Thursday, December 13, 2012


I'm really happy with how this turned out.  The colors work really well together.  The chocolate brown really looks like metallic bronze with the luster of the silk Crepe de Chine. 

It is Jacquard red label black and chocolate brown dye.  Folded and clamped in the Itajime Shibori style.  I only wet it a little bit before applying the dye so it wicked in to the middle more than some. That is what allows the slight white section between the brown and black.

Another one I want to keep for myself.  All I need now is more places to wear them.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Women’s Art Festival

The last show of the year for me.  It is also the last full weekend before Christmas weekend. 

I'll be at the Women’s Art Festival December 15th 10am to 5pm at the Midtown YWCA.  Map here.  There will be about 125 artisans and always a good variety of high quality items.  I hope to see you there.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


These pictures are all of the same silk scarf, but at different steps. 

First, I stretched it on the frame and painted it with red dye.  Then I painted some free form lines with black.  You can see in the first picture how defined the lines are. 

The second picture shows how diffuse the lines became with the salt pulling the dye.

And the scarf after steam setting the dye and washing it.  I'm really happy how this turned out.  Red dye doesn't move much with the salt, but the black does.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Flower baby

For your little flower baby.  I'm glad purple is so popular now, I've always like it. 

My husband and I work with a lot of people in their 20's and 30s so there are a number of baby gifts needed.  I like to give them one of my hand dyed shirts.  Much nicer than a plain white one.  And since the design is done as batik it won't wear off the front from a lot of washings.  And the fiber reactive dye is quite resistant to drooling and washing. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Not only a new design but a new item.  I found a supplier for infant top and bottom sets that offers long sleeves.  We are in Minnesota, after all.  These are still a nice, soft fabric.  The bottoms seem to have a bit more room in the seat.  Not being a Mom, I assume that is a good thing.  Babies grow so fast you want to have more time for them to wear it.

For the design, it is a retro-looking firetruck.  As you know, I like to decorate the rear end of babies.  Crawlers and new walkers spend a lot of time with their rears up on display so I like to put something cute on it.  The fire truck gets a hydrant.

Monday, December 3, 2012


I've been busy dyeing, even if I haven't been busy doing blog posts.  Another shirt using the Dances With Raisins color from Dharma with my leopard design.  Nice kitty.  I'll just sit quietly over here.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


I tried out a different way to fold this scarf before wrapping it around the pole Arashi style.  I hope the pictures make it clear, it's a bit awkward to describe.

I folded it in half the long way, than overlapping folds facing the same way to shorten it up.  The first picture is when it was folded and ironed.  The second one is when I was trying to get it to stay on the pole long enough to wrap it with string.  That was the biggest challenge.  And, of course, the finished product in the third picture partially folded like it was when I dyed it.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


A new batik design, of a bald eagle with a feather on the back.  Color is strong navy.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Dodge Nature Preschool Ladies Night

The next show I'm at is Wednesday, Dec 5th, from 6-8:30pm for the Dodge Nature Center Preschool's Ladies Night.  While the craft show is also on Thursday and Friday, I'll only be there on Wednesday night.

There is an entrance fee for the Wed night event, but they're doing more than just a craft show.

An evening of relaxation and fun for the ladies! Enjoy good appetizers, music, wine and other beverages. Win raffle prizes and get a massage while you take care of your holiday gift shopping. Who says multi-tasking can't be fun!

And who wouldn't want to enjoy a little wine and music while shopping?

Map is here


Well, this time of year we don't have too many butterflies, that is in flower or green.  But we can always think about it.  Just watch out for those bees.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


I joke that this pink is bright so you won't lose your child in a crowd.  And the pattern done in batik is good for when you're taking a little girl to the zoo.  I figured I shouldn't put the lion on the front with one of the other animals.  It would be safer to have it on the back. 

Very girly.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Amber waves

A new color from Dharma Trading, Amber Waves.  Similar to Palamino gold but with just a little more orange tint to it, a little warmer.  I know I could mix my own colors, but I'm not as interested in that as the designs on the fabric.

This is a silk scarf that was folded in thirds the long way then wrapped Arashi style on the pole.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Norwood Young America Craft Fair

This Saturday, November 17th, I'll be at the Norwood Young America Craft Fair which runs from 9am to 3pm.  While the Craft Fair is being held at both the Central High School and Elementary School, I'll be at the High School in the Old Gym.  This is a large craft fair and they're going to be doing a shuttle bus between locations.  The Junior High will be where the Business Fair is located.

They don't have a web site for the show itself, but with so many vendors I'm confident you can find a lit to look at.

Norwood Young America is 27 miles straight west of the 494 & 212 interchange.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Handmade Arts from the Heart

My next show will be the Handmade Arts from the Heart on Saturday, November 10th from 9am to 3pm at the Clara Barton Open School 4237 Colfax Ave South Minneapolis, MN 55409 (map).

