Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Great Kitchen Dye Caper

So at Quilt Camp this year, I won a tub of dye supplies (door prizes are good things)... and its been a while since I've had a day to really get into it. Last week, my friend Judy and I dyed some blue-green-yellow combos, so now that I have the bug, it was time to pop the top of tub and see what was inside. The tub was donated by Hands On Hand Dyes ( (Thanks, Cindy!) and is a great way to get the basics going. They offer 3 color ways, mine was "Garden" with rich primary, secondary and tertiary colors. All from 3 dye colors. So in the tub was all the stuff, the dye: the chemicals, the tubs, the fabric, oh, and instructions.

Since I don't have a dye studio at home (yet!), I cleared the kitchen, put painter's plastic on the wall and counter, plopped down an old beach towel (that could be sacrificed to dye goddess if need be), and went to work.. These are the dye "parfaits", each layered to get a light, medium, and dark fabric in each shade. The full strength dye is at the bottom, and "bleeds up" into the next fabric and the next, so the lighter shade is on top.

After I did the first set of dyes, I had some of each base color (blue, red, yellow) left over. So I grabbed an addtional half yard of prepared fabric and tossed it in a bucket, sort of folded pleated scrunched. And poured the left over dye over the fabric in sections. The dye will bleed and flow where it wants to, and that was the idea. Since this fabric was dry, I had no idea what I would get... After the dye played for a few minutes, I added the soda ash solution and it turned a horrible green color, so I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. And I like it!

And finally, after several hours, crossed fingers, incantations to the dye goddess, a good dose of Synthrapol to set the colors, and a hot iron, I had 36 fat quarters in 12 families and 3 gradations... only 2 are so pale that I'm not sure where they came from, but the rest are YUMMY! And the pale ones can always be overdyed.

Now, what to do with them? The wheels are turning... and I'm off to dye more fabric this afternoon.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dragons at the Door

One of my annual treats is to participate in Quilt Camp in the Pines ( held here in Flagstaff. We enjoy nationally recognized teachers and take classes that address a wide range of skill and interest levels. I was very excited to see Esterita Austin ( was one of the teachers... her classes were on depth and perspective, something that I've struggled with over time. "Dragons at the Door" was my quilt in the first class that I took from her. The handdyed fabric had perfect serendipitous images of dragons that just sort of landed at each side of the door. We also added paint to highlight some areas which added a lot. I like this one. My second class project was not nearly as successful. It's covered on my design wall, I'm not sure I'll finish it! I just don't like the colors she chose for me.... I might do the image again someday, but in colors that speak to me!

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Many years ago, in the early days of my internet experince, I met a nurse from Australia who was doing his graduate thesis on the same topic that I had pursued in my master's program. We began an email friendship that has lasted until this day. Darryl visited AZ in the mid 1990's, our first eyeball encounter. During that visit, we did all the northern AZ tourist things, including the Chapel of the Red Rocks in Sedona. It was at that chapel that Darryl began to feel the pull of the religious life. He tells the shory better than I do on his blog - and is now known as Brother Nathan James, a Franciscan brother in the Society of St. Francis.
I have followed his path over these many years and when he told me that he would be taking his vows of Life Profession, the universe bonked me on the head and I knew what quilt I needed to make.
"Called" is the image of not only the Chapel in Sedona, but the statue of St. Francis that graces the courtyard and where Nathan first heard his call. Machine appliqued on a pieced background. Machine quilted. And cherished by my dear friend from Oz. He is currently visiting the east coast with Franciscans from around the world and was, to put it mildly, gobsmacked when it arrived to his hands this past week.
Namaste, Nathan. Sunrise, Sunset and Big Bug Hugs.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Safari and Moebius knitting

So I haven't been a total slacker of late. Safari is a fun kid quilt (made with fabrics from Laurel Burch's Secret Jungle line) for a friend who is expecting in April. I promise to get a better pix when it comes home (its hanging in the quilt shop right now).... free pattern on line for everyone I had it all ready to quilt in a weekend.
With the opening of a new yarn shop here (and conveniently located inside the LQS), I'm back in my passion for fiber and knitting (esp good on cold winter and windy spring nights).... this is a felted purse that was big enough to pack up a small village before I felted it. The strap is a moebius strip and its all knit in one piece... fab button, too! The moebius is the brainchild of Cat Bordhi, who I think, stays up nights thinking of new ways to torment knitters (and we love her for it)....
Click on the images for larger views.....

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stepping Stones

Last summer, I bought a jelly roll. That's 50 cuts of 2 1/2" strips of various fabrics. It was all batiks (one of my favorites) and in colors I would have never dreamed of putting together. A great creative challenge. After unrolling them, and putting them all on the design wall to see the choices, I decided on a simple log cabin variation. The result is Stepping Stones.
Front and Back
And since it's a bed quilt for ME (first time since 2003), I decided to have it machine quilted, and my quilter did a fabulous job. Yes, that's some trapunto in the alternate blocks.
Now, to remake the bed with my new quilt!

Monday, January 12, 2009


So lately, I've been pretty dry in the quilt inspiration department.... and so since its winter, I've felt more like knitting. We have a new yarn shop in town (conveniently located inside the quilt shop!) and I've been playing with samples and hats and little projects. I opened my knitting box and found a nest of needles, and I wasn't able to really tell what was what or what I had. I've seen fabric needle holders and decided I could make them! Here are my three, all folded up and easy to store. This one holds my smaller metal and plastic needes (single and double pointed): This one has my larger wooden needles and circulars:
And the last one has my crochet hooks, rug hook, cable needles and other small assorted accessories (in the small pouch on the left):
And NeedleNooks were born..... now the yarn shop is carrying them and I'm taking special orders!