Monday, May 28, 2012

To Dye For

 Simply stated, my holiday weekend has been a 
long-awaited natural dyeing marathon. Woo-Hoo! 
(French Marigolds, above, are now drying.
More on this later in the summer!)

Have a look at my weekend:
(and if you have any questions about natural dyeing, etc.
 please leave a comment - I'd love to hear from you!)
My dear friend Vickie once gifted me a handful 
of the softest white Romney.
It was destined for a big pot of Logwood.
Following Vickie's Romney was Cathy Sovocool's 
squoooshy Alpaca yarn. Because the yarn went into 
the second generation of the Logwood dye bath, 
the result was paler than what I was hoping for.
So, I overdyed the Alpaca in Lac.
Now this makes me happy!
A closer look at a few more:
Vickie's white Romney dyed in Logwood (top right)
Foxwood's white Cormo roving dyed in Lac (middle)
Christine Johnson's black Romney dyed in 
3rd generation Logwood (back)

I can't wait to dye again, and then knit and spin 
all of these beautiful fibers! 
Amidst the whirlwind of dye pots and fiber, 
I realized that I know each Shepardess, 
or have at least met her, and that by dyeing every thing
myself using only green dyes is all very satisfying. 
(BTW, we grew those strawberries!)

Moving on to cotton, here are my Dad's old dress shirts.
The laundromat misspelled his name.... 
Pre-mordanting took all three days so I'll follow up   
with dye results in a future post.
 If you're unfamiliar with dyeing cellulose materials, 
like cotton, the first step is to soak the cotton in 
a tannin bath, and then an alum bath, 
thus allowing the fiber to absorb the dye. 
It sounds tedious, but gathering sumac early in 
the morning to boil and make my own tannin solution 
was kind of fun. Otherwise, the pre-mordanting process 
was just many hours of soaking in one pot and then the next.

Between pots of pre-mordants and pots of dye, 
some spinning took place. That lovely ball of natural white  
wool is a gift from my dear friend Lara in Virginia. 
Gorgeous weather, irresistible colors, fresh food from the garden -
what a great start to summer!

And at the end of each day there's Stanley, one cool cat.

Thanks for checking out my natural dye adventures.
Stay tuned for more as the summer unfolds!

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Lucky me, we're spending the day in Buffalo
with Alyssa & Meagan! 

Rather than posting my usual LIVE Studio update,  
today I'm sharing inspiration for an upcoming project 
that not only captures my desire to fabricate, 
but appeals to my love of all things cozy & sweet.

Inspiration struck when I found a coverlet on Pinterest.
While the instructions are in Japanese, 
the pictures spell out the process so clearly that 
you don't need to read anything to  
 make a pile of these flowers. 
Still, I found another flower tutorial 
by Pink Paper Peppermints 
and wanted to include it as well.
Either link below should have you whipping up 
scrappy fabric flowers in no time!     


for sewing together into a sweet coverlet.

Perhaps a smaller scale project is your speed.
How about a cheery garland strung over your head board 
or across an open shelf? Napkin rings. Gift toppers. 
An endless list of adorable uses.

I will keep you posted on my own progress right here.
Until then, enjoy this wonderful day with 
the ones you love, and stitch on! 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Creativity Unleashed

 At long, long last I've gotten started on making my own clothing.
If you follow this blog, you may recall that I'm a huge fan 
of Alabama Chanin, (founder/owner Natalie Chanin,) 
as well as Cal Patch and Rebecca Ringquist. 
I must have channeled all 3 of them at once in the Studio
this morning because I managed to draft 3 garment patterns, 
cut two garments, and begin sewing one, 
a long sleeve T-shirt shown above & below.
This detail is the tulip stitch embroidered on the 
center back seam of my T-shirt. Because it took me an hour 
to embroider about 6 inches, I decided to get a move on 
and just do a running stitch down each side of 
the rest of the seam. I like it so far! Stay tuned....

Yesterday, my favorite Girl In the World 
sent me an e-mail titled "A Must", and I agree.
Check out this man's photography project:

And to round out this ultra creative day, I found this 
amazing work of harmony from 
The Civil Wars.

This week, give yourself the gift of doing something creative. 
I promise to do the same!