Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter just isn't Easter without decorated eggs in our house. My Tata (Dad) used to be most creative then--he'd paint little lambs with crosses and all kinds of beautiful Polish designs. Of course, as a creative little girl, I had to join him with my own designs. Then in recent years he couldn't get into it anymore, he couldn't hold his hand steady, and so I dyed or painted for all of us. (I find it interesting that now that it was time to decorate eggs, I miss him more than I have up till now. Christmas we were still somewhat dazed and in shock, but now I MISS him smiling over my eggs!)

It's not like I have the leisure time anymore to spend a day drawing and painting eggs, so I buy kits and dunk the eggs. This time the little kit I got had a white wax crayon in it. The instructions said to dye the eggs, let them cool, and then decorate. Huh? I knew better. So you see here the first layer of resisted eggs. I should have made more designs and overdyed again and again, making them really complex and more like pisanky. But I was on to learning how to use the breadmaker, so this is all we get this year. I'll have to remember for next year.

An article in a magazine reminded me about dyeing with Koolaid--yes, the packaged mixture for flavored drinks. I became even more interested when I found out this dye works only on protein fibers, that means silk and wool. Now I remember that some years ago I learned about dyeing roving and wool yarn spun for knitting and crochet. I just hadn't realized I could use it on silk. I have lots of scraps of white silk that are beautiful but not speaking to my sweatshirt lifestyle. I bought them when I was still thinking of going to work in white blouses. Now I need colors. Here I am out in the country, and I can buy packets of Koolaid in any of the stores! Wow, this is serendipity. Then one of the articles online suggested that if the Koolaid isn't quite the right color, that we can add some food coloring or, Easter egg dyes! Do you get the connection now? No, I didn't dump out the Easter egg dyes--they're under plastic wrap. I was going to dip some silk pieces in them today and show you tonight, but I got tangled up fixing my printer. So next time I will show you the effects.

I'm going to go with the plastic wrap and microwave heating method. I have a microwave that is no longer used for food so I'll drag it out and test this idea. Exciting! I also went out and got a food scale because you have to know the weight of your fabric to know how much dye you'll need. Don't yet know how pricey this will get--or should I be ordering silk dyes online. But the idea of quickly and easily dyeing up a fabric, sprinkling it to get different mottled colors, and sewing up an easy garment appeals to me. I'm including here three websites with clear instructions. Do check out all three. I found each one clarifies some point better than the others.

Instructions for Dyeing Protein Fibers (wool, silk):

Indigo Dye Kit from Jacquard Products
Then to add to all my dyeing excitement, I got this ad from Rupert, Gibbon, and Spider Inc., home of Jacquard products: "Bring ancient craft to contemporary fashion with our new INDIGO DYE KIT. We are thrilled and delighted to introduce this new addition to our popular fabric dyeing kit line. The unique characteristics of indigo dyeing make it easy to create wonderful resist pattern on fabric. This kit brings the ancient art of indigo dyeing to the home dyer in a user friendly formulation. Your vat will keep up to several weeks and dye more than 15 yards or 5 pounds of fabric or 15 shirts."

Below, I bring you news of an Indigo dyeing workshop in northern Michigan. I know there's at least one being held in Sebastopol, CA. Let me know if you know of more. Dyeing with indigo is different so I would like to take a class to learn the tricks. Meanwhile, do go see what else is happening at Jacquard headquarters:

Links from the folks at Jacquard! Go here to see colors. Check out the various coated fabrics. Ah, my favorite--fabrics for dyeing, not just silks. Introduces fabric pens and a t-shirt decorating contest. Eight prizes per week include Super Mega Sets of art materials.
©2009 Rupert, Gibbon & Spider, Inc. manufacturers of Jacquard Products. Jacquard is a registered trademark of Rupert, Gibbon & Spider, Inc. 800.442.0455 | P.O. Box 425 | 1147 Healdsburg Ave | Healdsburg CA 95448

Rupert, Gibbon & Spider Inc. are very supportive of artists. The following are a potpourri for you to enjoy:
Lucy Puls: sculptures made with inkjet printed fabrics--design inspiration

Sioban Silks: gorgeous handpainted silk scarves by Siobhan Elder.

Vortical by Phoenix Bess: Knit these beautiful and cozy socks in the project found at

Three Pines Studio: these folks have a long lineup of workshops including one featuring the brand new Indigo Dye Kit. This is in northern Michigan, beautiful country, parallel to where I spent summer vacations in Ontario. Worth a trip just to be there, creating art while there must be heaven.
Workshop: 1-2-3-Indigo Blue With Pre-Reduced Indigo August 2, 6-8 pm August 3 & 4, 8 am-4 pm Workshop Fee: $225 (includes all workshop materials, continental breakfast & lunch) Instruction on making the indigo dye process accessible and easy for home, studio and classroom using the new “pre-reduced indigo” from Jacquard products. An intensive workshop designed for fiber artists and teachers. Indigo dyeing is an amazing natural dye that develops shades of blue once the fiber is exposed to the air.

Bernina News
Visit frequently to check for invitations to BERNINA Instructional Webinar Events. I just found out about these and want to try one. Let me know if you've watched one of these.

BERNINA Fashion Show - Rendezvous
The latest BERNINA Fashion Show, Rendezvous, premiered in fall 2008 at the International Quilt Market in Houston, TX. The show featured the works of 48 talented designers who were invited to create one-of-a-kind garments. As usual Bernina showcased these outfits in their magazine Through The Needle #28. We're told to go to our Bernina dealer to buy a copy. My experience is that either the magazines haven't arrived or they've been sold out. Fortunately we can either subscribe to the magazine or buy back issues on DVD. However, I also registered with the Bernina online newsletter--they recently sent out access to a pdf file of the 2008 Bernina fashion show. Be still my heart, I get to see it all after all! You don't get the swish and sparkle and movement that you see on stage, but this is better than not seeing these at all.

This show was the final Bernina fashion show. It will be shown again in Chicago next week and then that's it. In 2009 there will not be a glossy fashion runway show of wearable art in Houston etc. Meanwhile Karey Bresenhan, co-founder and director of Quilts Inc. is looking for ideas on how to replace it. To register for the newsletter, write to:

Quilts Inc. also has News:
Judy Murrah, formerly the Vice President of Education in charge of all classes and educational offerings at the shows, has been promoted to Vice President of Education and Administration. She will now additionally oversee and coordinate most of the day-to-day workings in the Quilts, Inc. office, including human resources. Congratulations to Judy! Judy wrote several books on making traditionally-pieced jackets. Look for her name at to see the whole set. I think they had a big influence on wearable art for several years in the late 1990s--what she explained is still viable.

Ruth Moya, formerly Show Operations Manager, is now Show Manager. She will assume all responsibilities overseeing all activity on the show floor at the Festivals and Markets, from set-up to take-down. She will also be the main point of contact for exhibitors in all matters on site. Kudos to Ruth! I remember when she first worked with the Bernina fashion show designers. I was judging and Ruth was having to babysit while I was sifting through the clothes. She's been through the mill and I think will make an excellent Show Manager.

Santa Rosa ASG Sewing Retreat July (10-13) We have instruction/help on Saturday/Sunday which is always nice if trying to get paper patterns fitted. Come with friends to spend a weekend sewing, relaxing, swimming, or walking on the grounds. Price includes campus parking permit, 9 meals, studio apt. room, & sewing area. Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park. Arrive after 1 pm on Friday; go home after lunch on Monday. Shared room is $290 per member; private room is $340 per member, (non-ASG members, pay an additional $40 for 1 yr. membership) Questions? email Barbara Cohn ( Payable to: ASG -Santa Rosa 1300 Commerce St. 'B', Petaluma, CA 94954

Last time I told you about the Yves St. Laurent catalog but couldn't find a source. Priscilla Kibbee found the book is available at for $31.50. I put the information in the comments area immediately. Please do look to comments in my blog, for just this reason. If you haven't seen it yet, please do visit Priscilla's website

Carole Parker forwarded information from Darcy Fowkes about a wearable art fashion event in San Francisco being held Friday, April 17. For more information:
For clips of last year's show click on the Jan 8 video at

I spoke briefly on Facebook with Annette Randell, owner of Artemisia in Taos, NM. I wasn't aware of her business, but do check it out. She sews for her own store as well as carrying the work of top artwear designers. Lots of photos of wonderful wearables here:

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