What a Waste?

I wasn’t raised in the depression, but my mom was. She saved bags by the hundreds and margarine tubs were stacked in cabinets. What are we going to do when this **** is over? (I’ve made a personal pledge to refrain from using the word). Possibly hoard toilet paper or save our last soft drink like we will never see one again!

Well, the habit of saving or not wasting dye has been something I started when I took a class from Yvonne Porcella. She has passed away many years ago and left a legacy that will last for centuries. We were dyeing silk and she suggested we take a scrap of wet fabric compatible with the type of dye we were using and wipe down our table.

This is much easier when the dye is suspended in water. So that is what I did! I ice dyed blues for a background for a portrait quilt. I had dye from rinsing my spoon, a little spill and a small amount of dye from the original container (if you spill powder dye always use a wet paper towel or fabric to wipe it up). Sorry I’m off track again!

I wouldn’t do this with contrasting colors on the color wheel and experience tells me to stay away from colors such as blue violet. Red and blue make purple or Violet. If you use many colors or hues you get what I call mucky muck. A brown or grey. Not fun; unless you want it.

Check out the picture below for an example of putting blue violet in the mix.

Ice Dyed! Check out the red! Beautiful but not what I wanted!

Back to the waste dye results. I put several long 5 inch wide pieces (WOF) in the cup with the leftover dye. Be sure and leave enough for the soda ash solution to set the dye. Of course, I didn’t think of it in advance.

Here is the fabric from the waste dye. The pieces at the bottom were darker than the pieces at the top! What a waste to throw the dye away!

I can’t predict what you will get using this post. For me it’s a spontaneous. The results are unpredictable to some extent.

If you have never dyed fabric, I hope you can in the future. Always take safety precautions. I wrote a blog post on Safety as well. One of my first. I always say, put safety first!


Learning about Quilts

I’m a busy grandmother of 9 grandchildren. Three of those 9 are girls. Not that boys can’t sew. From experience I can tell you boys like to run a sewing machine like a car. But girls, are a different breed. Avery is one of my grand girls and lives in the Houston burbs close to our home. She asked to sew and to make a quilt. I had a panel by Butterfly Hollow by moon cookie gallery. It’s one of those that you just can’t stand to cut. Thank goodness it was in my stash. Here are pictures of our adventure.

Just happened to have this purple dyed fabric. It could have been a better match, but I was trying to let her make the decisions.
Here she is trying to write her name. Avery was written from right to left. You can make out the “e”.
Her attention sometimes escaped to the thread, How could any girl miss the thread? Why so much grandma?
Here is a pose with my Avante. Looks like a happy girl. It’s amazing how she didn’t have the fear of quilting on solid fabric and trying to make trees and butterflies. If she wasn’t pleased, you couldn’t tell it! She was undaunted. I learned a few lessons from Avery. One I just mentioned: be undaunted. Try without expectations and Be spontaneous!
The finished Quilt
She wanted washable wool from Hobbs. She said it looked like butter. Grandma is going to use more of her dyed fabric for a purple binding. Not a bad project for a weekend. Her mom says she has talked for hours about it. Good times!


I capture most of my pictures of clouds in parking lots and while my husband drives along country roads.

Storms are nearby!

We rarely see rain from these clouds on hot summer days.

The contrast of light and dark tell me there might be a brighter day ahead.
This photo taken by my daughter in Montano shows low clouds with mountains in the background. It’s a good example of depth.
I couldn’t leave this one out. The clouds look like feathers.
Back in Spring, Texas here is another. The photo graph show perspective. I can use this example in a quilt in the future.
Here is an art quilt based on the photograph. I use photographs to begin my process. More on the process another day.

Enjoy life! Cherish each moment! Pam

Trees and Texture

My fascination with trees has always been innate. I started climbing and jumping from trees and then progressed to building tree houses. Trees are fascinating examples of nature. How does lead to texture?

Take a closer look at trees and their texture.

My favorite bark from a bald cypress.
A little light reflection here.

Check out the textures and the depths of each one.

Quilting with Metallic Thread

This post is about one of my challenges. Quilting with Metallic Threads. First start by cleaning And oiling your machine. I have a Handi Quilter Avante and my machine has a stitch regulator.

Piecing, dyeing fabric, and quilting my own quilts happened almost simultaneously. Well, within years of each other. I love a challenge, but I also believe with help anything is possible. So, here is the help.

While you machine quilting keep your body directly in the front of the frame and machine. Relax your shoulders as you quilt. Put an-image in your head that triggers you to relax. Do this with any type of thread.

Put you metallic thread on the spool pin closest to the front of the machine.

Notice the thread is only going through the first hole in the thread guide. Now thread as usual.

Let me add here that my tension is set at 14 SPI . I use the Easy Set Tension Kit from Handi Quilter. The tension kit reads 145. I’m using Superior Metallic Thread and a needle for Metallic Thread both fromSuperior. The tension on my bobbin case was not changed and the thread I used is not metallic. I use a cotton or polyester thread for a long arm bobbin.

Practice to the side of your quilt after you have rethreaded, changed a bobbin or a needle.

After you have machine quilted in several different directions you should be ready to stitch on your quilt. I hope you find this helpful! Have fun!

Dyeing in the Winter

Yes, where I live in Texas you can dye in the winter. I’ve received some new pfd’s and couldn’t wait to get started.

A neighbor and friend of mine took pictures so, I’m able to share. Thank you, Nancy!

I dyed this small piece of silk with DynaFlow. Love it! Better yet I just pressed it on a silk setting it to set the dye. Usually, the process requires hot steam from a pot on a stove.

I dyed these silk ribbons with Dyna Flow. too!

The next day, I dyed cotton. We have had usually warm weather this winter. It’s above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. So, the quest began.

I mixed Prochem’s dye thickener to the water the night before. I added a teaspoon of dye and it thicken to the right consistency. It reminded me of pancake syrup. So much fun!

I soaked the cotton I was stamping with soda ash several days before while waiting for Christmas to be put away. I let it dry naturally. Don’t put fabric soaked in soda ash in the dryer or press it with a iron until the soda ash is washed out.

I’m stamping here using a wood block wrapped with bubble wrap. I use a foam noodle to make a Circle. The grandkids, I should say the rowdy boys thought I had bought it for them!

The wavy lines on the edge of the picture were made with an old fashion potato masher. Found items are the easiest to work with.

Ice dying is my personal favorite.

Ice dying was my second process of the day. I usually start it first allowing the ice to melt slowly. It takes most of the day even on a hotter day. The results are surprising. I drop dye with a teaspoon while wearing gloves and a respirator. I’m not a pretty sight. My husband usually lets out wild scream when he sees me. My first respirator was a gift from him. Of course, I made the suggestion.

My third process for the day was over dying.

This batch did not start with a soda ash solution. I had dyed it leaving negative space on the cloth. If the cloth is too saturated it will not take any more dye. Sometimes, the dye molecules will even take over the positive areas as well depending on the saturation level. So, I chose the colors green or purple on the color wheel because blue lies between the two. I don’t want what I call mucky muck. Which can be a ugly brown. On the positive side it makes a great neutral!

I had to take a emergency trip to the dentist and I almost forgot the soda ash. Soda wash fixes the dye to the fabric. If I had not remembered, My results would have washed down the drain.

I’ll post my results here on my blog when I’m completed these pieces. There are many ways to add texture to your dyed product. I have more ideas that I want to try.

Enjoy life, every minute, every second,


Pictures from AAA Presentation

Starting with white cotton fabric soaked in soda ash.
Supplies shown: buckets, ice chest, fabric and dish drying rack.

Adding dye powder to the batch.
Additional dyes added to same batch.
Ice dyed in all its glory.
Fabric dyed from past ice dyes and low immersion dyes.

The big dilemma with this presentation: How are you going to get the ice to melt in an hour on a beautiful spring day in March? I used a heat gun to melt the ice to show off the fabric in the end. It didn’t change the results.

Dyeing Safety- March 12, 2019

I had friend of a friend texting me about dyeing pants. After texting her, I realized that the majority of the conversation was about dye safety. Here is the advise I gave her: ALWAYS wear rubber gloves when you are dyeing. Rubber gloves should be put on even before you open the jar of dye. NEVER dye in your kitchen or where food will be stored or served. If you use something from the kitchen, it should never be used in the kitchen again. I use recycled plastic cups, spoons, buckets, measuring spoons and cups. I keep them in the garage. They are used for dyes only. I take buckets of water outside before I start to dye, to rinse these items before they are put away. After your dye process each jar of dye needs to be wiped with a wet paper towel. The reason being when the moisture or water drys it leaves a powder or tiny little particles that get on your hands later. You don’t want dye power showing up on your hands. When an accident happens, I use this:

This leads to a discussion on adding dyes to urea. The urea softens the water. Its usually needed for colors like black, red, fuchsia. Its best to mix urea in water before you add the dye. Never add dye to a dry surface.

ALWAYS add powder to a wet surface. Prepare your solutions with warm water ahead of time in cups. I use the cups over and over after they are cleaned. If the cups crack, they need to be thrown away. I always use a respirator mask while I dye fabric. In the past, I have used a small mask to protect my face. They are similar to ones doctors and nurses wear. It protects my mouth and nose from aspirating the dye particles. I wear glasses as well. I need them to see, but they are also protecting my eyes. I’ve bought my masks from Amazon and replace the filters on the respirator. I also, buy fabric and dyes from Dharma and Pro Chem. I’m sure they sell the masks as well. Here are the masks:

These are called comfort masks.
Here is the mask I found on Amazon. It has replacement filters.

After dyeing, gloves, containers, buckets, spoons, washing machine drum (yes, that too, I don’t use a front loading washing machine), jars and fabric all need to be washed with the gloves on. If you take the fabric from a bucket after adding water and soda ash, the gloves need to be on your hands. I wash the fabric twice sometimes three time in hot water.

I know this sounds a little preachy or maybe a lot of preaching to some of my readers. It’s a serious discussion. Why do I dye fabric? It’s a lot of work. Work reaps rewards. I enjoy seeing the fabrics; when they come out of the dryer. My usual response is: “this batch is not as pretty as the last.” But as I press them with a hot steam iron. I notice their beauty. So, let’s end with : It’s better to be safe than sorry.

This is a work in progress. It was done with my dyed, and painted fabric. Its not laying flat, but it will quilt out. This is a design by “bee creative.” I’m not able to find her with her website or by phone listed on the pattern to give her credit.

Hand Dyeing Fabric

I started dyeing fabric to add light and dark shades to my commercial fabrics. Dyeing offers a creative element that leads to mystery and surprise. You may think you know what color you are getting, but often times you are fooled. New techniques keep my interest fueled. So, my journey continues.

I have used dyed fabrics with my needle turn applique, machine stitched applique, as well as piecing traditional quilts. I have used them in a portrait quilt as well. Dyed fabrics don’t have a repeating pattern through out the piece. This attribute can allow the fabrics to make a bold statement or just complement what you are already doing. On the following pages, you will find yards of fabric for sale. If you have any questions, please contact me.