Writing on Fabric

Today I’m writing on fabric and not doing a real good job of it!

Several years ago, early on my blogging journey, one of my local readers ran into me at the local Joann’s. She came up to me and asked if I was the one who wrote this blog. I guess I really looked like my picture.

She complimented me on my art and mentioned how it all looked great. I told her that it all wasn’t. There were lots of ugly work that I don’t post. “Why don’t you post those so readers know it takes mistakes to get to the finished piece?” Great question!

So today you will see a couple not so good pieces!

I’ve been wanting to write on fabric with thickened dyes. I could write with fabric paint, but I wanted the hand (feel) of the fabric to stay soft. If you’re not familiar with thickened dyes, it takes a little prep. You have to first make chemical water by mixing warm water with urea. Then you mix the chemical water and sodium alginate and you get print paste which you add dye to make the thickened dye. It’s not difficult, but just takes a little time.

The dry fabric which has been soda soaked the day before is pinned to a padded surface. Then the fun begins. I rarely use black so I chose to use Raven and a Cardinal Red for this experiment. The first piece I wrote on the fabric with large words and then wrote over again and again.

Writing of fabric textOne of the tricks is to make sure the bottle tip is touching the fabric. Otherwise you get big globs. I set it aside to dry and worked on another piece.

Writing of fabric with scribblesLooking back now, I really liked how this piece turned out. If I would have just left it alone but, no, I had to add more. So I set it aside and after it was dry added red dye and some circles. I don’t like it at all now!! Often when something gets this far it’s time to push through it, but I don’t see how anything would make this piece look better.

Writing on fabric adding red to scribblesMeanwhile, after the first piece dried I added red to it.

Writing on fabric adding redThat turned out okay, but again something I wouldn’t reproduce. It will probably be okay cut in small pieces. We’ll see.

So now you see some of the dreadful stuff I create! Reminds me of the saying, “You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince.” I think I have lots of frog kissing before I get this writing on fabric blog worthy!

In other art news, my Icy Delights is now $10 off. The sale lasts until December 20 at 11:45 pm CST and then the registration will be closed until February 1. If you would like to take the class, make sure and use this link before that date. Once you register, you can access the classroom whenever it fits your schedule. All of the pdfs can be downloaded to your computer if you wish, and the videos are in the classroom available when you have a break from you busy schedule. So if you have been wanting to take the class, this is the last opportunity until February.

Ice Dyed FabricIf you are already a student, nothing will change for you. You will still be able to access the classroom and the Facebook page.

Thanks for dropping by today to see my “mistakes.” Hope you are having a creative day. I’d love to hear about your adventures in writing on fabric.

Posted in dyeing, fiber reactive dyes, Icy Delights, online classes, thickened dyes | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

How to: Dyeing Wool Felt

As promised, here is my tutorial on dyeing 100% white wool felt. This would also work with other wool.

Here is what you will need:

  • white 100% wool felt
  • fiber reactive dyes
  • dust mask
  • gloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon, 1 tablespoon
  • mixing containers. I used old yogurt containers.
  • hot water
  • salt
  • white vinegar
  • Large enamel, stainless steel or glass pot – not aluminum or copper
  • quart jars
  • Something to keep jars off the bottom of the large pot. I use a tamale pan which includes a platform in the bottom.
  • Stirs – I used chopsticks.
  • towel, potholders

Since I wanted to dye several colors on small pieces of felt (8 x 10 inches), I used quart jars. If you want to dye a larger piece you can go ahead and dye it directly in the large pot. If you decide to dye a large piece and use the large pot for the dyeing, don’t use aluminum or copper.

For these pieces I used 1/2 teaspoon of dye. Add this dye to a small amount of water until it is dissolved. Always use a dust mask when working with these dyes. Once they are mixed in water you can remove your mask.

Next add a cup of hot water to this paste and stir.

Add 1 tablespoon of plain salt to the dye colors. Since the dye water is warm, the salt melts. However, if you like you can dissolve the salt in warm water before you add it to the dye.

Now is the time to fill your large pot about half full of water and turn on the heat to medium while you’re finishing the dye containers.

Now back to the dye containers. Add the dye water to the quart jars and add the dry felt.

Add enough water to cover the felt. Don’t fill it to the top since we’ll need space to add the vinegar later.

Push down the fabric into the dye.

Not put the quart jars into the water pot. The water in the pot should not be boiling, just a low simmer. Again, if you are dyeing in quart jars like this make sure they are not sitting on the bottom of the pan. As I mentioned earlier, I’m using a tamale pan that comes with a raised platform. This container also can be used as a steamer for silk or cotton if you’re looking to justify the purchase!

Be sure the water in the pot is just below boiling, and that the water comes up to where the fabric is in the quart jars. Heat for 10 minutes. Stir frequently.

After the first 10 minutes, add two tablespoons of white vinegar to each jar, and continue to simmer. Stir frequently for 10 more minutes.

Turn off the burner and remove the jars from the pot. Be real careful since the jars are hot. I used potholders to remove mine from the water.

Dump out the dye and rinse each piece separately in hot water. Then continue rinsing going from hot to cold water. When the water almost runs clear, I let them set in the cold water for 30 minutes.

Now to wash them. I rinse them again with hot, fill up the bucket with hot water and Synthrapol or another textile detergent. You could also use Blue Dawn. I let them soak for another 30 minutes in the soapy water.

After the soapy soak, I again rinse them in cool water until the water runs clear. Then they go into the dryer.

When they are dry, I iron them and this is what I end up with.

I noticed that the blue did not dye very dark. I tried it twice, and both are still pretty pastel. Next time I dye with the blue family I’ll add more than 1/2 teaspoon. Also, cooking the blues longer could produce a deeper color.

That’s all there is to dyeing wool. You can also use this process for dyeing silk. Now to use these pretty pieces.



Posted in dyeing, felting, fiber reactive dyes, tutorials, wool applique | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

How to: Fabric Scrappy Ornament

Every year I like to make a couple new ornaments. This fabric scrappy ornament is a great way to use up those scraps of fabric in my stash.

This is an easy and quick ornament to make. Here is what you will need:

  • styrofoam balls
  • fabric
  • scissors
  • pokey tool – this could be a skewer
  • glue
  • wire for hanger
  • optional – spray glitter fabric paint, gloves, cardboard box

To start, using my scissors I snip my fabric at 1.5 inches. Once snipped, I’ll tear the fabric into strips. Those strips are then cut into 1 inch pieces. So the final pieces will be 1 inch by 1.5 inches.

Now let’s add the fabric to the styrofoam ball. I first add a little glue, working on just a small area of the ball.

Taking the piece of fabric and the pokey tool, poke the fabric into the ball where the glue is.

Try to get the fabric pieces as close to each other as possible so no styrofoam is showing as you work around the ball. You will end up with something like this.

Now this would be fine as an ornament. Just add a hanger and  you are done. You can always add the hanger first before adding the fabric.

However, I wanted to add some sparkle so I sprayed on silver glitter fabric paint to jazz it up. Working in a ventilated area and in a box, I sprayed the ornament. If you want it heavily coated, let it dry between coats.

Here is a closeup of one of my ornaments.

Now add a hanger and hang it on the tree. Or make several and put them in a bowl.

Here is one more look at the finished ornament.

So much fun to make and use up those scraps of fabric.

Posted in Christmas ornaments, tutorials | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Dyeing and Buying Wool

It’s another slippery slope – wool. And it’s all because of Sherrie. If you’d like to see what Sherrie is doing and what got me inspired to go down this path, check out her blog – Sherrie loves color.

As I mentioned in my last post, I really enjoyed stitching in Connie’s class this month. As a child I spent a lot of time embroidering pillowcases and other items. In addition to reading and playing with Misi, my neighbor who lived across the street and four houses down, I loved to embroider. I assumed everyone did it as a child.

As I got older, I spent a lot of time on counted cross stitch. I liked it better than embroidery because I could take a pattern, use different colored cloth, and change the thread colors. For me, that was being real creative. I remember making pieces for friends and even for a boyfriend. He was a bicycle racer so I found a pattern with a guy on a bike and colored it with thread to match his hair and his bike.

But then I got into quilting and all of that fell by the wayside. But let’s stop this memory lane visit and get to the post today.

After reading Sherrie’s posts about wool applique I wanted to try it. I have a lot of thread and needles to play, but didn’t have any dyed wool. However, I had some 100% white wool felt I purchased recently for a project still in my head. I had never dyed wool so I thought this would be a fun challenge.

And my results so far.

If you are interested in dyeing wool, I’ll be posting my tutorial in the next couple days.

I also stopped by the local thrift shop and picked up some wool jackets. Before popping them in the washer, I cut them into pieces. I washed them in hot water and then tossed them in the dryer. So in addition to my dyed pieces, I now have these to work with.

Now to decide on a pattern. Stay tuned!

Posted in dyeing, fiber reactive dyes, recycling, Sewing, Thrift store finds, wool applique | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Happy November!

Time is going so fast! It’s been a couple weeks since my last post. My Easy and Fun Silk Scarf Dyeing Class last Saturday was so much fun. Everyone went home with two beautiful scarves.

This is my last class at Scattered Art. Dolly will be closing her shop in December. I sure have enjoyed teaching there, and I know the community will miss her creative place.

For our book club this week I made grandma’s pumpkin pie, but added some pie crust leaves to decorate it a bit.

The past two Wednesdays I’ve attended Connie’s stitching class at one of our local libraries. In the first class we printed our canvas fabric. I did a bit more at home and then sewed the pages together so my stitch “book” was ready for this week’s class. I even made a faux binding.

Here are some of the inside pages:

And the front.

And a closeup of some stitches.

Needless to say, I didn’t get much done in the class. We are talking about having a monthly group where we can stitch and visit. That sure would help me get this book finished!

The trees and shrubs really started to turn this past week. I love looking outside our front window to the trees across the street.

I just can’t get over the lovely Nandina.

And I did finish my orange rope bowl. I started it quite awhile ago, and then got side tracked when I was making those purses. I ice dyed the rope this time instead of the regular dyeing I did with the other bowls.

This was a much bigger bowl than I’ve made using a little heavier rope.

That’s what has been going on here. I’m off to finish cleaning out the asparagus patch. I’ve spent two sessions so far, and will probably need a couple more before the entire area is completed.

Have a great weekend!


Posted in clothesline bowls, hand sewing, Photography, teaching | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Quilt Shop and More

This week I took to the road and headed up an hour away to Washington Indiana to meet a friend of mine for lunch. Gail and I are part of the “Garden Girls” a group that’s been meeting monthly for lunch for years. Of the five of us, only three are still living close. Chris, the other member, has been real busy so it’s just been Gail and I. Since Gail now lives two hours away, this spot is the halfway point. It’s also a great Amish restaurant.

After a delicious lunch and catching up, Gail was on her way back to Bloomington. I was off to check out The Stitching Post, a quilt shop in Washington.

I was amazed at this shop. First of all, in the window are the owner’s collection of  vintage sewing machines.

It would be worth a trip just to look at all of these beautiful machines. Here is one I especially loved.

But there was lots to see besides the machines – gobbs and gobbs of fabric.

I was amazed by the size of this store because this is a small town. As I walk around the store I thought about my mom and how many times we went to the local Grant’s store and looked at “yard goods.” She would have loved this place.

For those of you who don’t know me, I rarely buy commercial fabric. I spend my money on fabric to dye. However, from time to time I do look to see if I can find something I can overdye. I found these two pieces. I can’t wait to add dye to them!!

Before heading home I stopped at the local St. Vincent’s thrift store. I drove by it on my way to The Stitching Post and thought it I had time I’d check it out. Well, I am hard pressed not to stop by a thrift store! Here is what I found. I especially was happy to get the plastic canvas shapes. They are great for sun printing and stenciling.

I found a use for that canvas I painted awhile back. From that canvas painting project I ended up with these two art quilts. They could even be used as placemats.

But since there was still some canvas left, I used it on this Soul Book for the cover and the page edges.

This Soul Book is made for the SoulBook Gathering Experience put on by the Brave Girls Club which starts tomorrow. If you are interested in learning about this or being a part of it, check out this link.  Instructions on how to construct the journal are on that page. It’s been quite awhile since I made a journal, and I’ve never made one with pages cut from a cardboard box. I love how thick the pages are before I’ve even added anything! I’ll show you more later.

My Easy and Fun Scarf Dyeing Class take place a week from Saturday. If you are in the area, we still have openings. Call Dolly at Scattered Art at 812.490.0074. These scarves make great Christmas gifts.

With the weather turning cold,  it’s time to get the garden areas cleaned up and put to bed. Usually I mulch my areas in the Fall, but I don’t think it will happen this year. Once we have a frost, I’ll be cleaning up the asparagus patch. Yesterday I drained, cleaned, and then refilled the hot tub so it’s ready for winter sitting. I still have the porch cushions to clean and put away and hang up the kayak. I always have mixed feelings at this time of the year. I look forward to the changing leaves, but not the gray winter. However, it’s a great time to recharge and renew, and a great time to get some of that sewing done.

Hope you’re having a colorful and creative week.

Posted in art journals, bookmaking, canvas, road trips, Thrift store finds | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Quilt Shop and More

Sewing Purses

I’ve been wanting to use some of my ice dyed fabrics. I’ve also been wanting to make a purse. I found this great pattern, Zip and Go, from Dog Under My Desk Patterns, grabbed some of my fabric, and started on this project.

I found this pattern to be real detailed and easy to follow. I’m not saying it’s one of those sewing projects you can whip out right away, but it is one that is doable.

I loved the process. Here I am auditioning the zippers. The bag fabric on the right is still waiting to be sewn!

The bags are fully lined so you end up with two zipped areas. I used another piece of my dyed fabric for both the lining and the adjustable strap.

I am really picky about my stitches when I topstitch and was so happy that these both turned out with my approval.

I love both of these!

If you are interested in patterns for purses, check out Dogundermydesk. As I said, her patterns are very detailed and easy to understand.

Now what I want to do is make a bigger purse. But that’s for another day. If you have a favorite pattern or pattern source, I’d love to hear about it.

Thanks for dropping by and hoping you’re having a colorful day.

Posted in ice dyeing, Sewing | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

StaC Art Gallery

StaC Art Gallery is a new destination in Evansville, Indiana to get your art fix. Located at 416 Washington Avenue in a beautiful old historic house, owner Ted Nguyen has refurbished this home into a wonderful art gallery.

If you’d like to know more about how this gallery came into being, here is a link to a local article and video.

It’s also a place where I’ve spent several Wednesdays recently at their Live. Lunch. Learn. – Creative Learning series.

Every other Wednesday a local artist speaks on some aspect of art. Yesterday I spoke to the group of artists on Online Classes: Creating Passive Income Streams. 

It was so much fun sharing my knowledge with this group. We always have such good discussions.

I love seeing all of the wonderful local art for sale. If you need a gift or just something special for you, it can be found here.

When visiting the gallery you will more than likely run into Ted Nguyen, the owner and a wonderful artist.

Miai Almeraz, manager, is always available to answer any questions and serve up coffee.

If you are interested in more information on StaC Art Gallery and the many other events they host, check out their Facebook page.

And talking about online classes, my class Icy Delights:Dyeing Fabric With Ice is on sale right now for $10 Off until October 12. This is only the second time I’ve reduced it this amount. So if you are at all interested, this is the time to pick it up.

Use this link to get this offer. Don’t forget that the class is always open. You can view the lessons and work at your own pace. Part of the class includes membership in the Icy Delights Facebook group. It’s a great place to meet other students and share dyeing experiences. For October I have issued a challenge where all students can participate and be eligible for some goodies.

Talking about classes, if you are local, I am teaching my Easy and Fun Silk Scarf Dyeing class on Saturday, November 4 at Scattered Art in Newburgh, Indiana. It is so much fun and you go home with two scarves that you can keep or give away.

Thanks for dropping by.


Posted in ice dyeing, online classes | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Road trip and quilts

We took a short trip to Nashville Indiana last week. Our plans included some hiking and shopping and of course, eating. The key word here is “included.” This picture kind of said it all!!

Here is one of the shops we dropped in.

We also found an olive oil bar. We visit these stores wherever we go and were excited to see another one here in Nashville. If you aren’t familiar with “olive oil bars” it’s a store that sells lots of different flavored olive oils and vinegars, but you also can taste them all. Since we cook a lot and also make our own salad dressings, these oils and vinegars sure add a lot of variety to our meals.

If you’ve followed me for a while you know I love potato mashers and playing with them on fabric. I saw this beautiful one. However, it was attached to a basket. Darn!

We traveled several miles from Nashville to the Farmhouse Cafe and Tea Room near Bean Blossom. Not only is it a really neat restaurant, they also sell lots of plants.

What a beautiful place! And the food is good too.

Then we went back to Nashville to check out some more shops. That’s when the trip changed from a three-day getaway, to one day. We saw a bumper sticker on a business door. I walked by it and then decided to go back and take a picture. On my way back to take that picture, I tripped and fell! After spending the last 8 months working on fixing the last fall, I couldn’t believe I fell again. But once Dave helped me up, I took the picture I went back for.

After taking this picture, we went back to the cabin, packed up, and headed home. But the good news is I just sprained my right arm and every day it’s been getting better. I’m sore other places too, but I’m so thankful I didn’t break anything. Tomorrow I have an appointment to see the eye doctor!

Friday I ventured out to our local quilt show. Years ago I was a member of the Raintree Quilters Guild and was even an officer. I was looking forward to seeing all of the quilts, but also hoping I’d run into some of the members I’ve not seen in years. I wasn’t disappointed.

I’m not into traditional quilts, but I do love this Sunbonnet Sue. In addition to being a large quilt, the girls were really big too!

I loved this different take on log cabins.

Here are some of the other ones I liked.

I’m so anxious to create, and hopefully this week I will get back to it. I have lots to share. Hope you’re having a creative and colorful Sunday.


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Dyeing Lesson Learned

Several weeks ago I ice dyed this shirt for me. Dave loved it and wanted one of his own.

So that was easy. I weighed his shirt (since it’s a bit larger and would need more dye than mine), calculated the amount of dye, and I was off to the dye studio.  Several years ago he had purchased several of these t-shirts from LL Bean. In 2015 I dyed one of those shirts in my indigo pot. It turned out beautiful.

So when I went to dye one of the white tshirts, I couldn’t believe the results. Ugh! I ended up over dyeing it since the first time the dye barely attached to the fibers.

My next step was to contact LLBean and the mystery was solved.

They responded back to me almost immediately.

“In looking at your husband’s order history, I’m seeing that in 2014, he had purchased several Carefree Unshrinkable Tee V-neck #290353 (PFH1).  These shirts do have a resin-free wrinkle-resistant and stain resistant treatments on them.  These solutions allow the wrinkles and water/oil stains to roll off and out of the fabric.  Unfortunately, the treatments also prevent the shirt from being dyed like an untreated shirt.”

The dye process with indigo is different and I assume those chemicals were able to break through the stain resistant treatment.

So the lesson I learned is even if it’s 100% cotton, make sure there is no treatment on it. I’ve never had this problem before so it took me by surprise.

Our local library has a silent auction to raise money for the library. They again contacted me to donate a couple items for the auction. So I said goodbye to this rope bowl and one of the purses I had sewn with my ice dyed fabric. They always have such a wonderful selection of art so if you are in the area (Newburgh, Indiana) check out the auction starting later this month.

Have a great weekend.


Posted in dyeing, ice dyeing | Tagged , , | 4 Comments