New Years Organic Dyeing


To welcome in the New Year, I decided to set another organic dye bath, this time using an extract of Cutch. According to Kristine Vejar’s amazing book, The Modern Natural Dyer, Cutch “has more than a thousand  species…achieving colors ranging from copper to terra cotta.”  Linen, cotton and rayon fibers and fabric went into my pot.


Here’s my bounty! I was thrilled with the results. My color range was from a fawn to a mocha, subtle shades with warm rose brown undertones!

Happy New Year! What have you done to artistically/creatively herald in 2017?!

Day 12 of My 25 Days of Make & Give-Stitch Journals


Today’s M & G goes out to my creative friends who enjoy and inspire me with their embroidery and stitching. Pictured above are just a few of the goodie bags I sent to them.



Inside my Shibori dyed canvas bags, I packed embroidery floss, I dyed in indigo and marigold and a handmade canvas journal for each to embellish.  I bundled up these treats with: pieces of dyed hemp used for binding in my Shibori dye baths, silver and gold spray painted wooden beads and thread spools and marigold dyed canvas tags I lettered with their initials. I can’t wait to see how they stitch up the journals! All these gals are so creative and inspiring!

Enjoy ladies and please send along pics of your stitched journals!!


Sugar Stitching

Fall sewing is in full swing in the studio! To get my students warmed up, I decided we needed a quick project to incorporate machine and hand stitching as well as some embroidery and beading. We used some of that sweet Sugar Skull fabric left over from my tote, see previous post, and appliquéd it on a white, cotton long sleeve waffle tees. To do this,  first we fused Wonder Under onto the woven sugar skull fabric cut out.  Then ironed the sugar skull appliqué onto the knit shirt fabric. This fusing step stabilizes the knit fabric and makes all stitching and embellishing a breeze.  Using machine appliqué we stitched all around it a few times. Now, we were was ready to go to town with some hand embroidery and beading.  Below is my version..IMG_4763.JPGI used both DMC 6-stranded embroidery floss as well as size 8 Perle cotton for the hand embroidery. French knots. backstitch, statin stitch, couching and chain stitch were some of the stitches I used. Japanese glass seed beads in different sizes and some teeny tiny Delicas  added some pop and sparkle. When I finished all the hand work, I put the embellished shirt in a tea dye bath for about 45 minutes. The result was a warm, light tan color. Just the vintage look I was hoping for!

For the last year, I have enjoyed learning all about and trying some styles of “Slow Stitching”. I have worked Sashiko, Kantha and Boro stitching combinations on jeans, jackets and journal covers. Here’s a pair of boyfriend jeans that I recently distressed and stitched.



On knee areas, I used patches of cotton Ikat fabric under the denim to add interest and to stabilize the  area. Then I cut several lines across the knees, sand papered and carefully picked out rows of thread to get the distressed look I wanted.  I used white Sashiko thread and stitched neat little rows of running stitches through the denim and the Ikat patches underneath.

IMG_4784.jpgUp by the front left pocket, I continued with the same treatment of adding an Ikat patch of fabric, distressing the denim and then stitching tiny running stitches.

Today was a beautiful, quiet, Fall Sunday. Daughter T and I went up to Easton, CT to pick up apples, pumpkins, cider and cider doughnuts from one of the local orchards. Driving around we found some cool old red barns, sheds and lovely stone walls. T is to be credited with these fun and autumnal photos! Well done and thanks girl!


IMG_4798.jpgHave you seen these Sugar Skull Cookies at Starbucks…note they taste as good as they look! I couldn’t resist! Happy Fall ya’ll.

Me-Made-May 2016 Post #7



I have been participating in a global sewing challenge this month called,                  “Me-Made-May 2016”.  My previous posts have featured garments I made for this spring and summer. Today’s post features something different: make up bags!

Our daughter is graduating college this month and to celebrate her and her BFFs, I designed these bags. Back when she was in high school I also made cosmetic bags for her friends and they were such a hit!  I received thank you cards and emails from them saying how they loved their bags and had them perched on desks and dressers in their dorms. They said their bags which were a sweet reminder of home and their friendship. SO, naturally I wanted to create a fresh, new look for this limited edition, college version!

I decided to Shibori dye three yards of snowy white, canvas fabric a dark navy/indigo color, T’s school colors!  Wooden blocks, clamps and hemp were used to bind the cloth. All the bags have a zipper closure with a bit of vintage ribbon as a zipper stop. I lined the bags with a purchased indigo, paisley gradated printed quilting weight cotton (Joann’s). For embellishment, my very dear, talented friend Lisa spent the greater part of a day helping me design a zipper pull. We used pewter “2016” and “Handmade” charms (Oriental Trading) and an assortment of glass beads including Lampwork “Wise Ol’ Owl” Beads (from Michaels), adorable! I tied a Sashiko inspired printed ribbon (from Joann’s) through the wire loop. For the finishing touch, I hand stamped “2016” and a mini Peace sign, using a blend of Gold and Brass Jacquard Fabric paints.



Looks like we are ready for the commencement festivities to begin!

Congrats and best wishes to all this year’s Grads!

For  more info on #Me-Made-May2016, click here.


New Year Dyeing & Stitching Journal


25 Days of Make & Give- Day 25!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

We made it! Congrats to all those who put their creative abilities to worthwhile and charitable uses this season!

Doesn’t it feel great to make and give?!

For my M & G on Day 25, I am gifting my two children with my annual handmade Christmas Tree ornament. Someday when they have their own Christmas trees, they will each have their own collection of hand mades to decorate with (if they like? no pressure!).



This year’s ornie was inspired by my Shibori fabric dyeing adventures this summer and fall. For this ornament I used fabric that featured the “Arashi” binding technique where you wrap the fabric around a PVC pole and bind it with twine. Next, I layered the dyed organic cotton twill fabric with batting also dyed. Never dyed batting before…easy peasy!


I then stitched the sandwiched fabrics in a heart shape and used some of the dyed twine for the hanging loop. Waste not want not?!

The last part of the process was using Sashiko hand stitching. I’m pretty excited to continue to expand my knowledge and practice of this very simple but impactful “little stabs” or “big stitch” needle art form. In my 2016 workshops I will be combining both Sashiko stitching and Shibori dyeing. Can’t wait!


But now it’s time to slow everything down and enjoy my much look forward time off with family and friends.

Thank you all for following my 25 Days of Make & Give for 2015! Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year!. Be inspired!

25 Days of Make & Give- Day 23

“Measure twice, cut once”


This is Craig. He is my go-to guy at The Home Depot. During the summer and fall I held 6 Shibori fabric dyeing workshops. For each workshop, I added a new technique for binding the fabric to create a resist for the dye. I went to THD to buy an 8′ length of wood and hopefully get it out down into blocks for my workshops. Craig, not only walked me through the proper wood selection process but also meticulously measured and cut 4″ square blocks for me with a smile and a “oh, it’s really no problem” attitude. What a guy! I stopped by to thank him and gift him with a cloth feed sack towel that demonstrated the use of the wood blocks (that would be the design on the top). He was so surprised! Surely, it was my pleasure!



25 Days of Make & Give-Day 8

“Goin South”

For those who have been following my blog,  I posted about the numerous Shibori fabric dyeing workshops I taught this past summer. In planning these workshops, I tried to think ahead about pieces I would like to create and gift during this holiday season. Actual and online shops offer many interesting items to try out in the dye bath. So when I came across these very gauzy lightweight cotton shawls, I was excited to experiment with them. However, the shawls must have been a blend of cotton and synthetic fibers. The Procion MX Reactive Dyes that I use are primarily for natural fibers and these shawls didn’t take to them as I had hoped.  Sometimes in the dyeing process this happens, in this case, it was a good thing!


I love this shade of soft, pale blue, so dreamy!

Two dear friends had moved from my hometown down to Florida and Nola respectively and I thought these beauties would be a perfect “make & give” for those coolish southern nights. The tags are hand stamped and lettered. The dyed twine was from binding up the shawls for the dye baths.

Enjoy your cozy “Make & Give”, my friends, miss you both!!

25 Days of Make & Give- Day 4


Every Saturday morning I am so fortunate to participate in a mindfulness meditation group. We have practiced for over a year now and have become close knit. I find that this weekend session combined with my at home practice has brought me calm and comfort when I need it. What a blessing!

To honor and celebrate the group and our shared experiences I decided to make each person a little cloth talisman.


I used pages of vintage inspired, winter postage stamp designs from ArtChix  as my image on the front, which I copied onto fabric sheets. Next I layered the image page with a thin batting, “Quilters Dream, Request” and hand dyed raw silk, which I free motion quilted. I slipped a pewter charm onto a piece of baker’s twine in between the layers and then zig zag stitched all around the piece to create these sweet charms. Initialed and dated on the back.


Just a little hand made expression of my gratitude, during this holiday season, to the group, our generous hosts and our insightful, inspiring leader, N!

Fall Dyeing-Shibori Style!


Last Sunday as the temperature took a nose dive into the upper twenties/low thirties I braved the elements and taught another  Shibori Workshop out-of-doors at my dear friend, N’s home. Pictured above is the Shibori Journal I made for each student for note taking during our workshop.

As usual, my students brought their dyeing “A Game” and we continued our dyeing practice with a couple new resist techniques: using clamps, wooden blocks, wooden sticks alone and in combination with pleating, binding and stitching.

We set 7 dye pots, an all time high! For colors: indigo (always a fave), dark green and we added a cranberry and inky blue green!

The results were incredible! We decorated the Shibori Tree with our colorful work. With rosy cheeks everyone went home with a bounty of unique and gorgeous dyed pieces.



And yes, we had two snow squalls! I think I had three layers of clothes on that day!


I personally experimented dyeing with white cotton jersey knit and cotton flannel and was thrilled with the results! My intent is to make scarves and pillowcases from my dyed fabrics as samples for my holiday sewing workshops starting after Thanksgiving.

Once home, I washed and dried my fabrics and set them up to show you some of the beautiful details! The design, below left, in  indigo, was created by folding the fabric and stitching semi circles then drawing up the threads. This binding stitching technique is called “OriNuri Karamatsu.









The above and below pieces were created by using wood blocks and folding or pleating with clamps “Itajime” or binding with twine.

This lovely to the right in cranberry features the “Kumo” technique. Below, top left, in dark green is a lattice design with triangular folding using square wooden blocks and twine to bind. On the bottom left, the cloth was pleated, sandwiched between wooden blocks and then bound with twine. The bottom right was pleated and bound between wooden sticks and finally tied with twine.

Dyeing days are always so gratifying!  I feel so fortunate to be able to share my knowledge with like-minded creatives and to watch my students’ excitement and delight in both the learning process and the always surprising and breath taking final product!


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