Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Some of the things that have been keeping me busy lately. 

Dying with rust.  That will get it's own post soon.  It's totally fun.

A name tag challenge via my Modern Quilting Guild.  I used some of the linen that we dyed with indigo and was inspired by denim badges of the seventies.  Funny how even when I don't use denim, I use denim...sort of.

And my parents have been visiting.  During which time, my husband and father put up a shed and we (Well, mostly they and a little bit I) built a coop and run for the chickens.  It's not quite done yet but it's incredible sturdy and I'm thrilled with it.  

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Jennifer Napkins

I decided to sew napkins yesterday.  

I figured they needed the largest bit of uninterrupted fabric.  Everything else that I'm itching to make (quilts, bags, journal covers) can be put together with scraps.  I guess napkins could too but they I think the fewer seams they have the better. 

They were already folded up in the napkin basket when I took these pictures.  That's why they're all wrinkly

I made five napkins.  Once I settled on what to make, it went pretty fast.

Top half was a shirt - see the darts?  I unstitched them  after dying.  I think they look pretty cool.  The bottom half was a skirt panel with embroidery.  I french seamed the two together.

I should tell you that we are big cloth napkin users.  We don't even own paper napkins.  I grew up using paper towels but only if needed - like with ribs.  Usually, we just used our sleeves.  

My husband grew up with paper napkins. He used several per meal.  It took us some time to find the middle ground of cloth napkins.  They are very handy and you can take them anywhere.  These are our first linen napkins and we feel pretty fancy.   

Small napkins work well too.  

We really like using cloth napkins now.  We keep them in a basket near the table so we can grab them as needed.  Our napkin basket is a real hodgepodge.  We actually still have some napkins from out wedding (20 years this summer).  There are lots and lots of napkins that I've sewn over the years and none of them really match.  

Since this had been a shirt, it wasn't quite big enough to cut out so I just left out a corner.  Everything I dyed had been thrifted, that's how we ended up with these big blotches when we dyed them.  I don't know what they were dirty with, some kind of oil probably, and the wax didn't take there.  All part of the adventure.

I'm a huge fan of the random and find things that are too consistent looking to be annoying.  I can accept that about myself as part of my aesthetic now, instead of a weird quirk.  It's just who I am.  So, with that in mind, the napkins I sewed yesterday are pretty random, in size, shape and patterns.  

They are Jennifer napkins.

I left the the curve of the hem of the skirt intact.  :)

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

You know what I need?

You know what I need?  A sewing machine with an attached laptop.  So I can blog, look at Pinterest, check Ravelry and listen to Podcasts while I sew - one action smoothly transitioning to the next without having to interrupt my flow.

But my flow is temporarily interrupted for the best reason.  I have wanted indigo dyed linen to play with since the first time I saw boro quilts and fell in love with them.  Now I have some and I can think of too many things to do and I want to do each one equally as much as the others.

I want to make a traditional quilt.
I want to make a small "art quilt" to hang.
I want to make some pogaji with enclosed seams.
Also, napkins and a small bag and a journal cover.
I want to embroider on it.

These things aren't all mutually exclusive.  
I could embroider a napkin or make a quilted journal cover.

Gratuitous close up
I want to make it all all at once.  Kind of like how I want to surf the internet, sew and listen to stuff all at once.  It's like this weird energy I'm stuck in right now.  In the pause between paragraphs, I've been threading my sewing machine, gathering supplies, answering emails and making my plans. 

To do everything at once.  

What the hell, flow?

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

We did it again

We just couldn't help ourselves.  
The dye was right there and so many things that could be blue, aren't weren't.

We're mostly thrilled with the shibori stuff.  


 Made this!

These ...

Made this and...

This.  Plus that's me goofing off a bit and wearing a shirt I dyed last week. 

Gratuitous doily close up - not the last one you'll see today. 


Made this.

Told you there would be another.  I have a thing for crocheted doilies.


Made this.

Every time I see one, I buy it.  Every crocheted anything you see was made by hand.  There is no crocheting machine.

The yarn was exciting too.

Little yellow flowers rained down on us from the tree the whole time.
We have learned so much about indigo.  We'll be doing this some more and we want to share it with more peeps.  If you are near to Madison WI and are interested in joining an Indigo Dyeing Day, send us an email, We'll totally send you all the details when it gets closer to the date.  It'll be in the fall.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Quilt me

"Wouldn't I make a lovely quilt?." the fabric quietly whispered to me,"quiiiilt meeeee"
"What?" I said, slightly deafened from all that Joan Jett back in the 80's

"I'd be delightful.  Linen quilt...indigo dye....hint, hint"

"Oh, hey.  Good idea.  Speak up next time, I don't hear subtle hints.  Sheesh."

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Well Done, Indigo.

I don't want to cast aspersions on your personal life, but I'm going to guess that I had more fun than you did on Friday.  

Jennifer and I dyed fabric with indigo!!  It was awesome fun.  I recommend it highly.  

We had some worrisome moments.  The dye in the vat was supposed to be yellow-green looking but it wasn't.  

It looked pretty and blue.  You'd think that would be right but it ain't.  

The blue of indigo results from the way it reacts when exposed to oxygen -  it's supposed to happen to the fabric later when it comes out of the vat and hits the air.  

We consulted the interwebs for advice.

This was hard to do in the sun so there was some improvising.
That's a Jennifer consulting her laptop under there.

We added all of the oxygen removing chemicals that we bought along with warmer water, magic mojo juju grisgris to the indigo but it was still blue. 


So we figured something along the lines of "Screw it!".  We removed the "flower" which is just a really nice word to use for scum.  It's actually really pretty and iridescent - but scum nonetheless.

We threw some fabric in there.  We started with a little silk scarf that came with the supplies we bought.  
I had tied it all up with string.

As soon as we did, it broke through the blue surface and left this cool yellow/green star shape.  

We were in business.  It must just have been the surface of the indigo vat that was blue.  

The indigo was perfect.  It stunk up the joint - we were glad to be outside - but worked beautifully.

When we pulled the scarf out, it was green but quickly turned a gorgeous blue.  It felt like magic.  Or maybe chemistry.  Or magic chemistry.  Yeah, that's it.   

Right as we pulled it out of the dye
A couple minutes gone by.

After about ten minutes
Lost track of time here.  Later.

Check out the change in the color after it was exposed to the oxygen.

I broke in my apron!

We dyed for a while.

This linen cloth...

Is the piece all the way to the left.  

Watermarked picture.  :)

We tried it on linen, woven cotton and cotton jersey.  They all took the dye beautifully.

Here's another dramatic color change.

It was awesome to see it change color in the air.  

Then we broke for lunch.  I had to take a picture.  I think I was just so hungry by this point that I thought the food looked beautiful or maybe it was the high pH fumes.

And admired our handiwork.

We thought our hands looked pretty blue here but 10 minutes later, they were bluer.  
Well done, indigo.

Here's some quick follow up pictures of the scarf.  I tied it too tight so there's lots of white.

But the places that are the dye reached are beautiful.  I think I'll re-dye it tied more loosely.

We will definitely do this again.  After a little more practice, we're planning on running a couple of workshops in the fall.   Check this space for more info.

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