Wednesday, April 30, 2014


The weather was super windy and fairly chilly as we began our dyeing session mid afternoon on the first we used our time do some microwave dyeing in a protected area.
 I personally enjoy working with hand-dyed we set about dyeing embroidery floss and perle cotton.
We were flying by the seat of our pants since none of us had done this before.......but our results were just great.  The threads were placed in microwave safe shallow containers and painted with lines of different colors of dye....... 
 ......covered with Glad Press and Seal Plastic Wrap and zapped for a minute each.
 Here's our results after machine washing in a lingerie bag.
 Kate was gifted some burlap so we thought that might be fun to dye.  After testing by burning some fibers, we determined it was cotton.  The pieces were soaked in soda ash and wrung out.  Each was placed in a microwave safe plastic container, covered with plastic wrap and zapped (one at a time) for 2 mins. (until the material reached 140 degrees).
Judy brought gauze.  2 different weaves helped to yield different looks.  Happily, I ended up with all three pieces....thanks girlfriends!!!
 When we had excess dyes remaining in our trays and bowls.....we mopped them up with pieces of cotton batting.  With the exception of the bright turquoise, most ended up very pale after the final washing.  However, I'm sure the paler versions will still be helpful for some future projects. 

This is what our drying rack looked like about 9:00 PM....after about 4-5 hours of experimenting.

More to come tomorrow.....

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Here we go.....over the next couple of days I'll be sharing some of the fabric dyeing we did during a day and a half of intense experimenting......

 First, we built two long, narrow trays made from 3 pieces of lumber....screwing them together.
We lined the trays with 5 mil. thick plastic.
 After soaking our fabric in soda ash.....the piece was accordion folded. 
 .....and placed in a tray that was coated with dye.
 A little smooching with rubber glove covered hands helped the dye penetrate through the layers.  Next, dye was poured over the folds on one side....making sure it was equally covered before doing the second side.
 The trays were carried into the sun and covered with plastic and allowed to batch for about an hour.
After rinsing (and rinsing and rinsing) the lengths were hung to dry.  Click on the photo for a better view of the dye patterns.

Check back to see more results of our play date.

Monday, April 28, 2014


Non-stop dyeing with girlfriends is hard to beat......we had a ball!  I took 104 photos.....don't worry...I won't share them all with you.  But for now, here's an overview of our getaway....
Car pack to the gills....
Upon arrival at our destination.....we began building some long narrow dye trays....yes, with POWER tools.....  Though I guess we should admit to having to ask a neighbor for a little guidance.

 Tried and true dye recipes were reviewed.
More recipes were studied....
Which eventually yielded THE MOST amazing results....with ear splitting screeching as fabric came out of the dryer and were being pressed.  You may want to skip this very sort video.....but on the other hand, I KNOW most of you will get it!
 We found time to watch the sun set.....
Prepare yummy food.....
 And dye everything in sight....and when we ran out of fabric........
....I decided underwear was fair game.

More results of our dye experiments coming soon........

Friday, April 25, 2014


I'm still away playing but in my absence here's another zipper flower to perhaps inspire you......

This one was made by rolling the full width and length of a small plastic tooth zipper....tacking together as it formed.  It really doesn't look all that difficult but it was surprisingly time consuming.  The zipper tape is thick and stiff, combine that with the stiffness of the zipper...well you get the idea.

The leaves (here and on the previous zipper flowers) came from a piece of hand dyed cotton batting made by and gifted to me from my fiber friend Gen. The color and texture were just right!  They were simply hand embroidered in place which provides a little dimension.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Besides embellishing rocks (which you've seen me do) I can't think of anything sillier to spend time on than making zipper flowers!  Yet, they are fun and challenging....
 Perhaps the challenge comes from not have the proper zippers....again instead of using one with large metal teeth, all I have is a narrow plastic one...but the color is right!

This time after taking it apart, I trimmed about 75% of the zipper's tape away....running a flame along the cut edge to seal it.  (It's poly so it melts). 
Next, the zipper was cut into 4 sections...sealing those ends with a flame as well.  Matching the color, it was paired with a piece of felted wool and hand stitched in place.
 The excess wool was trimmed away and each petal was auditioned for placement on my project.
Here's the completed flower.....

