided to keep that part simple instead and embroider on the section itself.

Just as well, because the text would be problematic to do over the edges of an applied piece. I’m not necessarily for taking the easy way out, but i think i made the right choice here. I’m also not sure i need to add the text at all. Or maybe i add it elsewhere on the piece as a whole. Or at the very least, part of it could become the name of the piece!

I did learn two new stitches though!

The walnut thread is the Pekinese stitch, something i’d love to do as a massed line/shape, and with my anchor stitches smaller. The paler colours (osage and sandalwood) are a woven cross stitch. That second one should be done with a heavier thread to show the effect, but i’m also convinced that it’s just easier to do it as a small weaving if you want more “legs” than the basic stitch has, rather than the awkwardness of trying to go through the same holes and lay threads flat enough to give the shape to it! The basic tute is on Sharon B’s Pintangle, though i went from my stitch bible, Jacqueline Enthoven’s “The Stitches of Creative Embroidery”. You can’t see the extra legs i did though because the silk thread is so fine. Nice lustre, but no definition!

The Pekinese stitch is good for the leaf, though in its new incarnation. Textural, and with the walnut thread and judicious use of paler earth tones, a good almost bas-relief translation of the original sketch. I’ll blend in the lighter threads so they are not so “liney” :), and finish filling in the diamonds as well. The whole when attached to the backing, won’t be as pointy either!




beating a dead horse

I had a boss who would constantly blether on about the same subject all day, repeating himself, re-iterating, asserting, testifying, re-hashing and rinse and repeat. One day, i got brave and put a plastic toy horse in a pot of dirt with a little trowel, and told him “The horse is dead: bury it”.

I guess that’s me now with the smelly horse, and i DO give up. My response now to people who obviously can’t do research on natural dye use, or ANY subject is either (shrug), or this:

(With credit to Caroline Nixon, and Carol Walker, who left the second and third comments on my original post.)