Kaffe Fassett Quilt and Tattoo Quilt Progress

img_0868I’m working on a commissioned quilt based on a tattoo. The tattoo is a stained glass effect sun/moon. I’m creating a background of stars in different shades of gray (not to be mistaken for anything nefarious). Then I will applique on the sun/moon in the upper right corner. There are 584 squares and rectangles cut for the background (seen above). I’ve started making stars out of these but I don’t have a decent picture yet.

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I got my seeds order for my domestic dye garden. I have plans to acquire other plants besides these but for now I have: coreopsis, marigold, yarrow, cosmos, black hopi dye and red hopi dye amaranth.

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While I’m at it, I’m also going to plant a mix of perennial and annual seeds for a tea garden. I enjoy a cup or two of tea each evening. I really want to make my own blends so I bought: lemon bee balm, fenugreek, chicory, chamomile, angelica, echinacea, hyssop and lemon something or other. I already have spearmint plants like weeds that are perennials in my garden. I hope these seeds grow like weeds as well.

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While making the Tattoo Quilt, I’m also making this Kaffe Fassett quilt. It has a top and bottom border left to add in brown. I’m using the leftover piecesĀ from it to form this wonderful mosaic that is the background for the sun and moon on the tattoo quilt. Sometimes one quilt inspires another.

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And now for some gratuitous pics of Janis Joplin. If I sit on the couch to read, she crawls up on my lap and lays on top of my book while pushing her cold wet nose on my chin. I got her to sort of look at the camera then she immediately went back to rubbing her little face on mine.

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No quilt I ever make will be 100% free of cat fur. This is what I have to deal with constantly. I don’t mind.

What are you working on or reading? Please share!

My Path to Natural Dyeing

It was, oh, about ten years or so ago that I stumbled across the Leisure Arts leaflet that introduced me to dyeing cross stitch fabric using RIT dyes. That was my first foray into dyeing. It was fun and messy. I loved it. I continued to do it until I moved into this house and no longer had a place to do it.

These days, you can buy (synthetically) hand dyed needlework fabric from Picture This Plus and other places and it is wonderful. But it’s difficult to find *naturally* dyed fabrics. Like tea dyed or specific plants that can be used as a dyestuff. It is easier to find yarns and general fabrics that’s naturally dyed.

So I decided a while ago that I am going to do it myself. At first, I thought I could just wing it like I did with the synthetic dyes. You know, read the back of the package and go to town. But there’s no directions on the back of coreopsis flowers, or dahlias, or eucalyptus, or well…anything that grows out of the ground.

So I read a few books, like The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar. I made copious notes. I made lists and bought supplies. I set up a room in my house for dyeing. (Hotplate in transit and not everything pictured).

 

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As I was doing this, I got this harebrained idea that I should do this as a long-term investment and sell my extra dyed stuff and grown supplies to make the investment worth it. So I did all the business-related things to start my own business: picked a name (Tubaville), filed with the state and federal government, got a tax ID, etc.

This is going to be a long-road “hobby” business. To make this fully sustainable, I will be growing and collecting my own dyestuffs. My gardens are going to be amended with dye plants: cosmos, coreopsis, marigold, red hopi dye, black hopi dye, goldenrod, yarrow.

It’s winter here in Minnesota right now so there isn’t much to scavenge but I have gone on hikes to look for oak galls (unsuccessful) and did find a tree of dead birch leaves (successful!). It will be a lot more fun when my world is in full bloom.

Mostly I want to share my adventure with other people. This is a link to our past. Just like small and medium-scale farming has made a comeback, I think it is the same for natural dyeing.

At times, I feel a little overwhelmed like I did when I first started quilting. There is a big learning curve. It is a lot more complicated than the synthetic dyeing I did on my back porch. But the process to get there is rejuvenating and I’m really enjoying it.

Everything I do is tied together. I cross-stitch and use my pieces in quilts. I quilt and hand stitch a lot. And now I will dye the fabric for the cross-stitch again and the circle will be complete.