Sunday, May 31, 2015

Working In A Series - My Ice Show

I posted a link to this series on Vickie Welsh's blog. She said EVERYONE should see this. In case you missed it here it is!

I’m sharing many of the pieces I created this season, without any commentaries.
It’s a way for you new to my blog or those who don’t have a chance to visit often to see a group of them.
ice dyed turtle
These 11 pieces are the major ice dyes I’ve done this season.
Each one takes A LOT OF TIME, thought, and design and color planning.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Surprise, Surprise!

It was after midnight when I realized I had not even been in the guest room since I arrived here almost a week ago.
Why was that significant?
All of a sudden I remembered I hadn't even seen this quilt. I made Simply Sparkly for Robert Kaufman Fabrics. Angela Walters did the quilting and I had never seen it after she quilted and finished it.
It was returned while I was gone and the house sitters opened it and put it on the bed for me.
What an exciting surprise to see the beautiful job she did quilting and finishing it. I am in awe of her quilting.
It just covers the top surface of the king size bed. Since I don't have an empty wall to hang it on at this time I am going to leave it on the bed and carefully remove it to another flat surface when the bed needs to be used.
My cousin Paula asked me "Do you really have a tree house studio?" I often comment I am heading up to my studio in the trees!
Well yes I do....Our house is in the trees...there are large trees on the three sides of the house that you can see from the studio. Many of them weren't there when we moved here almost 50 years ago. The volunteer trees to the east were 6-10 feet high at the time.
The pine trees you see out this window were less than a foot high when we planted them about 40 years ago across the entire back of our property. Unfortunately only 3 survived the meeting with the lawn mower when our son did the moving. The three that survived tower over the second story. The snow has not always been kind to them and some have lost branches.
If I showed you the view from any other window or even the sky lights you'd see a similar sight, but they would be different types of trees. they all tower over the house now.
One more thing, cousin Paula, the house did not have this second story last time you were here. It's been about 21 years since it was added.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Creating Coordinating Fabrics

When I use the same colors of dye to create different styles of dyed fabrics I have coordinating fabrics.

After doing a painting, resist and shibori process on this piece of fabric I used the remaining dye to create this parfait.

I never throw dye away or waste it.

I don't dye with a specific end use in mind. I do like having the option to have some fabrics that could work together.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

100 Texturized Pieces Of Hand Dyes

On my last blog post I showed you some of the fabrics I texturized.
Here are all 100 of them. I started with already dyed fabrics in a variety of colors.

Each piece is about the size of a piece of typing paper. (In case any of you have no idea what typing paper is ask your parents or grandparents!)

I manipulated each one individually before I over dyed them.

Each was overdyed only once.

I used at least 6 different colors for the overdyes. Because there were so many underlying colors I was able to get a great variety.

I can’t wait to play with them and create something beautiful.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Slow Dyeing

If you have followed the dyeing work I’ve done this season it looks like a lot.
However, each and every piece has been carefully considered so that it is the best it can be. That takes time.
Some of the pole wrapped shibori pieces had been on the poles for more than a year before I put them in the buckets to dye.
Each of the 100 smaller pieces of fabric I textured had to be individually arranged to get an interesting patterning.
When I did a parfait dye with liquid dyes I carefully considered the order I would layer the fabrics in to get a pleasing combination.
When I wasn’t pleased with a piece I didn’t hesitate to overdye, discharge and add additional colors to it until I had something I was in love with.
But the most time consuming of all were the Mandala and Ice Dye pieces I created. Of course first I had to wash and iron yards and yards of fabric.
Then I arranged it in a way I thought I might get an interesting design.
Then I added ice and dyes and waited about 24 hours to start the rinse out, wash out, drying and ironing.
I went where no dyer has gone before as each piece was unique, drawing on everything I have learned and done in my life about design and color.
I PLAYED!!!!!!!
Some were more successful than others, but I will say they all were worthy of my time.
And as a result I earned the title Queen Of The Ice! 
If I am making you tired just thinking about everything I did, remember this: Much of the work was done in my head sitting in an easy chair formulating ideas and plans for this adventure.
AND…..yes it was a grand adventure creating gorgeous fabrics.
Some of the fabrics I created actually made it into a few quilts.
What will happen to the rest of them?
Stay tuned as that is just one more happening on the slow journey.
I would also remiss in not mentioning what I did looks like such a gargantuan accomplishment, yet as I was living this adventure sometimes I felt I was spinning my wheels and not creating as much as I had hoped to do. Does that ever happen to you in your art or your life?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Shibori Overdyes

I had a lot of dyed fabrics I created a long time ago before I knew a lot about dyeing. Some of them were epic fails.
Some already had 2 or 3 layers of color/pattern on them.
One of the things I did this season is overdye a lot of them.
Almost everyone was improved to the point I felt they were done and I could use them.
All the fabrics I used in this composition were overdyed with RED. I did not plan on using them together, it just happened.
I’m very pleased with the piece and look forward to quilting it.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Looking Back, Looking Forward

I have been sharing work that I have created recently and also some from years ago.

As soon as I complete reentry I hope to be able to share newly created and/or newly finished work.

A lot of wonderful pieces await my finishing touches in my studio.


I have shared a few of those works in progress recently and have received some great feedback and ideas from those who read my blog.


A few of those works in progress are visible here, but many more are hidden. I have under 50 works in progress to finish.

Of course since this is a working studio shot you also see finished work and some of my granddaughters work I was photographing for her.

For anyone who thinks 50 works in progress is a lot, I don’t consider that to be true. At one time I had well over 100 works in progress and worked very hard to bring that number under 100 while creating new works at the same time.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

One Of The Original Techniques I Created

When Judy Spahn said she was going to to look up my Tubular Spiral Patchwork on my blog I checked the blog to see what was there.
The very first piece I did where I created the technique was Autumn Rainbow.
I couldn’t find it so I am featuring it on this post.
One of the things I did when I created this was to use a variety of fabrics: solid color 100% cottons, polished cottons, chintz cottons, cotton poly blends and possibly a few other fabrics.
The quilt police at the time said we could only use 100% cotton fabrics in our quilts.
This would not have been nearly as striking without those other “forbidden” fabrics.
It was probably created in the early 1980’s and was one of my first quilts that won an award.
It also was responsible for people recognizing me as one who knew how to use color effectively.
If you do a blog search you will also find Spring created with this technique. I never did winter or summer as I found it hard to work in those palettes.
I hope to share some of the other techniques I created in future blog posts.

Friday, May 22, 2015

My Wearable Art Patterns

I’ve had a request from a friend to show the patterns from my pattern company

Blue Ribbon Patterns.

Almost all of them (and the most popular) are the wearable art patterns.

I’m going to share some of them with you on this post.


This photo was taken at a style show of my designs in Michigan. It features my 5 models and myself. In case you don’t recognize me I’m third from the left.

Some of the garments are one of a kind, although they may be based on one of my patterns and others are direct creations from my patterns.


This is the cover of my No Sweat Checkerboard Shirt.  It was the best ever selling wearable pattern for over a year in the country.


Here is another shirt made from the pattern.


My Prairie Point vest was consistently a winner. I did the pattern after a friend who didn’t do wearables said she’d make it if I did a pattern.

She made several of them and so did thousands of others.

All of my patterns were designed to flatter the figure and came is vanity sizes XS, S, M and L.

In my opinion no one is an XL.


This group of ladies took a Great Spirit class from me (maybe in Indiana!) and sent me the picture of them wearing their shirts. It’s always a pleasure to see students complete projects.

I’ve shared just a few of my patterns here and hope to share others some time.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Some Of My Favorite Color And Pattern Hand Dyes

Loden/olive colors have long been a favorite of mine. I love the patterning I got here.
This burgundy/rose fabric has great crystal patterning along with nice value contrast.
This nicely crystal patterned purple piece almost looks like it is lit from behind.
An interesting combination of colors with great crystal patterns.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Fairfield Fashion Show Garment

This is the other garment I designed for the Fairfield Fashion show years ago. The patchwork fabric is composed of fabric using my original technique of Tubular Spiral Patchwork.
The sleeveless coat is my original design pattern.
In addition for all the solid color cottons I included some copper and silver gold lame. I placed them between similar colors so as not to interrupt the color flow.
I also created an original design black polished cotton jumpsuit to be worn with it.
A flattering design for any figure.
It will never go out of style.

It debuted at the IQA Quilt market in Houston that year.
It then also was shown at IQA Festival. When it was modeled at the IQA Festival it was very special for me. My parents were visiting my brother's family in Houston and my Mom was able to see the show with me. We were seated at a special table with designers with garments in the show. I think Judy Murrah was at our table.
It travelled for a year to shows and conferences around the country.
It was selected as one of a few garments to travel to the show in Europe the next year. If I remember right the show was in Austria.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Design Dilemma

This is one of my Eight Pointed Star For One Armed Quilter quilts. I am so pleased with it.
The problem is I am having a hard time choosing the background to put around it to square it off.
I had planned on using black but found that since the black on the star area is a printed fabric so it is different than a solid black.
I’ve considered using some other colors but I’m thinking they may fight with the graphic star design.
If I finish it with this shape it will be very difficult to hang on a wall.
I plan on solving this dilemma soon.

Monday, May 18, 2015

My Quilt Gallery


I am sharing several views of the quilts in the lower level of our home which I use as a gallery.


The quilts you are seeing are not my most recent work, but I feel they have stood the test of time as good work.


This quilt is the other piece I did from the same fabric, color and order. It’s always fun to see how you can start  at the same place and how the view can change at the finish line.


I try to display the quilts in a way that colors flow from one to the next and also so they work with the furniture and accessories in the room.

The hooked rug on the chair was designed by me and my Mom hooked the rug.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Some Of My Less Than Lovelies!


I have been sharing my best work recently. Not everything works.

This piece has been dyed probably 3 times and I believe it also may nave been discharged. I do have one more idea that I think will salvage it.


I am not sure if this was a piece I had under a piece I ice dyed. It sure is not successful at this time.

I can see at least one or two more layers to salvage it.


Although this piece has some interesting areas as a whole it is not a winner.

The saving grace with hand dyed less than lovelies is the fact that they often can be cut up and used with other fabrics for fabulous results.

I’m not giving up on these pieces with the hope of salvaging all of them.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

How Can You Design A Quilt With One Of A Kind Fabric?

I have been doing a lot of fabric dyeing recently.
Each piece is one of a kind.
So many people live in fear of using these fabrics because if they make a mistake there is no more.
If I wanted to use this piece of fabric knowing there was no more if I made a mistake I would print it with my computer printer.
If would be a good idea to make multiple copies. Be sure you make a note of the size of the original piece of fabric as you will want all the others you print to be sized at the same ratio to the original.
This is a smaller piece of hand dyed one of a kind fabric that I would consider using with the one above.
This could also work with the other 2 fabrics.
I could also use this fabric.
In addition to all of these I could also use some solid or almost solid hand dyes. I would take photos of those too and print them.
I do recommend saving the images of each fabric so you can print more if you like.
I hope you will no longer be afraid to cut and use these gorgeous one of a kind fabrics you create.
You can also use this same idea if you have a “too precious to cut” commercial fabric or have a limited amount of a specific fabric.
Once you have come up with a design you like all you have to do is cut it from your fabric in the appropriate size.
You could use a very simple traditional quilt pattern and make it very contemporary with your one of a kind fabric. Simple designs are usually the best way to use these complex fabrics.
UPDATE: One person commented that it is NOT appropriate to scan and print commercial fabric. I am not suggesting you scan and print it as fabric. I am suggesting you scan to a paper copy to play with to decide how you will use it. That is a perfectly permissible way to design.

Friday, May 15, 2015

I Didn’t Like Florida And Was Never Going To Live There!


Thanks to Lynn and Pat I changed my mind.

Lynn and Pat were each friends from different parts of my life.

Lynn worked with my DH and I knew her through various activities.

Pat and I were high school classmates who hadn’t seen each other since we graduated.

They happened to meet at a brunch and got to talking and became good friends. They then realized they both had a connection to me.

We spent a month in Florida about 12 years ago and visited a lot of different friends.

Lynn and John invited us to stay with them for a few days. They invited Pat and Ron (her DH and also a high school classmate) for dinner.

It was so great to reconnect with them.

The next day Lynn asked if we’d like to go see the model homes. Of course I wanted to. I love decorating and I thought I might get some ideas.

Well, I did get an idea…..a big one!

In less than 24 hours we had contracted to build a home in the community where they both lived.

And the rest is history!!!!!

This is just one more story in my serendipitous life. I am so glad things played out the way they did.

We had lunch at B D Beans today which is our favorite place for the three of us to have lunch.

It’s fun, funky and makes my house look absolutely conservative!

To top it off the food is excellent all the time.

I have never been sorry for the way things worked out and I enjoy every moment here.

There are no friends like long time friends.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Origin Of Ice Circles

I did an experiment to see if there was any benefit from batching my ice dyes for 48 hours instead of the 24 hours I had been using.
There was no overall benefit.
This gave me with 4 pieces of ice dyed fabric with very similar colors.
2 were mandalas
2 were overall patterns.
I cut them up and created checkerboards by combining them in different combinations.

The squares for this one were cut from the mandalas. I alternated squares from each one to form the checkerboard.
This was created by alternating squares from the mandala on the right and the all over patterned fabric on the left.
This was created by alternating squares from the mandala on the left and the all over patterned piece on the left.
The all over piece on the right was used to bind all three pieces.
It was an interesting experiment and it gave me three different but all softly shaded pieces. I really enjoyed designing and creating these.