Thursday, November 13, 2014

Basics- Check The Kind of Cotton You Are Using

Let's go back to the basics. Are your dye results coming out pale, faded, or funky?  Watch this YouTube video and see if this helps.

Cotton fabric on the left- Fabric Designs' muslin

On the right- bleached white cotton from JoAnn's. Both sets were dyed in the same dye bath.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hand Dyed Diapers!

I recently had an order to hand dye 100% organic cotton diapers. How cute these would be on baby behinds but no....they are intended as gifts to be used as lovely dish towels!  Isn't that a great idea?

The first set were dyed medium lime green. I dyed some solid and some mottled.

Here are the others- Bright Orange, solid and mottled, and Bright Raspberry- also solid and some mottled.

Look at the beautiful and simple wrapping job she did as well-

Great gift idea, don't you agree?

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Over the past 40+ years of dyeing fabric, I have picked up a few pointers that I would like to share with you:

1) If you insist on wearing your favorite clothes into a space that contains fabric dye, it is guaranteed that they will get dye on them before you leave that space.

2) Never trust an open jar of Fuchsia powdered MX dye. EVER.

3) Very few people like the color orange, but the ones who do are fanatical about it.

4) If you have to chose between a workspace that is topped with plastic or glass, always go for the glass. ALWAYS.

5) Rubber gloves do not stay where you last put them. EVER.

6) Dyeing stuff while wearing shorts and flip flops is a combination for disaster and yet it is something that must be done. Challenge yourself to see how little skin gets colorful.


Monday, September 29, 2014


A customer of mine who lives in a warm climate asked me to investigate a fiber that is new to me. Maybe it is new to you as well???? It is 100% wool and woven in a loose pattern as you can see from the photo below-

It dyes beautifully and would be great for felting or used as a wearable fiber with hand dyed habotai silk as a lining.

I'd love to know your thoughts on this as I am considering adding it to the fibers I dye and offer my customers at Fabric (

What would you do with it and what colors would you need?

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fabric Painting Project in Zambia, Africa

Many of you know that I went to Zambia this month to see first hand what my friend Sam has done in his home town of Ndola. His dream is to make a difference in the lives of the children through the establishment of an orphanage, school, and medical clinic.

The experience was extraordinary. I have no words for what I saw, tasted, smelled, and felt during the time we spent among the people of Africa.

The opportunities there for the children to experiment with art materials are virtually zero so my job was to give the children the experience of making a hand print using Jacquard Textile Paints. I painted the hands of over 250 children who had great fun transferring the paint onto 8" cotton squares I had dyed years ago.

When the stamping was completed, they washed their hands and returned to their squares and wrote their names with Sharpie pens. One interesting thing about the Sharpies-the children didn't know what the pens were or how to take off the tops! They were super cautious about pulling off the top...did it screw off? Did it pull off? I ended up just leaving the tops off the pens for the duration of the project. 
In the USA, art projects involving making hand prints start in pre-school. None of these children had never done anything like this.

We worked with 20 children at a time and hung the wet prints on a clothes line I brought from home.  It took four hours to do 250 prints.


The prints dried quickly in the African breezes. 

It was fascinating watching the faces of the children as they chose which color they wanted for their print. It was wonderful seeing them smile, laugh, or wrinkle their noses up as they felt the paint on their hand and as they made the prints. Some slapped down their hand with great force, some were super cautious. Some spread their fingers wide and some kept their hands closed very tightly. 

Some of the children's hands were as hard as leather. Some hands were soft and cold, others were sweaty and smooth.

I saw scarred hands and hands that were small and delicate. Some hands were enormous, and some hands were so small they fit into the palm of my own hand.

As I explained to the classes later on, each hand print is as unique as they are. Each print reflects their personality and individuality. No two are the same. 

It is important to remember that throughout life, each of us leaves a unique print or impression on the world we live in and that is to be celebrated.

I have brought the hand prints home and am now making them into pillows or wall hangings that will be sold as a fundraiser for the school, orphanage, and clinic.  

 The pillows are stuffed with 100% wool fleece and are made using either 4 prints or 6 prints. The smaller 4 print pillows will be offered for a donation of $40.00 or more. The 6 print pillows are sold for $60.00 or more.  100% of the donation goes to Operation iDream ( If you are interested in purchasing items, let me know. We'll add on shipping cost.

The hand print panels are $40.00 and consist of 12 prints either as seen below or 12 panels arranged two across and 6 down.

I love the quote "The more I see, the less I know" because it is so very true.  Travel does that to us and when we make the choice to venture somewhere that might be considered a "non-touristy" destination, it can truly open up the soul.  That's what happened for me. When I go again, my emphasis will change. I saw some things that I personally can not allow to go unchecked- medical things that can be solved with about $50.00 and some time and effort. I can do that. I will of course do some more art making with the children.... but first things first. 

Thanks for looking.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

75 Yards of Hand Dyed Silk Chiffon

When I see a bolt of silk I start to salivate. When I see three bolts of silk I have to steady myself because I just might faint from the anticipation of what is to come. Does this happen to you? Maybe you haven't ever even SEEN a full bolt of silk in which case you probably can't identify with the bliss I am about to describe.

The first step was to cut the silk into five panels per dress. There were 10 dresses to be dyed in this order; five in one color way and five in another color way. 

In the photo above, I dyed all panels for the sea foam color and because it was a rainy day, I hung them to dry inside my studio which runs the length of my house the basement. 

Once that was done, I then dyed the second set of panels in the taupe/putty/brown/kinda pinky color. They were able to hang to dry outside as the rain had stopped. 

Here is a photo of the taupe/putty/pink panels receiving their ombre color on the lower sections of the chiffon.

Here are the dresses finished and ready for sale. 

The designer's name is Mikie Spencer and she owns PerfectPear Fashions- Take a look at her beautiful clothes! 

Thank you, Mikie for allowing me the pleasure of spending my days in bliss with the most gorgeous textile in the world. Nothing compares to a day spent with silk. Lots and lots of it. The more the better. Okay now....I'm drooling.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Zambia Trip!

I am so very blessed to have the opportunity to travel to Zambia with a few other people from my church to seek out ways to make the school and orphanage that my friend Sam has built, more self sufficient. It needs to be generating income and pulling from local resources to do so.

My job is to show the teachers some fabric designing techniques and make some long runs of hand painted textiles with the older students that I will bring back here and sell.

In the 13 years I have taught fabric designing on line, I have had about 12-13 students from Africa, so I am aware of some of the problems they have dyeing and producing textiles there, but I won't truly have a feel for it until I go and spend time seeing for myself what the limitations are in this specific town and country.

I plan on journaling the adventure and will blog about it on this site when I return. There is a documentary being filmed too which I will be able to direct you to when that is finished.

Here's to life's adventures! 

I'll talk to you again soon before I go.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Which Comes First the Fabric or the Idea?

Here's my question- do you first of all have an idea and then seek out the fabric to use, or do you see the fabric first and then the idea comes to you?

What would you do with these gradations?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Uses for Hand Dyed Silk, and Cotton Flannel!

One of the many diverse products made using hand dyed silk from Fabric can be seen above.

Deborah Kordecki's web site is called She makes "worship tools" like this beautiful piece. Check it out!

Something else I want to show you is some custom fabric I made for a woman who was making a flannel baby quilt. She was desperate to find peach colored cotton flannel. Not knowing if I did this kind of thing, she simply asked me and I dug around with my sources and found undyed cotton flannel and was able to match her sample perfectly. 

So often doors open for us simply by asking. Speak up! What's the worst that could happen? They say no and you're back to square one? What's the best that could happen? (See below).

Thanks for looking everyone! Let me know if there are things you would like to see on this blog. 

I am still working in my spare time on three large painted panels for The Fat Cat Cafe here in Woodland, CA. I need to buy new brushes to motivate myself to finish them!


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Weighting Silk Video

I posted another video on YouTube regarding a problem I was having with gravity. Rather than fighting against it, I learned how to go WITH it.

In the picture above, you can see the sagging hem at the bottom of this monoprint on silk. It's actually worse than that as you will see in the video.

Let me know what you think. Any other ideas on how to deal with this?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dyeing Longer Runs of Silk

(Hanging my head in shame)...I know, I know, I know....I'm a terrible blogger. I wish I could say it will never happen again but it probably will so...I'm sorry if you kept coming here expecting something-anything to change.  I've been in a slump. Now I'm back.

That said, I made a new video for the Fabric Designs channel on YouTube. It is a demonstration of how I dye longer runs of silk. Here is the link:

I WILL be making a video of bloopers soon as they happen EVERY time I try to make one. The shot of me running the silk through the mangle has about 10 takes with me shouting in all of them as the silk gets all "mangled" up as I try to film it one handed. I eventually just selected a shot and took the audio off and dubbed over it. :-)

If you have any ideas of things you would like to see in video form, let me know. 

My next video, after the blooper film, will be tea dyeing wool. 

Thanks for your patience and thank you for looking.

About Me

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Woodland, California, United States
I am a fiber artist. I am a teacher. I am a Reverend. I teach, I create, I counsel, I listen.

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