Tuesday, April 29, 2008

International Quilt Festival Revisited

There are two vidcasts about International Quilt Festival that I would like to bring to your attention.
First Alex Anderson just gushes about "My Mini 9-Patch" on the quiltshow blog. Mine is the 6th quilt she shows.
...wait for it...
The second one features the faculty, I am the second teacher. After the sparkling performance given by Wendy Bulter Burns, I seem like a troglodyte.
(I bet Wendy didn't have a migraine when they taped her!)
The ArtGirlz look like they and their students had a fun class. And the rest of the teachers do a great job presenting themselves. Or is it just that Bonnie McCaffery does a great job in editing the vidcasts for the quilts.com website. She sure made me look good!!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Today's Weather

I guess I had the wrong information yesterday when I posted that the weathermen said it would snow on Wed. It actually will be pretty nice on Wednesday. It snowed today!!! Pictures just didn't do it justice so I took a little movie of it.

I will be on an internet radio program Wednesday, called "Quilting with Rosie". It will be on at 1:00 pm Wisconsin time. She will interview me about rust dyeing!!! So be sure to tune in!!! The shows are archived so you can listen to them any time afterward, just in case you are not near a computer at one o'clock on Wednesday April 30th, 2008.

( Click on the yellow bar in the upper left hand corner that says "Listen Live" after you get to the "Quilting with Rosie" page.)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

All Good Things Must Come To An End

International Quilt Festival in Chicago was fun but exhausting for me. It was the best week-end of my professional career so far. So many cool things happened I would loose readers if I mentioned them all. I thought more people would be interested to see how the show looked about an hour after it closed. This first picture is the Rust-Tex booth, uhmm...space, at 3:53 just 53 minutes after the show officially closed, these men were in my spot tearing down the walls. The carpet in the first aisle was rolled up about 5 minutes after the show closed.
This second shot was taken just before we left, at 4:15. The sign for "Aisle 1200" is hanging above those red shipping crates.

See you next year!!!
(It has been too cold and windy for rust dyeing these last few days. They are predicting snow for Wednesday!!! So I am rearranging my studio. Moving what I don't do any more out of the way to make room for I do now.)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

about that Big Blue Bottle...

I host "The Queen's Birthday Party" for my UFO Club, on the Friday night closest to my birthday, which is just two weeks before Christmas. I can hear them thinking, "We are so glad Lois sets up workdays for us, calling her Queen is a small payment." So I was shopping for treats for this annual event when I saw this magnificent blue wine bottle that I knew would be perfect for rust dyeing. So into my shopping cart it went. There were other things that influenced my decision:
  1. Blue is my favorite color.
  2. I WAS searching for a interesting wine for this party.
It turned out this bottle was able to handle an entire yard of fabric.

Here is what the bottle looked like after one day. I set it in a laundry detergent pail instead of a 5 quart ice cream bucket because it has been quite windy lately and I didn't want it to blow over.

Here is what the fabric looked like after I unwrapped and rinsed it out today. It doesn't look any different from the other sunbursts I make until you see it, pinned to the ironing board in my studio.

Then you get the scale of how big it really is!!!
Usually I use a fat quarter.

(Please no comments on my messy studio, it is a work in progress. )

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Back to International Quilt Festival

When we got to the booth on Sunday morning we saw a terrible stain on one of the white sheets we use to cover the merchandise at night. Merry and I, both looked at the ceiling to see where the leak had come from.
The ceiling didn't look like it had leaked!!!

When we pulled back the sheet we found this!!!

A little rust dyeing demo we had in the booth had not been put into its plastic bag for the night, so it had stained the sheet.
How am I ever going to get that rust stain off the sheet? I don't allow rust removers in my house.
Good thing the garage sale season has started looks like I need another white sheet.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Dear Rust-Tex.Blogspot.Com Reader,
Don't click on any link in the comments that say "Click here to see more" or maybe just "Click here". They are evil!!!
I delete them as soon as I notice them to protect you, but you can help by being cautious.
Later, Lois

Great Results

Here is what came out of yesterday's set ups. On the second shelf in yesterday's bottom photo you can see two small cast iron frying pans with a silk scarf in each one. The white one came out of the pan on the right and the black one came out of the pan on the left.
Here is a detail of the white one:
Here are two details of the black one cause I loved that flow thing that is going on so much that I got carried away taking pictures of it.
Here is the fish set up from the bottom shelf. It did such an unpredictable thing! I never got a bright orange fish before!!! And the way the a bright hole in the murky water formed...wow I might have to do another, Wisconsin Waterways!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Rust-Tex Studio Got Set Up Today, YEAH!!!

The weather today was way too nice for me to be working in my cold, damp Wisconsin basement studio. I NEEDED to be outside. So I spent most of the day moving the equipment I need for rust dye from its winter storage place in the garage to the Rust-Tex Dye Studio, (okay to most of the world it is just a deck but humor me and let me call it the Rust-Tex Dye Studio).
This first picture is an over view of the Rust-Tex Dye Studio. The rest of the pictures show close ups of different places in the studio with explanations of the important things pictured. Here is a close up of what I always keep on the table. Spray bottles of water, vinegar, and tannin, a plastic gallon bottle with a handle to pour water on bottles wrapped up to make trees, or mesa or galaxies, the container of "sludge", measuring cups and spoons, and a table top garbage bucket.

Here are the bottles and copper wire I use for bottle wraps. I can't wait to use that big blue wine bottle. I sometime feel the need to add to my repertoire.

Here are the metal shelves someone put out in their trash last summer and I dragged home much to my DH's chagrin. I knew I needed a set of shelves and I didn't mind a bit that the metal shelves were rusty. They hold rust dust, rust flakes, new and used coffee filters, weights, clamps, and rubber bands. All the things I need to keep handy for rust dyeing. The shelves also provide a leaning place for the foot from a claw-footed bathtub someone once gave me for rust dyeing.

Here is where I filter rust dust from the first rinse of bottle wrap fabrics. And below the picnic bench are the iron pots that I use when dyeing stuff black.

And finally here are the things I set up today. come back tomorrow and see what I got!!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Successful Student

One of the students who took the rust dyeing class on Thursday afternoon came by the booth on Sunday to show the results of her class project. I love that the picture captures her glowing with pride about her successful first piece of rust dyed fabric.
In the class each student was provided with the "Trees" Starter Kit (available at the Rust-Tex store). This student did a variation that created mesas instead of trees. Instead of laying the tube down in the water to create a pond, meadow and trees, you stand the tube up with the fabric pushed to the end of the tube that will stand in the water. The water wicks up the tube instead of around it. As the water passes over the copper wire it creates the mesa look.
In the detail picture you can easily see the mesa effect. The top of the fabric was actually the end that was in the water. The greenish tones are from the weird lighting at the show. That dark shadow in the lower left is the shadow of her hand.
I will be teaching rust dyeing twice more this summer at these events:
Sewing and Quilt Expo, June 7 morning
Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Show, July 18 afternoon
Hope to see you in class!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Final Post on Ice Dyeing

One morning, when I looked into the Rust-Tex Dye Studio, I found that the big pile of snow in the studio was almost melted. I took a picture to show you what I saw. Those two whitish things in the middle of this photo are the two bundles of cloth, muffin cups, and sidewalk salt. The local newspaper coined a new word that day, "snirt". It is a combination of the words for snow and dirt. It is the perfect word for old snow piles, as you can see by all the litter the melting snow left behind. It made the ice dyeing bundles VERY dirty!!! One of the bundles was cotton, and here is what it looks like after I washed out all the the snirt and ironed it.
This last picture is of the linen bundle. The damask weave shows up very nicely but the rust patterning is not spectacular.
I don't think I will be doing any ice dyeing next winter. There were too many drawbacks.
  • 1. Too cold for me to work in the Rust-Tex Studio
  • 2. There was not enough warmth or moisture to create the really cool patterning Rust-Tex is famous for
  • 3. Snirt

