Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's Done

For the most part anyway, here's a shot of "Pet Cemetary" against two different colored walls.


I sold one piece of art, and one of my compost dyed silk scarves yesterday! Sondra "Hot Poppies" are on their way to you! Tis all very exciting and very uplifting.

I have a piece I've been meaning to work on the past few days I need to iron the fabric so I can get it put together, but have had a serious case of the lazies. Well when I get home from working a 16 hour day, at the shop, I'm too pooped to care - ever been there? So having sales on my store is just the squirt of energy I need to get more done in the studio. Happy creating and crafting everyone.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New dyed fibers

Here's a hat Regina Rooks (you can see her blog here made for me, from hand-dyed wool yarn I purchased seveeral years ago. It'd be perfect for a small childs head.

A close up of the batts, click on an image to get an even bigger view.

I've been dyeing fibers and making batts for the shop. Most of these are blends of silk bombyx sliver, Austrailian wool, and mohair. Some of the batts have angelina in them. Some are really pretty, I don't have a picture of them will do that tomorrow, pinks and greens, yellows and greens. Using the drum carder makes my back ache.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Mild Winter

My Foot! It's anything but mild here, and it's an early winter at that!!!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

What I Did Today

I cleaned the carpet in my studio - unfortunately my sheltie thinks carpet is synonomus with grass. Sooooo John bought me a carpet cleaning machine for Christmas! Merry Christmas sweetie! Tomorrow I'm doing the library (in a modern home this is known as the family room but we don't have kids so...) We only have two rooms with carpet, so to speak. I'm quite pleased with the results, I'm not sure but I think I need to rinse it again I'm worried there might be soap residue left in the pile, I'll know more tomorrow. But the carpet doesn't look so evil now.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Fun Fun Fun

I made this eye glasses case, for my granny glasses, out of constructed cloth, it is lined with pink felt.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

What I'm Up To

Well a lot actually, here's a picture of the wall of wool at the shop!
Tonight I"ve been sewing some small quilts, journal quilt sized. I'll post some pictures tomorrow, they will be available on my store tomorrow. I think I left my camera at the other studio, not really sure at the moment. I decided, after talking with a customer who is going through her stash tonight, that it's time to make some small pieces with all of this fabric I have laying about. Being stumped, at the moment, I decided to go back to my journal quilts I made in 2005, I'm using those as my design and am focusing on color and texture instead. It's a lot of fun so me thinks I'll keep this up until I either run out of steam or fabric - I'm betting on steam.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Ice & Hand-Dyed Yarn

We are in the throes of a major ice storm here. I'm anticipating losing power as it's really coming down out there. Cell phones are charged, bought batteries for flashlights, am washing clothes as I write - will probably want plenty of clean wool socks to wear - and stocked up yesterday on kerosene for the lamps. DH wanted to use the propane heater for the house but hehehehehehe the tanks are frozen to the ground. Soooo I guess we'll have to use the kerosene heaters instead if need be! If I get a chance and the power is still on later I'll post pics of the great out doors, the digital camera is currently charging.
Here's some of my hand-dyed yarn, Loretta calls the colorway Clown Snot, I think of it as being more the colors of chicklets gum - remember that stuff!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

This is the front of the piece, I added painted wonder under and angelina to the surface. I'll do some more embellishing and embroidery later this week.

More silk throwsters paper! This is the back side.

Felted Throwsters Waste

Well sorta, or you could even call it silk paper. You take silk throwsters waste and pull it into thin sheets spritz with water and place between two sheets of parchment paper. Press with a hot iron until the water stops sizzling. This creates a nice sheet of silk paper/fabric. The sericin glues itself together.
I then needle felted the silk fibers onto a piece of silk organza net with wool and angelina so that it would look like the aurora borealis. This is the back side of the piece.


Take copper add puff paint, lumierie paints, felt, and thread subject to a heat gun and you get this!


When your back is up against a wall the only thing that is left to do is create art!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Guest Artist Regina Rooks

Regina Rooks will be my guest artist this year! Her watercolors and jewelry are mouth wateringly beautiful! So if your in Ames Iowa this weekend come on by and meet Regina - she'll be demoing some of her painting techniques on fabrics.

Holiday Open House

Friday, November 09, 2007

What I've Been Up To

I've been dyeing fibers like a mad woman to be exact, and the pile isn't going to get smaller anytime soon! I'm not sure why the one image, of the silk noils, is so blurry. All of the fibers are available in my store.

Big Foot

Pepper to the left, Thomas to the right. Pepper is glaring at me, and the camera because I woke them up from a nap. They sleep together all of the time it's pretty darn cute! Ignore the messy bedding, it's what they like best!
And here he the sleepy head with his tongue sticking out! I woke him up, he's not nearly as grumpy as Pepper when I take his picture.

I just had to show everyone how big Thomas' feet are! He's finally growing into his feet and will most probably be quite the little chunker!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Studio Clean Up

We spent the day cleaning and rearranging the classroom and studio today. I ended up putting the counter top, for the cash registar, at an angle which really opened up the space making it more accessible. I'll take photos tomorrow.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Rusted Constructed Cloth

Finished piece of rust dyed silk carrier rod rusted cloth, approx 8 x 10 inches. I sewed it freehand on the machine, backed them with aquabond - doesn't leave a film on the silk rods.


Check out my August 2007 for images of rust dyed ribbons and the like

Rusted Carrier Rods In Progress

The rods don't look like much here, I ended up letting them dry completely and then resoaked them with vinegar and put more gears on top of them. It was rather windy and I think the wind got up under the black plastic - which helps them rust faster btw - and dried them somewhat. They were still damp, but not enough to rust suffeciently.

I think the images of the rusted rods I turned into constructed cloth must be on the other computer as I"m not finding them here. They are on the blog somewhere back in July I do believe.

More Rusted Rods

Blogger is painfully slow tonight, everyone must be updating their blogs or something!

Rust Dyed Silk Carrier Rods

Here are some on an extreme embroidery piece I've been working on, I also have some that I made into constructed cloth. I have rust dyed carrier rods available for purchase on my store.

Rust Dyeing Notes

Rust dyeing is a surface design method that adds dimension to your fabrics and fibers. I use the technique predominately on cotton or silk fabrics. Natural fibers take the rust colors better than synthetic fibers.

You can rust dye onto commercially dyed and/or printed fabrics. However, fabrics dyed using synthetic dyes, or those dyed with natural dyes take rust dyeing best as they usually do not have anti-stain coatings on them. When applying rusty objects to naturally dyed fabrics the colors will change. Iron, i.e. rust, is a modifier and is used as a mordant with natural dyes. Modifiers change the existing color via shifts in the pH levels. An example would be hibiscus or cochineal, each yield a red color, when you add iron they shift from red to purple. A minute amount causes this color change.

You can place rusty objects next to wet fabric and acquire rust patterning over time. However, vinegar will speed up the rusting process, it aids in breaking the rust particles free from the object that is rusting. Rusting occurs normally due to oxidation, i.e. contact with the air. Be patient. Rust dyeing with water takes about a week. Using vinegar produces color in less time usually twenty-four hours.

I use straight vinegar and all sorts of rusty objects to acquire my rust dyed patterns. Old nails and wire work well for this technique. Wire can be used for bound resist techniques, especially when wrapping the fabric around a rusty pipe. Or you can simply lay the wire in a loose pattern on the fabric and rust it in that manner.

Pole wrapping and bound resist techniques work well with rust dyeing. Simply wrap your vinegar-saturated fabric around a rusty pole, being careful not to tear the fabric, scrunch and otherwise manipulate the fabric to created patterning.

