Monday, December 28, 2009


I just couldn't resist posting this wonderful picture, created by life-long friend, Karen Jones. Such amazing talent achieving this in water colour. Oh, and BTW, that is not me atop the roof tending to laundry!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Overdyeing linen and silk


I have a number of pieces of linen and silk that are old and are colours that are no longer interesting to me. They are in desperate need of a face lift! I over-dye them if I know that whatever colour turns out will be better than what I have now. You really need to be prepared to take that risk. I aim to dye to a colour of equal or greater colour value. Changing navy blue into baby pink just isn’t going to happen! I don’t strip my fabric and don’t use bleach. I just add onto whatever the commercial dyer did previously, so you need to keep in mind what colour the base fabric is because it will play a role in the outcome. I usually hope for some kind of earthy colour since browns include all the primaries.

That said, after I launder the fabric I cut off a couple of small bits, say 1x1” squares for test runs. I measure out a few teaspoons of dye stuff, add some water and dunk my little swatch in to get an idea of the colour. This will give you a general impression of what you will get, but Like a great soup, I add a little of this and a little of that until I get a colour that suits my fancy. I try to remember to have realistic expectations and know that I can’t always get a silk purse out of a sow’s ear! Once I am satisfied, I follow my usual method of dyeing which I’ll repeat here…

For each ½ metre or yard, you will need:
Pre-washed fabric
3 teaspoons of Procion MX dyes (less for lighter colour)
2 tablespoons of soda ash (sodium carbonate) Note: this is not baking soda
1 tablespoon of common salt (non-iodized)
Hot water
1.5 litre container (about a 3 pint ice cream or yogurt container)
1.5 litre baggie (optional)
Synthrapol
Rubber gloves

I use Procion MX dyes on silk. I like the results that they yield and I don't have to steam. I like the simplicity of it all!

Pre-wash the fabric to remove any dirt, sizing or oils. Wash in hot water with 1 tsp. of Synthrapol and rinse well.
Generally speaking I use about 3 teaspoons of dye powder to ¾ litre of liquid. You can increase or decrease dye powder according to the colour value that you are looking for.
Measure the dye powder into the container. Add a small amount of hot tap water to dissolve, and then fill to about half full with more hot water. Add soda ash and stir until dissolved. Add salt and make sure it dissolves. Add wet fabric, making sure that it is totally saturated. You can leave in the container, or transfer it to a baggie for it to cure. Check it from time to time to make sure it is still submerged. Remove from the dye solution after a minimum of 3 hours. If it is turquoise or contains turquoise, I recommend leaving it overnight. This used dye stuff cannot be re-used. Rinse in cold water until it runs clear.

Note that I don't always submerge the fabric. See example here. You can get interesting results by laying your wet fabric out on a flat surface overtop a sheet of plastic or oversized bag. Then I pour the dye mixture overtop and let it spread over the fabric. Sometimes I use more than one colour. The intersection and melding of colours can create some exciting results, or not! When all of the fabric is saturated, I place plastic over top, to separate the layers of fabric as I roll them up. Make sure the air can't get at your treasure until it is time to reveal.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dyeing cotton, linen and silk

From time to time I am asked about dyeing fabric. For those enquiring minds, here's what I have to say on the subject. There are many excellent books on the market that cover dyeing, over-dyeing and dye-painting. You may want to pick one up for more detailed recipes, colour formulas and a comprehensive look at working with dyes. This is the method that I use and it has been working for me for a number of years whether I am dyeing cotton, silk or linen. Right! This recipe works perfectly well on linen as well as silk, that includes the lightest of handkerchief linens to silk noil and silk's boundless other constructions. In fact, I prefer the Procion MX to the Procion H which many people use on silk, because the MX doesn't require a steam process. A note on silk Dupioni and some other silks, there is a slight change in hand and some of the lustre is lost in the process. You may want to do a small sample test run first, or perhaps not! Have fun!

