Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Golden Rod Sun

Every year when the golden rod comes into bloom I think "I don't need to dye with any this year" but every year it seems another quilting idea pops in my mind and out I go picking and enjoying it again.
This year I thought I would use it for the next Sun block. For the center of the Sun I arranged it in a circle.

For the rays I laid it out in this fashion.

After steaming and washing the wool it's ready to be cut out.
This will be the center of the Sun.

Individual rays will be cut from each flower print.
And that will all be done as soon as I find time to dye some indigo wool for the background.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

I'm back!!

After a long month of computer problems and an extremely busy summer hopefully I'm back. I  miss blogging, it makes me slow down, take more pictures and at the same time pushes me to put my dyeing/quilting ideas into action so I have something to share on by blog.
I did a little solar dyeing this summer trying for a rusty red. First though I rolled up some wool with coreopsis flowers, steamed the roll then I put them in a jar with madder root and more coreopsis. I left it in the sun a week

until I achieved the color I wanted..

After unrolling and washing the fabric I got the perfect print for my next Sun block.

The middle of the Sun is the flower print and the Sun's rays are from the middle of the fabric made by the string.

My next Sun block inspired by the Hopi Sun.

We spent Labor Day weekend with our good friends on the Mississippi.

Out we went early morning looking for wildlife.
We saw eagle, blue heron, sea gulls,  

and who would guess pelicans! I never realized pelicans lived on the river.

Along the way we found these wonderful treasures, old clam shells. They still are washing up from a hundred years ago when shell button factories were located on the river. They use to drill out buttons then throw the shells back into the river.

My summer planter at it's best. I'm ready to redo it for Fall.

To all of my moon watching friends, I was not able to see the Full, eclipse moon. Our skies which hadn't had a cloud in them for 10 days were thick with clouds. I caught a small glimpse of it but missed most of it. Hope you had better viewing.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Chocolate Cosmos & Herbal Blends

So, after looking for 3 years for chocolate cosmos seeds I finally found some last winter. I ordered 3 packages. Planted them this Spring, protected them from the rabbits, all excited and waiting to dye with them.

When they finally bloomed I got this, regular pink  and white cosmos. I could have bought at our local grocery store for half price and no shipping costs.

You know the saying when you get lemons make lemonade. So I wrapped some up in premordanted wool fabric, steamed it for a good hour. Then left it to set for a few days.

After washing the fabric this is the result, very cute yellow, orange and green patterns.

Then green is where I sprinkled on extra pink flower petals.

This months herb society meeting was all about making herbal salts and sugars with your end of the season herbs. I baked sugar cookies and when the came out of the oven I sprinkled on the lavender and rose sugar's (I made earlier in the summer). The lavender seemed to give the most flavor, just of little hint of it. We also tried the sugars in ice tea. That was wonderful.
Another use for herbal sugar is as a bath/shower scrub. 

PJ demonstrated her chile pepper salt/pepper blend. She grows and dries many different types of peppers, you can make it as hot as you like, she kept it mild for the group. She ground them in a spice grinder with dried basil.

Mixed it with sea salt and black pepper. Everyone took home a sample.
I tried it this weekend on steak, perfect.

I picked a big basket of my herbs, cut them up into sea salt and shared them with the group.
They needed still to take them home, put into a blender and pluse until they become ground up.
Then spread on a cookie sheet and place in a 200 degree oven until completely dry, approx. 2 hours. Stir mixture several times during the process. Store in sterilized jars keeping away from moisture.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Japanese Textiles

Last week one of the premier quilt shows "American Quilters Society" was here and as always it is the best.
Top quality quilts on display, rows and rows of venders, and numerous classes and lectures. Something for everyone.
This year I took a Sashiko (Japanese hand sewing technique with large needle and thick thread) class from Pepper Cory. I've been wanting to learn the technique.
The stitching has a long history in Japan. In a nut shell, the poor people used this large stitch to layer fabric on their clothes to fix holes and rips. Also they layered clothing to make it warmer. It began as a utilitarian stitch but has since become a highly respected decorative stitch. The old clothing and quilts are known as Boro.
The following pictures were hand stitched by Pepper Cory.

Just like quilt patterns the sashiko stitches have different meanings.

This is a quilt top still in progress.

A completed "moon" wall hanging with sashiko stitching in the lattice strips.

A fun modern version using madras plaid.

This was the teachers class sample. Of course I loved the moons.

This is mine (not sewed together). All my fabrics were from Japan,
wonderful with lots of texture.
Mainly in class I practiced the sashiko stitch, which is very hard for traditional hand quilters. When I learned in the 80's you learned to make teeny, tiny stitches, which I love. It is very hard for me to make stitches the size of rice! I have half rice size stitches. Another very important part is to keep it even between the stitches. So this was just a practice piece, I'm sure the next ones will be much better. 

This is another piece of Japanese fabric I bought, didn't have a plan for it just loved it.

Then I saw one of Peppers sashiko stencils with a dragon. Someday this will become a lap quilt.

My class was an all day class with an hour break for lunch, during the lunch hour I went to a lecture by Carol Ziogas from Kimonomomo. She sells Japanese fabrics (where I bought all mine). She has a large collection of vintage Japanese textiles which she brought to show.
Many of these are from the late 1800's to early 1900's, all indigo dyed and hand woven. These are just a few.
The first one is a child's kimono.

A man's with "mon" (family crest) resist dyed.

The front.

A large blanket, you can see the cloth is not very wide.

Hand stitched together and on the back patched.

I love this blanket with the red patch.

This kimono with a squid design resist dyed.

This kimono with a wonderful shibori dyed technique.

A fireman's jacket from the middle 1900's.

They were made from cotton so to make them "fireproof" they were kept soaking in water until needed.

The following are some of her collection of Furoshiki (wrapping cloths).
These were used like our store plastic bags are now used. The island is now so full of old plastic bags a lot of the people have now gone back to using these.
This first one has sashiko stitching in the corner.

This one was dyed with persimmon dyes.

Furoshiki with the family crest,


The real elegant one are called Fukusa, this is a formal gift covering cloth.
After you gave the gift wrapped in this cloth the recipient would give the cloth back.

Notice the ironed folds in the fabric, this was kept so the people would know this was important and not for everyday use. The same for special kimono, they would keep the ironing folds in. Including wedding kimono.

A special furoshiki for tea ceremony.

A wonderful thing Carol (the speaker) did was give everyone a card with fabric samples on it and a paper with Japanese textile words and explanations.
This is a link to her web page with more links to order fabric.

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo