Rundle – Work in Progress October Update

It feels like I have really been lagging behind in blogging as of late, not so much because I have nothing to blog about, but more because I seem to have so much going on and life is quite busy. I seem to have a different fibre project in progress in every room of the house at the moment, plus illustrations and illustration reference pictures dotted all over the place; there is a lot going on.

We also just returned from another quick trip out to the “left” coast. My original plan was to get a lot of stitching done while we were out there, but I seemed to spend all the time that wasn’t on the beaches working in the garden and planting trees. I did get a solid 3 and a half hours of stitching completed on a ferry that was running very late (thanks to the driver of the blue mini-van that wouldn’t go and move their van for over a half hour so that they could actually unload the boat at Mayne Island…..long weekends…..sigh!). I was probably the only one on the whole boat who actually benefitted from the delay. The piece I was working on was “Rundle” so I thought I would do a “work in progress” post.

"Rundle" - before the latest work

“Rundle” – before the latest work

Here is the piece after my last “work in progress” post.

rundle october work in progressHere is “Rundle” currently. The color looks a bit different as the first image was a quick shot taken outside while the second shot I took in the studio.

I have started working on the lower left hand corner. It still needs a lot of work, but I do like the color of the silk in the green leaves. Now I need to build up more plant life in this area.

leavesI also added in more detail into the pale green leaves and started to stitch some detail into the lake. I will continue to add more mini foliage around the edge of the lake.

detail in the lakeSwirls have been stitched into the sky area in fine silk thread. At the moment the effect is very subtle, however I think I may keep stitching in this area to make the effect stronger.

sky detail

This piece continues to be a challenge. As the silk is so reflective, the look of the piece changes depending on the lighting conditions it is viewed under, this makes keeping good contrast quite a trial. There is definitely a lot more stitching needed to complete “Rundle”.

Eco-print Experiment Success

I expect the occasional reader is going to look at this post and say “Huh?”, shake their head, and move on, but I am pretty excited about the outcome of this latest eco print.

madder marigold rose leaf eco-printI have been toying with mixing naturally dyed cloth with eco-printing. There have been some disasters and disappointments along the way. Sometimes an idea on paper doesn’t exactly work in the dye pot. This time I finally achieved a useable result. The fabric is dyed with marigold grown in my garden and madder, plus eco-printed with rose leaves from my front garden. The fabric is 100% cotton and measures 22 inches by 45 inches, so a decent sized piece of fabric to work with.

madder marigold rose leaf eco-printInterestingly, when I unbundled the piece there were tons of little spots that seemed to resist the dyeing and eco-printing in the very centre of the dots. I have no idea what created the dots, but I guess that is the joy of eco-printing, never knowing exactly what the final result will be.

This should be an interesting piece to turn into “something” in the coming winter months.

Rolled and Bundled Shirt

I have been thinking about eco-printing a shirt for some time. I like the concept of wearing naturally dyed clothing and I love the earthy look and colors. The one thing that was holding me back was how to deal with eco-printing  the two sides of pre-made clothing at the same time and still create a visually pleasing item. In the end I decided to stop thinking about it and just try it, after all how hard can it be?

laying out the leavesI laid out the shirt, wet it down, and sprinkled on the leaves. then it was time for bundling and steaming.

bundlesThis shirt sat bundled for longer than I usually do as life just simply got busy. I am pretty happy with the end results.

shirt front

shirt front

Okay, to be honest I am very happy with the results and for that reason I am keeping the shirt for myself. Olive green is one of my favorite colors and the shirt is so earthy that I just must keep it.

shirt back

shirt back

I think the leaf placement worked, and I like how the bundle marks ended up on the back.



The details printed beautifully, possibly because the item stayed bundled for so long.

I am still amazed at how well rose leaves print.

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A Question of Contrast – A W.I.P. Post

I have been working on this piece for a few months now, not solidly but more in bursts here and there. I thought it might be helpful (to myself) to post a W.I.P. (work in progress) post on the piece. A few days ago I took a really good look at the piece and noticed the contrast was weak. It was fine standing a few feet away from the piece, better closeup, but from across the room one element was merging into another and the piece really didn’t grab you.

rundle - work in progress

“Rundle” before I worked on the contrast.

So I decided to spend the weekend trying to solve the situation. The first step was to add some silk leaves that I “think” were dyed in mountain ash. From here I could start adding some contrast. I decided to do a combination of stitching and beading to add more definition; for the light-colored stitching I used madder dyed cotton, and for the dark stitching it was logwood dyed wool.

