Tag Archive | dyeing

A day without wind…

The sun was out today. My face feels a bit toasted. And a gentle breeze, no wind. It was perfect.

TG&Y had their bath outside today. They loved it. They loved the water, anyway, in their tub. I’m not sure if they could tell they were “outside.”

Just two days ago it was a stretch to step from the bottom of the tub onto the brick I placed in there. Today it was no problem. They all climbed onto the brick and taller half brick this time and preened. Which reminds me I need to check they can reach their indoor water ok. It was completely filthy, so I placed the container on a couple of boards to help keep them out of it. Maybe it will work.

Olive and Noodle were interested in the ducks, although pretty respectful. Mostly they sniffed around the perimeter of the tub. A screen on top kept them from getting too close. They know the ducks are off limits. That’s clear. Soon they will be big enough the cats won’t be interested at all. At least, I hope so.

I also gave up trying to remember “Myrtle” instead of “Turtle.” And I changed “Girdle” to “Gyrtle.” I wouldn’t want to be named after a girdle.


Here is the brand new Coldwater Creek jacket I got for $2.50 at my local thrift store. It was wrinkly because I had washed it.


Such a nice spring jacket. I couldn’t pass it up, even if it was orange. I don’t wear orange. So, it is at this moment soaking in a pail of warm violet dye. I hope it takes. I’m trying to push it to coral, or at least just not orange.

Yesterday I managed to get 12 seedling pots started, of peppers and tomatoes. I also got the seeds out of the two okra pods I saved from last season’s plants. Those plants were grown from plants I grew from organic seed in 2014. This is some of the most beautiful okra seed I’ve seen, perfectly formed.


I have been dreaming about planting a forest of okra around the perimeter of Path. I have many other things planned for the back yard. Today I dug up more of those seedlings growing in the shelter of the fence line. And I got the outdoor table and chairs moved from upstairs to the backyard. If the weather’s nice I will eat out there tomorrow.

I’m so happy it is spring. I hope you all are enjoying it, too.






Cabins and dreams…

Last night I finished my second log cabin piece, as inspired by Jude’s latest works.




It’s been fun to put them together. I had enough fabrics from last year’s dyeing efforts to make each swatch a different fabric. The two lightest colored pieces were dyed with mulberries. The others were dyed with Rit. Maybe I will make some more blocks like this as I have lots of dyed fabric and I like how the pieces look together. You can see a bit more detail of the stitching here…Jude’s seam stitching and invisible basting methods used as decorative stitching…(I know, I need to get a good camera!)


My first moons were pretty messy…but I like their mysterious quality.

I’m not sure exactly how I want to proceed now. I didn’t touch these fabrics for months for fear I would mess them up. Now that I’ve got a couple of quilt pieces put together, I’m afraid I’ll mess those up. I think other stitchers understand the dilemma. That’s one reason I’m doing the word cloth, trying to ease up a bit on the idea of perfection and give myself freedom to explore and experiment. I think it’s working. Here are a couple shots I took yesterday when working outside.



Here’s an example of an experiment, the cloud. I wasn’t yet stitched in the photo above, simply drawn.

My first stitching efforts on the cloud were ugly and didn’t look cloud-like. I had tried two layers of stitching trying to make this work, so I removed one, left the other, and took out the gray I had been trying to use to make it look more rainy. Using white, I simply stitched over the previous stitching (ala Jude’s wrap stitch) and it worked. Nice and puffy.


The raindrops are extended French knots. They work, too.

The sun was shining when I got up, now it’s clouded over. I missed the sun for sleeping. I have been so sleep deprived…for years…that I’ve decided if I can sleep, I will. Lately that has meant 10 or so hours each night, sometimes divided up into two sections, sometimes divided by a couple hours of being awake. I have the luxury of time these days, if not money, so I have decided to sleep.

My dreams of late have been wonderful…there have been some beautiful, caring men (sorry, H!), involving lovely encounters. Each night before I sleep, I have been telling my Spirit I want peaceful, calm dreams…and they have been. (Working with your own Spirit REALLY works!)

Last night I was traveling, in England, then I was riding an elephant on a wildlife preserve. I had such a fine view from my perch and the steps of the giant I was upon rocked me gently. There were gazelles and zebras and wide, grassy fields. I stayed quiet as we passed a herd of rhinos, not wanting to provoke the dangerous beasts. When my elephant deposited me safely beside a high fence, I waited until the rhinos were calm and not looking before I dashed to the other side and made my way over a fence and out of the preserve.

Later, I was among a large group of stitchers at some kind of retreat. One very friendly lady approached me. She had her work in her hand, which I recognized from a nature scene piece I had seen on a wall. Her style used large circles of that old fashioned stretch polyester my mother used to make pants out of. The piece she was working on had many brown circles with a larger circle at the bottom in dark orange for the sun. The circles were puffy, as if filled with batting. The lady stitched as she talked…she was open to hearing gossip of any kind or talking about whatever…she babbled on, happily, and was a care-free spirit and good-natured, despite her penchant for gossip.

When I woke, the sun was out, but now it’s gone. But, here it is again…the sun…







Sun. Star. Book…


Here’s my little SunStarBook. I worked on it this weekend. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

Here is the inside of the front and back covers.

And the back cover…


I mentioned in a previous blog I was working on making a drawing book for myself. I had purchased a very large artist’s pad with pages too big for me to use for my small efforts. I thought I would share my process here.

I began with cutting the big pages lengthwise and folding them up accordion style. Then I used my leather punch to put in holes for binding. I then used embroidery thread for the binding.

As it turned out, I didn’t make the binding holes big enough, so I had to redo the pages after I’d already stitched up the first one. I needed the larger holes because I stitched through several times to make it really secure. Plus, I needed room to add stitches for the inside fabric binding.

In my efforts to mold myself into a fabric artist, I’ve been working with my own Spirit. I’ve asked my own Spirit to help me find my way. I felt that influence when I went to the big fabric bin to find a suitable piece of cloth to work with. Without even thinking, I snatched up a scrap of black duck cloth/canvas. I knew instantly this was the cloth I wanted to use…and thanked my Spirit. The cloth still felt like it had chemicals on it, so I gave it a wash, dried it on the line outside and left it wrinkly when I cut it out. As it turned out, I really enjoyed working with the duck cloth. It’s woven and easy to get a needle through. It also gave the book the kindof of comfortable feel I wanted it to have, simple yet, well, artistic.


I began with a tatted star. I made these a few years ago. I have one just like this somewhere I want to put on a jean jacket. It’s actually made out of crochet thread I dyed some time ago. I’m happy to use the tatted stars as it’s a pattern I copied from some antique tatting I found, rescued really, although the star shape was my idea. For the back cover I went with a sun made out of fabric I dyed recently, and I fashioned it with flames made out of satin stitch, or wrap stitch, as Jude Hill likes to call it in the way she uses it. I’ve seen a number of fabric artists make suns this way and find it very endearing. It was also really fun to stitch.

The masking tape is a trick I learned from my old quilter friend who is gone now. This was her method for easily marking lines by laying down a piece or two of tape, marking with a fabric pen, and then peeling up the tape. I simply stitched (running stitch) alongside the tape for one row, came up the middle between the two and down the other side. Then, I peeled off the tape and filled in the kantha (running stitch) rows.

I used a blanket stitch for the edges, which worked well for keeping the fibers of the duck cloth together. It tends to unravel easily.


I really like how I used the orange kantha in between the variegated blue/purple. It looks like the sun is raining.


I used Jude’s invisible stitch to tack the layers together when adding the backing. I developed a kind of mantra as I worked. It was a bit tedious, but I didn’t mind. The words helped me concentrate and monitor where I was in the stitch.

Down, up, invisible slide through layers…Down, up, invisible slide through layers…Down, up…

For the inside I used a 6×3″ piece of canvas to work as a fabric binding. It was to this I attached the covers.

Sun. Star.

The sun is a star.

Sun. Star. Book…

In other news…

We only had ONE trick or treater last night. The neighbors didn’t even bring their kids over. I’m not all that surprised.

The last two times I’ve passed out candy I haven’t had many kids. There are bigger, better neighborhoods who tend to go all-out and draw the crowds. Having gone out with the niece and nephew a few times I don’t blame parents for wanting to have the treating centrally located. I don’t blame the kids for wanting to get the best haul.

But one thing I like to do is buy like one bag of candy. Then I will mix it with a variety of toys. So, this year, I had a bag of tootsie pops and mixed in a bunch of super balls (the super bouncy kind) and some of those champagne poppers (party favor things.)

What did our ONE trick or treater take?

A big red bouncy ball and a champagne popper.

Who said all kids want is candy? Last time it was the same story. The kids went for the toys!

One a sad note, today I have to take my Spider down. It is, after all, November.





All day to do nothing…

I saw this online just now. It summed up the past couple of days, especially yesterday, perfectly.


I feel like a char woman a lot. A bad one. I’m not dedicated enough to keep everything spic and span. I basically do the bare minimum. I cook from scratch a lot so it can create a big mess, then we eat, more dishes to do, etc… Even when I do try to keep the house up, the next day it’s like I did nothing. The washer has been down for over a month I think. Last week was about doing laundry at the laundrymat. It’s great to have it done and feel caught up again.

Anyway, I didn’t stitch at all yesterday. The day was filled with computer work…biz work and then trying to find a suitable place to stay for my workshop in Denver in two weeks. Happily, all that is resolved after weeks and weeks of emails getting lost in the shuffle. Besides us, I know of two other people having major computer malfunctions. I nearly missed out on the workshop because of it, sort of. I mean, I know I’m supposed to be there. It’s in the stars…not really, it’s my intent to attend. Therefore, it will happen.

Yesterday was also about trying to get seed organized. This year’s tomatoes, okra, Japanese sweet pea…were all grown from seed I saved in 2014 and previous years. I didn’t garden last year, won’t go into why except it was a hellish year. Some of the tomato seed, amazingly, was from 2007.


So, a lot of times I think I really need to post here, but I’ve nothing to say, nothing to share, especially when I haven’t been creatingmaking… Then I remember all the photos I’ve taken, and that gives me a platform for discussion.

I’ve had some more dye experiments with walnut going on. Some really amazing things happened.


Look at that.

The photos don’t do it justice. I need to shoot in better light, get a better camera, but there it is. That’s walnut dye on silk. That’s my clothespinori (my personal spin on shibori.) The happy accident, where I got the COLOR that is like little windows…that happened when dye caught up in the wooden clothespins leached onto the silk, giving these amazing colored impressions surrounded by walnut. These look like houses, castles…magical.


A lot of things happened with this piece of silk. I actually dyed four of these pieces, they were so wonderful.


This is what the silk print used to look like, that purple and white striped one at the top.


This cloth was simply twisted and tied, much like you would a hank of yarn. The purple bled all over the place. Amazing.

Here is a collage I’m working on which includes some of the orange silk pieces which were clothespinoried.


The feature fabric in the middle, the one with the Lovers, has obviously been walnut died. All these pieces have. I didn’t like the results of the feature fabric to begin with. In fact, there were a handful of pieces like this I wasn’t all that impressed with. It was the silks and the laces that took my breath away. The other fabrics seemed dulled, not all that impressive.

But, a few nights ago, I couldn’t sleep, so I got out this latest batch of dyed fabrics and just started looking at them. Suddenly, I could SEE. The walnut had completely framed the Lovers, antiqued them. This grew into a collage, a scene, which I am continuing to work with in the sewing room. I will post more photos another time, as it has progressed since then.

