Still Pursuing Embroidery Organization

Yesterday I got some silk fibre untangled. Two skeins were carded and the others were tied as I only had a few strands. Yikes what kind of a lazy bum would pull thread out of a 10-yard skein and get it all tangled? That would be me. It doesn’t pay to be impatient, sit down and put the threads on cards before they get into a mess. Some of this was yards and yards of white silk twist thread, ready for dyeing. It took me two hours yesterday to get this sorted out.


I am somewhat embarrassed to show my silk ribbon collection. I used to embroider a lot on drawstring bags using silk ribbon and thread, so I collected my usual palette of materials.


I use the Colorhue dyes for silk thread and ribbon, and it’s colourfast and you don’t have to heat set it. I bought CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) and mix my own colours; to hand dye my own, that is quite a kick. I remember dyeing raw silk fabric and silk ribbon for a customer, I had bits and pieces of hand dyed swatches drying on paper towels all over my kitchen. I made a Matisse-inspired bag with all that, it was beautiful in its subtle gradations.

Let’s have a visual for that, come on. I was eyeballing colours from the Tarot of Paris for many of my dye colours, and the moon shapes in the embroidery were inspired by one of the cards (top middle card.) It was made as a bag for this card deck.


The bag insert looks okay here but the finished bag glowed and had more subtle dyeing gradations. The stripe was inspired by a Matisse painting as were some of the colours. Unfortunately this is the only picture I have if it and it’s hard to see. Considering the hours I put into this it’s a shame I don’t have a good picture of it.


In addition to the three books I showed in my last post, I also hauled out the rest of my embroidery books yesterday so I could photograph them. Then I had to spend hours in joyous contemplation looking through them.




I thought I needed some more books so ordered two. I need to get these books organized and fill the gaps. This book goes with the other two I already own in the series. Unfortunately the hardcover is out-of-print, but I just managed to squeak in an order before the paperback goes out-of-print. I love the handwork from this time and also have a couple of books on costume collections that feature embroidery from this era.


I have long loved Jacobean patterns in both fabric and embroidery. Usually this is done in crewel wool and I’m not fond of wool thread, I prefer the sheen of cotton or silk floss, so I never bothered with this. However there is a book called Crewel Twists: Fresh Ideas for Jacobean Embroidery by Hazel Blomkamp, where she uses cotton floss and beads (as well as rayon and metallic threads) for her lovely Jacobean designs. I had to get it and she has a follow-up book coming out this September called Crewel Intentions which I might buy.


Hazel does absolutely wonderful designs. So that’s the glory of colour today.



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4 Comments on “Still Pursuing Embroidery Organization”

  1. rodanix Says:

    oh my, those colours…..TOO too luscious. am green with envy. I remember those exquisite bags you used to make. Jude you are WAY too clever and creative. Beautiful blog. Thank you.

    • JJ ColourArt Says:

      Thanks Rose. There is just SOMETHING about a colour palette. You have the right word “luscious” is perfect.

      It makes me feel that all is right with the world.

  2. ironwing Says:

    “Yikes what kind of a lazy bum would pull thread out of a 10-yard skein and get it all tangled?”

    Me. That’s why I like perle cotton that comes in “balls” (actually they’re little cardboard spools) though the colors are very limited. Skeins are the devil’s work.

    Some of my silk ribbon is bright white; this fall I’ll try dyeing it with pomegranate hulls for a more natural looking cream color.

    • JJ ColourArt Says:

      Yes, they are the devil’s work! I laughed and laughed.

      Mmmm pomegranate hulls sounds lovely. We have oodles of madder in the garden. I keep meaning to take a root out and try dyeing with it.

      Pomegranate has a lovely earthy tone, really nice.

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