Aug 082012
 

imperial-purpleI finished another project last night.  It’s a Custom Dyed Tatami Women’s Estilo 3.0 in size F2.  The color selected was Imperial Purple. 

I really like this color because it’s a darker, true violet that is gender neutral.  Any lighter and it starts to slip up into a more pastel range, or the color itself becomes lighter, like a lavender.  But at the same time, it’s not so dark that it slips out of a true purple color.  

The end result is a very even, vibrant color that stands out on the mats and just begs for some lighter colored club patches to make the purple pop even more.

I like gis that start with black or another dark colored offset stitching.  The dye I use is a Fiber Reactive dye that is made for natural fibers, which means that anything that is completely synthetic will just simply not take the color.  The end result is that patches, such as the Tatami patches on this one, and the thread used for stitching, don’t color.  However, lighter colored, organic stitches, as are often used on embroidery, will take the color.  It’s difficult to know for sure outside of trial and error, how a particular patch will take the dye, because sometimes, the patch is made with a combination of natural and synthetic threads.

imperialpurple1

And below is a closer shot of the color and fabric. 

imperialpurple2 

If you’re thinking about purchasing a custom dyed gis, there’s a gi style and a color to suit every person.  Check it out.  A Ladies Estilo 3.0 Gi, like the one pictured above, can be purchased in any size and any color for $169.95 (or for $129.95 in white).

Jul 242012
 

Having a great time training in the new home of Phantom BJJ in Covington, WA.  We have about 12 or so guys regularly attending each class, and the personality of the school is really beginning to gel.  It’s pretty cool to see Bing putting things together.

Now that the school is in its own space, Bing has the latitude to open up some more classes. In addition to Monday, Wednesday and Friday, we’re going to have a Tuesday night class along with a no-gi class on Thursday nights.   While there are plans to eventually incorporate a weekly Judo class, along with some drills and conditioning classes or beginners classes, the core group of students is still pretty small.  It makes perfect sense to keep the number of classes low for a while.  Better to have five full classes per week than 10 classes with three people in each class.

It’s a pleasure to be rolling regularly again.

In other news, Elena Stowell, a blue belt down at Foster BJJ, published her book: Flowing with the Go.    While the official synopsis is below, I can tell you that Elena is a tremendous human being who is a true inspiration.  And she’s my kids’ high school science teacher, too! 

For what seemed like a lifetime and probably was, Elena Stowell wandered aimlessly in a personal prison of self-doubt and lack of purpose after her fifteen-year-old daughter Carly died suddenly before her eyes. By some combination of miracle and necessity, she walked into a Seattle area Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gym and rolled for the first time in her life. Through that experience and others that followed, Elena discovered the tenets of the martial art form and healing were the same. With a ripping raw honesty and refreshing balance of humor and introspection, Elena’s story reminds us to never stop panning for the gold within ourselves.

Check it out.  The book is $14.99 in paperback or I think it’s only $3.99 on the Kindle. She deserves the love, guys.

And one final bit.  I’ve been dying like crazy lately.  The picture attached is of a Navy Blue Koral.  I was surprised that the stitching in the lapel patch actually took the dye, but in person it looks pretty cool.  This was a used gi that was getting a little dingy along the collar due to some serious use, and cleaned up well.

I also did a couple of new gis for the same guy in two colors that I hadn’t used before: Brazil Nut and Gun Metal Gray.   Brazil Nut is a very cool, dark brown color.  The final result is almost flat brown.  Gun Metal Gray is also a dark color.  The gray has a lot of blue in it, and in person is a very unique color.  I’d say both are colors that I think would look good for either a woman or a man, and once he gets some patches on them, I think they’re going to be really badass.

I’ll post pictures of both soon, but here’s a question for anyone who might have read this far.  How can I get good, accurate color reflected in these pictures?  I would like to take pictures that are pretty close to the actual, in person color and I can’t seem to strike a balance.  If I use a flash, it washes out the color bigtime, and if I don’t use a flash, I end up with a photo that’s too dark.  I don’t have the money to buy a big, fancy, expensive digital SRL camera.  So, other than that, do you have some suggestions?

 Posted by at 3:00 pm
Jun 032012
 

A friend took advantage of an absolutely terrific sale over at Warrior One, and picked up a nice, single weave gi for his daughter, which I dyed hot pink for her.  The other is a pearl weave dyed Deep Orange.

May 292012
 

I worked on a new batik gi.  I don’t know why, but I ended up determined to put an image of Cthulhu on the back.  For anyone who’s unfamiliar, Cthulhu was created by H.P. Lovecraft, a horror fiction author from back around the turn of the 20th Century.

Click here for images of Cthulhu.  And if you’re interested in reading the stories, the entire H.P. Lovecraft library has been published online as it has fallen out of copyright.  Call of Cthulhu, for example, can be downloaded here.

It was my first project where I really tried to do something with multiple colors and build the final color of the gi with multiple dye-baths.  Overall, it worked out pretty well.  I’m going to have to learn to be a bit more patient applying the wax, but that will come. 

Batik, I’m learning, is like drawing really fast with a magic marker that bleeds.  Or, have you guys seen pictures of classical Chinese calligraphers?  I imagine them with large paint brushes wet with ink that they apply to the paper with quick, deft brushstrokes.  Well, batik is like that, except that I am just learning to control the brush.  But I’m thoroughly hooked.

Below is stage one.  A blank canvas, so to speak.  The canvas in this case is a generic, Lucky Gi knockoff, A3 (actual fit is somewhere between A2 and A3).  The quality is actually REALLY good.  The top is a high quality, gold weave material, and the bottom is heavy, canvas.  All of it had green, offset stitching and details. 

I hand drew a picture of our buddy, Cthulhu, on the back of the gi.  I did it big, because he is the ultimate evil, after all. 

cthulhu1

The next step was to block out only those areas that I wanted to remain white, or that I want to be able to dye bright red.  The final result looked like this:

cthulhu2

Okay.  Next step was the first dye bath: Kelly Green.  And the result:

cthulhu3

At this point, I had to re-draw my friend Cthulhu and then reapply more wax only where I wanted to keep the bright green, then another trip into the dye bath.  This time, Dark Green.  The result looked like this:

cthulhu4 

Okay.  Starting to come together.  At this point, I removed all of the wax and then applied more wax to those areas I wanted to protect and keep green.  At this stage, I’m going to dye it one more time, this time in Oxblood Red.  The result will give my gi its final color, while also making the eyes and some other highlights nice and bright red. 

Below is what the image looks like with the final application of wax:

cthulhu5

And then the finished product.  I added my belt so that you can get a sense of the color.

cthulhu6

And the front of the gi.  The finished product is pretty cool.  I didn’t spend as much time agitating the water as I should have.  Frankly, after three dye baths, I was getting impatient.  But the result looks like an intentionally uneven finish with areas of deep maroon/purple, and some green peeking through.  You can see a bit of that in the image below:

cthulhu7

Anyone want a one of a kind Cthulhu gi?  I’m pretty happy with it, but ultimately, I’m going to have to sell some of these projects to make room for more. 

Also, I think I’m going to start creating patches as a less expensive way to explore the batik side of things.  Let me know what you think!

May 062012
 
gray gi

I completed a couple of projects. The batik is for me.

I’m also offering a custom dye service for $60 for a limited time with your supplied gi, or $150 for a high quality pearl weave gi custom dyed in your choice of color. The gi I offer is the same as the dark green gi below.

Check out all the options at my store.

Mar 282012
 

Good times lately. I’ve been watching several food documentaries, and while I’m sure that people have their opinions on food, I’ve decided to give a vegetarian diet a try for a while. I don’t have any real moral compunction about eating animals. I like steak and chicken and don’t overthink our place at the top of the food chain. That said, I do try to buy food where it’s pretty clear that the only real bad day the animals had was their last one. Free range just seems to me to be healthier all the way around.

But I’m game, and it seems as though there are many fellow Jiu Jitsu practitioners who are vegan or vegetarian, so I’m looking forward to getting information and recipes. I’ve already received several great leads on websites, from the happyherbivore.com to information on the Dolce diet, which is a lot of vegetarian/vegan stuff.

Training regularly and feeling pretty good. I’m going to try and amp things up a little bit and compete at the Revolution in November. That’s the goal, but in order to do that I’ll need to drop a few pounds. To be clear, the diet stuff above isn’t about losing weight, but hopefully that’s a by product.

20120328-200415.jpg

Moving on. That’s the crew from Phantom BJJ. Great bunch of guys. We took a couple pictures, and that’s the hamming it up one. If you look carefully… okay, not too carefully… you’ll see a few of the gis I’ve dyed over the years. The one I’m wearing is one of my favorite gis, and the second one I ever dyed. It’s holding up really well. The orange one and the light green one are two others I’ve done.

I’ve also been pretty busy recently, doing a chocolate brown Gameness for Rhino and a Fire Red Hayabusa for Brandon. I’ve got a couple projects on tap, as well. I picked up one of the Prana “flow” gis and dyed it Mist Grey. I’m going to do a ShoYoRoll “The Count”, as well. Also Mist Grey.

One last thing. I’m going to do ScriptFrenzy again this year. 100 pages or more in one month. Write that screenplay that you’ve been dreaming of. Who’s with me? Last year, I wrote a first draft of a full length screenplay about, what else? BJJ. The goal this year is to push myself a little and write something with a little more dramatic heft. I don’t know if I’ve got the emotional gas tank to make that work, but I guess there’s no way to find out without trying.

Feb 292012
 

Monday’s class was good.  Small group, but solid.  I got a gi burn on my eye again from rolling with Scott, which is bothersome.  I end up going to work and looking like I’ve got pink eye or something. 

We worked some spider guard and de la riva sweeps.  Good stuff.

Still not feeling 100% energy-wise, but from what I’ve seen that won’t be better for even a couple more weeks.  Some guys I know have had this crud that’s going around and it’s lingered for months.

The school where I train now has an official website.  I mentioned before that it’s up.  I’m continuing to tweak it, but if you haven’t seen it yet, check it out.  And definitely look us up if you’re in the Maple Valley, WA area. 

I also got Rhino’s “Hot Chocolate” gi done for him.  Turned out great.  Pictures below for that one.  As always, if you’re interested in giving it try, check out my step by step guide to dying your own gi.  Or, if you prefer, you can pay me to do it for you.  I’d be happy to do it for you, for a fee (of course).

 

After: 

 

Turned out great, I think.  This was a well used, but good condition gi.  The material had been bleached at least a couple of times.  You can tell because the embroidery got mangled a little and the texture of the fabric changes. 

After dying, the gi looks really good.  I think Rhino will be pleased. 

Feb 082012
 

Had a great time at class on Monday. I made it through the entire class, but took it a little easy during sparring. While I’m over the pneumonia for the most part, there’s a lingering cough that the doc said might last for up to a month. And while my wind just isn’t there, the thing that’s killing me is this persistent fatigue. It’s like I’m tired all the time. But better every day. Don’t get me wrong. Every day I wake up, I feel better than the day before. I’d say I’m at about 80% now, which is awesome. I’m ready to get back in and train at least three days per week again.

But I felt really good after class, and am looking forward to getting back on the mats tonight. Woke up yesterday sore, but ready to go.

One of our old buddies, Owen, showed up yesterday. He’s been out of the State for work for the last several months, but was up just for the day. Got to roll with him and remembered just how big he was. At one point, he passed my guard and was just grinding with shoulder pressure in side control. He’s a big dude… like Thor. I could totally see him jumping over the side of a Viking long ship with axe in hand, ready to plunder and pillage some small village off the coast of Ireland. Or maybe not.

I have three gis ordered and am looking forward to making them different colors. While I’m going to leave the detailed reviews to Meerkatsu, I’ll post a short review of each with some pictures once I get them. I have high hopes for them both.


I’m also working to put together a website for my modest venture into small business ownership. “Dye, Steve. Dye!” is coming together. While I’m still working on getting the gallery put together of my projects and such, you can get more information at http://www.stevebjj.com/store.

Feb 022012
 

kellygreen2I made it to class last night and felt… okay.   Last week, by the time Friday rolled around, I finally admitted to myself that I was getting worse, not better.  I was planning on going to the doctor on Saturday if I didn’t feel better, but Friday morning, when I began coughing up a charming combination of phlegm and blood, I figured I’d probably better get some help.

Sure enough, I was diagnosed with pneumonia, given a stern look or two by the doctor, and a couple of prescriptions.  By Friday evening, I was already feeling better. 

kellygreen1Bing had some personal business to take care of, so we worked some basics. I showed a simple scissor sweep along with a couple of variations, including the elevator sweep. Nothing fancy, but we have several white belts, and I figure that you can’t get enough of the basics. I also talked a little about the “dead angle.”

My energy level remains very low and I’ve still got a cough, but I’m feeling so much better.  I just feel like I’m dragging through the day, but I guess it takes a while to get over pneumonia.  I’m just thankful that I’m on the mend and able to get to class, and I’m looking forward to Friday. 

I was really pleased that Brandon was at class last night.  I was able to give him his newly dyed gi and he really seemed pleased.  In the second picture, I made the mistake of looking directly at it.  While it’s not quite as bright as Bing’s Orange Crush, it’s pretty bright. 

Also, after giving it a lot of thought, I’m going to offer my services if anyone is interested in having a gi dyed by me.  While I think that the process of dying a gi is very accessible, I get there are people who want a unique color, but who aren’t interested in DIY. 

The price is something that I gave a lot of thought to, and I’m going to charge $80 for a single colored gi.  Considering the cost of materials, shipping and the time involved with hand dying each gi, one at a time, I think this is a very fair price. 

I’m in the process of putting some actual policies together on a website so that everything is very clear.  But the way I look at it, I’ll help you with information for free. I have made a lot of information available, and I encourage anyone who’s interested to give it a shot.  But, I’m also available to do it for you, if you’d like to pay for the service.  It’s something I enjoy, and I have done enough of them now that I’m confident that I can make your gi look really good.  I’ll also be working on some hand dyed gi patches and shirts using batik.  More to come on this in the near future.