For each ½ metre or yard, you will need:

Pre-washed fabric cut into 1/2 metre pieces
3 teaspoons of Procion MX dyes (less for lighter colour)
2 tablespoons of soda ash (sodium carbonate) Note: this is not baking soda
1 tablespoon of common salt (non-iodized)
Hot water
1.5 litre container (about a 3 pint ice cream or yogurt container)
1.5 litre baggie (optional)
Synthrapol
Rubber gloves

Pre-wash the fabric to remove any dirt, sizing or oils. Wash in hot water with 1 tsp. of Synthrapol and rinse well.

Generally speaking I use about 3 teaspoons of dye powder to ¾ litre of liquid. You can increase or decrease dye powder according to the colour value that you are looking for.

Measure the dye powder into the container. Add a small amount of hot tap water to dissolve, and then fill to about half full with more hot water. Add soda ash and stir until dissolved. Add salt and make sure it dissolves. Add wet fabric, making sure that it is totally saturated. You can leave in the container, or transfer it to a baggie for it to cure. Check it from time to time to make sure it is still submerged. Remove from the dye solution after a minimum of 3 hours. If it is turquoise or contains turquoise, I recommend leaving it overnight. This used dye stuff cannot be re-used. Rinse in cold water until it runs clear.

Didn’t wear gloves? Try some Reduran hand cleaner!

Stay tuned next time for painting with dyes!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Beading frenzy


This is a rare glimpse of madam de Plumadour, a wealthy widow conducting interviews of potential suitors. She exchanges niceties with Mr. Jim Dandy before getting on with the task of grilling him. He appears somewhat cocky and is certain not to chicken out as did Mr. Al Fredo who is seen departing, looking dejected and dishevelled. Mr. Al Fredo cannot believe his ill fortune as he leaves the unsuccessful interview only to discover that the gifts she had bestowed upon him were but a simple rouse and were nothing but rocks masquerading as gems. Methinks he knows not his own fortune!!

This piece was beaded onto natural linen and backed with fusible interfacing. The background was coloured at the midpoint of the process using a combination of dyes and paints. It measures about 40 x 55 cm

Monday, September 21, 2009

learning to lino cut





So here are my first three efforts! A quirky bird, a disconnected elephant and then I went big on flowers! all three are printed on hand dyed cotton fabric. So much fun and all my fingers are still intact! This was a great online course with Dijanne Cevaal! http://www.origidij.blogspot.com/

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Silas


So here's Silas, just arrived from abroad! He's attired in hand dyed cottons, silk velvet and a few jacquards for good measure. He's wearing wonderful paisley boots, that he just had to have! He adores beads, so they abound..................

Friday, July 03, 2009

over-dyeing silk noil





I am over the moon with this piece and here are 3 views of it. I have a couple of metres of nasty dusty rose silk noil. I knew I'd never use it, so what the heck! The dyes are out and mixed, so I may as well use them. I can't go wrong; the fabric is useless as it is! I love how the nubs of the noil pick up the colour. Now that I see how well it worked, maybe I'll dye up the rest of the yardage!

hand dyed linen



Here's number 3!


This is the second piece and just as yummy!


This piece is using diluted dyes


This is the first piece of my little experiment.It's a shame that I am such a lousy photographer because the colours are just spectacular!

So, does anyone see a figure in this piece? So far there has been a sighting of a cat. Someone else has seen a fish! Anyone else seeing something?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

silk fusion



Here's a couple of silk fusion flowers. They're mounted on silk velvet and modestly beaded.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

more organizing

I have many bits and bobs of assorted techniques. I've decided to organize and consolidate. Here is a combination of Tyvek, hand embroidery, beading, silk fusion and cord making.

getting organized

Here is Mother Earth enjoying the fruits of her labours. I had started her sometime ago as a pin doll, but things weren't working out........

This piece includes water soluble work, shisha beading, ribbon work, a bit of netting from some limes and lots of my faves................ beads!
Oh, and nearly forgot I used some of that wonderous magic shrinking fabric seen in the foreground!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Subversive Stitches

I must be living right! Dawn Goldsmith has invited me to write a guest blog. Her blog is amazing! so much information, great pics and endless inspiration! Please check it out..... http://www.subversivestitch.blogspot.com/

Sunday, April 26, 2009

little landscapes




Both of these were done with transfer paints. I added some thread work and a couple of beads. One by machine, the other by hand.......
They are the first in a series of little landscapes that I'll be teaching at Sew Sisters Quilt Shop in Toronto www.sew-sisters.com

Dapper Dan.....


Here's the first installment! This guy is beaded onto linen and is about 13" . The beading frenzy continues! while he seeks out some hot chick! That Bead Lady's ears must be burning!! www.thatbeadlady.com

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

What happened to April showers?


They're supposed to bring May flowers! But instead we have snow today! What gives? I'm just going to post this new little bouquet for any other sufferers of winter in April

Sunday, April 05, 2009

little beaded garden



This little beaded garden is almost 3"

Three of the flowers have shisha centres.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Gibson's Landing Fibre Art Festival August 19 - 22, 2009




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Here's a tasting of what's in the works for the Gibson's workshop. We'll be using the Agatha pattern - she's on the right! We create her body, and then dress her up and embellish her! She'll come to life and tempt you to listen to her stories and will work at you 'til you give up all your secret musings to her! This workshop happens August 19 and 20, 2009 visit the Gibson's site at http://www.gibsonslandingfibrearts.com/

spring fling


Our local doll club, Creative Doll Artists is having a pin doll exchange with the California club, Imitation of Life Construction Company (IOLCC). The theme is, "Spring Fling" So here's the one that I made. I got the spring part, but not the fling!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What's this? What's going on?

Here's Agatha (right), yet again trying to woo the marquis. She is ever the source of amusement for him. But short lived are her attempts! Le Marquis was commissioned by Judy Baldwin of Sew-Sisters quilt shop. http://www.sew-sisters.com/ She's shouting out a big thank you to Mark Lipinski for his hard work, devotion and contributions to the quilt world. She introduced Le Marquis de Pickle at an afternoon "Tea with Mark Lipinski" at the Northcott office in Woodbridge, ON. (That's near Toronto!!) Le Marquis has moved happily off to New Jersey!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pin Doll Swap


Our local doll club had a pin doll exchange with the Cloth-a-Dollics club in Victoria. I scored this little treasure from Donna who is a member and who, coincidentally, was in my workshop at Gibson's Landing Fibre Art Festival the summer of 2008. I am very pleased with this little dancer!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Here's our most recent doll club challenge. There were no rules other than to make something out of a gourd. Her name is Kalyani. Her face and hands are made from 2-part Apoxie sculpt. Her body is made of assorted fabrics, mostly silks.Her upper torso opens to reveal all her treasures...




beading frenzy







Worse than peanuts! I started beading with a red, gold/yellow, then added purple and olive green. I beaded directly on to poly batting backed with heavy duty non-fusible, non-woven interfacing. After I finished I thought it to be a bit too big so.......I made another, then another!
Now for some braid for around the neck and my 3 chatelaines are done!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Off to a good start in 2009


So here's my first project for the New Year! The pattern is from Tricia Cribb's book, "Redwork Quilts"

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Gibson's Landing Fibre Art Festival 2008

Many thanks to Kim, Karen, Pauline, Ethel and Donna who shared their creations with me and the rest of the world! Fantastic creativity. Hard to imagine that everyone began at the same place, with the same pattern. Excellent work!

I hope that some of the more reserved members of the workshop will soon join in! (hint, hint!!)

Gibson's rocks!

Donna has outdone herself! Look who has just arrived from Les Folies Bergere! Isn't that feathered headpiece devine?

More great gals from Gibson's



Ethel's been very busy!
Here's Miss Phoebe on the left, and Miss Dottie to her right. I think that Miss Dottie is looking very pleased with her flower garden!



Ethel 's experiencing a creative explosion! and here's Miss Abigail. It appears to me that Miss Abigail is looking for a party! Maybe show off her belly dancing skillls!








Gorgeous gals from the Gibson's Landing Fibre Art Festival


Pauline has been very busy! Has two great girls to introduce! Are they not exquisite? I bet they love to live it up out on the west coast!!