Getting the hang of it


Someday I hope to unwrap a bundled article of clothing
and have it 
look like an old paint rag.
Assembling the right combination of ingredients isn't the key ...
choosing the right fabric doesn't seem to be the key either ...
nor is how I roll it up, tie the string,
the cooking time or whether the vegetation was frozen or fresh
or how long I've let time be my friend afterwards ...
and shoot, I may have forgotten to pre-mordant.
None of these is  the  key

that's the main thing I'm learning about this natural dyeing process,
the reason why it's so critical to keep practicing, work steadily, experiment,
build a knowledge base one step on top of the other.

Luck will only get ya so far.

there's that no-small-matter of
 intuition ... 
often just a quiet fluttering off to the side,
a barely noticeable nudge
 towards a choice I wasn't going to make.
Am I listening hard enough?

I will concede that
some paint rags are prettier than others
I've got miles to go before
purple blobs are gonna be skillfully arranged into a
worthy item of clothing ...
at least
that's how it feels today.
But I am a bit cranky.

Maybe I should just blame it on the Super Moon ...

I feel a bit like that button !

Tis one good thing tho:
thrift store stuff is cheap
and fairly plentiful.

TWO good things ...

nothing in the world like having the fine company of Her Fluffiness 
when I'm a tad grumpy ... 


  1. Christi, I am TOTALLY with you on this journey. Traveling to the other side of the 'whirled' makes no difference in the outcome of this process. Happily we have fond memories, great friendships and something to shoot for! Hugs from this side.

  2. I do understand!! I have been dyeing for three years and my pieces still look like a science experiment. Glad to hear someone else struggles too. I understand it's the experience, but I would like to an idea I have, come out the way I would like it to.

  3. Oh my, this is certainly a journey. Accepting the fact that I have never dyed anything and probably never will -- I fully understand how frustrating it is when something is pretty much try and try again -- never quite knowing what will come out at the end. Don't be grumpy, just sort of let it become a game of fate and the knowledge that while you might not get exactly what you wanted - whatever you get is going to end up beautiful, just in a bit different way than you 'wanted'.

  4. Well gosh, thanks be to you gals o-t-r, Susan & Penny for the camaraderie
    & commiseration. Wasn't really my intention to go looking for sympathy [also nice to have!]
    for basically I was just in the mood for a good ole rant [gotta do that sometimes].
    Seems I see some kin out there, ha!

    I've found it interesting that I don't seem to have much trouble at all
    making marks I like on **small** scraps of cloth ... since jumping into dyeing 'the whole thing'
    is when I've started to get frustrated. I've a newfound / deeper appreciation
    for those makers out there dyeing whole dresses exquisitely [Wanderbear !]
    for there is a sense to this [for lack of better expression] that goes waaaaay beyond
    what I currently know / intuit.

    1. I get the rant. Small scraps are the way I'm best at it too. At everything really. I like the concept of small pieces being part of the whole. There are a few masters out there of the whole cloth, and from what I observe, a local eucalyptus source is very helpful.

    2. not particularly interested in eucs for my own work ... isn't the language of my current climate
      or land
      if you catch my drift. Far far more interested in what comes from the hedge. Now,
      if I could only get those random splodges of color
      to SING !

  5. You might not have well defined shapes but at least you have beautiful colour, sometimes I get prints, sometimes I don't but most of mine are shades of brown. Its definitely a long journey to acheive anywhere near perfection but still fun unwrapping a bundle, and the great thing is you can always try again.

  6. christi , i agree what the other say , but in anywhere there are somthing about the colour from lopez , i love it and the dog wish it was mine !!

  7. yes! in the (very) small forays I've made, I realized pretty durned quickly this would take a TON of experience to create something that was worthy. not sure I'm ready to go there. yet? ever? reminds me of watercolour: so much potential. so much time. not that there's anything wrong with that. but. ya know. we have to go where we feel appreciated. or something. xo

  8. i love this post ... i thought it was just me ( : thank god i do a lot of fabric collage or i would really be frustrated .

  9. Debbie ~ still trying ;>]]
    bodil ~ Isla says "woof woof"
    JJ ~ have the same relationship w/watercolor, ha ! I appreciate you ;>D
    kathy ~ ahhh, frustration can be the key to more discovery [or so I'm saying to my frustrated self at the moment]

  10. Good God! I think they are GORGEOUS. xo

    1. MORNA !! where ya been? sure hope life has been good to you.

  11. Stunning colours - great 'rags'. Thanks for visiting.

  12. Me too Christie... I'm sure you have done his already but I found that I'd you keep readying sometimes it comes out to be stunning! But then I'm not looking for a particular outcome. One could say that' s setting the bar low.... But then I'm pretty happy with most results... I love getting something onto the cloth! That is the thrill! Ranting is good from time to time my friend!

    1. Funny thing is, Nancy, a pre-visualized outcome is not what I'm after either
      ... BUT... I think I've reached the stage where exercising some bit of control feels ... uhmmmm ... important somehow.
      Getting somewhere more pleasing than random blackish blobby splotches
      was certainly a goal for this blouse. Thanx for the ranting ears ;>]]

  13. Oh, you're so right, but your "practicing" is gorgeous!

    1. practice. PRACTICE.

      handstories, thanx.

  14. You've reminded me I need to get practicing again!

    1. .... cauldrons all a'boil here in the PNW, eh Deb?!

  15. Myself I love a good paint rag
    The real trick is
    To channel your inner Coco Chanel when stepping out in it!
    You can wear anything with a big smile and a confident step
    And Her Royal Fluffiness by your side.
    Seeing as that "paint rag" is gorgeous
    You, me dear
    Are well in front of the pack!

    1. awww, indi, that brought a smile to me face !!

      gotta dash now because, crikey, must read up on Coco - she just might be my missing link .............

  16. i so get this. and i miss my fluffiness. dogs make us better people, don't they?

  17. Sigh. And just beautiful pictures too. Making me dreamy.

  18. I love these photos - the color is fantastic!

  19. I think the fact that there are so many variables and that it's a process that kind of invites documentation to track those variables, continues to keep me away from the business of dyeing. But then I see a blouse like yours and I want to do it!!! This 'paint rag', in my humble opinion is beautiful!! And so is that mutt of yours. My goodness. And so photogenic!

  20. She is beautiful. I have always wanted to try dyeing...fabric that is.