I kept wanting to really see things, in my search for finding my own niche in the textile artist world. Like I said, many of my latest efforts did not seem all that impressive. But then I SAW this piece. Ghost trees.


Ghost trees, like the swamp I visited in Louisianna.

I hope I can do these fabrics justice.





Something new (to me)…

I have written a thousand posts since my last. It feels like that. I’ve had so many words in my head, but was not able to write them down. So now, I’m here.

The past week is a blur of little sleep, one day of a lot of sleep (13 hours), back to little sleep…I’m not sure why this is. So hard for me to sleep lately, even when I try. I’m getting frustrated because then, during the day, I can’t focus on what I want to do. Everything is dull and fuzzy.

We were warned of a huge impending storm yesterday. Gloom and doom. I spent 3 hours taking down summer things, plants, tarps, umbrella, etc…and putting them in safe places, the garage, the shed. H had to cancel a big outdoor party at work. Baseball size hail, they said. 75 mph winds, they said.

We got a brief rain shower.

Meteorologists are full of sh*t.

Some people DID get hail and winds, but that was much farther south. I’m not disappointed we didn’t get slammed. I’m just tired of weather hype.

This is a big reason why tornado season is a spectator sport here. No one believes the weatherman until they see funnel clouds on the horizon for themselves. And, who wants to be cooped up in the cellar when you could be out there watching the action?

Anyway, this isn’t at all what I had imagined talking about. We had a computer death, so lots of things are LOST. Don’t know if I’ll get them back. The new computer is SLOW. I think this is the third computer crash this year, way too many, so I’m feeling frustrated over this, too. Having to start over.

I avoided computer work for several days and decided to try my hand at something new (to me.) Dyeing.

I’ve always avoided dyeing if I could. I’ve dabbled, but only just. This time I jumped in with both feet. Most things turned out pretty well, especially since they were mainly experimental. But then there were THESE.

Is this shibori? I don’t know. I’m going to call it Clothespinori. Wooden clothespins made this happen. I feel like I’ve finally found something I can DO. At least in the dyeing arena. And I know this is probably old hat to many people, but it’s NEW to me. And I love seeing the patterns that emerge when I unfold the cloth. I never know what it’s going to look like.

So far I’ve dyed about 25 good size pieces, all done on plain broadcloth and a bit of quilting fabric. I’ve had these fabrics for years, just sitting in a box. I’m really happy to be giving them new life. And they are so much more beautiful in person. The camera does not do the colors and patterns justice.

Before I sat down to write I was thinking more about this process of creating. I have many needle art skills under my belt: embroidery, needle tatting, sewing, beadwork, crazy quilting, crochet…I have a lot of experience. And now I’m learning more about quilting and dyeing. And I’m trying to get better at drawing. How do I tie it all together and come up with something that is uniquely mine? This is so hard for me. In the past, creating has largely been about looking at something outside and bringing it in. But, what is on the inside?

I have some memories I want to share on this topic of art and creating, but not now. Sometime later.

What I was thinking was this…creating is about finding the Beauty within. Then expressing it outwardly.

Maybe right now the beauty I’m finding within is in these simple dyed cloths. Maybe I will learn, over time, to express through thread and cloth what beauty is inside me.

I was having a very rough day when I started dyeing. These pieces began from trial and error. I really know next to nothing about dyeing or what anyone else is doing. It’s on my list of to-learns. But, I looked at those wooden clothespins and thought I bet those would create a great resist. And they did.

I listened to Chris Stapleton a lot while I worked. I like his music and, after a while, the dark blah I was feeling started to lift a bit. I really like this song.

Earlier, when I was out gathering flower seeds so they wouldn’t get blown away I saw HER.


She looked at me when I said hello.


She was up there in the tangle of morning glory and Japanese sweet pea vines.

I think this is how I feel a lot, surrounded by a tangle of threads and fabrics, wondering where to begin, how do I find myself in this?

In the meantime, I will continue to dye what works…


…and work on my inner and outer vision…