Monday, March 31, 2008

More about Icy Dyeing

The muffin cups totally emerged from the snow pile on Sunday!
I moved them to a place where water would drip into the muffin cups from the melting snow pile and keep them wet. Keeping the fabric wet is an important part of the rust dyeing process. In the summer I go out side a couple of times a day to check on this. I spray water from a squirt bottle if I think the fabric looks like it is drying out. If you can't be home to check on the moisture level put your rust dyeing in a plastic bag.This morning I found the rain that started Sunday night washed away the cave and the muffin cups were just sitting there on the deck. So I tucked them into an even deeper cave.
Last time I posted, I mentioned that one muffin cup bundle looked very white and frozen. It turns out that one is a woven linen damask. I am not sure why it is not dyeing as well as the cotton. My theory is that the sidewalk salt is not REAL salt but some other chemical compound that is not providing the right catalyst for linen. Or maybe linen just needs a warmer temperature range to make it work.It has been raining all day so I expect this will be the end of the ice dyeing season. Unless I want to tackle the BIG pile of snow in the Rust-Tex Studio Annex. If you want to talk to my family about the Annex, you should refer to it as the patio or they might not know what you are talking about.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Muffin Cups Return to View!!!

Everyday, since I buried them higher, I have been looking for the muffin cup and sidewalk salt bundles. Because it snowed the very next day, they have been buried for the past 9 days. Today around diner time I saw them peeking out.
The photo below shows how the lower one is looking.
The other one looked very white and, you know, frozen...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

New Business Card

Here is a picture of my new business card.
How cool is that???
Oh and about the egg dyeing using silk ties, don't eat those eggs and don't use your regular cooking utensils. Eggs should be dyed with coloring approved for use with food. Silk does not have those restrictions. So even though they look good enough to eat...resist the urge.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Dyeing Easter Eggs con't

Some one posted a comment to yesterdays post asking "Does it only work with silk fabric and does it ruin the fabric?"
To answer the first part of that question, I read through all the comments on the Martha Stewart website under this topic and found that it only works with silk.
To answer the second part, I have the fabric that I used. I washed and ironed it today, then I compared it to the original fabrics. Here is a picture I took of the three that changed the most.
The original tie is on the left and the piece used for dyeing the egg is on the right. You can see the purple is all gone from the tie farthest to the left. The middle tie really lightened up. The small print tie on the right, which I thought the most successful, looks like the red ran and made the print darker. There is a video on Martha's site about this and she says you can reuse the tie 5 times. It is trial and error. Just like real life.
(Madison, WI offically has broken the 100" mark for snow this season...sigh...)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Dyeing Easter Eggs

Many people were talking online about dyeing Easter eggs ala Martha Stewart. I tried it and it worked pretty well even though I forgot to put in the white vinegar.
Basically what you do is wrap a raw egg in a piece of an old silk tie. Wrap white cotton around it to hold it in place, using a twist tie to hold the cotton tightly around the egg. Then boil the whole thing for 20 minutes. Unwrap the bundles and viola dyed eggs!!!
For display only!!! Do not eat!!! The first picture shows the variety of silks I had. Notice that gold one. It didn't work at all!!!
Here are some of the sweet little bundles waiting for the rest of their friends.
Here they are in the hot tub together.
You let them cool in the pot before you unwrap them.
This little tie stained more than the egg.
This egg turned out to be the best one, meaning it had the cleanest transfer of image. I think it might be because it was such a tiny print.
Below you can see the plate of finished eggs. The white one was wrapped in the gold colored cloth that I pointed out in the first picture.

I will be looking for ties with small dark prints at garage sales this summer. The season usually starts around April 15, right after the United States income taxes are due.

I wonder how my muffin cup bundles are doing out in the snow pile while the snow is falling again today? We only need 3/8 of an inch to bring the season total to 100".

Saturday, March 22, 2008

More Snow

I didn't take a picture on Friday because it was so horrid outside. The blowing snow and sleet didn't prevent the mail from being delivered but it did make the delivery of my new business cards via UPS to be rescheduled until Monday.
This picture was taken about 11:30 am on Saturday. I noticed the snow was already down an inch or so from when I got up this morning, I ran to get the camera and get this shot of the Rust-Tex Studio.
That is the difference between a snow fall in March and a snowfall in December. You know the March one will soon be gone but the December one could be here until March!!!
I wonder what is happening to my muffin cup bundles....

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Latest on Ice Dyeing

This first picture shows the snow pile left in the Rust-Tex Studio. Even with the full morning sun on it, it is slow to melt because the temperatures have been in the mid 30sF. But...
the muffin cups wrapped with fabric and sidewalk salt have managed to melted through the snow pile, as shown in this picture.
I reburied them higher up. I'd like to see if they make it to the bottom again!!! The picture below shows the original holes and where my attempts at ice dyeing are now. I am not sure it really matters that I moved them because we are suppose to get another 6"-10" of snow by tomorrow night.
It will be interesting to compare today's picture of the studio with the one I will take tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What I Did Today

I worked on the commission a little bit. This picture shows some of crazy quilting stitches my Pfaff sewing machine can do. But mostly I am taking a break from the commission this week because my former high school worker is on her spring break from college. We spent the day packaging and pricing things to sell in my booth at International Quilt Festival in Chicago. Drop by booth # 811 and say you are a Rust-Tex.Blogspot.Com reader, I'd love to meet you.
The Friday Night Sampler is sold out. So make your move to register online.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Aforementioned Commission

In my last post I mentioned that I took advantage of the peaceful setting of the Siena Center to work on my latest commission. Here is what I am dealing with:
Yes those things coming out of the "Happy Birthday" box are scarves! I actually accepted a commission to make a wall hanging out of someone's grandma's scarves. Many of my fiber art friends expressed gladness that they do not have to try to make head and tales of this mishmash of patterns and textures. In the 35 years I have been making quilts, I have accepted many commissions: some for restoration of antique quilts, some to finish a quilt someone had started many years ago (UFO), some t-shirts quilts and way too many for traditional quilts. Now I don't take a commission unless it will challenge me. This one is truly challenging!!!
Here are a few of the preliminary layouts:

And here is what I finally ended up with for the blocks and the final border idea:Now all I have to do is machine crazy quilt stitching on these 4 blocks, sew the borders on, machine quilt it, bind it, and put a sleeve on it by April 1.
Stay tuned!!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Peaceful Retreat

Here is a picture I took while on a retreat earlier this week. It is of the labyrinth at the Siena Center with Lake Michigan in the background. It was a beautiful and relaxing setting that afforded me some time to work on my current commission and the last of the 4 retreats I went to this year. The rest of this year I will be on a wild ride of doing shows and teaching. I hope I will meet some of you along the way.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Signs of Spring

Here is a picture of the Rust-Tex Dye studio I took around dinner time today. You can compare it to yesterday's photo to see how much the snow has gone down today. The second photo shows how the icy dyeing is coming along. "Pretty Sweet" as my 18 year old might say.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spring is in the Air

Here is how the Rust-Tex studio looked today when the temperature reached 54 degrees F, which only lasted for a short while. Please compare it to the picture I posted of the studio on Feb 18. On one of the dye groups I am in, there was a lot of talk of ice dyeing back in Jan. But it was too cold for me too even think about doing that it in Jan or Feb. I guess I am just a fair weather dyer.
But the mild temperature this morning inspired me to rolled up three muffin cups (the rest of the muffin tin rusted away last summer) with some sidewalk salt in a fat eight of fabric and stick it in the studio snow pile. I know this process really needs heat, so I thought it might take a week. But when I checked just before dinner I could see some rust coloring on the fabric.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

A Reminder of my Summer Vacation

One of the trips offered by the cruise line I was on this summer was a swim to the hot springs near Santorini, Greece. My friend, I and 60 other people had to get off a small excursion boat into cold sea water. As we swam 50 yards toward the cove where the hot springs were we could feel the water warming up. The water in the cove had a VERY high iron content so all the plastic bags that had washed into the cove were naturally dyed with iron oxide. I was so excited to see that the iron had dyed the plastic bags that I had to bring one back with me. I needed my hands to swim back to the excursion boat so I stuffed it under my swim suit. Here is a picture of my trophy. I am off to another quilting retreat Monday-Wednesday.
I will post more adventures in rust dyeing when I get back.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

A Neat Trick to Finish UFOs

I will admit, I am the Queen of UFOs. Every year in January I inventory and I decide which ones in the pile have a future and which ones will get disassembled, which means the papers get filed, the fabric goes back on the shelves, the blocks, if they are not so ugly that I actually throw them away, become pincushions. During this year's inventory I came across two I had no desire to ever finish.
I used to teach a class where we sewed strata, cross-cut it and exchanged those pieces. Each student finished their own quilt. I already completed two bed size quilts from these exchanges and I really didn't want to make another one. I also came across some batik fabric from a friend of mine. One day when she was getting rid of a lot of stuff, she gave me three cartons full of fabric to give to the art teacher at the local elementary school after I went through it. I took out all the gorgeous batik fabric I could find. When I looked it over carefully, I figured out what it was meant to be. I thought I would use the fabric for something else because I am soooooooo not interested in making another Delectable Mountain quilt. Because the fabric is still sitting here 2 years later, I passed both these projects onto a member of my UFO Club who we refer to as "Speed Queen". And here are pictures of both finished projects which will go to Project Linus.
My neat trick for finishing UFO's is to give them to someone who makes quilts for Project Linus and sews really fast!!!
Try it, you'll like it.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Take a Class from Me

I am teaching a total of 5 classes at International Quilt Festival in Chicago.
Here is a list with their class number, title, time and cost:
#220 Lecture "Tales from the UFO Club" Thursday 9-10 $8
#232 Beginning Rust Dyeing Thursday 2-5 $60 (includes "Trees Kit")
#325 Dye/Print/Print Day Friday 9-Noon $30
#360 Friday Night Sampler "Binding for Corners that are not 90 degrees" $15
#445 Saturday Night Sampler "Metallic Threads" $15
Plus a freebie on the "Travel Scarf" at 12:30 on Saturday (As a loyal reader you already know all what it is at this presentation I will give you tips on how to do it)
You can find the catalog online by following this link:
You have to register to view the catalog or register online but it is not hard to do. Hope to see you in class!!!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

March 6th Snow Report

The snow in Wisconsin is way too deep for March 6th, as these two pictures plainly show.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Travel Scarf 5

The pictures I am posting are not of snow and ice which is what they would be if I took them today in Madison, WI. They are pictures of warmer days, pictures from my summer vacation. One of the ports that the cruise ship stopped at was Corfu in Greece. We walked all over looking for the word Corfu, either raised up of carved into something, so we could add it to travel scarves. We finally gave up and returned to the center of town where we were to catch a bus back to the ship, and there very close to the buses, we spotted these bronze plaques of various cities in Greece with the name of the city carved into marble beneath the plaque, in Greek!!!You can see the buses in the background of this pictureHere is the rubbing on my scarf
This last picture shows me cleaning the marble before we left. It didn't happen everywhere but sometimes the paintstick left marks on the thing we did a rubbing of. We tried to be conscientious about not leaving marks behind.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Too Much Snow

There is no "Picture of the Day" today, unless you can conjure up a mental one of Madison, WI setting the all time record for most snow in a season at 91". We are all pretty sick of snow. I want to be out in the fresh air rust dyeing not shoveling!!!