Tuesday, October 10, 2017


As many of you know I'm very busy taking care of my elderly parents, working and helping with our grandsons. A few weeks ago "the stars all lined up" and my husband and I took our RV and headed West starting with the Bad Lands.

We love the rugged land. Desolate but beautiful in it's own way.

Driving through the Bad Lands you encounter all types of wildlife, in this picture we have prong horn antelope and of course, prairie dogs.


This was the view from our campsite at sunset.

Traveling in the Fall is such a wonderful time (if you don't have children), it's cooler, way less crowded so you get the best camping spots and no lines any where!

Camp set up, dinner finished and I'm enjoy the view while hand quilting on my solar eclipse block.

Two days later as we head out of the park I collect dye plants along the road. Wild sunflowers,

rabbit bush, and sage.

Next stop the Black Hills, our campsite on a mountain lake.

Spent a couple days here, I loved, loved the peacefulness of it all!
Hand quilting on my wool flower dyed quilt.

Lots of mica in the Black Hills,

I collected some to use as embellishments on wall hangings.

Dye plants ready, sage, juniper branch, aspen branch, rabbit bush and sun flowers.

I brought my dye pot along, soaked the wool in the mountain water over night,

laid out the plants,

rolled them up and steamed them for a couple hours. Then left them to set a couple of days in the pot.

Next day we left and went to Spearfish Canyon.
It's the most beautiful canyon I've ever seen. The road goes through the canyon following a mountain stream.

So beautiful, parts of Dancing with the Wolves movie was filmed there.

This cliff was at the end of the movie in the winter scene.

Our campsite,

with a creek running through it.

A short hike to rock cliffs to photograph my block,

filling the moon in with lots of "moon texture", mountains, craters and lunar rover tracks left from man's first visit!

Next morning time to wash out the wool, in a stream with a waterfall, oh my gosh I love it here, I was not ready to go home.

On the way home is this huge sculpture of a Native American women with a morning star shawl.
The average person comes up to about the tops of her moccasins.

It's located at a rest stop on the top off a hill. At night it's light up with LED lights on all of the star points.

My favorite souvenir, the wool cloth printed with a aspen branch with leaves.

Thank you Sandy for showing us this area in 1996, we've been back several times and still love it just as much as we did then!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Dyeing fabric with flower and iron

Last weekend I tried another technique (seen on facebook) to natural dye wool. I had previously soaked rusty nails etc. in water and vinegar for a few weeks. Then I soaked white cotton fabric in the solution. This would be my "iron blanket" to help dye the wool.
After laying out the wool filled with flowers, I covered it with the iron blanket, rolled it up tight and steamed it for a couple of hours.

Left it over night, the next day this is the wool on the left with blanket on the right.

This is so rich in color and much prettier in real life.
The iron blanket will be put back in the solution for another day.

Next piece was colored leaves from my azalea bush and eucalyptus leaves.


I love the outline prints from some of the leaves. Don't know how they came about, this is the magic of natural dyeing. You never can quite create the same effect twice.

And from my herb garden, I had a little bit of purple basil left. On to the cloth it went with a iron blanket.

And the reveal.

Friday, September 8, 2017

End of Summer Flower Dyeing

Near the end of Summer the flowers and leaves are full of dye just waiting to be extracted. First though, a little tour of some of my flowers. These are a newer variety of  Cone flower (echinacea),

the different shades of color in one flower is unbelievable. I haven't tried dyeing with these yet.

                                Another new variety of cone flower.

We've lived in our home 40 years and have had boxer turtles living out back the whole time. Every year one or more will come out to visit.

This wonderful old log home beam on our property is well over a hundred years old, it always looks it's finest in summer.

My flower garden I plant specifically for dyeing with.

                            Everything's ready, lots and lots of cosmos.

Once in awhile I dye with a little bit of metal wrapped in the wool. It gives unpredictable pattern and color results.
                           Metal gear with cosmos and madder roots.

                     Saw blade with ferns and silver dollar eucalyptus.

Old rusted nail with lemon eucalyptus and dyers coreopsis flowers. There is a lot of dye in these little flower, yelow in the lemon eucalyptus.

Honey suckle and dried coreopsis.

Cedar branches and coreopsis.

Purple basil and lemon eucalyptus.

Ready to go in the caldron, all tied up with plants and metal.

Simmering on the fire, too much fun!!
After it simmers an hour or so I leave it over night to cool.

The big reveal.

The rusty saw blade with flowers.

Cosmo flowers and little madder roots (the red prints).
This one is so cute in real life.

Can you see the fern print?

Saw blade print with ferns and silver dollar eucalyptus.
This blades' print remind me of an moth or owl.

Cedar branch prints and cosmos.

This is the lemon eucalyptus and dried coreopsis flowers.

Lemon eucalyptus and purple basil.
This one is really beautiful in real life.

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo