Tuesday, April 30, 2013

First Communion Quilts- Daffodil Dye

My grandsons are making their First Communion Sunday. Remembering their Baptism/First Birthday quilts I thought I should add on this new sacred date.

Of all the quilts I made them (and I've made a lot) these were their favorites. They are very well loved (meaning faded and lovingly worn).  I'm thrilled!

We celebrated their Baptism and 1st. birthday at the same time.
I appliqued on their one-year old hand prints with a Catholic medal sewn in behind one hand on each.
I love little surprises hidden in quits and add lots of written messages with my machine quilting on each.

I will be embroidery in their Communion information on the other side of the cross.

I purchased two pewter 1st. Communion crosses to sew on each quilt by the embroidery.

The boys haven't had their quilts since moving here from Florida almost two years ago. They were so excited when we got them out of storage. I washed them and they "tried" them on! Their legs seem to have grown!

They didn't care and each took his to bed (with their other full size quilts).
The secret to having grand babies love, love your quilts is using soft Minke Dot fabric on the back and wide silk binding on the edge.

I began the embroidery, not too easy on a piece already quilted. That's OK though,  this is my favorite type of quilt to work on, a family history quilt.
I told them I was going to sew on their Wedding date when they get married and they can take the quilt on their honey-moon.


To all my natural dyeing friends, Spring has finally arrived here and the daffodils are blooming. They make the most wonderful soft yellow "daffodil" dye.

I have quite a few of these full petal daffodils, I usually pick the flowers in the morning, soak them in cold water a few days, then simmer them with premordanted wool awhile, turn off the heat and leave overnight. I've done this for quite a few years and the color stays beautifully.
This year I only have time to pick the flowers and enjoy them on my desk at work. Hopefully next year they'll be in a dye pot.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day

"Together we can end the Holocaust against the environment."
-Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders

We are all familiar with the Holocaust against the people. When this happens we feel bad and we vow never to let it happen again. We need to seriously examine what human beings are doing to the Earth and the environment. Many species are extinct and many more will become extinct during the next 10 years. We are methodically eliminating life that will never return again. Today, we should take time to pray real hard so we wake up before it is too late.

Yesterday I spent some time in my studio. I thought I'd show you how I store some of my natural dyed fabrics and yarns. I love to see the fabrics and my metal baskets show them off wonderfully.
(I do not keep them near a window or bright lights)

I also store them in hand-made baskets,

and in an old Vernors soda crate.

My yarn basket I bought in Indiana from an Amish man. It's a basket to collect eggs in.

 Saturday when we were at a yard sale at an old farm house I found this old egg basket (poking out of the dumpster). The farmer couldn't understand what was exciting about it!

The results from my dyeing with Hopi sunflower seeds, left to right. Seeds scattered in the wool, wrapped and steamed, wool simmered in a iron pot with the seeds, wool simmered in a stainless steel pot.

My silk scarf that was coiled around the metal spring. no great pattern was printed.

My friend just bought a new house and is cleaning out the garage and shed, he's bringing me all the  wonderful rusty metal pieces to use. It's going to be a fun summer (if it ever warms up).

I spent one evening last week layering and pinning my wool quilt. After sitting like this 5 hours I didn't think I'd ever walk again!

And I've begun quilting it, the quilting stitch brings all the plants to life.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fairy Gardens

Our meeting at Herb Society this month was making Fairy Gardens. We all brought our own containers and small plants, etc. to share. What a fun night.
The following pictures are of some of the magical gardens created. (some brought theirs already finished from home).
This first garden was made in a glass footed bowl,

With driftwood and a toad sitting in it.

This one had a fairy and a stone path through the moss.

This garden has a patio umbrella and stool made from wine corks.

A twig gazebo with acorn caps and a pond fill out this garden.

A large cup and saucer filled with all kinds of magical creatures.

This one has a cottage and a fence.

A Zen garden.

The beginning of one made in a saucer.

A  gardening fairy with her garden tools.

This was a beautiful Fairy waiting for a garden.

Her beautiful wings.

My garden, I used an old enamel dish. The little "trees" are called ground pine and stay this size. I have no fairy but one did leave her tea cup under the flowers.

I filled in with spring blooming plants and lots of moss.

Someone also brought lots of little clay pots to share, I filled mine with moss and added a mushroom.

This was my garden I made in March, telling my grand kids this was a sewing leprechaun, but now I guess she's a Fairy with her pet Hedgehog!

One member brought  a lot of beautiful books on Fairies by Cicely Mary Barker. This one teaches you how to find them, complete with

 a newspaper clipping from the 1930's talking about the child who took an actual picture of one!
Who can dispute that Fairies are real with all this evidence? 

And a actual picture!


With pop-out photos of where they live from the forest floors,

to the wayside,

and their favorite place to live, Flower Gardens.

Have a magical weekend, I'll see you next week.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Japanese Boro

I love, love studying different cultures through their hand made textiles. Those are my favorite types of books to read and of course  following different blogs and web sites, there's so much great information out there. One website I follow is http://www.clothroads.com. They sell hand-made textiles made from women all around the world. the profits go directly to the women to help them be independent, stay at home with their children and purchase things for their families. I'm not explaining this to well please click on the link and read about their wonderful work.
Last Friday I saw on their web site a vintage Japanese boro sleeve fragment. I never could afford a whole jacket and was excited to order a piece of one,
and come Monday it arrived!

This is a little explanation of this piece.

Dating to the Edo-Meiji era in Japan, this boro sleeve fragment is made up of very old cotton. Pieces include six different stripes and a tan gabardine fabric with sashiko (mending) in white cotton thread, ikats, tan and brown geometric stenciled prints and a few solid indigo patches.

Boro or tattered rags in Japanese is a term used for utilitarian folk textiles produces by rural, impoverished farmers and fishermen in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Hand loomed and dyed cotton or hemp scraps of clothing and bedding were patched and stitched together to prolong the use of a fabric, strengthen it against wear and increase warmth for the wearer. Now these coats and jackets etc. are highly valued and collected.
It's hard to believe this piece from the late 1800's to early 1900's once worn by a poor farmer or fishermen, mended and patched over and over would end up on the other side of the world at my little house for me to treasure. The world is so small. Someday I will have this matted and framed.

This shows the indigo blue ikats pieces on the right with a light stenciled piece on the left.

The back of the piece.

Close up of the original(?) fabric under the lining.

When I was on the site I also order this knitted sheep made by Monical Njoki, from Molo, Kenya.
In 2007 rural women I Molo, Kenya, turned one of their local natural resources into a source of supplemental income. They realized that instead of paying a shearer to shear their sheep and take away the wool, they could use it to handcraft toys, rugs and purses. With the support of Oregon based Friends of Kenya Schools and Wildlife and the Network for Eco-Farming in Africa. the women began spinning and dyeing their wool, then hand-knitting whimsical animals. The sale of item from the Molo Wool Project enables the women to pay school fees for their children and provide for household needs.

Not that I really wanted a sheep but how could I not help these women. I've been to Kenya and fell in love with the kind people who live there. Also my husband and I've been sponsoring a little girl who lives there for quite a few years. Someday we hope to go back.

Thus my two new treasurers.

Last weekend I woke up to a beautiful sunrise and out my kitchen window

there was a little cardinal sunning himself.
Everyone was gone for the day and I was excited to be alone!

Out to the dye studio I went, lit a fire in the wood stove and stayed there all day. First I played with rust dyeing, rolling this silk scarf up in a rusted coil, wetting it down with vinegar water and wrapped it in plastic. It's setting now doing its thing.

I mordant a batch of plaid and striped wools I bought last summer getting them ready for the dye pots this summer.

Two summers ago I planted Hopi sunflower seeds. I put two batches on, one in a stainless steel pot with wool,

and one in my iron pot with wool.  Simmered them on the wood stove for awhile.
Next week we'll see how all my dyeing turned out.

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo