Monday, November 17, 2008

A Strange Weather Day

At 11:50 am, I went out to get the mail and bring in the garbage cans, it was starting to snow. You could hear the sound of sleet hitting dry leaves.

Around 12:10, when Eldest Daughter (ED) and SIL arrived for lunch, the big flakes had started to fall.

By 12:30 The boiling water from our pasta lunch had steamed up the kitchen windows, obscuring the view and it looked like a full blown blizzard.

When ED and SIL left close to 12:45 the sun was shinning.

What a strange transition from fall to winter we experienced today.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Stay at Home Challenge

You can see all the quilts that were created for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative, including the ones created with the Rust-Tex fabric I sent, by clicking on the link below:

The Rust-Tex ones are pretty easy to pick out, with the exception of #3324 "Fox in the Flowers". Tobi saw a fox head in the random patterning created by the rust dyeing. She enhanced what she saw with a bit of color pencil and then surrounded the fox head in golden flowers and leaves.

Another one you might not think was made of rust dyed fabric is #3301 "Faded Glory". I sent Diane a piece of Stormy Skies fabric and she made it into big gray flower.

Heather was able to make 4 quilts from the 10" square of Rust-Tex I sent her. Yeah, Heather!!!

Rusted Hearts Still Hold Love Debbie Krueger

I didn't mention, in my post on Nov 4th that shows some of these quilt, that not only did I send out pieces of Rust-Tex fabric to use in making these quilts, but that I would also make a donation to AAQI for each quilt finished by a certain day. The Stay at Home Challenge group completed 22 by the deadline. As the email I sent each person who asked for rust dyed fabric said, "Together, we can make a lot of money for Alzheimer's research."

And I was right!!!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Indoor Studio: Success

The move of the Rust-Tex Dye Studio to the basement has been quite successful.
Yesterday I set up a black dye pot .
Today I rinsed out four silk scarves that will be perfect to include in the new travel scarf kit that I will soon be offering for sale.
These scarves have not been washed, so I saw no point in ironing them just to make the picture look good. My friend, the photo stylist, might disagree with me on that point.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Escape Plan Foiled

My DH nailed a piece of wood over the hole Keekum has chewed in the back of his cage.
Will this simple act begin the magical transformation of my DH into a patchworker? I hope so!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A True Story for Election Day

Ami Simms began the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) because she thinks it is possible to make a difference, one quilt at a time. She asks quilters to make "Priority Quilts", so named by the requirement that these quilts must fit into a cardboard USPS priority mailer without folding. They are small works of art no larger than 9 inches by 12 inches. All the money raised from the sale of these quilts funds Alzheimer's research.
Rusty Leaves Jenny Williams
These small quilts are sometimes sold outright at selected venues across the United States. Ami took 1,000 PQ to the Houston Quilt Show and I am hoping she didn't bring any back with her to Michigan.
Wine & Cheese Under the Stars 2 Beth Hartford
You were not at the Houston Quilt Show so didn't get a chance to buy a PQ in person????
You can buy one on the auction page of the AAQI and you are in luck because the auction starts tomorrow, Nov 5!!!!
Free Spirit Everlasting Kathryn Kistner
I have been supporting the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative, not by actually making quilts to be auctioned off, but by sending pieces of Rust-Tex fabric to members of the quiltart list who accepted the Stay At Home Challenge. (We stayed at home instead of going to the Houston Quilt Show...sigh...)
All the quilts in today's post were made from the 10"-11" square of Rust-Tex fabric I sent out to those who requested it.
Catch A Falling Star Ann E. Ruthsdottir
One member of the SAHC wrote this:
Back in 2002 my siblings and I realized that dementia was seriously affecting both of our parents. My mother had classic Alzheimer's symptoms, but my father's symptoms were not as clear. As part of the process of having them both diagnosed, I took them to see a geriatric psychiatrist. I sat with each of them as the Doctor ran through all the typical questions:
What day is it? Mom had no idea.
What are the names of your children? Dad got 4 out of 5.
Who's the President? They each independently answered this question exactly the same way: "We don't know, but we don't like him."

Faded Glory Diane Petersmarck
And that's why I support the AAQI and Ami's effort to change the world one quilt at a time.

Monday, November 03, 2008

PAQA Vidcast

The picture of the day is in celebration of a beautiful fall day!
Click on the link to see what a meeting of the
Professional Art Quilters Alliance is like:

Follow this link to see the PAQA website:

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Keekum, Are You Planing To Escape?

We keep our pet rabbit, Keekum, in a cage that we bought used more than 20 years ago for our first pet rabbit. Although it has served three pet rabbits well, the wood is starting to weaken. So when my DH first showed me this hole in the back of the cage, I thought someone had punched a hole through the wood. On closer examination I could see that Keekum has been chewing on this board.
I am not sure if he is trying to ventilate the back room where his litter box is kept or planning an escape. Either way I think we had better get a patch on it soon because I don't think he would know what to do if he met a predator in the night. He knows he is at the bottom of the food chain. When threaten he totally surrenders.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Lasting Impatience

While I was packing up the outdoor studio I moved this impatience near the front door. I thought I could extend its life by bringing it in at night when the temperature was below freezing. So far it has been out every night and seems to be thriving. I even saw some buds on it yesterday.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Just in Time for Halloween

The Rust-Tex Indoor Dye Studio is in the same condition as the last picture I posted. As I have been busy doing other things. Like baking these finger cookies for DH to take to work tomorrow.
It was really his idea and the past two years he made them mostly by himself. This year I shaped all of them. He put the "knuckle" marks and the fingernail on them.

You can find many recipes with lots of variations on the web. Just use "finger cookies" for your search argument. Our personal variation is to put a bread sitck in the cookie. We make the bread stick almost as long as the cookie and leave it hanging out the end like a broken bone. The change in texture from sugar cookie to bread stick adds a terrifying dimension to eating one of our cookies. That texture change makes you think of brittle bones.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Just in Time!!!

I got the Rust-Tex studio into the garage just in time as the first snow of the season descended upon us.Don't be fooled, this picture is from February 18, 2008
Today it was 40F and the snow melted as soon as it hit the ground. Temperatures in the 60sF are predicted for the week-end.
Click here to see how the Rusty Naked Dancing Woman woman is coming along.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bad News/Good News

The bad news is, no more beautiful summer days for any of us in the Midwest area of the USA. But for me it meant packing up the Rust-Tex dye studio on the is a picture of how it looked after the last load was removed to the garage for winter storage. The good new is, I am going to carve out a tiny corner of the basement to create an indoor rust dye studio. Although I will still be in my cold and damp WI basement studio, it won't be all bad. If fact here are a couple of things I am looking forward to:
I can be as messy as I want to be. I won't have to be careful not to get water on the floor and flakes of rust all over the place. There is a floor drain and I won't be using the laundry room sink
There is a hook where I can hang up my Rust-Tex lab coat. You know, the one with the Rust-Tex logo over the pocket
Here is a picture of it already hanging there waiting for me put it on when I try to carve out a place for a table from this area of the basement, which is just outside the bathroom.
I know just what you are thinking,
I will post pictures of how it turns out.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Naked Dancing Woman

Someone ordered the Rust-Tex Instructional CD today through the store on Rust-Tex.Com and this is what she is planning to do:

"Am really excited...have been doing a little rusting on my own as I want to make a piece of a rusty old naked dancing woman to celebrate my 65th birthday...think my joints are getting rusty so rusty fabric seems the way to go to express my joy at making it to age 65."

Good thing she lives in FL where the rust dyeing season never ends.

Here, in WI, the season is drawing to a close...sigh...I am planning to pack up the rest of the Rust-Tex dye studio this week-end. The good news is I am thinking of setting up a Rust-Tex dye studio in a corner of the basement so I can rust dye fabric in the winter. It won't be as much fun as rust dyeing outside on the deck. I won't be able to "be as messy as I want to be". I will have to be careful not to get water on the floor and flakes of rust all over the place.
When your rust dyes studio starts to look like this EVERYDAY you know it is time to pack it up.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Still Another Question

This question arrived by emailed today:

"Does the tannin have a short shelf life, once it's mixed with hot water? I have a silk shawl that is not accepting the tannin. The tannin was mixed with hot water several days ago and has worked well on other cotton and silk pieces, but it is now cool and several days old. Do you think if it is heated again it will dye better—or should I just dump it and mix a fresh batch?"
When tannin is mixed with iron oxide you get black.
It is available at the store at Rust-Tex.Com
I have not noticed tannin going bad in 2 or 3 days!!! I put it in a bottle and let it sit on the deck until it grows moldy. That is a sure sign to toss it. My experience is that it works best, (read as fastest) in hot weather. If you are doing this outside in cold weather it will take longer to work. Try letting it sit longer than overnight.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Prairie Treasures Quilt Show

I will be vending at the Prairie Star Quilters Guild show this week-end. Come and see Rust-Tex fabric in the cloth, because it is so much better then on the internet. Follow this link for more information:
I will bring the same rust dyeing supplies that I carry in the store at and MORE!!! If you let me know you are a reader, I will give you a free gift.
(There is no picture of the day as my hard drive failed and EVERYTHING has to be reinstalled...sigh...)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Another Question

To answer the comment left on the last post, "Is there something you can do to the tannin effect so that it doesn't wash out if you want to overdye it? I tried soaking my tannined piece and it started to soften around the edges. Any advice?"

Tannin is used in natural dyeing as a premordant so I am surprised that it is washing out. Rust dyeing is sensitive to ph levels. If you are soaking it in soda ash in preparation for procion dyeing that might be what is causing it to "soften around the edges."

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

More Crystals

It seems I am fated to grow crystals this week in the Rust-Tex Dye Studio. All day yesterday there was a strong dry wind blowing and it was HOT. We finally had our first 90F day of the summer. I was out to the studio (read: deck) every hour to rehydrate fabrics. I was getting frustrated until I remembered there is a way to utilize those weather conditions by making what I call "Copper Hills" fabric. I have not used the copper solution since last fall and it was STRONG!!! These little crystals formed at the top of all the ridges. Most the copper color rinsed out and the fabric was less than spectacular.The best thing to come out of the Rust-Tex studio yesterday was the picture of the crystals.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Blue and Gold

In the bright sunlight and hot weather on Labor Day, I exposed a maple leaf from the yard to blueprint fabric. Today I wanted to see what would happen if I tried to rust dye veins on to it.
Two things I was totally unprepared for happened.
First, some organic matter fell out of the tree overhead, a seed pod of some sort, which caused a stain on the fabric. Keep your eye on the circled area to see how that developed over time.
Second, the salt traveled to the edges of the fabric and started forming into crystals!!! Remember how we use to grow crystals by mixing bluing, and some other household chemicals together and putting it on coal?
(Oh, dear, did I just give away how very old I am?)
Anyway...this picture shows how the piece looked after I removed the wire. I wanted a record of it in case all that nice blue color washed out.
But it didn't!!!
I found I can combine rust dyeing and the wonderful colors of cyanotype.
The thin wires didn't rust at all. That wire must have had some kind of coating on it. Don't worry I can add them with free motion quilting or "thread painting" as it is being called now.
I like the glow the salt and/or iron oxide made as it discharged the blueprinting chemical. Click here to link to directions for growing crystals with bluing

Monday, September 01, 2008

Labor Day Already?

Can you believe it is Labor Day already? Where did the summer go? If this is September 1st, Quilt Expo in Madison, WI must be right around the corner. I will not have a booth there this year as my quilt, Ground Zero and I are going to be featured at the Mendota, IL quilt show that Saturday. However I will be presenting a 1 hour lecture for Quilt Expo on Thursday at 2:30 called, "Capturing Memories on Cloth". It is how I took paintsticks with me on vacation to capture names of cities and textures of various cultures on a pre-hemmed silk scarf so I came home with a finished product, not another UFO.
You can register for this lecture by clicking here.
You can see all the lectures click here. They are alphabetical by lecturer's last name.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Polyester Double Knit Re-Purposed

This past winter I bought a chunk of polyester double knit at Savers. The previous year I had rust dyed a polyester scarf and thought the way the water flowed through the fabric, called "wicking", was interesting. The scarf already had large graceful curves woven into it.
Yesterday I tried the double knit and Pow...Zap...Zowie...
I was struck by the results!!!
This piece is really flat. I didn't bunch it up for the picture. Those wonderful troughs and highlights formed as the rust dye wicked through the fabric. I have another piece out there without the little wire guy in the middle.
I wonder if I can get quilters to accept the idea of using this kind of fabric in their art quilts? Polyester double knit is indestructible and never needs to be ironed. Back in the 1970's everyone's grandmother had a pants suit made of this fabric. It was also the fabric of choice for leisure suits with wide lapels that were worn by guys with bad reputations.
Forget bamboo fabric, I am looking for polyester double knit at the next garage sale.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Strange Bottle Results

The picture today is the results of the bottle wrap I did on that strange bottle from a garage sale pictured in the last post.
It is not at all how I expected it to turn out.
Perhaps I should not buy eerily shaped bottles any more. This bottle must have had a demon trapped in it.
Can't see it?
Can you see him now? (A face formed because I folded the piece in half so it would fit on the bottle better.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Who is using the Rust-Tex Studio...

...not me. I have been busy with my sick friend and lots of other things that unfortunately keep me out of the rust dye studio. I did venture out there the other day to mourn the loss of my creative time and I saw that spiders have been using the piles of rusty stuff to support their webs! Yipes! "Yipes!", not because I am afraid of spiders but, "Yipes!", because I think I should be the one using that rusty stuff. So today I did a bottle wrap using this bottle and some copper wire I found at a garage sale this past week-end. Any one know what this bottle is from?
I will post a picture of the finished piece as soon as I can.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Hanging-out with Friends

Saturday was the prefect day for rust dyeing and I was planning on doing that after lunch. The morning was reserved for the UFO Club workday. Seeing that I am the Queen of the UFO's, I thought it was important to for me to make an appearance, since I have not been there in several months. My phone rang while I was getting ready, and I ended up spending the entire day here.Mostly it was spend in this room.
And finally, when my friend was admitted to the hospital, this was the view from her window. You can see the what a beautiful day is was...sigh...

The up side is she REALLY NEEDED to go to the hospital, she is on the mend, and will be released on Monday. Friday night I went with a carload of friends, from the Madison Contemporary Fiber Artists, to the opening of our show in Plymouth, WI.
The above piece is by Wendy Butler Burns

The show is called, "Hanging by a Thread". All the pieces were about social issues. My piece was called, "Tire Reef Disaster". It is about an artificial coral reef made of tires that was sunk in the 1970. It never became a coral reef. It has actually caused great damage to the ocean floor. The cables holding the tires together have broken and tires are washing up on beaches in FL.

Yuck!!! What were they thinking!!!

Here is my piece, which is made of all rust dyed fabric. I printed the Associated Press article on fabric. It is in those two boxes below the ocean scene.

The picture of the day is what I wore to our eldest daughter's wedding. Many of my friends left comments on the Pirate and the Princess post, requesting to see what I wore. I call it my Rust-Tex Floater and wear it on special occassions.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Pirate and the Princess

The marriage of our eldest daughter was on August 2nd. It was a themed wedding held outdoors. The theme was, The Pirate and the Princess. Here is the logo that was used on the invitation and...everywhere else, as you will see later in this post.
The groom rented a pirate costume instead of a tux and the bride wore a dress that made her feel like a princess. Here is a picture of the happy couple.

The cake was in the shape of a castle decorated with trailing vines and a meander quilting pattern in the icing.

Yes it is leaning. It was in the upper 80'sF that day and the poor cake had spent an hour being transported by car to the site of the wedding.

Our youngest daughter made these truly unique "cake toppers".

This picture shows how a pirate cuts a wedding cake.

This one shows how a well bred princess cuts a cake.And this one show how working together a wedding cake can be properly cut by a pirate and a princess.

I baked the cake on what turned out to be the hottest day of summer so far. But my sister-in-law the professional cake decorator, is the real hero in this story. She drove from Waukegan, IL to Madison, WI after she got off work on Friday night to decorate the cake. She arrived in Madison about 7:15 and the cake was done about 12:30.

During transport one of the turrets fell off before the cake was one block from the house. SIL has done enough wedding cakes that she knew to bring along a repair kit. I have no idea what all is in a cake repair kit, but my SIL knew and she had it with her so the cake looked fabulous all day. When I went to take one more picture before we cut it one of the turrets fell off. I took that as a sign that it was definitely time to cut the cake.

Thank you Carol!!!

It was an amazing cake!!!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Theresa Finally Meets her Namesake

My good friend Theresa from Washington, DC, is here for our eldest daughter's wedding. So she and my studio companion, who was named after her finally meet. And the picture of the day proves it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Another Question about Rust Dyeing

Someone email me this question today:

"When you're working at you use plastic bags? I couldn't decide whether it was keeps in the water, but would restrict the air."

I am home all day so I can keep the rust dyed pieces hydrated when necessary. I love checking on them, it gets me out of my cold, damp basement studio into the beautiful summer day, which is one of the main reasons I took up rust dyeing.

Using plastic bags just sends more things to the landfill so I try not to use them. Wrapping your rust dyed piece tightly with plastic will restrict the oxygen available. I had an interesting talk with a chemist at Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Show. He said iron oxide formed with less air is black, iron oxide formed with a lot of air is reddish. This might open up a whole world of experimentation for someone.

Would that be you?