Dyeing for embroidery

This has been a fun adventure – I’m working up colors for an embroidery project that Rissa is going to embroider!

These are the silks; they are five-meter tubes of 300-denier flat reeled silk, hand-reeled from cocoons.

This is a female Tensan silkmoth, Antheraea yamamai. The silk was dyed with a variety of Jacquard acid dyes, including hot fuchsia, jet black, sun yellow, aztec gold, brown, and pink.

This one shows where the colors will go; the flash makes them look like they don’t match in some places (like the yellow looks way too gold) but they’re a decent match in person.

16 replies
  1. moon8sky
    moon8sky says:


    Those colors are great! You do such good work! BTW J and C filled me in on the date, Congrats! I am so happy for you both! Here is to many many many more years to you both! Hope to see you on Friday. I have still been working on that project for you, I have hit many snags, and I think I am doing it all wrong, or so it seems!

  2. admin
    admin says:

    Re: WOW

    Thanks! I should be there Friday, as long as I don’t come down with what Chris has… he’s got a nasty flu with fever and coughing. If you wanna bring the sweaters and show me what snags you’re hitting, I might be able to help…

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Oh WOW!

    I really can’t wait to get started on this project. It really is going to be exciting. I just hope I can do it justice! 🙂

  4. monkeybung
    monkeybung says:


    MMM. Yummy. I’ve never worked with reeled silk, but I might just have to give it a try. Beautiful stuff. Good luck on the project!

    I’m currently handspinning (with a drop spindle) some bombyx for a medieval embroidery project (something for myself, for a change). I’ll be using peroid dyes, but have gotten similar colors to yours above using “the old ways”.

  5. admin
    admin says:

    Re: YUM

    Fun! I’ve worked just a little with natural dyes; I have several on hand that I need to find time to work up. I really want to do a classical indigo vat, and also cochineal reds. We did both of those in a workshop that I attended, but it was somebody else doing all the setup, and I just put in a little bit of handspun.

  6. monkeybung
    monkeybung says:

    Re: YUM

    There is something very satisfying about having a “living” indigo vat. I put one together this last summer, but it’s living in the basement right now, since it’s too cold to leave it outside now. I spun and dyed some wool with weld then overdyed with the indigo and got a spectacular bright green! I’ve woven it into some fabric for a costume I’m working on. Cochineal is FABULOUS on silk – give it a whirl!

  7. greyfortholly
    greyfortholly says:

    I must say that the dark brown really gets my attention. I have been making jewelry with swarovsky crystal in shades of brown and garnet.
    Will you be posting pics of the finished work?

  8. admin
    admin says:

    I hope to – she’s going to follow her end of the process, from design and layout to stitching and finishing; both of us want to be able to show the entire thing start to finish. I hope it works out!

  9. carmapau
    carmapau says:

    Wow! Those colors really are great.

    I love looking at all the stuff with silk on your Journal.
    Of course I am interested in more stuff than I have
    time to do now anyway with a 4 and 5 year old :o)

    However, that looks so fun to be able to make stuff
    with silk in colors like those :o)

    *laughs* Currently the extent of me being artistic is in creating
    these User Pics of Traditional Patchwork Quilt Blocks :o)

    I was curious … would you mind if I tried using the pics
    of your silk that you made to make more User pics like the
    one I have here? :o)

    The colors in this user pic were from pics of my Daughter’s hair
    in a braid, dark green pattern blocks, and the wood cabinets
    in our house back in Coralville :o)

  10. admin
    admin says:

    Knock yourself out – I’d like to see them when you’re done sampling! I’ve made a few moth-y icons, but not many – there are so many colors and patterns in them!

  11. carmapau
    carmapau says:

    Well here is the first one to be finished :o)

    I started on one with the same colors for the Ohio Star Quilt Block … However, we have an older program for editing called Photo Finish I think
    it was copyrighted around 1997 *laughs*

    Well it was doing a strange job of filling the triangles … so I ended up
    cutting and pasting little tiny sections to make the colors flow better :o)

    My 5 year old Jessica kept asking if you knew what I was doing as I was
    creating it :o)

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Security Code:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.