You can sprinkle iron mordant or iron shavings onto your fabric for other patterning. Iron mordant is preferable to shavings. Shavings are often sharp things that can cut you or the fabric. Metal shavings may be coated in machinery oil which would put unwanted stains onto the fabric.

If you like your rusty pieces and want to push the rust dyeing technique further, rinse the fabric and neutralize it in salt water, rinse it again and then rust the fabric once more. This will help prevent the fabric from rotting through.

Natural rust is an iron oxide. It comes in about ten or more natural colors depending on what it is in the neighboring the iron ore. Wear gloves and a mask when working with it. Iron in this form wants to bind with your hemoglobin blocking all available sites for oxygen, ask me how I know. You can become gravely ill from too much contact with raw iron products. In addition, tolerance to raw iron varies with each person.

You can mix a small amount natural rust with water, I generally use one teaspoon rust to one cup liquid, or with soy milk to paint fabric. Stir well. Let it sit for 24 hours to ensure that all of the color will dissolve. Then apply the rust solution to the fabric. Use a old brush you can dedicate to this kind of project. Natural bristle brushes work best with this technique allowing the liquid to wick up the bristles and not leave a mess on your fabric. Cure the fabric dry for 24 hours. Rinse and neutralize your fabric in a saltwater solution.

When using the rust technique if you want the process to stop you need to neutralize it with a salt-water solution. Dissolve about 1/4 cup salt into four gallons of hot water. I do this in a five-gallon bucket. Soak your fabric in the salt water about fifteen minutes. Wash the fabric using a non-phosphorous soap or a mild color free shampoo.

To purchase "The Rust and Clay Dyeing Book"

Art Starts

I'm working on this sign for the store, it's called Art Starts. It is muslin fabrics that have been ironed to a pelmet (I think it is) that has the fusible on both sides. Now I plan to stitch it, add stitched rat tail to the edges of each card, add brads to the corners and wire each panel together.

Art Starts, which Loretta thought up for me as she did NOT like the name Make it And Take it, is for our lunch our customers that want to try out the many techniques we use in the studio. Problem is most folks are tight on time, lunch hour, and cash. So we have devised a method for partially producing what will be a finished piece for them, like ATC's and Fabric Postcards, and they can have a blast in 30 minutes or less.

So me, being a fiber artist and all, decided to NOT produce "another" paper and laminate sign, via my computer, and decided that it was time to make the signs out of fibers instead. I stenciled the letters on with shiva paintstiks and a stencil brush. I"m quite proud of myself this is my first time stencilling on fabric and I was able to get crisp letters! Yay. I must say that this is way easier than stencilling on a wall!!!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Dyed Fleece

Here's another shot of my dyed lincoln fleeces, in front is silk noil lap, dyed lincoln behind, and again dyed silk lap behind (purple).

Fiber Batts

I've been making fiber batts to use in the studio, and for the open house that is coming up - weekend of November 17th. Here's a sampling of what I've been doing.

Left to Right Ingeo Fibers, Silk Noil, Lincoln (grey overdyed with red acid dyes) and Domestic wool blended with ingeo and angelina fibers.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Posts and Links

I'm not sure why the links are not showing up as hot links - did that one for Regina's blog here's the addy Will have to work on this!

Wool Batts

And not the kind that fly in the night! I made a wool batt tonight at the shop, haven't done this for about six years now. I was chatting with my friend Regina while making said batt. I blended a bunch of hand dyed fibers, ingeo (sp?) wool roving and angelina into one ounce of beautiful cherry red fibers. I'm inspired enough to fire up the spinning wheel tomorrow!

Monday, October 29, 2007

What I've Been Up To

Check out my studio blog to see what I've been up too. Now I'm tired and am going to call it a night.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

New Work

Well sorta, I've been fermenting on this idea for some time, in fact these are just the color studies for the actual piece that is hanging on my studio wall - and it's 9 x 10 feet, yep 9 x 10 feet (which translates roughly into king size for the quilters out there).

These pieces, Hot Poppies, are a set, free stitching on painted timtex and they really are this bright! I'm making prints and they will be available on my store - see little etsy icon to the left. They look much better in person but I am having a hard time with the bright colors and contrast, I actually tried fixing it in Photoshop to no avail. I even scanned them in, they looked really bad then, even with some adjustments to contrast and the like. Tis the bane of photographing bright,high contrast, art.

Signs Up

The sign is up on the shop that is and I'll take a picture of it tomorrow as I only got a partial picture today. Here's a pic, from inside of the store, of hubby, on the right, and our neighbor, sitting on the scaffolding putting the last of the screws into the sign.

Btw - blogger is having some problems tonight so if you thought it was you it probably isn't!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Prairie Calling

Graze 5 x 7 inches

Youth at Dusk - 5 x 5 inches square

I've been too busy to make it over to Neil Smith Prairie so I decided to take some time and play with some images I took last year during rut season. I photographed approximately 30-40 young male bisons, all competing for the hearts - ahemmmm - of a few females.

Prints of these images are available on my store see little panel to the left to get there. Speaking of I joined the Iowa Street Team - it's a Yahoo list, and Wow there are a lot of Etsy people in my neck of the woods, which is really exciting!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Ok ignore the messy bed he was too cute to disturb to clean up for a good shot!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Drawing Etc

I'm on a drawing jag again, you'll probably be able to catch glimpses of this over on my studio blog as this has nothing to do with natural dyeing or surface design which I prefer to keep on this blog.

I'm planning on embroidering my flowers, again catch my other blog for details.

Without cable there's not a whole lot on TV to watch, can't wait until next Friday when Men in Trees and Pushing up Daisies will be on again!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Needle Felted Pumpkins

I'll have to take more photos tomorrow, the class went really well today. I ended up with only one student which was fine as she left with a really lovely pumpkin, I made one with her to show her the techniques. I'm thinking of video taping this and putting it on as there are some important tips to know about needle felting a 3D pumpkin, like keeping your fingers out of the way! Sounds easy enough but in reality it can be really problematic, I'm thinking of getting a bunch of tongue depressors for the next class, amongst other things. Luckily it was me that got stuck with the needle, twice I might add.

Looks like I won't be able to add photos until later the photo launcher is apparently broken!

Well I'm off to make some constructed cloth bags for the next class, later.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Busy Busy

Image of our new sitting area in the shop for people to come Stitch and Knit with us Mon - Fri what can I say I'm here six to seven days a week so "YES" I'm very proud of the place and wanted a place where even I could sit and stitch for awhile.

Today I updated the website and sent out a new newsletter, sounds like a lot but in reality all I did was sit in front of a computer all day. I really have to be in the mood to work on the computer, the code and everything else just seems to consume so much of my time.

I rinsed my dyed wool yarns, and mohair rovings tonight, I still need to dye more colors, deep burgandy, deep forest green, navy blue, black, etc... It's a never ending dye pot is what it seems like, AND I'm running out of roving! What's a woman to do??? I'm hoping what I have hanging on the drying rack will be dry enough to take to the shop in the morning.

Tomorrow I'm teaching a pumpking needle felting class at the shop, it'll be a lot of fun I'm sure, finally I'm doing something creative. Sunday I've plans to work on the back yard, since it finally stopped raining, and maybe even rust some fibers and fabrics.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

For Inspiration

Recieved these two books today check them out!

The Uncommon Quilter: Small Art Quilts with Paper, Plastic, Fiber, and Surface Design by Jeanne Williamson

The Painted Quilt: Paint and Print Techniques for Color on Quilts by Linda & Laura Kemshall

I need to get out and get some air, at the prairie preferably, but it's been raining and a lot so I think that may be out of the question, plus I have to work tomorrow anyway, maybe on Sunday.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

New Lovelies in My Shop

I relisted some of my silk carrier rods, dyed in oranges and blacks, in my store ( These have been dyed with acid dyes as are the rest of the fibers I will be listing later today, degummed silk throwster's waste, silk throwster's waste, and silk cocoons. Some of the silk cocoons and silk carrier rods HAVE been dyed with natural dyes, and because of the work/time involved they are a bit more in price.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Well I didn't get as much done as I had hoped, once again the printer proved to be a major PITA!!! I was finally able to print off the book covers, after having Brenda and Loretta look at the silly printer for me, they were able to find "section D" that was supposedly jammed, but wasn't.

I named the printer Simon because it's a whiney know it all! It "thinks" it has jams when in reality it does NOT! It's also insistant on printing it's own way, you tell it landscape and it's very insistant you meant portrait. I love the print quality, when it actually prints, in case you were wondering it's a Savin CLP240D that I'm leasing. The clarity of the images is out of this world, again when the machine doesn't have it's own agenda. I wish I could say it's operator error but I'm finding out that it's not "just me".

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Blood River Canyon 2 & 3

These three pieces, Blood River Canyon 1, 2 & 3, are available for sale on my store.

Storque Showcase & Rust Dyeing Workshop

Duh, is all I can say I couldn't figure out why I'm in the Storque Showcase already, however, it just occurred to me that it's midnight already on the east coast!

My piece Blood River Canyon is on the showcase tonight. I definately need to get better pictures of these quilts. I found my digital camera, need to find the extra batteries, and it's charging so I can do so tomorrow.
I plan to get my Rust Dyeing Workshop listed on my store either tomorrow or on Tuesday. It all depends on how many times I'm interrupted, the workshop is on DVD.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Scarf for quilt

Here's one of the scarves for my next quilt project, this photograph does NOT do the scarf justice at all!

Studio time

I wish I could spend more time in my studio this week, right now it boils down to making samples for classes. I'm not sure why but it seems that one can never make enough samples!

I have a new quilt in mind, it's been fermenting for awhile, I had hoped to get it done for my showcase day, that's today btw, but alas it never happened. Tis ok I have a showcase day, in the Storque, on the 15th, maybe I'll get it done then! Meanwhile I have some scarves I plan to cut up and use in the piece, I'll have to check my files to see if I have a photo of said scarves on hand or not, otherwise I'll have to take their pictures first. It's fabric I compost dyed sometime back, very beautiful stuff, looks like the sunset on water on a clear spring day when everything is crisp and clear.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Blog Change

I'm debating on how to change my blog, I see several I like on the net but am not sure I'm that I want to move over to typepad, so for now I'll just play around with this blogs format and maybe go with some fall like colors, or not. What I'd really like is to have some of my fabric as the background for my blog, behind the blog boxes, but have no clue how to do this.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dye Day

I'm getting caught up, finally, except now I'm so tired I don't care! I feel like I've dyed a mountain of wool and all I dyed is two pounds of roving - immersion style easy enough - and 8 skeins of wool yarn - dye painted again easy enough. I also painted 4 pieces of fabric, but again these were small and it was the quick and dirty squirt bottle paint job.

So the only reason I should be so tired is the hour I spent fighting the lawn mower - I think it's wanting to be replaced, with one that'll actually start on the first try.

I'll post pictures tomorrow on the dyed wool, oh I slipped some silk carrier rods into the brown dye vat they came out this really cool coffee color, all mottled, these should be a lot of fun to play with, I"m off to bed early!!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

What I want

1956 Chevy Nomad Station Wagon it has lots of cargo space and can actually tow a wagon. Here the guys are looking in the engine box, where one can actually stand inside of the compartment with the engine!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

My Loom

Here's are some pictures of my loom, not as nice as the other one as it's warped up and all. John moved it into the office so it's now off limits to the pets, which means I can warp my loom up and it'll be safe, mostly from the cats. I need to add more lighting to the office so I can actually see to weave, I wish it could live in my studio but the reality is the pets have full reign in here, simply because the door won't stay shut!


