am I blue



Too challenging to blog from my iPad. I’ll have to clean up these photos and re post next week. Above and below are clay resist and indigo dipped.


The two fabrics were white on white cotton and the second photo is of cheesecloth that I plan to use in a workshop at quilt festival. The ends of the tiny weaving are being finished like a tiny rug – Filapine (sp?) edge.

The conference began last night. Lots more people arrived. I got moved from the third floor to the first because of a/c issues.

Sitting next to people I know by name but not by face. Interesting. It’s a small world. One in the workshop is going to Guatemala to teach natural dyes and Deborah Chandler will be her translator.

Sorry for such a sorry mess of a post! Need coffee badly.



two on Tuesday


Two photos of a work in progress.  A handwoven cloth that was leftover from the front door curtain.  Then dyed via deconstructed screen printing.  Now I’m adding stitches as I follow the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge on

Some of the threads I’m stitching with are silk samples dyed in workshops eons ago. The cloth is loosely woven and so the stitching is easy even though some of the threads I’m stitching with are fairly large and not perfectly smooth.  The green on the other hand is really fine and I use it doubled.

So far these are the stitches used: fly, buttonhole, feather, cretan, herringbone, chevron, detached chain, chain, couching, running, whipped wheel, barred chain, outline and cross stitch.


indigo and weaving


The workshop is wonderful. Mary Zicafoose and Sarah Goodman make such a good team – each sharing their passion. 

Here’s Mary holding one of her tapestries. 


And Sarah stirring the 1-2-3 henna indigo vat we made from scratch on Sunday night. They make quite a team taking turns lecturing and getting things ready for each new step. 

This is the weft ikat I wound and bound today to weave tomorrow on looms that we helped to finish warping. 

As it looked after one dip in the vat!  Even though I didn’t tie as tightly as I should have, you can still see my pattern! Then I wound a three yard narrow cotton warp and bound that one, put it in the pot to be scoured overnight along with some unbound warps and some fabric pieces. 

Tired now. Had to walk the bear gauntlet to get to my dorm. He had been sighted twice today on the walk up the hill. Once by the cook in the early morning and again at dinner time. Scary. 

before coffee


Early morning walks with Oscar can be interesting.

I usually have my phone with me to capture life in suburbia and sometimes we just can’t believe our eyes. “Move along. These are not the bugs you’re looking for.”

Then there’s the fine weather we’re having. Pretty blue skies with marshmallow clouds.  That wasn’t really a rooster on their front lawn, was it?

two on Tuesday


From this:

To this:

Nine ounces of silk given to me years ago by someone who thought I would appreciate them. I do love the color – the second photo was taken in daylight and maybe more nearly correct on your monitor. It’s 6600 yards per pound which makes it finer than 20/2 silk and would probably sett nicely for twill at about 32 to 36 per inch. It catches on every little imperfection on my rough hands and slithers away when I release the tension. I wound this using a plastic cone inside and I intend to put a thread net over it before it falls back into a green blob.  Oh Joy. Contemplating the next step of winding a warp from this gives me hives.  Free yarn does not come cheap.

The good news is that I’m back weaving on the white warp as you can see in the top photo under the hairy green silk skein.  Bad news is I probably won’t get one towel finished in time for the sale coming up near the end of this month.  I’ve looked at my to-do list and things are backing up at an alarming rate.  I will optimistically add a towel to the inventory list but it may not appear in the bag at sale check-in time.

cotton prints


After a discouraging day trying to print leaves on previously MX dyed silk by boiling in vinegar and or iron water and onion skins, it was a real thrill to get even a light leaf print on the cotton towel experiment this morning.

These are eucalyptus from a florist.  the buds printed, but the small leaves did not.  The big leaves from Carol’s tree worked really much better.

Next time I use even more big leaves before I roll it up and tie the bundle securely.  Here it is before boiling:

After boiling in my “magic water” for more than an hour and a half, there was a lot of nasty brown yuck that rinsed away from the surface of the roll.  The “magic water” is simply the same water that I’ve been using for more than a week – adding water each time I brought it up to a brisk boil. The solution contains onion skins and vinegar and rust from clamps I used to hold other bundles tightly.