This will be the third time I've been at this show.  They have a nice mix of artists as well as performing artists.  Some student dance groups and musicians will perform.  I don't know if the Girl Scouts will be selling cookies this year.  My husband sure hopes so.

I'm normally in the side with the risers/bleachers.  I hope to see you there.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Champlin Women of Today's Annual Arts & Crafts show

I'll be participating in the Champlin Women of Today's Annual Arts and Crafts Show on Saturday, November 3rd from 9am to 4pm at the Champlin Park High School.  It is just north of 610 and east of 169 at the corner of Douglas and 109th Ave.  Map

I haven't been at this show before, but with more than 150 crafters I'm sure you can find something you just can't live without.  And being at a high school there will be a lot of parking.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Because I can

Why would I go to the trouble of hand dyeing dish towels?  Because I can.  Now I have dish towels that match my kitchen.  They were just some plain 100% cotton ones. 

I'm really fond of my salt pig or salt cellar (in the middle).  I do a lot of baking and cooking and it is a lot easier to measure out salt fro mthis than trying to pour from a shaker into a spoon.  Unfortunately, the seller doesn't have any more listed in their Etsy shop right now.  My Mom said it looked "so weird", which it does.  But it's fun.  Should I mention that I suggested to my husband that I could make it into a small water fountain or Halloween decoration?  But that might be too weird.

And the little bowl I have under my pepper grinder helps keep my counters and table clean.  No more pepper bits everywhere you set it down.  Those are all of my hints for Heloise for now.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I like purple, can you tell?

These three are Itijime Shibori, where they're folded and clamped between shapes.  Kind of like folding paper for cutting out snowflakes in art class in school.  All three were in the same batch of dye.

The one on the left is silk crepe de chine.  The middle is a soft, slightly looser weave of rayon.  The one on the right is a hand woven (not by me) rayon with subtle stripe in the weave.

And again, you can see how the color shifts on silk compared to rayon.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Another Arashi Shibori tied scarf.  This one in soft rayon dyed forest green.

Friday, October 19, 2012


I've been busy in the basement.  These two are Arashi Shibori scarves.  Where I wrap them around a pole like a candy cane, wrap string around to hold in place, scrunch it down to the end of the pole and dye.  The string both holds it in place and creates the pattern.

These were wrapped the same and in the same dye bath.  The one on the right is a soft, looser weave, rayon scarf.  It compresses more so has wider stripes of white.  The one on the left is silk crepe de chine, which doesn't compress as much so the amount of white is smaller.  And the color is a bit different because one is silk and one rayon.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Eden Prairie Lioness 2012 Art & Craft Show

This Saturday I'll be participating in the Eden Prairie Lioness 2012 Art & Craft Show from 9am to 4pm at the Grace Church at 9301 Eden Prairie Road .  Hope to see you there.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Circles and squares

Another Itijime Shibori scarf.  Folded into little squares and clamped between some pieces of wood.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Another example of the different color cotton and silk give even when they're in the same container.  This is lavender dye.  The tshirt is a soft 100% cotton and the scarf is 100% silk Crepe de Chine.  The silk seems a lot more blue.  Other times when I put silk in blue dye it seems more purple.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Frozen or ice dyed

It isn't a technique I invented, but I modified one I saw mentioned elsewhere.  Someone had described snow dyeing where you scrunch up your soda ash soaked item, put a layer of snow on it, pour on the dye and wait for the snow to melt and the dye to color the fabric.  The dye doesn't react with the fiber until it gets warm enough.  And when it is all scrunched up the insides of the shirt don't get dye as fast as the outsides.  So by the time the snow has all melted there isn't any dye left to color the inside.  Except this doesn't work as well in the summer or if I don't feel like digging snow up out in my yard.

So instead of snow I freeze the shirts in my basement freezer.  I've written up a step by step description of how I do it. Since I use the standup freezer in my basement I have quite a bit of room and can do several shirts at a time.

Some dye is highly likely to land on the table and/or floor so chose your location carefully. I work in the basement on a concrete floor near a floor drain. My basement isn’t really finished so it doesn’t matter to me. Plastic on the floor can be slippery so use with caution.

The instructions are for fiber reactive dye such as Procion MX. This isn’t for RIT or other all purpose dye.

 · Dissolve soda ash in a bucket at one cup soda ash per gallon of water. Make sure to wear your dust mask when measuring out the soda ash. While it is pretty mild, it can’t be good to inhale the powder. The bucket needs to be large enough to fully submerse the shirt. If you’re doing more than one at a time they don’t need to all be in there at the same time but it makes it easier.

