Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Thanks for all the comments on yesterday's post.  Just a note of clarification ~ the red threads on the first piece are basting threads.  I pull them out as I quilt each area, so you won't see them on the finished piece.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Eco Quilting

I began stitching leaves yesterday on my latest eco dyed quilt.  I quite love doing this, watching the printed leaves take on depth, coming back to life in their own way.

Over the weekend I handstitched together the fabric elements for three more eco dyed quilts.  The image above is one of those three.  And there are more on the design wall.  Not sure when I'll get to quilting all these, but step by step I'm getting them ready to go.

And yesterday I walnut dyed this stack of fabric to back the eco quilts.  The fabrics were lightly manipulated before steeping for 2+ hours and cooling in the pot.  This is something I've wanted to do for months, and now it's done!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fabrics Galore!

This is a piece of mini art that I handstitched during the week ~ shiboried old linen, measuring a mere 5x11 inches.  Small work is always a good way for me to get back into handstitching, and I do have another bigger piece in the works now.

The presentation I gave to the local quilt guild on Thursday evening was a roaring success.  Plus, I sold quite a bit of handmade fabric to these traditional quilters.  All the remaining fabric was just posted at my Textile Shop, so check it out.

Hope you have a glorious late winter/early spring weekend.  An online friend in Switzerland reported that the temperature there this morning was 100 degrees, believe it or not.  I think we're in for another wacky weather year.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Something New

A piece of mokume stitched cotton dyed earlier this week.  I dyed this standing up in a jar with some pole wrapped pieces.  The pole wrapped fabrics were too thick for the dyes to penetrate much beyond the top layer, despite my batching the jar for nearly 20 hours.  That's okay, though, this was yet another experiment (aren't they all?) and I'll be moving on to low water dyeing next.

But I do love this mokume.  The results are SO worth the effort to stitch the fabric by hand.

Tonight I'm speaking to the local Eel Valley Quilt Guild, doing a presentation on using hand surface designed fabrics for art quilting to a group of mostly traditional quilters.  Should be a blast.  I'll have many fabric bundles available for sale there, and what doesn't sell I'll list in the shop over the weekend.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My Day

An early collage today from the archives ~ to commemorate my birthday!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

All in a Week's Work

Doesn't look like much, does it?  This is a week's worth of winding and binding.  That handstitched mokume takes a LONG time.  The dark green piece, just to the left of the bigger white pole on the right, is handwoven.  Until recently it was a piece of woven shiboried art cloth, woven of silk and tencel.  Soon it will be discharged.  That piece alone took me two days to stitch and gather.

The light khaki colored piece in the middle is another handwoven fabric that already had shibori threads woven into it.  It's been on my shelf since it was woven, maybe four years ago.

I took a break yesterday, to prepare for quilting a second challenge piece for Fiberactions' March 15 reveal.  But it's back to shibori prep for a while.  It's quite a meditative process, and I'm enjoying building an inventory of fabrics to be shiboried in the near future.  It's called delaying gratification.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Taking the time...

My post earlier this week was so revealing of my long-held tendency to focus on results rather than process.  Since getting the message, I've slowed back down again, and perhaps newly.

For years I never had the time to do much more than graze the surface of some techniques.  Now I've got all the time in the world.  There's a lot I've wanted to explore with I am.  And my internal excitement is building.

I'm wrapping poles and doing a lot of hand stitching in preparation for dyeing later.  My current focus is on manipulating fabric.  That's it.  Back to basics.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Random Acts of Dye & Discharge

Dyeing continues, and yesterday I did a bit of discharge as well.  The first two pieces are cottons processed in a jar of various dye colors.

The third piece is black cotton flannel, discharged.  It has a kind of pale aqua tone that's very appealing.

The last two pieces are silks.  The first one was dyed a few years ago, discharged yesterday.

And the last piece was underdyed a few days ago and discharged yesterday.

With all the dyeing and discharging I've done over the last several years, I confess that in my mind I am always seeking "rules," as it were -- in an effort to have some sense of control over the outcome now and in future.  For example,  Which fabric works best with each different technique or process?  Which fabrics don't work well with one process or another?  And by "work well" I mean get the result I'd hoped for.  It's also in large part due to my investigative mind that I seek answers -- I need to know how and why things work to create order out of chaos.

I think as the years go by and I continue on with the work, some of those rules are becoming obvious through experience.  And I need to qualify that as MY experience.  Because everybody seems to have different results often with the exact same fabric and dye.  So I can't say that what I'm finding would necessarily be so for someone else. 

I suppose this whole train of thought is just more of my seeming to like others' work more than my own, dyeing included.  Sometimes that fact immobilizes me.  Lately, I'm glad to say, it's making me want to carry on, to do more, to keep working it. 

You win some, you lose some.  Some finished fabrics are spectacular; some aren't so hot.  Just like life itself.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Best of the Batch

I did a batch of jar dyed fabric on Saturday ~ this piece is the best of the results.  It's always iffy using colors you're unfamiliar with, and this time was no different.  This piece of silk rocks, though.

I want to push the envelope with this dyeing method for shibori, and have my next few batches planned for this week and beyond.  I also have some discharge shibori coming up.

I'm finding myself gravitating more toward shibori ~ even more experimentation than I've already done in the past few years with numerous methods of dyeing.  And more shibori quilting.  It's such a natural, organic process for me to quilt shibori fabric, it feels totally right.

I'm not much of a football fan anymore although I was for a while, a few years back.  Anyway, I just had to watch yesterday's Superbowl to see if the Patriots could pull it out of the bag on the rematch against New York.  Oh well, I still love Tom Brady.

Have a great week.  I'll be back tomorrow with a new collage.

Friday, February 3, 2012


I neglected to mention yesterday that I posted 18 new fabric bundles in The Shop earlier this week, enough to build a nice stash of handmade fabric.

Hope you'll do some fabric shopping this weekend!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Latest Eco Dyed Fabric

Here are the results of last weekend's eco dye brew.  I'd been given a piece of silk/wool blend, and I recently purchased several yards of silk fabric, so my intention with this batch was to see whether I could get a more orange color from my local eucalypts.  I didn't.  So now I'm even more certain that it's the euc species in my area and not anything else I'm doing...since I've tried about everything I can think of, all combinations of methods, fabric, etc. in an attempt to achieve natural orange.

Anyhow, the first two images are the silk/wool fabric with the same leaves.  The top piece was wrapped around a rusty tin can, and one below around an aluminum pipe.  I do love what the aluminum did and yes, there's a bit of orange on the fabric, from tiny euc berries.
The next two pieces are crepe de chine ~ the first with leaves from a different euc, and second with my tried and true oak leaves.  The bottom one was wrapped on a rusty pipe.  It was only a few days ago but I can't remember what the one just below was wrapped on.  It'll likely come to mind soon as I publish the post.  These are two beautiful pieces of fabric, but no significant difference from prints I've gotten with the same materials on linen fabric.

The last two pieces were larks ~ overdyes on earlier work.  The first piece, old linen, was wrapped in a big rusty mattress spring.  Wrapped around and stuffed inside.

The last piece is old cotton with rusty nails wrapped up inside.  No additional plant material.

There is one more thing I want to try with my local eucalypts before I quit trying to get orange from them.  I'll premordant silk fabric with soy milk and wrap the bundle around a copper pipe.  I'll have additional copper and alum in the bath, but no rust.  At any rate, this won't happen for a bit yet, as I'm off onto some other dyeing adventures in the near future.