While cleaning today I managed to find all sorts of wonderful yarns I dyed with natural dyes a long time ago, this was rather exciting as I thought they were permantly lost.

I also unearthed my floor loom, Leclerc you can see them here I'm thinking a tapestry might be in order, I have plenty of bindweed to pick and dry, hadn't gotten to the lawn work yet so am thinking it's an excellent candidate for my newest project.

It'll take awhile to get this project off the ground, first the bindweed has to be picked and dried properly, and I need to dye up some warp thread.

Friday, September 21, 2007

And now to find furniture!

Well my day didn't go anything like I had planned or had imagined, typical maybe I don't know. I went to a yard sale to see about purchasing some stools for my classroom area, I have a seated working area and a standing at tables area, and that last area is in sorry need of some seating. Well I didn't find any stools got to the one sale too late, probably just by seconds knowing my luck. I did, however, find the cutest little chest of drawers for ten dollars and promptly put it in the display window with skeins of undyed yarn spilling out of.

While out and about I had an epiphany, or simply came to a conclusion, regardless I've decided to stop fighting popular demand and go with the flow, so I'm filling the store with yarns for knitting. Lucky me I have many many pounds of undyed yarns on hand to fill the store with, so the three of us spent the better part of the day working on yarns for dyeing - well I spent most of the day finding the yarns as they are still on cones and have been stored away, Wendy and Loretta skeined and plied yarns for dyeing. Kim, Loretta's daughter, is my new mentee and she's in charge of this dyeing project, I can't wait to see what she comes up with, now to just find some sock yarns for the store.

Part two to my epiphany was to put a seating area in the front of the store for customers to come in and stitch, that'd be knitting, crocheting (hey it's really big here so don't laugh) and embroidery. Now I just need to find some comfy chairs for people to sit in, we moved the table and three nice chairs that go with it to the front of teh store and moved the display cabinet, and wow what can I say it immediately changed the feeling of the space - like it suddenly became more welcoming.

I did get some of the junk out of my living and dining rooms today, didn't make near the progress I had hoped but there's always tomorrow and what can I say this is what happens when I go back to the shop in the middle of a house cleaning project - the shop ends up getting all of the attention!

I'm Off I'm Off

I'm taking the day off, so to speak! I've iris' to plant and bindweed to conquer AND fibers and fabrics to dye and paint. I have a full docet we'll see how far I get as it's supposed to be scorchinling hot today 89F. I"m a cold weather person so these temps are not my friends.

More later with pictures.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Chris C. brought me some rabbitbrush from western Nebraska, to Beaver Creek VII, for the dyeing demonstration. I simmered it in my rusty iron pot for several hours and acquired this really gorgeous apple green color on wool roving.

Ok it's not letting me post pics, more tomorrow.

I'm back

Beaver Creek was a blast! As usual our trip there (actually the trip back) wasn't without event, seems I have a couple of spark plug wires that have the need to wiggle loose every so many miles. It's been awhile since they have been changed so I think that's what hubby is going to do tomorrow.

More later with photos.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Compost Dyed Scarves

"Wild Iris"
"Slurry #1" This scarf is crepe de chine and was dyed in my rusty wheel barrow, there are six total that went through a slurry vat, I put all of my left over dyestuffs into the barrow and poof I came out with a gorgeous steel grey with blue flecks.
"Oak" I think I might have put some oak leaves in this bundle as there is the faint impression of leaves on the fabric.

" Madder" because it's the color of my madder root dye pot when it's not the color I am wanting!

"Fire Devil" when stretched out it looks like a firey cyclone! I have a chiffon scarf that I dyed in the same bundle that has very similar markings.

"Auroura" - I was really pleased with these purples which can be very difficult to achieve.

Scarves: I've been working on getting these scarves photographed for quite some time now. They are available at my store. These are all compost dyed using natural materials and eco friendly techniques - which means very little water, and no heat other than my compost pile!!!