· Soak the item in soda ash for at least 10 minutes to make sure it is completely wet. It can be a day or more if that works better.

· Prepare a flat work surface. I use a plastic tray to protect my work table and contain any drips. (See here for info)

· Squeeze out the excess water. You don’t need to really wring it out, but you don’t want it sopping wet. The more water left in it, the less dye that will get to the backside. Not a problem when doing fabric or a scarf since that is a single layer. But a t-shirt is 2 layers and the other side won’t have as much color. So it depends on the look you’re going for.

· Lay it out flat on your work surface then bunch it up. Try not to get parts folded under when bunching it up. You want to create high and low spots but not more layers. How tightly packed it is will affect how much dye gets into the fabric and to the back since the dye is applied to the tops of the ‘hills’ and won’t run down to the ‘valleys’ easily if it is tightly packed. 

 · I normally put the shirt into a one gallon bucket to keep it compact and to make it easy to handle. But for larger shirts I’ve used a plastic tray or plastic sheeting in a cardboard box.  A larger plastic tray can hold more than one shirt or scarf at a time.  5 quart ice cream buckets would work well and have the added bonus of 'requiring' someone to eat the ice cream.

· Put the items in the freezer. If they’re only in there an hour or two they’ll have a different end pattern than if they’re in there for at least a day and are frozen solid. Since I’m in Minnesota I could put them out in the garage come January. See here for a comparison

· For the dye, I mix it fairly strong since I want it to be a good contrast to the white of the fabric. Again, it depends on how you want it to look. I use two or three colors. They may intermix so choose colors that will blend nicely. I mix at one tablespoon dye powder to one quart water and can cover 4-6 shirts with this amount. Make sure to wear your dust mask and gloves when working with dye powder. Wet some newspaper and lay it on the table before mixing the powder. It will help capture powder and make it easily visible and cleanable. I don’t add urea or anything else. Only dye powder and warm water. If you want more info and hints on how to mix up the dye powder, Dharma Trading has good detail.

· You can put the dye liquid into squirt bottles or measuring cups with spouts. Once you’ve used a cup or spoon for dye don't use it for food again. Use some cheapo or disposable cups and spoons. Check out Goodwill or the dollar store.

· Apply the colors in patches. You’ll have to experiment to see what you like best. I tend to cover the surface with dye. Usually, I use 2 colors in about equal amounts then add a third color in a smaller amount.

· Let sit for at least one day for it to thaw and react completely. The dye won’t react with the fabric until it gets up to room temp. If the area you’re storing the container in is colder, you’ll want to leave it for a couple days. It won’t hurt it any to leave it for several days until you’re ready to wash it out. The top might dry out a bit, but it won't hurt it if it does. And after a couple days it doesn’t really matter since all the dye that was going to react already has.

· Rinse well in cold water then wash by itself in warm or hot until the water is clear. Once the extra dye is thoroughly washed out it can be washed normally.

· Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Falling leaves

This is one of my new favorite colors.  Dharma calls it Dancing with Raisins.  It is a nice, rich ruby or wine red on soft rayon.

And the leaves and dragon flies scattered on it give it a windblown look. 

It is a good thing I got the large container of this dye color.  I think I want one too. Just think how nice this would look with my black wool winter dress coat.  Hmm, perhaps flowers instead.  But which ones?

Monday, October 1, 2012


A batik design that looks like a necklace.  A border around the neckline, front and back.  The round shapes were inspired by one of my origami papers.  Considering how many cranes I've folded over the last several years, I spend a lot of time looking at origami paper.  It is a nice activity when you're on the phone with someone and need to pay attention but don't need to take notes or look something up.

The color is a nice golden brown.  Dharma calls it Palamino Gold. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Show Schedule

I'll post again closer to the shows to make it easier for you to find, but listed below are the shows I have planned for the rest of the year.

October 6th 10am to 4pm

Gustavus Adolphus Art & Craft Show
Gustavus Adolphus Church
27th Ave and Johnson Street NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418

October 20th 9am to 4pm
Eden Prairie Lioness 2012 Art & Craft Show
Grace Church
9301 Eden Prairie Road
Eden Prairie, MN 55347

November 3rd 9am to 4pm
Champlin Women of Today Annual Arts & Crafts Show
Champlin Park High School
109th Ave and Douglas Drive
Champlin, MN 55445

November 10th 9am to 3pm
Handmade Arts from the Heart
Clara Barton Open School
4237 Colfax Ave South
Minneapolis, MN 55409

November 17th 9am to 3pm
Norwood Young America Craft Fair
Central High School & Elementary School
Norwood Young America, MN 55368

December 15th 10am to 5pm
Women’s Art Festival
Midtown YWCA
2121East Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN 55407

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Afton Show

I'll be at a show on Saturday, in Afton.  It isn't a part of the main Afton show, but at the schoolhouse across the street.  It has been converted to an art studio and several artists will be there to help launch it.  Info it below.  But I also recommend checking out the Creative Chick's Cafe Facebook page.  They do regular posts (much better at it than I am) that have a variety of information and inspiration. 

