Archives for November 2013

Dyeing Fabric-Summer Project

My dying session turned out to last three weeks! This was unplanned….but, when you have it all set up..

AND, you are seeing great results…AND,  you are learning a lot….AND, the weather is perfect..

yes, you keep going. At least I did. What a crazy time. I was completely drained by the end. I had worn old stained clothes too many days. My feet were unsightly…getting a pedicure was embarrassing…the poor woman must have thought I had trudged through swamps!

The first week my friend Barb joined me for 2 days. She dyed 40 yards of fabric in solid colors. She was much more productive than me.


I discovered I have the perfect set up. I have a side porch on the ground floor that opens to the laundry room. Which also has a fold down ironing board. The porch is covered and on a shady side of the house. The breezes were fantastic. It was perfect.

We could set the fabrics in the sun to cure. Both of us were trying to get mostly a solid color. The colors came out great.


Barb laid her fabric on the grass to dry. What a picture!

We used a method that is detailed by Lisa Call.  She has figured out how to dye 60-80 yards of fabric in one day. Yes! And, how to dye 4 yards with 1 cup of dye. We did this, it works! The fabric is soaked in clear water only. The first yard is placed in the bin, wrung out and damp. The dye is added and pressed into the fabric. Next, the soda ash solution is poured on and pressed in minimally. Next, the 2nd yard is placed on top of the first yard, and pressed to distribute the dye, followed by soda ash solution. Each yard is done this way. The yard on the bottom will be the darkest most saturated and the subsequent yards will be slightly lighter; creating a gradation.  Read the details and amounts on her blog.

There are several associated posts about her dying methods. They are very easy to understand.image

She also sells PFD  pimatex cotton. This is what we used and I really like it.

The main ingredient she uses that produces bright colors is SALT.

I mixed the chemical water with UREA and SALT.



This is my batch. The turquoise and marigold produced 5 yards from 1 cup of dye.




My cats loved the fabric too!









The following week, I spent with my granddaughter Madeleine. She is now 11. We dyed together. She thought that it was so funny every time I said “I was dying.”

We went to some second-hand shops and found some t-shirts and old linens to dye.

We had lots of fun together.image

She is modeling an old linen scarf that had beautiful embroidery. It would have made a great skirt.

The last week I spent dyeing clothing with a neighbor. We had even more fun! We dyed dresses, slips, linens, place mats, table cloths and more.

In addition, I used good paper to catch the drips. What great papers! I have enough dyed things and ideas to last a lifetime.

Finally, I had to stop. I was completely exhausted.




Watercolor Journaling/Mixed Media Course

In my previous post, I described the first watercolor course that Jane LaFazio offered this summer.  Jane is also a quilt artist. She incorporates various mediums to create her work. I love her versatility and enjoy seeing what creative hat she has on from day to day. Following her blog is highly informative and inspirational.

The second course she offered this summer continued the journaling techniques. This course added mixed media. This was very appealing to me. I enjoyed it immensely.

Watercolor is challenging, you can’t control it and you shouldn’t try.

That is my theory. It takes a lot of restraint to NOT try to take control. The medium must flow and create nuances that are unpredictable. This is always a gamble.

Jane offers a relaxed casual approach to painting with watercolor. First, the act of journaling is meant to be quick and not labored. Do a quick sketch, refine it, add some watercolor, add some text, add various elements to bring it together like stamps.

Jane’s use of watercolor borders on illustration and graphic art. She defines the drawings with permanent black ink before painting. This was something new for me. It took some getting used to. Jane also believes in setting up a pane or field around the composition. This is a defined area outlined in ink that links the elements and adds a nice quality.

In the mixed media course she includes a method using tissue paper. Drawings are traced onto the paper and then adhered over an area of the watercolor paper. She introduced new art tools like the TomBow pen. This pen is felt tipped and water soluble.

lesson 2 resized

In this composition I broke the 9×12″ page into sections by drawing several different size and shape frames. The center tray with stones is overlapped by the candle stick and the tray overlaps one of the frames. This creates depth. The pen was fun to use.

 tombo pen_section

This close up shows the stippling I did. The candle stick was aged and had a crunchy texture on the finish. The stippling described this texture well. Then I used the stippling again for the shadow on the tray. The pens come in various colors. I used gray and black.

 One of the lesson’s was to draw one subject nine ways. Varying the scale, the tool, the method.


lesson 4 part 1 2nd page resizedlesson 5 page 2 resized







The image on the left shows the first sections. I numbered each one in text. 1. The top left section has a succulent plant defined with ink and no watercolor. 2. The Bottom left section has a hydrangea blossom drawn in pencil, no ink outline and painted with watercolor. 3.The large flower in the center is several branches and blossoms of the hydrangea plant.

In the right image the page is developed further. 4. Top center is an ink drawing of a small cone flower, watercolor background. 5. Top right has another larger cone flower drawn with water soluble pencil. 6. Is mid-left, Tombow pen drawing of a succulent, watercolor background. 7. Top right corner has another hydrangea blossom drawn with ink and painted with watercolor with a book page as background that is also painted with watercolor. 8. Is another succulent plant drawn with ink with faded text from a book page tinted with pale turquoise watercolor. 9. is a very small cone flower located between 2 and 4. which was first traced onto tissue paper and then applied to the watercolor paper with gel medium, then painted with watercolor.

Jane offers art walk tours in Europe. This summer she conducted one in Italy. Next summer she is conducting one in France on the Riviera. As it turns out, my husband and I had planned to be in that region at the same time for our 40th wedding anniversary. So, we will be joining Jane in Nice for a week. She has things planned for husbands too.

I encourage you to check out what she is up to.




Summer of Watercolor

I revisited my love of watercolor painting this spring and summer. Watercolor was once my favorite medium. However, even though I did many paintings I did not experience the magical elusive success I desired.

Watercolor challenges and you. You cannot control it, you must go with it.

My primary love is drawing from life which I miss.

I took three consecutive courses on-line with Lisa Call over the winter and spring. These courses were outstanding. Lisa delivers an incredible package. She compels you to dig deep and stretch your self. The courses focus on piecing and creating compositions from various points of view. I am very glad I took the courses. However, after the last lesson, I needed a break from sewing.


I took three consecutive courses on-line with Lisa Call over the winter and spring. These courses were outstanding. Lisa delivers an incredible package. She compels you to dig deep and stretch your self.  The courses focus on piecing and creating compositions from various points of view. I am very glad I took the courses. However, after the last lesson, I needed a break from sewing.

The watercolor courses provided just the switch up I needed.

The instructor Jane LaFazio offers a fun and light-hearted course focused on painting from life and not getting too serious. This is the most important element, to not try to hard. To enjoy the medium and the world around you. You can check out her courses here.

The first course was Sketching and Watercolor Journal Style.

This was conducted in the spring. There were plenty of wonderful subjects all around me. It was delightful to do each lesson. Observing nature and drawing what you see is very satisfying and joyful.

Here are some of the results of the assignments:

(click on an image to enlarge it)

citrus_quilt corrected_wash added

leaves 3 flowers 1 flowers-2