I'll be away with some fiber friends for a couple of days...doing what we do....playing with fabric/dye/eating/ general...having a big ole' time.  Expect a report in a few days....or sooner if I can figure out how to blog from my iphone!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Occasionally, the Fiber Junkies take a trek to the South Carolina border off I26 to visit a fabric warehouse, which I've blogged about several times. We call it dumpster it is in a dark, messy warehouse, filled with bins and boxes full of fabric.  
 We will be going again at the end of the month....and that reminded me about a bunch of zippers I purchased on our last visit.  There was no plan for their use when they jumped in my basket.....but now I have one.
Zipper flowers.....I've seen some really interesting examples online...most made with metal teeth zippers.  However, I only have plastic so let's see how they will work.
Step one.....take it apart....and run some basting stitching along the edge.

 Gather the zipper tape and form into a flower.......
.....Tack in place and add some beads, leaves, and hand!!!  Perhaps I'll make more......

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


 It's been well over a week since my quest for a new floor lamp that can provide enough light and reach over the back of our pillow filled couch where I stitch at night.
Geneen suggested trying a 'head light'......which actually isn't strange because at that point I had already pulled out one from 'the husband's' workshop.  I was desperate.  But, it was impossible to direct the light to my work when I lowered my head to stitch.  

 In the end I ordered the monster light I showed here....but when I found out it couldn't be shipped until April 28 AND had to come by an over the road trucker....I suspected this lamp was really huge.
I cancelled the order and made a trek to Pottery Barn in Greenville, SC.  (I hadn't realized there was a store there or I'd have started with them in the first place!)  Instead, I purchased this lamp...which I LOVE.  I have to say Pottery Barn could do better with their online descriptions......this worked but reading the info you'd never know it could be adjusted to accommodate the needs I have.

Can you tell I really like it?  Here's three photos showing it off.......

Monday, April 21, 2014


A new floor lamp (for evening hand stitching) has not materialized yet, so I bit the bullet and spent time in the studio hand stitching during the day.  You'd have thought the world was coming to an end by the break in my usual daily pattern! Isn't it amazing how stuck we can get into our routines? 

Though I've previously posted some process photos of this piece, here's an overview since it's now complete.
 A gifted cabochon was the inspiration.  I REALLY wanted to use this piece of ice-dyed cotton, but in the end decided it was simply too busy to allow this beautiful stone to be the star of the show!
 Instead, out came some wool felt and an inkling of a design idea.
 Next the cab was beaded in position.  FYI - I place a dab of Beacon's Tacky Glue on the wrong side of the stone to hold it in place as I begin stitching the beaded cage that surrounds and ultimately holds it to the fabric.
 Then came some hand embroidery.
 And more pondering about the final design.
 Even though I really did know what I should took me awhile to make that final decision.  I cut about 7" off the right side to obtain a narrow piece, rather than almost square.
A few circles were stitched onto the background and a narrow edging was added which was further embellished by hand embroidery and beads.
AERIAL DANCE  7.5" X 11"
(Already spoken for)

Reminder....all photos can be enlarged by clicking on the image.

Saturday, April 19, 2014


This will mean positively nothing to 99.8% of you.......but if you are a long time follower of my blog, you know I'm over the moon about this.  Culver's,our favorite Wisconsin source of ice cream....which in this case is actually custard, is coming to Asheville on Airport Road.  I don't know the opening date but you can bet I'll be there.

Chocolate Concrete Malt (Chocolate flavored, malted milk, vanilla custard)tall(19.8 oz)231776032.51,354

This Wisconsin based fast food chain is also known for their 'butter burgers'....I can't comment because I go strictly for the Chocolate Concrete Malt......and either have to walk twice that day or skip a meal as half my total daily calories are used up in one delicious sitting.

Friday, April 18, 2014


This project was blogged about in March, so instead of providing all those links....I'll cover the highlights again.

I've completed another nature theme wall quilt.....a subject I've been concentrating on of late.
 I ice-dyed the background cotton fabric and love the results....however I was a bit concerned about the high energy level it presented.
 Adding red trees with similar shapes seemed to help settle it down. That fabric was cut from a piece of my deconstructed screen printed cotton fabric.  I don't do a lot of fusing in my work as I truly do prefer the look of hand work, but in this case I fused.  Machine stitching details were added to help anchor the motifs and to provide interest and texture.

Then for me, the fun part came next......many, many long evenings of hand embroidery!   

 I hadn't planned quite so much hand embroidery, however once I became clear that the piece would benefit from more and more.

 RED TREES 17.5" X 14"
Artist hand ice-dyed cotton, deconstructed screen printed cotton, machine stitching, hand embroidered.  Edges clean finished with a facing.

To see what other quilters have been up to this week.....I'm linking to the following blogs....hop over for a visit.  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Crazy Mom's Finish it up Friday, and Sara's Whoop, Whoop Friday