I hope to see you on Saturday.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


More Trains.  Yes, I like trains.  My Grandfather worked for Burlington Northern, previously Great Northern, for about 40 years and my Dad is an enthusiast.  So I have to do trains. 

Trains are also good for both girls and boys clothes.  I don't find so many cute boys clothes I like and I'm not so big on ruffles and princesses for girls.

Of course it is also cute when the little one can match the grown up.  The husband of a friend of mine got a Pirate vs Ninja shirt from me and their nephew wanted one just like it.  I don't think it mattered what the shirt looked like, the boy just wanted a shirt just like his uncle's.  Since the stencil is one I did it was easy enough to cut a smaller version. 

And where else would you put the caboose but on the backside of a shirt?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Swede Hollow Show

This coming Saturday I'll be at the Swede Hollow Art in the Hollow show.  In addition to the artists that are showing there will be a lot of music throughout the day as well as artists painting and working on other art.  Last year one artist was working on his clay creations and another was demonstrating basket weaving.  I'm interested to see the booth of the person that has science fiction robots and ray guns.  I can't really dye items at the park, but it will be fun to watch others make their art.

The park is lovely and the artists and organizers were fun to meet last year.  I hope to see you there.

Swede Hollow Park is in St. Paul just east of Lowertown and northeast of the 35E & I94 interchange.  Check out the link above, search on 720 Payne Avenue, click here or a map here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Cripes, how did I forget to post this.  I'll blame being busy in the basement making a lot of new items.

I'll be at Craftstravaganza on Saturday at the St Paul Fairgrounds from 10 to 5.  There are about 150 vendors there this year so expect a lot to look at.

If you are there early you may get a swag bag that will be just bursting with fun stuff. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Yes, some more silk hankies.  I told you I've done a lot of hankies.  They're a lot smaller, cheaper and easier to deal with than scarves.  I could cut a scarf into pieces, but it is nice to not have to deal with the edges raveling.

The one on the left was completely covered with wax then scrunched to get the wax to crackle.  Soy wax doesn't crack as much as paraffin, but it will crack.  I didn't start out to see what it would look like.  But the test  design I was trying to do was rather blobby and unattractive.  So I figured it was a good opportunity to see how it would turn out if I completely coated it on both sides.

The one on the right is to show what color the dye was.  Even though it was in a blue dye bath, the coated one turned out with a lot of purple.  A more extreme example of the color shift of fiber reactive dye on silk.  It is beautiful, but would be an awful lot of wax on one scarf.  I'll try doing some smaller circles on a scarf like this and see how it turns out.  Since the soy wax is degraded by the soda ash used in a dye bath the wax tends to wear off more on a larger item that needs to be stirred more.  But it should still look really interesting.

Friday, February 17, 2012


Another stencil I cut.  This one is a bit smaller and is a stand alone motif of a crane used as a Kamon.

In Japan, Kamon were used in a similar manner as coats of arms.  A person, family, organization or company would use it as their insignia or symbol.

They're less ornate than most coats of arms and don't have so many elements combined into them.  They typically are cohesive and streamlined.  It doesn't combine different branches of the family.  To me, it is more of a stand alone emblem rather than an ancestor reference.  So I find Kamon attractive for batik work.  Some are more bold than others and a lot of them are stylized.

Another sample done on a hankie to see how the design works.  I've got quite a selection of silk hankies that I've done for practice.  I'm taking a class at the Textile Center next month that uses scraps of fabric bonded to card stock and folded into origami boxes.  I figure these would work well for that.  Then I just need to find someone to give little boxes to.  Hmm.  I took a class on making fabric Kazashi flowers earlier this month.  The hankie wouldn't work as well for that since they need more pieces of fabric.  Or at least larger pieces than I can get to fold.  My fingers aren't as agile as they would need to be for that.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Quality time with my XActo knife

Since my studio is in the basement, and it is still winter in Minnesota, I haven't been working there much.  It is a bit chilly and the batik wax sets up too fast.  Makes it so things don't turn out the way I like.  So I've been doing some work down there, but not a lot.

But I have been cutting some stencils.  We'll see how they work.  The butterfly one is more intricate and with the wax setting up faster it doesn't work as well.  But once it gets a bit warmer, I'll give the full repeat a try.  It is an adaptation of an old Japanese Katagami (stencil) with impressions of grasses blowing in the wind.  So I'm interested to see how it will turn out.  Especially since I spent a lot of time cutting it out.  The overall design is rather large.  This is a 12"x12" hankie.