Come back tomorrow to see a student's "Trees" fabric from the rust dyeing class I taught at International Quilt Festival.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Still Too Windy to Work

There were "high wind advisories" in the forecast today. I am not sure what that means. But I could tell I didn't want to be out on the deck today!!! So I busied myself inside the house putting away some more of the boxes I took to Quilt Fest. Will I ever get all those boxes out of my dining room?
I promised you detailed shots of the results from my classes at Quilt Fest so here they are. This first one is the third from the left in yesterday's picture. In yesterday's picture you can also see the wind was blowing so hard it pushed the fabric against the deck supports. The fabrics were totally dried in about 30 minutes.

This one developed very strong patterning because I didn't add any extra water. It only had on it what I sprayed on to keep the salt in place. I just popped it into a plastic bag to bring it home and POOF!!! What great patterning!!! Here is a detailed shot:

And finally a stormy skies that I set up in the rust dyeing class. I didn't think it would develop well because I brought it back to my booth and one of the workers kept lifting it up the cloth to show customers how it was working. But it turned out spectacular!!!

Tomorrow I will post the pictures of the results of the ice dyeing. All three of my daughters asked about it today. That makes me think you would like to see it too.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


It really was "Too Windy to Work" today but I had to rinse out the bottle wraps I had made as one of the presenters of Dye Days at International Quilt Festival in Chicago. I had five bottle wraps and five image transfer stars from that event. I also needed to rinse out a bottle wrap and a stormy skies fabric from the rust dye class. The bottle wraps were getting very dark, so there was no putting it off until tomorrow.
Even thought it was 60F the wind was blowing constantly. The wind chill factor dictated how I dressed. I had brown cotton work gloves on inside my rubber gloves and I wore my stocking hat.
(The neighbors already think I am nuts. As long as they keep leaving me rusty bits I don't care what they think)
My eldest daughter helped me move some pieces of the Rust-Tex dye studio from winter storage (the garage) to the studio (the deck). The sink is not hooked up yet so I had to lug water in buckets. But it was worth it. As you can see from the results hanging in the picture below.
Close ups coming tomorrow!!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

My, My, My, How Time Flies!!!

I looked at my blog today and was surprised that the last time I posted was April first. (no fooling) In the middle of February I started getting ready for International Quilt Festival in Chicago. But I got into a time crunch around April first because I needed to file my taxes before I left. So I turn off ALL my yahoo groups and list serves, which helped because I did have everything ready to go by 3:45pm Tuesday April 8. My roadie drove her van over here when she got off work. With the help of my DH we packed the van floor to ceiling while gentle rain was falling on us.
This picture shows how I used most of the first floor of my house for the staging area.
But all the work was worth it!!! Here is a picture of the Rust-Tex booth, for those of you who couldn't get there. It is amazing how much stuff you can pack into a 10" x 10" booth.
(Some of the stuff, like the pattern for the Tall Pine Trees quilt, is available at the store at Rust-Tex.Com.)
I just wanted to let you know why I was gone so long and that I am back to posting on a fairly regular basis. I hope you will come back tomorrow and read more about my adventures at Quilt Fest.
ooooooooh, and the rust dye season here in Madison, WI starts this week. It is suppose to be 65 F on Wednesday and I have filed my taxes.
Let the good times roll!!!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Snow Drops

The first flowers in our yard are always the snowdrops by the corner of the playhouse. Years ago I buried a big rock there and left a little bit of it above ground to catch the sun. This warms the soil around the rock and helps give these early spring flowers a boost.
Other people plant spring bulbs near the foundations of their homes because that soil warms up sooner than the rest of the yard. We don't have flowers in our yard. Our mature maple trees limit us to growing hosta, moss, vinca and rust.
While I was tiding up the garage today I read the bag of sidewalk salt and it says it is 100% sodium chloride. So I guess rust dyeing linen needs to be done in warmer temperatures.