Saturday, June 27, 2009


Trying to depict wheat field behind the grain bins, I've been biting off the temptation to paint the bins black!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pulled Pork and Tree Trimming

Today's garden update: tied up 2/3's of the tomatoes before I got so hot I had to quit. I have baby roma's they are the size of golf balls.

We trimmed our trees out front tonight, lots of dead branches, esp. on the redbud and on the red oak tree. I knew the redbud was dyeing, I'd give it two more years tops before we have to take it down, but I was horrified to discover our 10 year old red oak, which is now a magnificent 30 feet in height, has heart rot!!! I'll call the arborist on Monday but there's not a whole lot they can do for the tree I love this tree I get wonderful shade on my house in the summer, esp. my studio, so it's not so hot and I don't have to run the air so often.

Dinner for tomorrow is in the crock pot roasting away it's a boston butt roast, I'll season it before I go to bed tonight and we will have pulled pork tomorrow.

Crashed Computer

Well it's official the RAID system is trashed on my computer. We got it boot up last night, checked the errors and ran a defragmentation scan (31% fragmented files is a lot) it took all night to run that scan and fix the errors. And hope against all hope it started doing it again - the clunking noise in the hard drives. I'll run a diagnostics test on the RAID tomorrow but I already know the results based on it's performace.

The only bright spot in this whole ordeal is the hard drives are half what I paid for them 4 years ago! The down side is I'll have to wait a few weeks to do the repairs as sales have been rather slow of late. I guess this is a sign that I should spend more time dyeing, painting, and stitching fabric! ;-) Now that's a bright spot I can embrace!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Today's Painting Session

Part of my oil pastel collection, the fat ones in the round tub are cattle, or sheep, markers.

I pulled out my ThreeFold magazines the other night and was reviewing some of their techniques. I was monoprinting with acetate sheets back in 1995 when I couldn't afford a really nice large glass plate to print with - the zines are very well written.

I've had this set of pastels since 1995 my classmate gave me his set of deluxe rembrant oil pastels - a wonderful gift for a starving artist at that time!

Today's painting session included a little bit of everything on paper, I was working with some of my older paints and pastels testing their viability.

WIP - Paint on Paper

WIP - Oil Pastels on water color paper that was painted with Golden Acrylic Paints. I'll let the oil pastel dry overnight and lay down more color tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Computer Died

Well it'll be rough the next few days my favorite computer died, I'm writing from a ten (ish) year old AMD machine that I now refer to as granny. I"m not sure if I'll be replacing the other machine or if it's some part that failed inside I'll know later this evening. So bear with me over the next few days - the withdrawls are rough right now ;-)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Garden Update

Well as many of you know, who live in the midwest, it has done nothing but rain here. Today the mosoon showers have held off for the most part. I was able to get into the tomato portion of the garden - yeah - I pulled off the suckers and threaded the branches through the cattle panel holes. Many of the plants have blossoms, I am hoping for a good tomato harvest this year as I'd really love to put up some salsa. More later with pictures.

Compost Dyeing Book

I'm offering my Compost Dyeing and Other Fermentation Dyeing Techniques book as a CD-ROM special for a limited time.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

AuriFil Rayon Thread

AuriFil Rayon Thread - Alex sent me twelve spools, I was expecting one or two spools but not twelve, to test. I will put it through all sorts of extremes and let y'all know how it stands up to what's available on the market. And as we all know I can and DO do evil things to thread so if it has limitations I'll know, and probably within the first five minutes of use!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009

New Profile Pic

I'm not sure why my profile pic has compressed so oddly! Will have to find the blogger specs again and compare to my pic size.

Dyeing with Instant Indigo

There are a mutlitude of ways to set up an indigo vat, my personal preference is for instant indigo ;-) That being said...

CAUTION: Wear Gloves, Dust Mask and/or Respirator, and protective eye wear, when Handling Instant Indigo it is caustic.

To use Instant Indigo, a naturally reduced indigo vat that has been flash frozen, add 1 Tablespoon of Instant Indigo to 4 gallons very hot tap water.

Use a plastic bucket, or a non-food use studio dedicated stainless steel or enamel pot for dyeing.

After placing instant indigo into the hot water do NOT stir as this will introduce air into the vat. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, this allows the crystals enough time to dissolve.

Then add your fabric or fiber to the vat allow to sit 5-15 minutes.

Using tongs, remove your fabric or fiber from the vat very quickly.

Do NOT allow liquid from yarn or fabric to drip back into the vat as this will introduce air into the vat.

Allow fabric to oxidize by hanging it up flat so it will receive air on all sides., your fabric may be greenish when you remove it from the vat. I allow my fabric to hang for 15 minutes or so others state that the fabric must oxidize for 24 hours before going back into the vat!

Rinse fabric thoroughly.

Dip your fabric, into the Instant Indigo vat again, repeating process as above until you acquire the color depth desired.

Indigo yields it’s best colors through multiple dips and appropriate oxidation.

Neutralize your fabric or fibers using vinegar. 1 cup white vinegar to 1 gallon water is sufficient.

Wash fabrics and fibers with a mild soap in the usual manner.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hook and Loop Tape?

Hook and Loop Tape at least that's what I'm guessing it is, it's on a cotton twill tape base. I really need about 20 feet of this IN cotton or linen for a project I"m working on. When I searched for this on the net I get everything but pictures of the above. Anyone know the correct name?

Hook and Loop Tape

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Potato Leek Soup

Tonights Dinner Menu
Potato Leek Soup
(the extra will be canned up in quart jars)
Ciabatta Bread

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Madder Root

Fresh Madder Root from my best friends green house - picture and roots courtsey of Karen Hartshorn!

Dried Madder Root - picture and roots courtsey of me!
YES there is a discernable difference in the color and the intensity of the colors you get when using fresh or dried madder root! If you can get fresh roots that is the best way to go, much better reds. The lightfastness and washfastness will be the same but the overall intensities will be different.

Dye Instructions

I think it should go without saying that the instructions on this blog are mine, I wrote them so if you use them please ask for permission first so I know who is using them. Thank you!!! - Kimberly

Madder Root - Cold Water Soak

Materials List:
8 oz to 1 # of whole Madder Root
4-5 Gallon Bucket
Fish Tank Heater
½ pound of fibers of your choice (If using fabrics cut the fabric up into 3 inch or less sized squares so you will have samples for every day)

NOTE: If your dyeing both silk and cotton samples the silk will hoard most of the color from the cotton fabrics. For the first time using this method I recommend sticking to one type of fiber only – silk and wool fabrics are great candidates for the first dye trial.

This method is a variation of the method that Nest Rubio wrote about in Spin-Off Magazine (Spring 1993). When done properly you will get a nice range of values with this method.

Break your madder root into smallish pieces ¼” to ½” inch in length.
Cover in water and soak overnight.
Rinse Madder Root the next day.
You can save the rinse water and use it with other yellowish yielding dyes if desired.

The reason for rinsing the madder root, if it is dried madder root not fresh, is to remove any of the yellow dye that is present in the root. Leaving the yellow rinse water will give you dyes more towards the orange/yellow end of the spectrum. Rinsing the madder root after the initial soak will give you deeper truer reds.

NOTE: In this method you do not grind the roots. Grinding the roots releases all of their color immediately, and for this fermentation method you want a slow release of color so in order to have color gradations over a period of days, rather than using all of the color at once.

NOTE: Pre-mordant you fibers before inserting them into the dye vat, this is one time where an all-in-one vat does NOT work well.

NOTE: if you are dyeing cotton or other cellulosic fibers you will want to use the triple mordant method on those fibers. That method being the Alum – Tannin – Alum method.

MOLD: Preventing mold from forming on the vat surface is crucial, mold, its spores and mycelium will turn the red color brown and very quickly. I have found that by simply keeping a fish tank heater in the vat prevents the mold from forming in the first place.

Temperature: It is critical that the vat does NOT come to a boil, EVER! Boiling madder root will cause the browns to be released from the root, ruining the vat. (Yes you can use this brown to dye with, but it will not yield reds).

Keeping careful notes on the date and time you entered the fiber into the dye vat and the date and time you removed the fibers from the dye vat, will allow you to repeat the process.

Now this is what I DO:

Place your rinsed madder root into the bucket, and cover with very hot water, but not boiling. I use my hottest tap water for this procedure.

Place the fish tank heater into the bucket, and leave it set on a medium heat setting. You are shooting for around 85-90 degrees fareinheight.

Place your pre-mordant fibers into the vat with the madder root.

NOTE: That the madder root has been left in the vat with the fibers, I typically work with cotton fabrics, and any mottling and patterning that ends up on the fabric is highly desired.

If you are wanting more solid fibers/fabrics then you will need to stir the vat each day to ensure even color. Make sure that all of the fiber remains below the waters surface, for even color.

Also having a divider between the madder root and the fiber, such as a glass dinner plate, is critical. This prevents the fibers from touching the roots, thus preventing dark spots from occurring on the roots.

After I have entered my fiber into my dye vat I typically leave it for 24 to 48 hours, depending on what the dye vat looked like before I put the fibers in it.

Usually around day two or three, about 48-72 hours, and I try to remove my fibers around the same hour of the day that I placed them into the vat, I will remove one or two samples from the vat. DO NOT RINSE the fibers.

Place these samples in a bowl or other vessel where they can sit overnight, unrinsed. This is part of the batching process.

The next day I rinse those fibers and hang them up to dry somewhere, out of the sunlight.

I then check the fibers in my vat to see if the remaining fibers are any darker than the previous days. If not I may check on them again in 12 hours and again at 24 hours.

I remove the samples as they become progressively darker, creating a value scale. The value you range you achieve depends on the fibers you chose, the amount of fibers you use, and the amount of madder root to fiber you have used.

You will have a larger value range with silk or wool versus cotton fabrics, and other limiting factors such as water quality and the age/freshness of the madder root.

I typically exhaust the vat after two weeks, using cotton fabrics/fibers.

Using Nest Rubio’s method with wool, and very small wool samples as she suggests, you should exhaust the vat in 30 days.

NOTE: I did not add any chalk or cream of tartar to the vat, they are not required in the fermentation process, unless your water dictates such additions to correct the pH of the vat.

You can however, do comparison vats one without any modifiers (this is any agent that shifts the pH of the vat), to one vat with just madder root and chalk, and another vat with madder root and cream of tartar, and compare this to the vat samples with no modifier.

Madd About Madder Root

Photo of Madder Root Courtesy of Karen Hartshorn

8 oz to 1 # of whole Madder Root
4-5 Gallon Bucket

Break your madder root into smallish pieces ¼” to ½” inch in length.
Cover in water and soak overnight.
Rinse Madder Root the next day.
You can save the rinse water and use it with other yellowish yielding dyes if desired.

The reason you rinse the madder root, if it is dried madder root not fresh, is to remove any of the yellow dye that is present in the root. Leaving the yellow rinse water will give you dyes more towards the orange/yellow end of the spectrum. Rinsing the madder root after the initial soak will give you deeper truer reds.

Tonights Dinner Menu

Tonights Dinner Menu

Sauerkraut with Ribs
Sweet Tea

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Tonights Dinner Menu

Tonights Dinner Menu

Beef Hot Dogs
Baked Beans


Since it's raining - again... I'm working on blogs and websites today. Have excavated a bunch of photos I had forgotten about as well. Hope to get some painting and stitching done later this evening.

Tomatoes and Rain

Well it's raining again... John came home at lunch and we tied up the tomatoes using a semi transparent nylon tomato tape. It's really easy to work with and I can see using this for rouge squash plants, cucumbers, etc. as well.


Aphids - they are everywhere and they are devouring everything!!! I guess it's time to pull out the big poisons - Sevin - and kill everything off! I truly hate to do this but we have them so bad that they are actually eating the leaves on our oak trees!!! I've never seen an aphid on an oak tree before but I guess anything IS possible.

My grape vine is all but dead and I'm trying to keep a 150 year old english rose root stock alive!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Todays Activities

*5 quarts and 13 pints of pork loin in the pressure canner.
*Wash the outsides of 11 quarts of beef chili, label them, and find shelf space to store them on (ok that one may take a miracle). 11 in 121 seal rate not bad.
*Chinese for dinner, made by moi' of course!
*Rescue my wind beaten tomato plants, convince them they want to grow on the trellis' instead using tomato tape to reinforce that idea!
*Celebrate because I sold two art quilts today!!!

Favorite Artists

There's been a thread on the quiltart list asking "whose your favorite artist" I'm posting my list here as 1.) it gives me a reason to post to my blog and 2.) simply because I think my list is a little outside the norm of a quilter. Lighting and mood fascinate me teneberism and chiaroscuro are the elements I'm most attracted to in a painting, these elements can be captured with texture and form in textiles.

El Greco
Jusepe De Ribera
Henry Moore
Madgalena Abakanowicz
Amsel Kiefer

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Before the Storm

Took this before the storm this evening.

Garden Update

My potato patch before round three of mulching - we mulched it just before it started pouring!

Greens patch: Lettuce, chard, beets, turnips, radishes, carrots, and parsnips.

The hail and tornados missed us! I'm so very grateful for this!!! At present I have no way to protect my tomatoes. John has an idea and we will set it up sometime this week.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Poppies WIP

Machine stitch or hand stitch or should I do both??? 18 x 22 inches wool quilt batting, black cotton backing fabric.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

June Poppies WIP

Pork Loin

Pork Loin was on sale, and for a really good price, last week at Hy-Vee! We bought some cut it into thick slices, vacuum sealed it with our food saver and put it in the freezer for future dinners.

June Poppies

I added some "sky blue" setacolor transparent paint to the lower half of the piece. The Poppies themselves are painted with shiva paintsticks, I used two different yellows. I'll add some color to the top of the piece to balance it out and more color to the poppies themselves.

I started this a couple of years ago and just now getting around to finishing the piece - of course I would have finished it sooner had I known where it was hiding!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


Painted Hosta's

Found this lovely hosta leaf in my garden, it looks as if it was hand painted.

Purging Update

Gone 5 bags of clothing - donated to Salvation Army! I'm hoping to have 5 more bags filled and donated by the end of the week. Feels pretty good!!! Hoping to have a huge yard sale at the end of the month and didn't want to mess with clothing in the sale.

Jacob Fleeces

I'm off to wash fleeces, Jacob to be exact. I was supposed to do this last year but it never stopped raining long enough to get it done and then life got hectic so... Looks like I will have a three day window to wash some wool and hopefully get some dye pots going as well.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Dyeing with Onion Skins

Cover Onion Skins, half pounds worth if you can get them, with water.

Bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes and then allow to sit overnight - doing this allows the dye molecules to leach from the onion skins.

Next day bring to a simmer and let simmer for about an hour before adding pre-mordant fabrics, fibers, etc.

Allow the fibers to simmer for an hour do NOT bring to a boil as this will bring out the browns in the dye molecules and you don't want that.

Shut off the heat leaving the fabircs in the dye bath.

Allow the dyebath and fabric to sit overnight.

This has yeilded the best color to date that has been quite lightfast.

Dyeing with Onion Skins

I take my skins cover with water bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes and then allow to sit overnight. Next day I bring to a simmer and let simmer for about an hour before adding my fabrics, fibers, etc. I allow the fibers to simmer for an hour, shut off the heat and allow the dyebath and fabric to sit overnight. This has yeilded me the best color to date that has been quite lightfast.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Define Success

Still working my way through "I'd Rather be in the Studio" and am pondering some of the things I'm reading in Action 1 => Define Success for Yourself. Sounds simple doesn't it???

After much thought, and still being stuck I took a different approach after reading Lisa Call's blog for a bit, and came at the question from the back door --- I started with a list of what I had accomplished already and what I did and did not like about what I had accomplished. In doing so I can see where I got off track some seven years ago... More later.

Garden Update

Well we are almost done with the garden fencing, one little bit left to be done tomorrow night - the kolrabi box at the base of our cherry tree. The green beans are popping up after the heavy rain we had last night. My lettuce looks like it'll be ready to pick in a week, can't wait!

YouTube Videos

I'm not sure what happened to my YouTube Videos!