Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Dyeing Mandales & Japanese Itajmine

I keep thinking my life can't get any busier than summer arrives with the grandchildren off from school, I take care of them a few days a week in addition to helping my parents everyday, go to work and then on top off it all we decide to get a new kitchen! What was I thinking! But now it is done, complete remodel, new cabinets, tile backsplash and quartz counter tops. Love it. I painted all last weekend and am now I'm working on getting everything put back away.
I did squeeze in a little time for myself this summer. The American Quilters Society brought their quilt show to Grand Rapids and I took a few dyeing classes. This first one was called Frozen Mandalas. We learned how to fold and manipulate the fabric to form a mandala. Lay ice over the folded up fabric and pour on the dyes. I wasn't sure how it would turn out but it worked.
I wish I could remember the instructor's name to give her credit, she did a fabulous job. Carole if you do please put it in comments.

Another one I made.

We also made several other "tie dye" pieces.

I have a challenge going on with Kay and Carole who were also in the class.
Hopefully next year we will meet and show our completed quilt pieces made from our dyed fabrics.
This was  synthetic dye not natural.


From our India inspired mandalas to Japanese inspired Itajmine.

Which involves folding, resists and clamping,

After folding and clamping, dyeing (synthetic indigo) and washing this is my "collection".

A few of my favorite pieces up close.

spider web?

Love this sunburst

The grandkids named this stars and moons,

and this one soccer balls.

A neighbor said this was his favorite one. My dye clean up rag!

I wanted to share the story behind this child's dress with you. I went to a lecture at the quilt show and the speaker told how during World War II they made silk maps for the pilots. The maps were of the territory the pilots were flying over in case they were shot down they would hopefully find their way out. They made the maps from silk because water would not hurt it, they wouldn't rustle and make noise and they could sew them secretly into their uniform. When the soldiers came home some were sewed into clothes and perhaps quilts?

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


Last Fall when the goldenrod was in full bloom, I dye printed two wool pieces. One with the individual heads lined up, and the other with the heads laid out in a circle.

I cut and basted them on indigo dyed wool. This will be the next block for my Sun & Moon quilt.

In between the goldenrod rays I cut out other goldenrod dyed fabric following the string imprints.
There is only one place I want to stitch on this block,

 in the wilderness!
We went on a family picnic Up North along a river. There's a wonderful picnic ground on a point of land. The river winds around the point. You put in your tubes, etc. on one side and 1/2 hour later your around the other side.

You come up that side, eat some lunch and do it all again.

I found a peaceful part of the river for some hiking and photo taking.

I'm using the feather stitch to sew around the Sun and it's rays.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Enjoying my freash flowers in silk!

I love the new colors that old traditional flowers are now developed in, not wanting to start a new garden I filled up the cauldron with them and moved the basils to another pot.

Purple cone (Echinacea) is now in wonderful oranges, raspberries, and yellows and blanket flower (gaillardia) is in apricots, yellows and red.

I've read purple basil make a wonderful dye if you can get it to bond with the fabric. The water will be full of dye, it will adhere to the pot and utensils  making it very hard to wash off but not the fabric.

So, I tried wrapping it up in the fabric (wool and silk) and steaming it. I steamed it a good hour, then left it sit over night, unwrapping it a couple of days later.

The color and print is beautiful on wool.

and on silk.

A couple of weeks later I picked more basil, it didn't look as colorful but I tried it anyway thinking the inside must still be full of color, but no this is what I got. Not good.

Next month I'm going to be teaching my Herb Society members about natural dyeing, we're all bringing flowers and wrapping them in silk scarves, then I will bring them home to steam for them. I've been dyeing some ahead of time to give them ideas of what to plants bring and how it will look.
This print was made with black-eye Susan's.

Burgundy blanket flowers,

Dyers chamomile,

of course eucalyptus,

and a mixture of blanket flower and dyers chamomile,

one of my favorites orange cosmos.

This is the beginning, with a few more to do before the meeting.

My water colors!

The hydrangea behind the studio are lush this year.

I love all the different shades of color. Too bad their not a useful dye color.

I caught this little fellow eating my Johnnie-jumps the other morning.

I wanted to share this with you, when one of my Herb Society members has a death in their family we bring them this arrangement of plants with special meanings:

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A little bit of Lake Michigan woven into the loom

I spent a beautiful day at the beach with the grandkids,

it's a feast for all the senses.

On our beach walk the kids found this small piece of drift wood to add into the loom.

I first added 3 rows of cream wool to represent the beach sand.

Next came the water. Three rows of indigo blue and the drift wood, one collected by the grandkids and two from my girlfriend Deb C. (thank you all!)

The next body of water to be woven in will be part of the Mississippi (after our visit).
And the final large body of water will be the Pacific Ocean, using driftwood my girlfriend sent me from Alaska.

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo