Bandana dyeing at Patchwork

Last week I spent some time at Patchwork Central showing the kids in the Arts & Smarts after school program how to dye bandanas with fiber reactive dyes.  I’ve known Jane Vickers, the head of this program, for years and interviewed her when I wrote a newspaper column on local artists. So when she asked me to teach the kids some dyeing, I was more than happy to do it.

This is the example I took to show them what we were going to do. I thought simple dyeing would be best.


The folding was more of a challenge than I thought, but we all soldiered through it. Once the bandanas were folded and clipped, the fun began. I was so surprised when one of the boys asked me if we could blend colors. I did underestimate this group for sure!

After they finished dyeing, we wrapped them up and I took them home to batch and then wash and dry. Here are some of the bandanas waiting in my studio.


Then after 24 hours came the wash out. I was so anxious to see the results.


The results are stunning! Here are their bandana dyeing masterpieces. It’s amazing that we only used three colors and got such different results.

patchwork17 patchwork3 patchwork5 patchwork12 patchwork4 patchwork15 patchwork24 patchwork10 patchwork13 patchwork14

This last one didn’t get folded like the rest, but it also is beautiful.

patchwork#9I took the bandanas to the kids yesterday and they seemed to all be pleased with their pieces. I sure was. Several of the kids missed the bandana dyeing session so I’ll be back next year for another class.

In other news, a new shop, Ellis & Knight Curated Goods, selling just local art is opening in Evansville, Indiana this Saturday. In addition to some wonderful local art, my dyed vintage napkins and dyed scarves are there. Yipee!

As always thank you so much for dropping by and checking in on what I’m doing. I do appreciate all of you.

Posted in dyeing, fabric, fiber reactive dyes, teaching | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Silk Scarf Dyeing Class

What a fun day! Saturday was my Easy and Fun Silk Scarf Dyeing class at Scattered Art in Newburgh, Indiana.

For this class we used Colorhue dyes on silk scarves. The class fee included all supplies and two scarves. Here are the class participants sporting their new masterpieces.


After my demo and instructions, I encouraged them to play on some pieces of silk before they moved to their scarves. This was a great way for them to get the feel of working on silk and also choose colors.

Some practice swatches

The group hard at play.



Sherry’s scarf. This picture does not do this beautiful scarf justice.


Rae shows one of her beautiful scarves.


Dawn holding one of her scarves with the first background layer.


Tena and her new scarf


Barb happy about her first scarf.


Aki’s beautiful first scarf


Kathy’s beautiful shades of blue



Katie’s painted scarf. Absolutely beautiful.


Dolly, owner of Scattered Art, created a couple beautiful multi-color scarves.


Kathy adding color.


Starla tests some colorways.


Linda working hard on her scarf.


Ruby adds color.

Did I mention that the scarves were beautiful? It was amazing how they were all unique and equally pretty. I so enjoy teaching and I also learn so much from my students.

If you are local and missed this class, I will be teaching it again here at Scattered Art in Newburgh on Saturday, March 5, 2016 from 10 – noon.

But now to clean up the dye studio, put away supplies, and get ready for my bandana dyeing class this week at Patchwork Central’s after school program. I’ll be showing 25 youngsters how to dye with fiber reactive dyes. It’s going to be so much fun.

Hope you are having a colorful weekend. Thanks for dropping by.

Posted in Colorhue, dyeing, surface design, teaching | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

“Painting” with fabric and Dawn

I met Dawn a couple years ago through our mutual friend Barbara. On meeting we decided that we had to get together and schedule a play date. This week Dawn and I finally got together.

Dawn attended a class through the local quilt guild taught by Tawni Young from InterQuilten where they created art quilts by painting with fabric. When I saw her piece, I asked if she’d show me that technique. So when she called to plan a date, that’s what we decided to do.

Before we get started I have to tell you Dawn’s Inspiration Room (Her son Dalton named it.) is wonderful. I saw this room when it was just being built and it has turned out great. Here are just two shots showing the windows on each end of the room.

Dawnsstudio1 dawnsstudio2It’s so organized and so inviting. I am so jealous!!

But let’s get back to the project. We started by selecting a picture. She told me to pick one that didn’t have straight lines. Well, I think I really picked one that was way too hard. This is one of the pictures I took on our recent trip to Garden of the Gods.


Then we went through our stash and started cutting our fabrics in teeny, tiny pieces with the rotary cutter.  Here Dawn is showing me how.

dawndemoingcuttingHere are a couple of my fabrics. You can see that it doesn’t matter if the fabric has prints on it. However, it needs to be fabric that is dyed all of the way through like my dyed fabric or batiks. Otherwise, your pieces will be two colors which might not work for your project.

fabriccutup1 fabriccutup2And then my palette of colors. Aren’t they yummy?

colorpaletteatdawnsYou start by laying your backing fabric down, add the batting, and then start adding the fabric bits. Here I am just starting on the sky.

landscapefabricpaint1After your picture is finished, cover it with tulle – we used black – and pin down.


Here is my piece pinned. It needs to be pinned all over to keep all of those pieces from moving around.

pinnedprojectNow to free motion this mess down! Here is Dawn working on her piece. She recommended sewing with invisible thread and bobbin thread in the bobbin. I could have watched her free motion all day. There is something soothing about watching free motion. Now to get it to feel like that when I do it!

DawnfreemotionI brought my project home to finish. Here it mine after free motion quilting and trimmed. The colors are way off due to shooting this at night in my studio. The more accurate colors are on the finished photo.


I decided to finish by serging the edges.


Well, it was not real easy. Dawn said I picked a hard picture and the next one should be easier. Here are some of my tips if you want to try this technique.

  1. Pick a picture with no  hard edges. However, if you “paint” trees you can use a strip of fabric for the trunk. On the right you might be able to see that I used a couple small strips of fabric to illustrate the trunk.
  2. Decide on your colors and rotary cut your bits all at once. I had to go back and cut more which slowed down my momentum.
  3. Don’t pile up the fabric bits. I was having so much fun that I added way too many bits. Those areas were real hard to quilt.
  4. Before you begin, decide how you want to bind it.
  5. Let go of perfection and just have fun.

One of the big problems is keeping all of the bits from going everywhere. This may have been a problem for me because as I mentioned in the tips that I put way too many bits on my piece. I think that once the pieces are down they could be sprayed with something to hold them in place even before covering with tulle. Another option might be to place fusible on top of the batting and then after the bits are placed, iron over before adding tulle. Even when pinning you have to be so careful that they don’t move all around.

I’ll definitely do this again. It was fun, but I had to let go of perfection. I have to remember that this is not suppose to be a photo. It’s my interpretation of the photo. But that said, I still would like it to look like the picture!!

I’d love to hear your feedback on the technique. If you have done this, did you have problems with bits moving before you sewed them down. Any suggestions?

It was such a fun day. In addition to creating, Dawn had coffee and pumpkin scones ready for me when I arrived. She also fixed a lovely lunch of potato soup, beer bread, and spinach salad. Yum! Can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of Dawn. Well, I’m sure you’ll get to see her here soon.

When I got home, I dropped my bag with my supplies on the floor. The project in progress was safely carried to my sewing machine. Puddin wasted no time settling in the bag.





Posted in art, art get together, art quilts, fabric, Free Motion, Sewing, tutorials | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

November Happenings

I can’t believe it’s already November. Where has this year gone?

This will be a busy, but really fun month. I am so excited to be teaching two classes locally. The first up will be my Easy and Fun Silk Scarf Dyeing at Scattered Art in Newburgh, Indiana. If you are local, there is still room for you.

silkdyeingflyerThe following week I will be teaching regular dyeing at Patchwork Central’s after school program. I shared my passion with them last month, and they seemed to be excited to try their hand at dyeing some bandanas.

Now that I’m in my new dye studio, I have so many projects I plan to work on including marbling, which I’ve not done in a long time.

I’m also working on a couple online classes that I hope will go live the end of January. Yipee!!

Tomorrow I have an art play date. Dawn is going to teach me something new! I’ll tell you more later, but she asked me to bring some pictures so I printed out a couple from Garden of the Gods and one from our trip to Australia.


I have forgotten to share my new ice dyed apron. I made two of these for my TV appearance in September. I gave Ange, the host, one and here is mine. Love it!

mynewapronAlso, finished putting together a little art journal. I had spray painted the cover several months ago. This video is how I used fabric as a stencil. This cover is canvas.

newsprayartjournalNow I’m off to rinse out some ice dyeing from yesterday.

sampleicedyeingHave a great Sunday! And as always, thanks so much for dropping by.



Posted in fabric, fiber reactive dyes, ice dyeing, stencils, surface design, teaching | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Dye Studio Revamping

Well, the revamping of my dye studio is finally finished! I started the process almost two weeks ago. I was going great guns and then I got a real bad cold and had to put the revamping on hold. But it’s done and I am so excited to show it to you. Here are a couple “Before” pictures.

dye studio

July 2014 dye studio

This year we added some lighting and a metal shelf, and I moved things around. I got rid of all of those gourds and other stuff not related to my dyeing.

dyestudiosummer15This area is at the back of the garage and measures 8′ x 11’4″. I imagine these cabinets were the original ones from the kitchen. When we looked at this house during the open house, the former owners had this converted to a stain glass studio. You can see one of the piece she left me sitting in the cabinet.

In addition to painting and cleaning, I went through all of my stuff and have a trunk full to go to the thrift shop. I also got rid of the metal shelf on the right and the other metal shelf. I was able to put most of my stuff in the cabinets.

I decided to paint the cabinets Bleached Linen. I had no idea they would take three coats.

So here it is! Come on in and I’ll give you a tour.

I can’t believe how much brighter it is with the cabinets painted. I also painted the walls which really cleaned them up. Due to taking out that metal shelving on the right, I was able to add another work table. I need to get risers to bring it level with the other table, giving me a real long work table. The sink table will just sit there and I’ll only be using it in the summer when I move it outside where it will be hooked up to the hose.

dyestudiorevamp1Here is a closeup of those cabinets. I put the old hardware back on and I love how it looks. I will probably add more things to the pegboard, but for now this will work fine. I love those baskets that are filled with stuff I use alot. I also hung three of my mashers.


This table with the cover was my grandma’s kitchen table. It has an enamel top and I remember her making candy on it. I’ve seen one recently at an antique store and also on ebay and they are pretty pricey made in the 40s. I keep it covered until I am ready to fold or scrunch my wet soda ash soaked fabric. It works perfectly, allowing me to slide the fabric easily.

Mom gave me this table to serve as my kitchen table in my very first apartment back in the early 70s. After I bought a regular kitchen table, this table has moved with me and was usually housed in the basement to hold laundry. When we moved here, it was so nice to be able to use it again for something more than laundry. The mess on the right under that other table is a laundry basket overflowing with old clean towels. I never can have too many towels! I also have moved my refrigerator, where I keep mixed up dyes, on the floor. It has been sitting on the counter taking up precious space.


I also wanted to bring things out here that remind me of others. In the corner of the counter is a RCA thermometer. This was my Dad’s so I feel I’ll have his presence out here.


The bluebird next to the mashers reminds me of Dave.


On the shelf I have one of my indigo dyed collages.


I also have a rock, nail, and wood piece that was given to me by Randy Lofthouse, one of the artists I interviewed when I wrote my column for the local paper. It was such an interesting piece and reminds me of him and all of the artists that I met during that two-year journey.


On our recent trip to Colorado I found this metal figure. I fell in love with her at first sight. Since I’ll be spending more time out here, I thought she’d like to keep me company.


And here is the Before and After. What a difference! It looks bigger. I still need to add plastic on the tables and the risers for that one table, but I’m ready to get back to playing.

dyestudiobeforeafter  Thanks for joining me on my tour. Now all I need is the air/heat which should will be put in next month. Then I’ll be able to play in there almost all year around!


Posted in Completed Projects, Organization | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Adding some color

Since I felt like I’ve not done much to blog about lately, I decided to take some pictures of what I have been doing.

First up is a new scarf.


And one of those silk cut velvet scarves. I dyed it plum – one of the new “in” colors.


And a closeup. Love them daisies.


After organizing my fabric I made a couple journal covers.


And inside of the raspberry one a little surprise on the pocket.


I also have been playing with some raw silk. I love the feel of it. I’d like to make some kind of wall hanging, but just in the playing stage right now.


I’ll be teaching a dyeing class with kids next month so I wanted to dye a couple bandanas to show them.


Oh, I love when I dye vintage napkins. If the pattern is in rayon, it will jump out after dyeing due to how fiber reactive dyes react on rayon. If the pattern is sewn in cotton the dye pretty much covers it up. I don’t like that look at all. I never know how these napkins will look until they are finished dyeing.

Octvintagenaps Closeups so you can see the patterns.

octvintagenapcloseup octvintagenapcloseup2 octvintageblueclose

I also worked on Debbie’s piece. She had won my mandala coloring giveaway. Instead of giving her something from my stash, I chose to dye a piece for her in her favorite colors – orange, yellow, and red. It’s not my favorite colors, but it turned out interesting. I sure hope she likes it.


I also will be teaching two Easy and Fun Silk Scarf Dyeing classes in the next couple of weeks. I made up a flyer for each venue. Here is the one for Saturday, November 14. If you are local, there is still room for you! There is still room for next week’s class, Thursday, October 22 at Studio 4905 in Henderson, Kentucky. Call Sherry to register at 270-869-4469.



Lastly, I’ve been playing a bit with my Scan and Cut2. I’m working on a project Dave and I are doing together. Here is a sneak peak of what I cut so far for this project. The top two are cut out of wool felt. It’s an amazing cutter for sure!


Well, that’s it for adding some color today. Hope you are having a great day. And as always, thanks for dropping by.



Posted in Colorhue, dyeing, fiber reactive dyes, surface design | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Returning to Garden of the Gods

When we were in Colorado last month we stopped and spent some time in the Garden of the Gods.


This is not our first trip here, but our first trip together. My first trip was in 1967 with my parents. At that time my sis and her hubby lived near Denver so this was a vacation to visit them and also see the sights. Dad took this picture of me back then.


Me at Balanced Rock 1967


I returned to this beautiful place in 1999 when I was in Colorado for a journal writing retreat. I thought I was recreating the 1967 picture, but it’s at the back of the Balanced Rock.



And this one was taken last month – much closer to the first photo.



Here are a few pictures of this place.

gardenofgods4 gardenofgods3 gardenofgods2 Gardenofgods1

I always thought I wanted to live in Colorado. After graduating from college, I drove out to Boulder by myself in January of 73 to ski and check out the area. I didn’t know a soul there, but a friend’s brother gave me a key to his apartment since they were all going to be home for the holidays during my visit. He also hooked me up with some friends who could take me skiing. It was an interesting time skiing, but mostly I spent this trip alone. I discovered on this trip that it’s not where you are, but who is there. My friends and family were back in Indiana where I wanted and needed to be.


On my 1973 Colorado road trip

It was on that trip I was introduced to the Manassas album (Stephen Still’s band double album released in 72). This song takes me back to that trip and that time in my life. Still love it!

Well, enough going back in time. Hope you are having a creative day.

Posted in 52 in 52, Colorado, Mother's Day, vacationing, wordless wednesday | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Printed Fabric Bee: Caribbean Ocean

This is the last month of The Printed Fabric Bee challenges. We’ve been doing this now for two years. It’s been so much fun and really helped me to stretch my creative muscles.

This month Judy Gula requested a 12 x 12 inch piece about Caribbean Ocean. She gave us the option of our choice of colors.

Here is my finished piece. For me it represents the ocean and the starfish under the water being washed up toward the shore.


I started with this piece that was fan folded and dyed with Celerean Blue and Nickel.


To add the starfish I cut a stencil. I tried several sizes and decided on this smaller size. I stenciled the fabric with Silver screen printing ink.


Once they were dry, I added black dots with my Fabricmate pen.


I made several samples, and after several trials I decided I didn’t need any type of shadow or outline on the starfish.

So here is my piece again.


And a closeup of the starfish.


Here is my giveaway piece, part of the giveaway collection.


HeinescaribbeanNow for the giveaway, if you’d love to win this collection of 6 x 6 inch fabrics, just leave a comment on the Printed Fabric Bee blog or Judy’s blog.  Deadline is October 15!


Stop by the other members’ blogs to see how they created their pieces. Good Luck!

Posted in fiber reactive dyes, Giveaway, stencils, surface design, The Printed Fabric Bee | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Organizing Again

Yesterday Dave peeked his head into my studio and saw that I had fabric all over the place. “Oh, you’re organizing again, aren’t you?” He claims I do this every few months, but I really it’s not that often. It only seems that way since my studio is always a mess!

I’ve been wanting to organize my fabric stash since it is really out of control. My last major fabric organization was over three years ago. Here is my post on how I organized my fabric then. It worked great for awhile, but I needed something different. I’ve seen these used before for fabric storage and decided to give them a shot.


You just fold the fabric around these board and pin it in place. I’m using them for scraps that are a yard or smaller. Supposedly they work on larger pieces, but I ran out of boards before I got to that fabric. I was amazed that I have over a hundred pieces of my fabric. I ordered another set for the remainder and for the commercial fabric in the two other shelves of this cabinet.

So here is the before.


And the after.

cabinetstraightenedThe two bins have smaller pieces of fabric I know I’ll use. Once I get the other boards the top shelf will be filled up. I love seeing all of my fabric. Now if I need a certain color or design I don’t have to dig.

Then I had to deal with the pieces are too small or they were parts of projects. I could not believe all of the awful fabric. They showed me how my art has improved over the past five years. I tossed a lot of it and kept some pieces I thought I might use. I still need to go through and toss more, but that was enough for the day.

trashfabricI’ve been really working on my free motion this past week. I’ve not been happy with my stitches so I decided to dedicate a few hours to really testing out threads and tensions on both my Elna and my Brother. After much testing I found that my old Elna won. The stitches on both the top and bottom of the fabric looked great. I’m still having trouble getting the bottom stitches to look good on my Brother. I took in my sample stitches to my Brother dealer but she said she needed me to bring in my machine. Well, that will be for another day.

I have lots of windows in my studio, but some days (and of course, evenings) there is just not enough light. The Crafty Gemini has a new free motion video series and she showed her LED lights on her machine. I decided to order them right away. I bought an adapter kit so I could light up both machines.

Here is the before and after on my Brother.

brotherbeforebrotherafterAnd on the Elna



I love all of the light!! Both of these products can be found on Amazon.

But the main reason I started on this organizing is because I needed room to welcome in my new toy – the Brother Scan and Cut 2! I am so excited. I have loved my Silhouette Portrait, but I wanted a larger format. I’ve spent a little time yesterday playing with it and it’s going to work great!!

ScanandcutMeanwhile Puddin is getting ready for winter. She never sleeps in this bed in the warm months, so we know winter is approaching.

puddininbed2Hope you have a wonderful weekend! I’m off to finish mulching the blackberries and then playing with my Scan and Cut!

Posted in cats, fabric, Organization, Sewing | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Colorado Inspiration

It’s always so good for us to get away. Dave works so hard in the garden all summer, and both of us are pretty much burned out about this time of the year. Leaving home always seems to rejuvenates us. We come back inspired and ready to continue on with our routines, but with new ideas.

This vacation, in addition to doing touristy things, we spent time talking about the project we have been planning since our last trip to Hawaii this past January. My part will be fabric. His will be wood – specifically intarsia. I’ve sketched out a design and we have chosen our parts. I’m not ready to even reveal my sketch yet since we are just in the planning stages, but I am real excited about it.

Dave got so inspired while in Colorado that he started talking about our next project!  Since we returned he’s been working on his part. I put everything on hold until the TV segment was done and now that that’s over, it’s time for me to work on my pieces.

But enough about that. I wanted to give you a bit of inspiration from Manitou Springs, the second half of our trip.

I had to include this tshirt that was outside one of the shops.


When you drive into Manitou Springs, this is one of the first things you see. I knew I was going to love it here!



We stayed right downtown in a loft apartment in this historical building which used to be a spa.


I love to shoot texture shots for future ideas. Here are a few for inspiration.

While in this area we took the Cog to Pikes Peak. What an awesome experience.  I felt a bit queasy once we arrived at Pikes Peak, but it was well worth the trip. It also was really cold!


We also visited Garden of the gods which is a story in itself that will have to wait for another blog post. I told Dave that I really need to scrapbook this trip, something I’ve not done in quite a while.

Hope you’re having a great weekend.

Posted in Colorado, Photography, texture, vacationing | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments