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.