Sunday, September 30, 2007

stopping by the shimmy blog

I was just over at Natalia's blog having a bit of a conversation about silk dyeing. Natalia's blog is quite interesting to read if you are a ME dancer... her CD reviews are really great, in particular.

shamrock shibori


shamrock shibori
Originally uploaded by tigerb.

And here is how my mint shake veil turned into a tonal green shibori stripe, as detailed in the earlier post.

chocolate cherry veil (sold)


chocolate cherry veil (sold)
Originally uploaded by tigerb.

It's a little hard to see the brown here. I was hoping for more of a cinnamon color, but the red shifted towards the fuchsia end a bit.

raspberry clouds veil (sold)


raspberry clouds veil (sold)
Originally uploaded by tigerb.

Great googly moogly! Not really as pink as it looks in the photo. But quite raspberry.

zebra shibori sarong


zebra shibori sarong
Originally uploaded by tigerb.

This was tied around three 1" cording pieces and scrunched. (Basic overdye in black acid dye.)

purple and turquoise sarong


purple and turquoise sarong
Originally uploaded by tigerb.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

shibori fun

On Saturday I folded one of the Shamrock Shake veils lengthwise into quarters and wrapped it diagonally around one of my new 4" PVC poles. I made up a solution of fiber reactive dark green dye and dunked the pole in it. I used the "vat dye" approach and added soda ash to the solution and let it soak a good hour. This turned out to be more complicated than I expected, I have to add; the container I planned to use wasn't deep enough to hold the dye bath and I had to use a bigger bucket and a larger volume for the dye bath at the last minute.

Tying on the pole was also a challenge. I could have used a few more hands, frankly! And the tension was not even on the wrapping... not that this bothers me so much, though, because I prefer the patterns not to look perfect. (Too machine-like.)

But I did get a pretty darn cool wood-grain pattern on the veil. I have a picture to post soon. I also experimented more with the red & brown dyes in low water immersion, this time reducing the amount of red dye. I got a very interesting veil I dubbed the chocolate cherry.

Luckily I took a picture of the chocolate cherry, because it sold the next day at my Bellydancing UW "trunk show". Because I like to support the student group, I gave them a special price for that day only: $30 for any veil. Their advanced group needs veils for choreography they will be doing this semester... and I sold five veils! The peacock blue and silver solid veils, the chocolate cherry pattern, the turquoise pool, and the raspberry clouds have all gone off to dance with people. That makes me happy.

I'm going to have to think seriously again about pricing. I initially priced my veils at what seemed to be the going rate for silk veils. My dye mentor urged me to price based on the market rate, rather than using some artificially low price because I am a hobbyist and not a pro. (Which, curiously enough, is exactly the conversation people have on the bellydance boards about pricing for gigs.) But the veil market seems to be opening up -- I would guess this is related to Dharma Trading's offering pre-hemmed veils. People are offering custom veils inexpensively. (Some of them too inexpensively, in my opinion.)

The other thing I want to consider is that I really don't like making solid veils! I don't mind doing solid-dyeing when I want to overdye, or for a custom order, but otherwise... I just hate making solids. And it kills me that people think solids should be cheaper, when they are more boring and more work. So I'm just not going to do much of that anymore. So there. Nyahh.

Monday, September 24, 2007

testing

Is blogger unwell today?

(Well. It seemed ill yesterday. I couldn't post this.)

Monday, September 17, 2007

What did I do to deserve... this?

"This" meaning two veils the color of a McDonald's Shamrock Shake. I mean... ewwww. They are quite sickly. And my batch of purple veils came out an anemic lilac instead of a robust grape.

In general I've had very good results with the Jacquard Acid Dyes. The blacks are black; the navy blue was intense; the silver gray was very pretty; and the scarlet would get you in trouble at church. But despite using the same process on the Purple and Kelly Green dyes, I was very disappointed. I was careful to weigh my fabric and dye, and put in 4% of the weight of goods-worth of dye... I maintained my temperature around 180 to 200 (although the purple kind of took off on me at one point).

Now I have to figure out what to do with them. I'm thinking shibori overdye, but frankly I'm not sure what color can save these less-than-impressive monsters!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

And now, a sob story of inventory

So... Eclectica Market sales were very poor. I hoped to sell at least 10 items, preferably 15, of the 50 I took along, and instead sold 7. Well, we had a location problem with the booth, and I suspect that most of the vendors had similar results. Sigh. At least I am not trying to live off of silk money... I really only sell the stuff so that I can buy supplies to dye more, so I shouldn't complain.

A few of the things that sold are worth noting down. Both the scarf and the veil I dyed "cinnamon stick" red and brown sold. Combining the cinnabar red with the dark brown really created things that spoke to people. I would like to try some shibori work with the red resisted and overdyed in brown, maybe on one of my new shibori poles. I have been mentally folding veils in various ways to get 108" by 45" wound on a 4" diameter pole, but I'm sure I won't know for certain they work until I'm confronted with the physical objects. (Also, I came up with a good way to hold folds in place until they're bound to the pole: hair clips! The kind that clip shut when you bend them. No teeth, so they shouldn't damage anything.)

I did finally sell one of my evening wraps (yeah, after trying for a year). It was my first ever shibori experiment, and it turned out curiously, because I wrapped it round and round a rope and scrunched it. So one end was mainly resisted and one end had mainly the overdye color. Utterly unique in rust and peach... so long, wrap. Have a nice time with the little black dresses out there.

One veil went in a non-sale. My dye mentor Darlene Coltrain saw the smoky green & seafoam veil I made and said, "I have to have this. I need to paint ferns on it. Can I pay you in kind?" Which makes me laugh, because even her smallest hand-painted scarves sell for twice what I sell a veil for. But we'll work it out. I'm happy she liked something I made.

Another scarf sold in an amusing way: it was a polka-dot satin devore scarf. I had dyed it orchid and plum, but I disliked the way it turned out. Since I was overdyeing a shibori sarong in black, I threw it in the acid dye bath. It turned out great -- the silk field was dead black and the rayon devore layer was silvery gray. Towards the end of the day at the Market, one of the neighbors dropped over, dressed to the eights, all in black. "I have to go to work," she explained. "Ooh, maybe I need a scarf!" She seized that scarf and tied it over her black dress as a belt. "Sold!" she said, and off it went. See, I knew that 60" length was the best!

But now I've got an awful lot of scarves and bags left with no outlet to sell them. And I'm going to have MORE scarves, because I bought some flat crepe scarves for shibori practice. Eeesh. At least they don't take up too much room to store.