Thursday, December 8, 2011


Another scarf where the dye didn't move the way I expected.  Although this one was wetter than normal since the dye wasn't wicking across the scarf the way I wanted so I misted it with a bit more water. 

The edge isn't blurry because of the photo, that is the way the pattern worked out.  It really gives it nice visual texture with the contrast of the sharpness and the diffuseness. 

It looks like a nice wine, to go with the chocolate one I posted yesterday.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I really like the pattern that resulted on this silk scarf.  I stretched it on the frame, painted on the dye and sprinkled rock salt all over.  Salt attracts moisture and so the color can move along with the water it is dissolved in.  The more dye collected in one spot, the darker it is.  But different colors of dye react in a variety of ways.  Blue moves a lot more than red, for example. 

It also makes a difference how wet the scarf is or how large the salt crystals are.  If the salt just dissolves then it won't pull the dye around.

The chocolate brown dye I used for this one didn't move in the same way as the blue one in the post here.  It did give a really neat texture though.  Kind of like miniature leopard spots.  It looks like it should have a pebbly texture, but doesn't. 

See, chemistry matters.  And is fun.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Women's Art Festival

This Saturday, the 10th, is the Women's Art Festival from 10am to 5pm Dec 10th at the Midtown YWCA at 2121 East Lake St, Minneapolis.
There will be 125 vendors, music and food.  This is a nice venue, large and with plenty of room in the aisles.  Last year was the weekend of the blizzard.  So we are hoping for better weather this year.  And considering it is snowing right now, it should look like winter.

Friday, November 25, 2011

On safari

And a turtle on their rear end because I can.  At this age they think it is fun that people notice their backside.  As long as they are getting happy attention.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Infants are fun to make outfits for.  At that age they'll wear whatever you put on them.  So you can have some fun with their clothes.  Although I didn't mix polka dots and plaid, I did put a caboose on the back.  Because isn't that where a caboose is?
And since crawlers spend a lot of time with their rear end up in the air, I think it should be decorated.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I should have posted this Monday, September 19th, since that is Talk Like a Pirate Day.  But sometimes I just don't quite get there.  Not that you have that problem, right? 

And it goes well with yesterday's post with the male priates.  Because women can be pirates also.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pirate vs. Pirate

Sometimes, even when you use the same color dye it comes out differently. Both of these pirate shirts were dyed with black dye and were in one photo, I didn't modify the colors at all.

The one on the right has more of a purple cast to it. Black dye isn’t normally a ‘pure’ dye. It is made up of different colors of dye powder. So a weaker solution, or around the edges when tie-dyeing, won’t necessarily be gray. It might have a different color cast. Dharma describes the color cast each of their 4 black fiber reactive dyes has on the Description tab.

What can also happen is the color won’t be the same if the water used to dissolve the dye wasn’t warm enough. Some of the colors need hotter water to dissolve well. Fuchsia and turquoise both seem to dissolve better in warmer water. So some of one color’s particles might dissolve better than another color’s giving you something different than what you expected. That may not be a problem, it depends on what you want.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


When you go fishing you just know those large fish are down there.  Just taunting you from the deep.  But all you catch are the little ones.  So long as it is a nice day out and you don't get lost, right?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


This is the season for Craft Shows and Art Fairs.  And they are, thankfully, indoors since it is getting a bit chilly out.  My schedule is:

HandmadMN Fall Market 10am to 5pm Oct 22nd at the Ballentine VFW at the corner of Lyndale and Lake St in Minneapolis. 

St Philip's Holiday Market (they don't have a link just for the show) 9am to 3pm Nov 5th at St Philip's Church at 6180 Highway 65 NE, Fridley, MN.

Handmade Arts from the Heart  9am to 4pm Nov 12th at the Clara Barton Open School at 4237 Colfax Ave S, Minneapolis.

Women's Art Festival 10am to 5pm Dec 10th at the Midtown YWCA at 2121 East Lake St, Minneapolis.

Hope to see you at (at least) one of them.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Bands only or all over? The contrast between the solid and pattern can make the pattern stand out more while the all over pattern can have a big impact. An example of Mokume Shibori, but only part of the shirt was stitched up for one.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Not too exciting, just a piece of canvas.  But it is pretty.  And interesting how the patten came out different on each side.  The orientation is the same in both photos. 

Just used the normal tray, swished it a few times and turned it over once or twice.  Since the canvas is so thick the dye doesn't soak through, it just sits on the surface.  It unravelled on the edges a bit while in the washer and the threads are still white on the side that was 'inside' of the weave.

It is going to become a tote bag for my display brackets.  Hmmm, I think the only other tote bag that doesn't have a logo of some sort on it is another one I made out of a lighter weight canvas I was testing.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Faded photos

This reminds me of old, faded sepia photos. Both the color and the variation of it. The technique is Katano Shibori. It is done by carefully fan or accordion folding the fabric, ironing it and stitching through all of the layers. Think of a sandwich and you spear it with a bunch of toothpicks. The stitching needs to be done from top to bottom one stitch at a time. You can’t do like you’re quilting it and trying to get a lot of stitches on the needle before pulling the thread through. I also needed to have the pattern marked on both sides so I could get the lines sewn properly. For me, it worked better to do some tacking at the corners and edges to keep the stack in place until I got some rows sewn.

When planning the layout you aren’t supposed to have any areas that are completely enclosed. The dye needs to enter the sandwich from the sides. The thickness of the stack won’t allow it to soak through all of the layers. And it needs to be swished around in the bucket more. Although mine are still kind of mottled because I like that better. Looks more hand dyed instead of factory printed. Depends on what look you prefer.

Both pieces are about 14” wide. I just kept folding them in half so I wouldn’t have short lengths of fabric left at the end since I didn’t want to cut and hem when I was done. By looking at just one of the sections you can tell how I stitched it. The set of three lines on the fold were where I wrapped the thread right on the fold. The scattered dots are single stitches.
The first one is a piece of cotton hemp cloth to practice and work out the technique. I didn’t put any waste or extra fabric on the top and bottom - like the bread for the sandwich – so the end got a lot more dye than the parts in the middle. Since it was a practice piece I didn’t feel like it. And I think it looks striking this way. It’s odd how much darker it is but the pattern of the lines is the same.
The second picture is a silk scarf and the cotton fabric to protect the ends. I think it is neat how color reactive dye will work on both cotton and silk, but be slightly different colors. These were done in chocolate brown. The silk is more rosy.

Again, the technique is well described in the book Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada.

I have got to figure out something useful to do with my practice pieces. I’ve done a few zippered bags, but how many does a person need? Especially lighter weight fabric or the silk hankies I like to practice on. And the design on some would look odd. Although I know I shouldn’t care since it is a practical item, I still want them to look right.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I'll be at the Victoria, MN Volksfest this Saturday from 10am to 5pm. More info on facebook also. Victoria is easy to get to. It's right off Arboretum Blvd or Highway 5.
Hey, I'll be between the Victoria Bar & Grill and Floyd's Bar. Think they would let me do a take out? Hmm, perhaps I'll just do a take out from the grocery store down the block. Popsicle run anyone?

Friday, August 19, 2011


A small practice piece trying out some different shapes and ways of stitching. This is some rayon made out of bamboo rather than the normal wood pulp or cotton. Although rayon is semi-synthetic, it dyes with the same dye that is used for cotton. It’s nice to work with and the fabric can be pulled up tightly so the marks are quite clear.

The leaf on the left was stitched around the outside and one row down the middle.

The center one was sewn in a set of arcs. You can see the dots along the top curves where the thread knots were. I didn’t use pieces of fabric to prevent like I frequently do.

The right hand one was 4 rows of arcs with the center left open.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


This is my second try at this design. The first one is here. When done well, it looks like a 2nd layer of fabric over the top. When I’m happy with how I figured out how to do it, I want to do a larger panel to use as a curtain. I didn’t make up the design. It is one I saw in the book Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada showing some of Nancy Marchant’s work. You have to figure out what happens when you do something to figure out how to work it so it looks like what you have in mind. I really recommend the book. It has very good instructions on how to do the techniques, as well as history and development.

The shape of the curves look more natural on this one. Although I dyed some spots I shouldn't. I need to mark where the dye needs to go. Perhaps some thread loops. Kind of like dye-by-number. I think I'll have the bottom different also. Not have the pointed part in the middle. Extend the undyed part to the bottom so it looks like the overlay goes all the way to the bottom.

Again, I used thickened dye to keep it from spreading. But I think I’ll need to put it up on a screen rather than flat on plastic so it doesn’t wick along on the plastic. I’ll probably do something like I use in my sink for rinsing out. I have to apply the dye to both sides since the thickener doesn’t allow it to soak through very well.

Friday, August 12, 2011


In a previous post I commented that a piece I'd dyed was nice, but not quote what I wanted. This is the 2nd try and I like it a lot better. The shape of the petals is more what I was thinking and the dye application is better. In the first one I didn't put the dye far enough away from the stitched lines. The filling in between petals is nice because it gives a more dimensional look.
The petals are Maki-age, stitched outline, pulled up and wrapped with the ends of teh thread. The stem is Maki-nui, straigt rows of stitching and pulled up tight.
I think I mentioned before that it is a good thing you can get decent fabric to play with and practice on for pretty cheap. And think of all the entertianment time I got out of those small pieces of fabric.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Well, I need a bit more practice. Some of the shibori designs are made up of (literally) millions of tiny dots such as in Kanoko. The grouping and spacing creates the image.
This is just a really simple design in that idea. Although I did it with soy wax batik rather than tying the knots. I used a tjanting, a little cup on a handle, to apply the wax by just touching it to the fabric. The size dot you get depends on how long you hold the tjanting in one spot as the wax flows out the spout and how hot the wax is. As it cools and thickens it doesn’t flow as fast.
The solid petals were filled in using the tjanting like coloring in with a pen. On the one in the upper left you can see the edges of some petals look like I started with dots and then filled in. Can’t imagine why they look like that…. So far, I prefer to use a brush to fill in the wax as I’m more used to it and the control I get. But this would be faster for larger areas as I have to dip the brush pretty frequently.
Like I said, I need more practice. I keep hoping I can learn magically and can be perfect on the first try but it hasn’t happened yet.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Caffetto Art Fair

This Sunday I'll be at the Caffetto Arts & Crafts Fair on Sunday. It is held by the Caffetto coffee shop in Minneapolis near Franklin and Lyndale, near the Wedge Co-op. There will be music and treats and fun. I hope to see you there.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Handmade MN Summer Market this Saturday

This Saturday will be the HandmadeMN Summer Market. It will be at the Rainbow Community Pavilion in St Paul on Larpenteur between Lexington and Hamline from 10 to 3pm. Just think, easy to find, easy parking, handicap accessible, shade.... And there is Snuffy's Malt Shop right next door. Don't worry, I'll wait until after to have that big basket of onion rings.

Friday, June 17, 2011


Can you see a trend in my work? I really like this color, but it is also similar to the color of natural indigo which is what was frequently used for dyeing before synthetic dyes were developed. Another practice piece stitched and dyed using thickened dye.

The petals of the flower are Maki-age; stitched around the outline, then pulled up tight and the thread wrapped around the point that sticks out. The straight lines are two rows of Maki-nui; straight rows of running stitches.

One of the things I learned is that when using thickened dye – at least at this consistency – I need to apply the dye to both sides of the fabric. It doesn’t soak through to the other side much. I use (no-needle) syringes to apply the dye. Using a squirt bottle seems too much like trying to get ketchup out of the bottle. And I can easily refill the syringe. The surplus store has an assortment of sizes.

I’m doing another practice piece similar to this, I want the petal shapes to be a bit different. These are nice, but the look I want it not so angular. Again, I need to apply the dye a bit further from the stitched line to get enough color to really show off the stitched part.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


It’s a good thing plain white fabric is reasonably priced so I can do practice pieces. The marking pencil didn’t come out from some areas when I decided I didn’t like what I’d drawn the first time. And the shape isn’t quite what I wanted. And…. But that’s what practice pieces are for.

