Friday, February 29, 2008


This is what happens when you don't stitch things down right away, when you come back later even though you have photos etc... it just comes out completely different! It's probably not as bad as I currently think it is, yes those bits of yarn are stitched down already, I just keep looking at the piece and thinking Holy Cow what was I thinking! It's gonna be a LOT of work to get this bad boy where it needs to be - in order for me to be happy.

Natural Dyed Trims Etc

I just put a bunch of naturally dyed silk ribbon, trims, and yarn bundles on my store You can view them over here I put up spring colors which really help to beat the winter doldrums!

Each bundle consists of 18-22 strands that are approx 1 yard in length. This is a photo of three bundles, all dyed with cochineal and or cutch! Some bundles contain pearl cotton that has also been dyed with natural dyes.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Old Work

This is the piece from 1997, look familiar? I'll try to take a pic tomorrow in better natural light.

Dark Lights

This is going to be a LOT of work! I think I will add a heavy branch like object or something of the sort across the left. This might force me to get out the lutrador, paints and tyvek to make bark like inclusions - oh darn! I included a close up of the added silk organza and silk organza net so you could see the stitching.


Or Darklights, Brenda and I decided that the left side needed to be darker, well she actually decided I needed to cut off one third of the quilt, the left side to be exact, can we say chest pains anyone? Anyway... I'm not putting the branch parts on yet, first I'm working on the lighting issue more of the "light streaming through the tree canopy" feel, if I don't do it now and go back in later it'll end up looking like the lighting was an after thought. I pretty much have the branches resolved.

As it is the quilt, several pictures ago, looks great, but I want it to be stunning which means many many hours of stitching, hand sewing, bits of fabric, threads, fibers etc... to make this piece really sing. I've been rounding up all of my pinks, carnation pinks, peaches, and hot hot pinks for the crab apple blossoms. I have a beautiful fleshy pink dupioni for the whites of the blossoms. And I started gathering various greens and yellows. Going through my pile of silks has made me see that I'm very low on greens, time to start dyeing again, and the timing couldn't be better as this weeks Natural Surfaces Challenge is Sping Green!

Labor of love - this one's going to be a LOT of work!

More Yummies

Well in between bouts of bookwork I've been working on my latest creation - see picture in previous post - I decided to take a moment and post some pics of more naturally dyed goodies, I call these Prairie Seeds.

Seems those spring time colors are very enticing! I can't blame you as I've been working with bits of pink and yellow myself the past few days, it's been a long winter at this point. Todays batch includes plenty of pinks for those springtime blossoms!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Malus sylvestris

Maybe this is a better image I removed the lose thread that was off to the left, it won't be there in the final piece anyway. I've adjusted the contrast so it looks like it's actually been stitched!


Well I've recieved some really postive feedback on this piece, here's a detail shot. The ones I love best describe the upper area as tendrils, another was the piece looks as if you are looking up at a decidious forest canopy!

I think I'm going to call the piece Malus sylvestris or the common crabapple. I had to stand on a chair in order to get a photo of the piece (see my feet ;-0), and Oh I forgot to turn on the marco, hence the reason it's blurry.

I haven't stitched down the raw muga silk thread yet, I'm thinking it's too yellowish but if I use a top thread that is a bluish brown color that should make it look more like an actual branch.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pink - One More

Silk organza dyed with cochineal bugs, then stitched pleated using a fine silver thread.

Feeling Pink Deprived?

Well don't here's a nice palette of pink fabrics all dyed using natural dyes, I don't know about everyone else but I'm about tired of snow. I"ll do Yellows next, all dyed with natural dyes of course.

Silk Fabric Sets

I actually call these prairie seeds~! They are available at my store. Each packet contains 1/3 yard of natural dyed silk fabrics in yummy spring time colors.

Hot Pink Silk

This piece of silk fabric was dyed with cochineal!

Can we say YUMMY!!!

I think I'll make some attachments with these silk organza fabrics, they have all been dyed with natural dyes. Somewhere in this mess I have some silk ribbons, yarns, etc. that I dyed at the same time that'll also look good on the surface of my latest baby. I also have some raw handspun muga silk yarn that'll do for branch defintion, can't seem to find my brownish raffia I had on hand - it was a weird coffee color that would work really well for branch material.

Blues - Indigo
Pinks - Cochineal
Yellows - Weld (bright yellow and light yellow), Osage Orange (golden yellow)

Horizons In Progress 3

Don't you just love it how I'm taking you all the way through this??? ;-) It's now time for some attachments to the surface, going outwards!!! I think I need to take a moment and search through my nature materials to see what really trips my trigger here.
Ignore the fact taht my stitches are not perfect, some folks get caught up on that point, but it's who I am, so if it bothers you just ignore it - I have crooked teeth as well and I don't give a rip about that either, I think it secretly bugs dh though.

Horizons Update

I did some more stitching this morning, my janome 6500 was giving me less fits today, I'm thinking it really didn't like the spool of thread I was using last night. The piece looks much better in day light anyway, and now I"m seeing the branches of my crab apple tree as they are budding out in this piece. More later, I have more stitching to do!

This is definately a lousy shot but I have no place to do real photography at the moment, so I just put it on my drafting table and took its picture that away.

Natural Surfaces Challenge

Information for the Natural Surfaces Challenge is here

Monday, February 25, 2008

Horizons In Progress

Here's a rather poorly lit pic of the piece I'm working on, btw this was intentional as it shows the stitching, I have more, much more stitching to do to this piece.

Studio Time

I've plans to work this piece this week, I'm hoping it'll be as lovely as I envision it when it's done.

Since DH is working over time this week I thought I'd put some extra hours in my studio, while I do so I'm listening to James Herriot's Animal Stories it is far better than all of the junk on TV. I think I'm getting a major sinus infection as my head is throbbing and sinus pills don't do a whole lot for the pain. Treasury

Hawkeyes and Cyclones - my strawberry red silk carrier rods made it into the Iowa Treasury!

Sunday, February 24, 2008


The subject for the next Iowa Art Quilt groups meeting is Creativity, and where does one draw it from? Timely question as I struggle to push out my next zine, it's about rust dyeing. I keep finding myself cutting it down, taking out all of the fun stuff until it's nothing more than a piece of technical crap!

I struggle with the nagging question of "does anyone really care about where I get these ideas from?" Do they look only at the pictures or are they reading the text as well? Will they think I'm a flake if I share with them my passion for sitting on a creek bank catching and playing with crawdads, sometimes I think I just might be more cat than bird? What does that have to do with rust dyeing you might ask? Well it doesn't unless you count the myriad of rusting objects lying about the stream beds in my part of the world.

Creativity where do I draw it from? As a visual artist I can't help but noticing everything around me! How to break the world down into parts so one can focus just long enough to create is a challenge in and of itself, focus the dreaded "F" word. Well I'm one who tends to think themeatically (sp?) and maybe not in the sense that most think, but its definately a theme.

I have three themes I work in (or bodies of work), two styles (most probably), and at most three color palettes which depends on the theme. Btw it took me about 10 years to notice this about myself, I noticed it quite by accident, after dh kept asking me why I was making sculpture I"m a quilt artist! Well that's just one of the things I "have" to do, I can't not make sculpture but I don't have to do it "all" of the time. Sometimes the subject just begs to be 3D, it'll never work for me in a quilt format, it HAS to be 3D.

That's nice, so what does this last bit have to do with my rust dyeing zine? Nothing really and everything actually. It has everything to do with creativity which is what my latest zine is, an exercise in creativity on my behalf.

More later

Friday, February 15, 2008

Beaded Journey

Beaded Journey 3 Beaded Journey 2
Beaded Journey 1
I love these pieces, they are a blast of springtime color! I have put them up on my store for sale. Treasury

I made it into the Treasury today!!!

Check it out here:

and here

More later with some photos!!!

Etsy Treasury

I made it into the Treasury today!!!

Check it out here:

and here

And you can see more pics here:

and here More later with some photos!!!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Spring Cleaning

Well I've been on a cleaning jag the past week, and I'm actually making some headway in all of this - all of the clutter is out of our bedroom!!! And trust me that was a feat in and of itself. I'm still working on getting all of the laundry done, sorted, and the stuff we don't want given away or pitched if it's beyond it's usefullness anymore.

My goal now is to get my studio cleaned - this is my at home studio - so I can start working on some projects that need finishing.

More later from the land of sponge mops and cleaning supplies.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Flickr Album

I created an album for myself on Flickr, I'm putting my natural dyed fabrics and fibers in there, amongst other things. I didn't realize how busy I've been the last few years until I started going through my pics! Makes me want for warmer temperatures right now.

I have several thousand other photos to upload so it's going to take awhile to do all of this! ;-)

Flickr Album

I created an album for myself on Flickr, I'm putting my natural dyed fabrics and fibers in there, amongst other things. I didn't realize how busy I've been the last few years until I started going through my pics! Makes me want for warmer temperatures right now.

I have several thousand other photos to upload so it's going to take awhile to do all of this! ;-)

Friday, February 08, 2008

Just Beady!

I've been beading my brains out of late, I'm starting to come to the end of this little blast of bead energy. The bigger piece, that is half finished, is a becoming a bit of a challenge, starting with a lack of enthusiasm, and the right colors of plastic beads. It's painted timtex, used setacolor paints, backed with bright gold Starr Fabrics. I'm stitching everything down with pearl cottons.

I need to get the aperture figured out on my digital video camera, it's letting in too much light makiing everything look far brighter than it is.

Red Things

Ok this a bit of what I've been working on since January of this year. The first piece, bottom image, has been an ongoing piece for about 12 years now,it's a batick sample from a dye class I took in 1995.

The second piece I made as a sample for Extreme Embroidery I that I taught in January, at The Prairie Fibers Company. The edges need finishing, and maybe even some beads wrapped around the edges, who knows. I thought it'd be more constructive to teach the class this semester, using monochromatic palette. Over all this approach it was a major hit with students. We started by painting our fabrics, I used Starr Fabrics in this sample, then beaded and stitched for a final piece. Most of the students made pieces that looked very "aquatic" in nature.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Rust and Clay Dyeing Book

I posted several copies of my rust and clay dyeing book to my store! The Rust Dyeing DVD will be done by Sunday at the absolute latest ;-)

Rust and Clay Dyeing Book

I posted several copies of my Rust and Clay Dyeing book to my store over here at

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Rust Banner Image

This piece was made using rust dyed Silk Carrier Rods!


Ok note to self and everyone else, don't watch three episodes of Jericho, back to back, right before you go to bed! We checked out the first three episodes last night and WOW I can see why viewers demanded that it be put back on tv! Needless to say my dreams were quite colorful last night.

It's pouring down snow right now, otherwise I'd go to the video store to pick up the next three episodes of the show!

Natural Surfaces Blog

Natural Surfaces Challenge

The Natural Surfaces Challenge:

You don't have to be a member of the group in order to participate but it might be easier if you want to be kept in the loop.

Each week I will post a new challenge topic:

Requirements are:

At least one natural technique must be used in your process: 18" x 24" to 1 Yard pieces of fabric please OR paper.

Yes you can combine paper and fabrics together.

You can join the group here:

Natural Processes (And I may add to this list later):

Natural Dyeing
Rust Dyeing
Compost Dyeing
Iron Oxides
Clay Dyeing
Pigment Painting

Results will be posted over on the Natural Surfaces Blog!