Sunday, November 5, 2017

Raw Silk Scarves and Table Runners

These are some new items that I eco printed yesterday . . . raw silk was previously dyed with either cochineal (pink) or weld (yellow) (or a combination of the two).  I used an iron blanket to shift the colours towards olive green and purple. The prints are very clear and defined and the colours totally beautiful.

There are six pieces of fabric, most of them are approximately 72" x 13" (the perfect size for a long tablerunner or a scarf) and a couple of them are about 54" x 13" (great size for a smaller tablerunner).

How about this gorgeous maple leaf print?!

And here is one of the prints on cochineal ... you can even see the bug bites on the leaves

Monday, September 4, 2017


This week I have been doing some dyeing with cochineal and making eco print scarves . . . yummy!

Here are a few pictures of the finished scarves:
The scarves on the left and right in the above photo are habotai silk that was eco printed with leaves from my garden and the colour was shifted to a purple-pink by using iron in the process.  The scarf in the centre is silk-wool and it printed a much darker colour to start with, almost a cherry red, and after the eco printing it has settled to a raspberry shade with the leaves showing up as more red ... a beautiful effect that will make a gorgeous winter scarf. Detail photo of the silk-wool scarf below.

Below is a detail photo of the leaves on one of the habotai silk scarves.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Felting an eclipse

The finished piece!
Tomorrow (August 21, 2017) is the much anticipated total eclipse of the sun.  In my neck of the woods about 80% of the eclipse should be visible.  Today I decided that I would create a felted art quilt to commemorate this day . . .

I first selected some of the many beautiful pieces of wool roving that I have in my stash to create a background of dark blue with highlights of paler blue along with some gorgeous turquoise and orange.  This has been needle felted to a backing of cotton quilt batting.  I have just lightly covered the backing so that tomorrow...during the eclipse...I can spend the time adding the specialty fibres to represent the actual solar eclipse.
Selecting fibres

Initial layout of the background
The background has been lightly felted

I will be working at the Shuswap Artisan Market in Sorrento tomorrow (10am-4:30pm) and you can drop by and watch me add the details to create this piece.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Eco Printing and Natural Dyeing

Eco printing on wool gives such satisfying results ... these leaves were windfalls that I dried last fall just before the snow flew and they have given beautiful prints. 

 The strip of brown is wool melton that has been naturally dyed with red onion skins, cutch and a couple of iron spikes in the dye pot.
The small squares are cotton fabric that was previously used as an iron blanket when I was dyeing scarves.

 This will become a 20" pillow that has some hand stitching added to the machine stitched details. The asymmetrical design really appeals to me :)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Dyeing for Inspiration - a Summertime Workshop in Sorrento BC

It is time to start thinking about a fun workshop for this summer ... Here is information about one that I will be co-teaching with Thomas Roach at Sorrento Centre (on the shores of Shuswap Lake in the Interior of British Columbia). . . Class days are July 10-14, 2017

with Thomas Roach & Kathy Kinsella
 Fibre Artists Thomas Roach and Kathy Kinsella have teamed up to offer an inspirational course you'll be “dyeing” to take this summer!

Come and experience eco printing, indigo dyeing and rust printing on fabric and paper.
We will collect leaves from the gardens and use them to transfer the colours and shapes of nature to paper and fabric. We will encourage rusty metals to make marks for us and we will dip into an indigo vat that produces magical blues.

Woven into our week together will be the simple pleasure of some hand stitching inspired by the intriguing and inspirational results of our dyeing and printing. We hope that this will provide inspiration for future explorations. No experience necessary – come explore and play with us!
- See more at:…

Sorrento Centre offers great accommodation (camping, RVs, cabins or lodge rooms with amenities) and wonderful meals or, if you live locally and would like to come as a day student, you are welcome to do so.  Workshop times are 9:45-12:45 Monday to Friday with the possibility of an afternoon or two of open studio time. The afternoons are free for you to enjoy the beach, hike and explore the area.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Eco Print on Paper

This weekend I experimented a bit more with eco printed papers and this is something I will be exploring further!  I started off with an 11" x 14" piece of watercolour paper and folded it into a shape that would work for a small journal.  I used primarily maple, oak and smoke bush leaves and clamped them together before simmering them in a pot of water with onion skins and huckleberry tea added to it.

The dried papers were then waxed and some additional waxed leaves and blossoms were added to the central section.  A bit of eco printed silk was tied through some holes that were punched in the paper and a couple of small wooden buttons add more texture.
I think that this would be a beautiful statement piece in home or office.  A battery-operated tea light could be placed in the central section which would accentuate the images on the semi-translucent base to look beautiful at night.  As it stands, it's footprint is approximately 12" x 5". 

This piece will make its way to my Etsy shop in the next while.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Long and Skinny Eco Print Art Quilt

 This is a long and skinny (7" x 36") art quilt that I have created from a piece of eco printed wool fabric. It has a peony leaf as well as maple, oak, black elder, and more.

The backing fabric is also 100% wool (a hand dyed tweed that I purchased that goes just perfectly!) and it extends to form an informal border on the quilt. The black cotton batting that I chose peeks out from behind the eco print wool to give a little zing.

The background is free motion machine quilted in wavy lines and the leaves are all hand stitched.

The organic look of this piece will make a statement in any setting ... the edges are unfinished and just a little bit off-square.  I added a hanging sleeve to one of the narrow ends so that it can be hung invisibly from a 6" dowel ... very easy! (it does hang straight from the top edge, not on an angle as the photo appears!) It could also be draped across a table or piano ... or even wrapped around your neck as a statement scarf.
This piece is now available in my Etsy shop

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Canada 150 (#2) art quilt

Since the larger version of this art quilt is on display at the Salmon Arm Art Gallery this month I decided to make another to list in my Etsy shop.  This art quilt measures approximately 10" x 20" and is made using the same techniques as posted a few couple of ago ... painted leaves, machine and hand stitching and organza leaves.

You can see it in my Etsy shop

What are you creating to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday?

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Rust and Indigo combine in a fishy quilt

This is another version of a rusty fish quilt ... rusted onto cotton fabric from a corrugated fish that now hangs on the outside of our house.  After the fabric was rusted and well rinsed I dipped it in the indigo vat to get a medium blue background.

The fabric was then sandwiched with cotton quilt batting and a commercial fabric on the back and then quilted in wavy lines.  The fish was outlined with stitching and some of the key features were quilted.

Then it was on to the hand stitching . . . I chose to stitch the blue areas of the fish in a seed stitch and the rusty areas with layers of elongated stab stitches.  So far I have used two shades of rust to stitch the rusty areas but I might be adding another.

I have just started on the fins and have left the head and that gorgeous eye until the end ... you'll have to come back again to see what I do with that :)

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Canada 150: Red and White

2017 is Canada's 150th Birthday and this art quilt celebrates the occasion in red and white!  The red maple leaves were painted using hand-cut stencils that I made from locally gathered leaves. The background has been free motion machine quilted and hand stitched and then organza maple leaves were stitched along some of the leaf veins so that they add more movement and texture.

This piece is headed to the Salmon Arm Art Gallery for their Red and White exhibit that opened last night.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Snow-dyeing in January

We have a lot of light fluffy snow outside right now so it seemed to me that I should try out snow dyeing. Following is a short tutorial on how to do this yourself, using Procion MX dye powder and cotton fabric.

The fabric needs to be soaked in a soda ash solution before dyeing ... mix 1/2 cup soda ash in a little warm water to dissolve the crystals and then add one gallon of water in a large pail.  Soak your cotton for 10 - 30 minutes, depending on how heavy the fabric is. The leftover soda ash solution can be saved for future use.

While the fabric is soaking, prepare your dyeing container:  I used dollar store kitty litter trays with a grid from a broiling pan (which happened to fit perfectly over two of the litter trays. For my third container, I used a large bowl that I keep for dyeing and a smaller grid.  This is a photo after the dyeing was finished and the dyed snow had melted into the bottom ... I forgot to take a "before" picture.

When the fabric has soaked, wring it out (remember the rubber gloves) and place the fabric on the grid. You can scrunch it, as I did in the first two pieces I made or fold it, as I did to create the grid-like pattern in the third sample in the top photo. Now add heaps of snow to cover the fabric and then sprinkle your dye powder onto the snow.  Remember the rules for mixing colours ... the fabric on the left, above, was yellow and turquoise (makes green!) and the other two were combinations of fuchsia and turquoise with black.
Yellow and blue
blue and red and more black
red and blue with little black
 Cover the trays with plastic (I used a large clear recycling bag) and let it sit for 24 hours until the snow has melted and the dye has set into the fabric.

Carefully remove the dyed fabric and rinse it several times in cool water until it is almost clear and then add a couple of drops of synthrapol to a warm water wash.  Dispose of the dye water in a safe manner ... This is considered safe for disposal but I don't put anything like this into our septic system, but choose to pour it onto the ground where I know it will not disturb the balance of nature.

Here are a few more photos of the fabric while it was hanging to dry, and again once it was all pressed.  You will see that I also dyed a piece of cheesecloth in with each batch of fabric as that is something that I always like to have on hand.  I meant to dye some embroidery threads, too, but forgot until it was too late to add them :(

Wet fabric

Remember to practice good safety measures and wear a mask when handling powdered dyes, eye protection, rubber gloves, and a plastic cloth to cover your workspace and an apron to cover you.

I hope you will have fun with this technique and let me know your results!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Tablerunners for a change

 I have been having fun making some quilted tablerunners this week ... The one above is made from gorgeous fabric that I purchased last year with this in mind. The reverse is a coordinating brown fabric.
This next tablerunner is a modern depiction of west coast native-style art animals.  Black on white with a tiny dark red flange inside the binding. The reverse is solid white with the black binding.
This is a very contemporary runner ... grey background with black concentric circles and silver writing.  I have quilted it with circles within circles and added a grey flange to the black binding. Black reverse side.
This one is a tabletopper (not quite as long as a runner) that would look great on a coffee table or in the centre of your dining table.  It is quilted in watery lines and the reverse side is black.

All of these could be reversed for double the use.  They are now available in my Etsy shop ( where there are more photos of them as well as details on the measurements etc.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Eco print scarves

I have been so busy exploring new ways to eco print that I have been neglecting  blogging about the results ... here are some of the scarves that I have made in the past few months.

 This silk scarf has lovely shades of amethyst and pale greens and soft charcoal.

 This one has delicate shades of tan with a bit of peach along some of the edge and a broad shibori-like design dyed into one end.  The peach colour has come from adding madder to the dye pot.

 On the left and below ... The fall leaves have given bold prints in rich gold and green on this silk-wool blend scarf.  The leaves have a bit of an outline or shadow from iron.

These scarves are available in my Etsy shop (click on the icon on the right of your screen or go to

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Purple Carrots in the Dye Pot

Having seen some interesting results from people who have dyed fabric with purple carrots, I decided to give it a try myself this week.  These beautiful carrots are from Notch Hill Organic Farm and the ones that made it into our meals were very tasty.

I grated the carrots and put them in a cheesecloth bag (hoping to use the cheesecloth in some later project, too). They were simmered in a large pot and then I added a piece of linen and two pieces of silk.

Initially, the purple colour was totally gorgeous but it gradually became quite grey so I removed some of the dye to a second pot in order to experiment with additives.  I added some vinegar to the large pot and it went back to true purple. I added a bit of soda ash to the second pot and it went greenish-purple (I had put a piece of linen in that pot to check those results).  I removed the first piece of silk from the big pot just in case I was to lose that colour again, but left the remaining silk and linen in there to simmer for a couple of hours and then to soak in the cooling dye pot for more than 24 hours.

The photo shows the linen on the left (lovely pale lilac) ... habotai silk in the centre, also a pale lilac ... the crepe de chine silk is on the right and it has the most intense colour.  These photos look quite a lot greyer than they are in real life.  The linen in the secondary pot did not hold the colour once it was rinsed.