Sunday, October 31, 2010


Another picture of the tray I made in use. To make the stars and stripes shirts I need to dye both colors at the same time. If you put a small piece of wood across the middle, it helps to keep the dye from running from one side of the tray to the other. Since the basement floor isn't exactly level.

The colors look a lot brighter now then they will after they've been rinsed and washed. You can even see some of the stars that are done with the batik method.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I just love purple, and I love the look of Mokume Shibori. I'm really happy with how this turned out.

It isn't the picture that is faded on the edges. It is the shirt itself. I only stitched a band across the shirt instead of stitching the whole thing. The color of the shirt fades like that. The shadings that happen using this technique are so interesting.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Don't worry, I don't plan to wear these all together. But they have a common color.

All three silk scarves were braided together and dyed bronze. Then re-braided separately and dyed orange, green and maroon/purple. I really like the way the colors separate and combine. By having them braided the dye can't get to all parts of the scarf. But like the test strip samples, the dye doesn't absorb all at the same rate as it soaks into the fabric.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I cropped out the messier part of my work table.

This is the setup I use for melting the wax. The heat source is a 2 burner buffet warmer. You can't boil water on it, but it does a nice job for the wax. Since I use soy wax I don't need to heat it as high as paraffin or beeswax. And the thermostat on this is pretty good.

The small pot is for dipping the shapes into the wax to stamp the wax onto the shirt. The felt in the other near part of the tray works like a stamp pad, it is nice for paintbrushes so I don't get too much wax on my brush and it drips.

You can see I have an assortment of brushes. You have to try a few to see what you like best. I prefer stiffer ones. The softer ones don't work as well for me.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Test strips

A lot of the dye powder you get is a mixture of other colors. So even though you have a nice shade of red, it might have some blue or yellow in it to give it a different shade.

Sometimes the technique will allow the dye to separate. The different colors may travel through or along the fabric at different rates. The stitched Mokume technique is one where this can happen. Because the fabric is pulled up tight it keeps the dye from easily getting to all parts.

If you've tie-dyed shirts before you might have seen this. You might get a 'halo' of color at the edge of one. Also, think of the last time you tried to get 2 different pieces of navy clothing to match.

The picture is of three strips of fabric I intentionally wanted the dye to separate. I wanted to see what kind of color the halo would give me. It also gave me an idea of the color cast. All 3 were browns; mink, chocolate and bronze. But the separated colors don't look much like that. I want a brown to go with a mauve, so I think the chocolate will be best, it has the tone I like better. The bronze surprises me with how green it looks when the yellow/orange is pulled out.

To do this I used 3 small, shallow containers. Mixed up a small amount of dye in each one. The put just one end of the fabric in the dye. The dye wicked up the fabric and the color that travelled faster went up higher.

I remember doing something like this in school. We used a felt tip pen to make a dot on a coffee filter, near the bottom. Put some water in a shallow dish and put just the bottom edge of the filter in the water. The colors should separate. Try different brands of pens, even if they are all black they might still look different. Don't use permanent ink.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Another post about the difference a that just a small change can make.

One of the techniques I like to do is freezing the shirt before dyeing. You soak it in the soda ash solution then wring it out pretty well. Scrunch it up and put it in a small bucket then freeze it. Take it out and put on 2-3 colors dye. As the water melts, the dye reacts to different areas of the shirt because the shirt doesn't melt all at the same time. The pattern looks kind of like frost or a granite rock.

The shirt on the left side of the picture was left in the freezer for about 2 weeks. Apparently I missed it and left it in a lot longer than I planned. The one on the right had only been in the freezer for about an hour. I'm not sure if the one on the right just wasn't completely frozen, or if the one on the left was a bit freeze dried. But the pattern in the dye looks quite different.

I think I'll leave them in the freezer longer. The pattern is really different. It really reminds me of frost on a window. Somehow, it seems appropriate since the shirts are frozen before dyeing.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Women's Art Festival

Plan ahead. I'll be at the YWCA's Women's Art Festival on Saturday, December 11.

They've been doing this for quite a few years, so I expect there will be quite a turnout. I hope you'll be there also.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Another picture showing the difference of how two different fabrics take up dye.

The bag is silk chiffon, the stiffer, sheer silk. The tie is either habotai or china silk. I attached the tie before putting it in the dye so it would match. But you can see the difference in color. I still think it is pretty, just worth noting in case you don't like it.

The bag is one I did for the Handmade MN show on Saturday, November 20th. There will be 2 large gift baskets you can win, as well as swag bags for the first 25 people. All items are hand made and donated by HandmadeMN members.
I'll have more pictures of some of the other bags I did.

I won't be selling at that show, there are more people than spots open. But I plan to go there to shop. I've seen some of the people's work and it is very good.