"Rundle" - after adding some contrasting stitching and beading

“Rundle” – after adding some contrasting stitching and beading

I wanted to do a combination of stitching and beading and highlights and dark tones to prevent myself from just reaching for the beads. Beading the focal points would have been an easy solution but I wanted to solve the problem without taking the easy way out.

rundle - work in progress

This has been a tricky piece right from the start. Before starting the piece I did a quick sketch of what I wanted, I did the sketch from memory and all looked fine…..well that was until I looked at a photograph of Rundle for a reference and realized my sketch was mirror image to what really exists. Weird. So everything had to be flipped around before the needle hit the silk. Even though I have spent many hours working on the image, and the image is now right, it still feels backwards to me.

rundle - work in progressThis piece still needs a ton of work. The lower part has barely been touched. Seeing the pictures of the piece on the computer screen is a great help to see what is working and what isn’t. This piece definitely still has many hours to go.

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Ecoprinting With Rose Leaves

rose bush This time of year the garden is growing. It is lovely to have the flowers and leaves to look at, but it is also great to have dyeing material almost literally on your doorstep. Rose leaves are great for eco-printing which is also called contact printing (and I am sure there are many other terms as well).

The  leaves I chose to work with come from my rose bush that grows in our front garden. It is a huge rose bush that easily grows over 6 feet high if I don’t keep up on my pruning. In June and July we are treated to lovely pink flowers with a wonderful smell, and in the fall we have huge rosehips dotting the bush.

materials ready for the project

I collected a handful of leaves from the rosebush and assembled the other items I needed: silk scarf, stick, leaves, and elastic bands.

scarf laid out

I laid the scarf out, dotted it with leaves, folded, rolled, and wrapped the bundle tight.


Then it was time for a little bit of steam, a little bit of time and a post mordant dip.

A wash, a dry, an iron, and the scarf was complete.rose leaf silk scarf 1 blogTo view another scarf using this same technique please visit and view the post “Rose Leaf Eco-print Scarf – #2”.

Testing Goldenrod

goldenrod dyeing 1

Goldenrod Dye Test – from left: silk fabric, silk embroidery thread (previously dyed in “something”) cotton, cotton cord, wool yarn

It has been a little while since I have posted anything related to fibre art or dyeing.

 I have a couple of projects currently on the go that are perhaps more time-consuming than I first planned (which pretty much means I let the beading get out of control!).

I have one quite small piece finished that needs to be mounted……..however……. with having had two major house issues in the last few months (sewer backup and electrical fire) I have no idea where the saw is at the moment to cut the wood backing. First the basement was completely ripped apart and now the ceilings upstairs; we keep shifting items from one part of the house to another part to allow the restoration company to do the work that needs to be done. Our kids say it is like moving house in our own house. Perhaps one day the saw will miraculously appear and I can finish the piece………………or my husband will use it as an excuse to buy another saw (let’s just say we have a history of that happening with drills).

I have been playing around a bit with the dye pot recently. Trying dyes on different threads and cords. A little bit of eco-printing (a post will be coming very soon). Yesterday I decided to try goldenrod.

I came across a good amount of the plant along a road a few nights ago and thought I would give it a try. Ditches are a fun and cheap place for dye plants, even if my children are scared of the spiders I bring home on the plants (they are especially afraid of the yellow spiders….who knows?!). I decided to go just with the flower heads, boil them up for a bit, pop in the items to be dyed for an hour, and call it good. The color emerged from the flowers very quickly. The items that seemed to take the dye the best were the wool yarn, the silk embroidery thread and the cotton fabric. I was especially thrilled with the result on the cotton, clearly scouring the fabric and then mordanting in alum made for a beautiful take up of the dye. The wool yarn also took on the color wonderfully. The silk embroidery thread is probably not showing the “true” color of goldenrod as it has been dyed previously in “something” resulting in an uninspiring shade of beige, so I figured “throw it into the pot and see what happens”. Well what happened is the color of thread I really need for a piece I am working on which is great (I just won’t ever be able to duplicate it again).

goldenrod dyeing 2


Just for fun I also threw these two rejects into the dye. They were originally eco-print failures of rose petals. The petal imprint came out very weak so I tried an iron dip which really didn’t improve things at all. As things couldn’t get any uglier I decided to pop them into the goldenrod dye. They are still ugly (no doubt!) but the fabric on the left that is silk has had the iron areas turn a purple color. I am thinking this may be worth exploring. The fabric on the right is cotton, and is still just ugly.

With the success of my goldenrod experiment my plans for the weekend are some country drives looking for goldenrod growing in the ditches. I may even try drying some flowers to use once winter hits.


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