For this one, I used dye thickened with sodium alginate because I didn’t want it spreading too much. But I need to put dye further from the stitch line so it shows up better.

The PVC cup was to try to keep the dye from getting on the part I wanted to stay white. I was concerned that it might get transferred to the other half by my hands or dye on the table. There is a technique called oke zome where the stitched fabric is placed in a bucket and a tight lid is place on so the fabric can be dunked in the dye vat. Indigo requires the item to be dunked in the dye vat several times to get a dark blue color. Since the indigo turns blue when exposed to the oxygen in the air, it doesn’t work well being painted on.

The little red pieces are bits of fabric I put between the knots and the fabric. It keeps the knots from showing up on the piece and makes it easier to find your knots when it’s time to take out the stitching.

I like how the finished piece turned out. I'll try again to get closer to what I have in mind.

Monday, May 30, 2011

June 4th

The next show I'll be at is in the Swede Hollow park in St Paul for their Plein Air Art Festival.
The address for Swede Hollow is 615 7th St. E Saint Paul, MN 55106. See map. It is near the intersection of 7th St and Phalen Blvd. There is even a backup location in case of rain.
Hope to see you there.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 21st

Well, it is the season of Art Fairs. This weekend is Art A Whirl in NE Minneapolis. A lot of artists will be having open studios and showing their work. As part of this there are a couple Art Fairs for those of us that don't have studios. I know, you were really wanting to come see my basement. I'll be at the one at Gustavous Adolphus Lutheran Church at the corner of Johnson St and 27th Ave NE. I hope to see you there.


And just for fun, the blue version of the stitched circles.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Red circles

I did red and blue versions of the circles design also. They were done with a compass and fabric marking pencil so it was easy to get them consistent. Although, orientation issues would be user error. You don’t notice that until you’re all done and standing back and looking at it. But we’ll just pretend that isn’t an issue and I’ll only show you the good parts. I used binder clips to hold them to my cutting mat to make it easier.

The red one has more variation in color but the color is a bit darker so there was more room for shading from light to dark. I think the difference between the front and back is more pronounced also. The back looks like sediment kind of collected in the little poofs. The poofs on this one were pulled out a lot better. The insides of the circles look better than on the green one.

I need a lot more walls to hang things on. My office at work still has some room. I may have to start hanging them there.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Another practice piece. I'm please with how it turned out but there is always something I can learn. This was done two rows of running stitch as Hira-nui on the large motif and one row on the smaller.

One thing I noticed is that I didn't pull up the 'free' fabric well enough in the middle of the stitching in a couple of spots. The center and left side of the large design as well as left and upper of the small one. Even though those areas weren't stitched, because they were still compressed a bit they didn't get the dye as well as the areas I had pulled out properly.

You can also see the difference in the veining on the one side compared to the other. It matters if you pull out the little puffs to one side or the other. The darker veining is the side where the puffs were out.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Arashi Shibori is done by wrapping the item, in this case a silk scarf, around a pole or pipe. PVC pipes work really well. They're cheap and lightweight. They also don't absorb dye like wood. String is wound around the scarf to hold it in place. You get a different look depending on if you wrap the string around in the same direction or the opposite. After it is bound to the pipe it is pushed down to one of the of the pipe. If you twist it a bit as compressing it, you get a bit more ragged edge to the stripes.

This was the first time I did stripes of dye. I thickened it with sodium alginate, which is seaweed, so it wouldn't bleed or drip. I mixed it about 1/2 teaspoon per cup of water so it was more like paint. Not nearly as this as the green dye in an earlier post. The alginate also seems to help it hold onto water better. It has to stay moist for the dye to react properly.

The lines and color bands are in a zig-zag because I folded the scarf in thirds before wrapping it around the pipe. I did 4 stripes, 2 blue and 2 purple. Using a larger diameter pipe, or doing only 2 stripes would make the color bands different.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


I did several practice pieces for the Shibori class I took. For this one I stitched it all in one batch, but pulled the thread and dyed differently. Once a yellowish green, then blue. So I got four colors from 2 dye baths.

The larger squares, rays in the star and the outside row of the football shape were pulled up before dyeing and left in for both colors so they stayed whiter.
The blue lines were also pulled up before dyeing, but they were let out after dyeing yellow and before the blue. The yellow lines were pulled up after dyeing yellow but before dyeing blue.

The blue stripes were stitched as Ori-nui. The others were running stitches. I used stencils to help plot out the stitching lines.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Another practice piece done for the Shibori class at the Textile Center. Stitched with running stitches, soaked in soda ash then dyed. The colors are a bit much for me but I wanted to see how the color bands would look. The green in the center looks different because it was thickened to almost jelly like consistency. The other colors spread a lot more. I'm not sure I like how it looks . It makes the stitched part less noticeable because the dye doesn't cover as well.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Vine and leaves

An example of Maki-nui stitching for the long vine and Hira-nui running stitch for the stylized leaves.
Again, using black fiber reactive dye on silk shows how the color shifts.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


This used to be black. It was stitched then bleached. You can't see the design very well. But it is interesting that it turned kind of orangeish, rather than gray.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Look, different colors.

I really like how bronze looks on silk. It doesn't have much color shifting either, it's pretty consistent.
The stitching on the bronze one is Miru Shibori. Instead of using one thread to go the length of the fabric and connecting all of the circles, I stitched and tied off each half circle (the fabric was folded in half) independently. You can see how much clearer the circles are at the center.

Compare the bronze one to the purple sample. The stitching where they're touching isn't as distinct as it is at the outside. The fabric is compressed differently depending on how the threads are run. The purple is closer to Karamatsu Shibori.

Waves and circles

The stitches closer to the edge are Maki-nui Shibori. It is a kind of overcast stitch where you work the needle almost in a spiral along a fold of fabric.

The curved lines to the inside are Ori-nui Shibori. The fabric is also folded, but the stitches go through the fabric from front to back.

The circles in the middle are done similar to Karamatsu Shibori, but I only did one row of stitching rather than filling the circle. The hankie was folded in half so I only had to sew half circles using one long thread.

The curves are a bit uneven. I didn't follow my marked lines very well. But it is practice.

You can see the color shifting on this one more than the others. I even stirred this batch well.

Square and dots

Another sample I did for the class at the Textile Center. Again folded in quarters as a triangle. The spots around the outside were made by placing a small bead inside and wrapping thread around it. It is Ne-Maki or Kanoko Shibori when wrapping the thread around a tiny pinch of fabric. I’m not sure if there is a name for placing a bead inside first. A practiced Shibori artist can form very consistent dots without beads, but it can make them easier to form them for someone that hasn’t been practicing for years.

It surprised me how the dots are so square. The bead was round and when I wrapped them they looked round. But I noticed that the squares are all oriented on the bias. I’m guessing they’re square because of the how the silk stretches a bit on the bias.

The center of the hankie has a color variation across the middle. The lower right section was folded to the inside so the dye couldn’t get to it as easily. The front and back of the hankie are slightly different, but not much. I’ve also noticed color variation like this when I did a sample and it was folded in half and wasn’t stirred. It looked like the dye settled out of the water and sat on top of the fabric.


The next hankie I did for the class was also folded in quarters, but squares instead of triangles. You can see the color is a little darker along the fold. It was also stitched as Mokume Shibori, with 3 rows of thread for the outer band and 4 rows for the inner band. The markers in the corners were just a few stitches.

The color for this one (and the next few samples coming) was actually lapis blue. The below picture is a batik cotton knit shirt dyed with the same color to show again how silk will dye a different color than cotton. I really like the colors both fabrics turned out. And the variation on the silk is interesting, it shifts color rather than being lighter and darker like the cotton. So it looks, to me, like it is shimmering.

I did a better job of lining up the layers so the folds didn’t affect the pattern like the previous sample.

Have I mentioned how handy silk hankies are for practice? A lot cheaper than scarves and you can play and figure out what will happen for a lot lower price.

An excellent instruction and reference book is Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada.