Dyeing Is Messy! #1

It’s dye week in my new workspace, and I’m thrilled to be back in the studio! Isn’t it pretty? But I soon discover that the habit of years of dyeing fabric and thread in this space needs to be adjusted. First, I need to be cleaner.

I really want to keep the floors and cabinets free of dye stains. A patchwork of old towels covers my cute penny tiles on the floor. The tabletop is draped with layers of plastic, the old canvas from my previous worktable, and gussied up with a fresh cotton drop cloth.

All my dye equipment is taken out of storage, and I begin by mixing dye stock.
The dyes are Procion MX fiber reactive dyes, perfect for dyeing cotton fabrics and threads. My method is to weigh the dye powder (30 grams), measure the water (1000 mils), and mix them in a blender. Using this formula, I can get repeatable color and recreate the colorways of fabric and thread you see in the Artfabrik Store.

These plastic bottles are just the right size to hold the dye stock. (Yes, we drink a lot of orange juice.) Today I’m mixing colors ranging from lemon yellow to bright blue to fuchsia and beyond. This dye stock will last about a week and hopefully with be enough color to replenish the Artfabrik thread colorways.

One more thing.

I always wear protection.

More of dye week coming up. Be prepared to get messy!

Embroidery on Silk Finished!

The little birds are complete, and vegetation is next on the stitch list. Rows and rows of straight stitches cross the silk fabric, building up a grassy mound of greenness. I’ve varied size 12 pearl cotton thread colors to make a textural hillock supporting the 3 decorative leaves in the garden.

Again the chain stitch is used to make rows of color inside the leaf shapes. Variegated threads like Lime Frappe and Lettuce give you that luscious color. Top the leaves off with jubilant orange French knots, and the garden is complete.

Flying Home #2 by Laura Wasilowski

The embroidery is stitched to a background fabric of silk to frame the design. For now, I’m setting my small hand embroidery on silk aside to think about the finishing process. It may take years to come up with something!

Flying Home #2 began with a challenge to try the¬†Darling Motif Collection stencils by Christen Brown. And I’m so happy I accepted the challenge. The stencils offered me a different way to design my free-form embroideries and were a delight to use.

How to Stitch Your Bird

The bird shapes from the Darling Motif Collection stencils by Christen Brown are so endearing. But right now the little birds are looking a little vacant. Time to fill them in.

My first step is to use a stem stitch and a size 12 Butter pearl cotton thread to create the interior of the wing. This same color thread makes the beak and tail stripes too.

Next up is the handy chain stitch. The bird shape is filled in with a spiral of chain stitches surrounding the wing. I’m using a size 12 Aquamarine thread. Place a French knot on the head for an eye, add some spindly orange legs, and your bird is complete!

And now on to the grass and leaves.