Above is the edge of the towel on the outside of the roll – more brown on it than shows on the edge of the towel below which was deep inside the roll.

Look at those distinct outlines of the big leaves and black marks from the buds.  The photo below shows both ends of the towel after a hot wash in a regular cycle in my washing machine.  Most of the brown yuk from the iron laden water is gone!  Yay!!! But there remain good prints of the leaves.

This is a success because it tells me the mordant of aluminum acetate worked well.  I just have to use more of the large leaves and boil a little longer.  Maybe even soak the leaves in vinegar first to get them juicy before rolling it up tightly.  I have four more towels to check this new hypothesis.  One of the experiments will include using clean water and putting some powdered natural dye extracts in the boiling water to get a nice background color.

you woke me for this?


Oscar wakes with a decidedly bed-head look. I asked his advice on what beads to put on the tic-tac-toe scrap of cloth from the samples done years ago. The old study group followed the directions that I used to teach a seminar at a CHT conference on natural dyeing and we made newsletter samples using rice paste resist, stencils and concentrated natural dye painted on. You know it had to be a long time ago since now the newsletters go out in email and there are no samples stapled to the “page.”

He suggested something simple, something playful, something so easy a child could do it. So I did. This is my August submission for The Bead Journal Project, a bit slow on the inspiration. I had the scrap set aside for a month, waiting for inspiration.

Must get going on September, but Oscar has rolled over and gone back to sleep for his mid morning nap. I’m on my own I guess.

Linking up to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Fridays.

a second codex


Since the woven codex lesson at the Book Arts Guild was so easy; I decided to make a second one.  Had to go buy some big drawing paper for the signatures because I chose to do a larger size than would take the letter size paper folded in half.  This was a scavenged box from my husband’s cleaning spree in his computer archive upstairs.  He had been keeping everything and the boxes, too, just in case.  Finding a box in the trash labeled “My Book” for my book was just too apropos.  I had to save it from the recycling bin and re-purpose it myself.

The covers were wide enough to accommodate a pen loop and strap closure.

Here you can see my Girl Scout Leader Appreciation award pen and the signatures standing open.  Instead of a piece of the cover board slipped into loops of the Tyvek ™ sewing straps, I passed the straps through slits cut into postcards.

The postcards are part of the premium I received by contributing to the crowd funding project by The Itinerant Printer.  They were mailed to me from all over the country as he traveled around printing whereever he found a cooperative studio.  He had visited The Printing Museum here in Houston but I missed that event.

This photo shows the Tyvek binding stitches.  Quite pleased with my book, My Book.

two on Tuesday


Here are two quickly wound warps I’ll be taking with me when I go to Arrowmont in a couple of weeks.  The Surface Design Association Conference is being held there and in conjunction there were several pre-conference workshops offered.  I’m taking one on indigo and weaving.  Not sure we will get to the weaving part so I decided to make these warps that can be woven backstrap style there or when I get back home.  I wouldn’t want to put a dyed warp on a loom that I can’t pack into my carry-on!

A fairy “corner” instead of a “circle.”  These were lovely and large and the sun was quite intense.

best fall moment


About 35 years ago, my friend Dottie gave me some Surprise Lily (Lycoris radiata) bulbs.  I planted them at my last house and when we moved, I brought some with me.  Some years, I’ve had forests of these buds in the early fall.  I am waiting for a pot of tiny bulbs to send up their shoots.

Some have already opened in the brighter sunlight in the front gardens.

It looks like some weeding and mulching needs doing in this bed, but I wait till after all the buds come up so I don’t uproot the bulbs.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  Every fall I show my lawn mowers the magnificent flowers and thank them for not cutting them down as weeds.

I get excited seeing the little pointy buds in the various garden beds around my yards.  Such drama.  They have straplike leaves about month after the flowers are done blooming and the leaves last for about six or seven months.  Then the leaves die back and the ground is bare (or weeds obscure their location).  :)