Thursday, August 31, 2006

Studio Portrait

This is how the Rust-Tex studio usually looks.
This is how it looked at 5 pm today.
This is, I am not moving, just having a garage sale.
Our neighborhood is having a community wide sale and I want to get in on the added traffic. In preparation, I moved the picnic table and benches to the garage to hold merchandise.
So, no rust dyeing for me, for the next few days. However, I am expecting it to be really hot next week when the kids here start back to school in un-airconditioned buildings.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Too Much Fun

I just had to share this message that came with an order for the Rust-Tex instructional CD today.
"My husband thinks you have too much time on your hands to think up 'roasting' metal fish on a rusty grill. I think you have a fantastic creative brain. =-) Can't wait to rust."
The thing her husband doesn't get is that I DON'T have enough time to deal with all the interesting rusty things in the world. That is why I wrote the CD. I am having TOO MUCH FUN. I want everyone in the world to use this method of making marks on fabric cause it is easy and fun.
Rust-Tex Report for Today:
It finally stopped raining here and I got the trees fabrics properly rinsed out. I thought the rain would rinse them but I guess it never rained hard enough to do that. Mostly we had intermittent light showers and high humidity. What happened is the black lines that form along the copper wire became much darker and wider. I guess there was enough metal molecules there to keep on rusting.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Fan Letter

Crystal in FL sent me this email and I just wanted to share it with every one because you will be asking the same questions and having the same thoughts if you decide to take up rust dyeing.

Hi Lois,
I wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed the CD you sent. Do you happen to have any handy excuses for when hubby starts asking why I'm poking around in his shop in the nail cans and the surplus metal stuff?
I'm definitely looking at everything differently now . . . just like when I started using resists with Procion. He lost a bunch of goodies then too; mostly his big orange handled clamps, not mention some of the odd pieces of 1/4" plexiglas.
I did talk a friend of ours out of 5 pieces of rebar scraps when he was building his metal bldg to house their 5th wheel trailer. Now I'm trying to decide if I really NEED all 3 of my cast iron cooking pots. Fortunately here in Fla, it doesn't take much to encourage rust. Now all I need is time.
Thanks so much for taking the time to put this CD together. It's great!


You can order your copy of the Rust-Tex CD at:
I am not doing much rust dyeing here in WI as it has been raining, raining, raining and I can't work in the outside studio to set any thing up.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Today I decided to rinse out the 6 bottles of TREES fabrics I set out on Monday. I absolutely sold out of this pattern in Duluth. There will be a workshop held in that area soon that teaches how to make a free motion machine embroidered tree on wash away stabilizer and then sew it to another fabric. Someone it that group decided my trees fabric would be the perfect background. I think everyone who is going to take that class visited my booth during the course of the show and bought a piece.
Perhaps they were influenced by this piece that was hanging in my booth.
I need to make some more for Quilt Expo in Madison, WI which is coming up fast.
On Thursday we had 2.5" of rain and on Friday an 1.5" and today a trace, which fell while I was out there trying to rinse out the trees fabric!!! The above picture shows how wet everything was when I went out to the Rust-Tex studio to work. I took about 15 minutes to drain the water off everything and get the studio back in working order.

Friday, August 25, 2006

My Latest Product

I have a new product. I call it the Rust-Tex Starter Kit. It has everything you need to make what I call "Trees Fabric". I won't be selling it over the internet at as I think the shipping costs will make it unattractive. BUT now I can go anywhere and teach rust dyeing. Instead of having students buy a book they can buy the starter kit instead!!!
I sold several starter kits in Duluth but whenever I saw someone with one in their hand I usually talked them into the instructional CD instead. Although the starter kit includes paper instructions for that one technique the CD has so much more information on it. Including instructions for four techniques!!!
Anyway here is what the kit looks like.
It includes:
  • A set of printed directions for this technique
  • Non metallic cylinder, use the plastic sleeve your starter kit is packed in
  • ½ yard high thread count cotton fabric PFD (Prepared For Dying)
  • 200” of 24 gauge uncoated copper wire
  • 2 coarse steel wool pads
  • 1 packet salt
  • 6 rubber bands
  • 1.25 oz Synthrapol detergent
  • 1 pair medium size protective gloves

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Back from Duluth

Here is a picture of my booth set up in Duluth at the Quilting on the Waterfront ~ Machines in Motion. I sold lots of instructional CDs for rust dyeing. That part of the United States is not call the Iron Range because the people there are all iron men. It is so named because it is the iron ore capital of the world.
I heard interesting stories of water so rich in iron that if you are not careful your sheets become naturally tie-dyed. Also many farm wives thought they should take up rust dyeing as they have barns full of things all ready for image transfer.
More stories from Duluth tomorrow.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Busy as a Bee

I have been busy getting ready to vend at Quilting on the Waterfront ~ Machines in Motion Quilt Show in Duluth. Getting ready to vend at a show is WORK. I ironed the ALL the scarves, remounted ALL the fat quarters, hung ALL the fabric on hangers, burned more instructional CD's, and printed many copies of my best selling patterns. So I have been busy working with Rust-Tex fabrics, just not rust dyeing. (If I had any idea how to do it I would put a sad faced blinking giff here)

Monday, August 07, 2006

Another Visitor

Yesterday it was a spider that made himself at home in my studio, today it was bees!!!
(I think they were attracted to the smell of the sumac juice. they were hanging around on the set up that smelled the strongest of sumac. When I poured some fresh they quickly moved to that set up. Fortunately I know they are not meat eaters so I was able to continue working.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Web Building

While I was busy building the Rust-Tex web site, I was not using the Rust-Tex dye studio very much. A spider took advantage of my absence to build his own web. One that went from the picnic table to the deck!!!
I guess I am just not spending enough time in the studio. First it was mice, now it is spiders and all the time it is mosquitoes and squirrels.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Latest Mono Print Scarf

I finally got around to using the iron grates I bought way back in May. I posted a picture of them on May 24, 2006. Once the paint was stripped off and they were allowed to properly age (get covered with naturally occurring iron oxide), I started using them in different set-ups, some were more successful than others. This week, I think I figured out the best way to use them.
The top picture shows the set up and the bottom one shows the finished scarf. Yes that is an old cafeteria tray. And yes the grates are propped up on the edges to give me more room to for the rest of the scarf.
I just love those black lines on this scarf.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Recipe for Grilled Steel Fish

At the Big River Forge and Ironworks in Lansing, IA, they cut fish from steel plate and use them to make things like this:
When I saw those fish I thought of a different recipe.
Put a steel fish on a cast iron grill and cover it with a piece of cotton cloth.
Sprinkle some salt on it, spray on some water and let the whole thing sit on the picnic table for a few hours on a hot day .

When it is a nice golden color around the edges rinse off the salt and water. Then iron it until it is flat and smooth.

I think it looks yummy, (but then I have strong cravings for fiber.)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Fabric From the Forge

Here is a picture of the fabric I dyed while on retreat this week-end using the stuff from the Big River Forge. The fabric I started with is a commercially dyed flannel that is already that nice daub color you see. The reason I posted this bit of dyed area is to show how the rust dyeing process caused some of the commercial dye to bleach out, giving more shades of color to the fabric. The dark area on the right is my shadow from taking the picture.
While looking through my stock the other day I noticed I had no gray fat eights. So yesterday I set out several of them as well as a fish cut out from the bottom of the plasma cutter at the Forge and a mono print scarf.
Even though the heat wave continues, I should have fun today rinsing fabrics. I tend to splash around a lot and get my shoes wet even when I am being careful.