While we were at Land’s End we sat for hours one day in the camper van while the rain poured down outside and I stitched some experiments to add to my little pile for dyeing. I made a square of squares, first overstitching a grid and then a different idea in each small square. In a fit of unusual methodicalness (or maybe all I need to be methodical is some dedicated time… ) I drew the stitch pattern for each square in my sketchbook so that if I like some of the results I can remember how I did them.

stitched resists and diagrams

I broke the thread a few times, which was very frustrating, and reminded me I wanted to get hold of some ‘seriously strong thread’ from Callishibori – I’ll put it on my list to look for at the Knitting & Stitching Show. I used ordinary polyester thread and I ran out of white – I’m sure I will regret the black when I come to unpick it!

The rest of the samples include some embroidery stitches pulled up tight and my first try at maki-age, stitched and bound resist.

stitched resists and diagrams

I haven’t decided what  to dye these with yet. I’ve been thinking more about the environmental effects of different dyes and mordants recently, partly because we’ll be on a septic tank when come November, partly as I’m (slowly) reading Eco-Colour, India Flint’s beautiful and thought-provoking book about using locally sourced materials for dyeing. At the moment I feel that I couldn’t change to only using plant materials but I would like to gradually use more of them (though moving to the windiest place in Britain may not help with the locally sourced part!). By the way, I found a very interesting and inspiring blog while reading round this subject on the web, Robin Paris’s Sustainable Batik, and another I’ve been reading for a while is Helen Methven’s Growing Colour. Lots of food for thought.

stitching resists

12 thoughts on “stitching resists

  • August 7, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Irresistable! I can’t wait to see them dyed..but will you continue when you are on your scottish Island?

  • August 8, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    they look great without the dye! look forward to seeing your results

  • August 11, 2008 at 8:01 am

    I really love the work you’re doing with the samples for dyeing and your sketchbook. Can’t wait to see the results when you start dyeing.

  • August 11, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Hello found your blog via flickr.
    This looks so interesting.
    I look forward to seeing how it dyes.

  • August 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    I love the look of your samples and wondered what you are going to dye them with.
    I am glad that you like my blog and pop in to read. I hope it helps you to move to natural dyeing.

  • August 11, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    thanks for saying nice things about my book…and think of the fun you could have with bundling seaweed around that beautifully stitched piece.
    noting your stitch patterns in your journal is a REALLY GOOD idea.
    best wishes

  • August 12, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Even before you dye things, I think you make such intersting objects! The wy you record it is so clear. I would end up forgeting what i have done

  • August 14, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    I like you little experiments, especially the bottom one.

    If you are interested in natural dies I have the most fantastic book that I really reccommend. It is called Wild Colour by Jenny Dean. It is now out of print but is so worth looking for on Ebay. It also has recipes for easy to make mordents usin nails and pieces of copper pipes etc. It is brilliant.

    Glad to see you are still creating since I have been away, I wish I had your motivation! x x x x

  • August 14, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    I just looked and she has a new book out, here is the info;

    hope it helps, her dies are made using leaves, bark, flowers etc. There is an elderberry die I have wanted to try for ages.

    Let me know what you think!

  • August 16, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    A lovely blog! It’s ages since I’ve done anything very creative so very inspiring!

  • August 18, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    Fiona, I too bought the Eco-print book and love it very much. I am not sure if I would be such a purist but still find it inspiring and fascinating. Thank you again for writing about it on your blog.
    I like your stitch and dye experiment very much. It is exciting to see what other explore.
    I have bought Wild Colour on Amazon marketplace.

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