Tuesday, June 16, 2015



Living in Columbus, Ohio we are lucky to have the Quilt Surface Design Symposium here every June for 2 weeks. They bring in the best textile teachers in the world for wonderful classes.  And it’s only a 15 minute drive for me!


A few weeks ago, I took Sue Cavanaugh’s class with a few friends and it was really interesting. Above are the samples we made.

Sue is one of the best shibori artists in the world and she lives here in Columbus also. I’ve seen her work at shows and have always admired it but was intimidated to start my first dyeing class with such a renowned artist.But that soon disappeared as she is a very friendly, fun teacher who makes this seem easy.




This purple piece is my favorite and it was the easiest with just rows of running stitches done with thick beading cord and then tied up tightly( as shown below) before dropping into a bucket of dye.


Since I haven’t dyed much, I was experimenting with mixing colors and what you see is not what you get in the end. Many were trying to make the traditional indigo dye color and that was blue with some black dye added. The dye bath is always darker than what the fabric color dries to.

For me, the hardest part was pulling the thread through the Pimatex tightly woven fabric with my arthritic fingers. A friend gave me some lawn to try and that was better. Then I changed to a finer needle and some less thick button thread and that improved it a bit more. I think I need to experiment with diff needle and thread combos until I find one that is not too much strain on my fingers.  Also, I’d like to try shibori with silk and that should be much easier to stitch.

My grand plans are to shibori some silk and then make a simple blouse and to do three huge cotton panels and sew them into a king size comforter/quilt but I better start small first.

It is always good to take classes and try new techniques to further your creativity and I highly recommend QSDS classes for next June.



A very simple dress for a gift for a friend. I’ve made many of these dresses. It starts with a store bought t-shirt that is cut about 4 inches above the waist.

Then you get 2 yards of fabric from your stash for the skirt. I cut two panels 31-36” by the 45” width of fabric and sew them along the selvage to make the side seam. Press the seam open and then I gather the top edge using my BERNINA #16 gathering foot.

I love love this foot because you just put the fabric under it and go and it gathers up the fabric….no pulling two threads to gather! The longer the stitch length, the more gathers you get. It’s a huge time saver!


After I gathered up the entire top edge of about 90 inches, I was ready to attach the skirt to the knit top. First I matched the side seam of the skirt to the side seam of the shirt and pinned.  I left 3 inches on each side of the opposite side seam of the shirt unpinned. I sewed across the top attaching the skirt to the top and then stopped short. Held the two sides of the skirt together and estimated where to sew that side seam and stitched it down to hem, trimmed and pressed it open. Then I continued to attached the gathered top edge to the remaining 6 inches of the shirt.

After that you just need to hem it and I used the blind hem stitch and foot to match, of course!  It’s a very fast dress to make and only takes maybe two hours.  You can make it easily for a child and you can also use a woven shirt that buttons in the front as long as you cut it above the waist and it’s roomy enough to pull over your bust.


Some good friends of mine took two years and went all over the world, decades ago when they were in their twenties. It was a fascinating trip and their stories are so interesting! I wish I had the guts to do something like that!  They just gifted me with this incredible bag from China.


As you can see, it is 3-dimensional applique. Much hand embroidery on it and it seems to be lined with newspaper…? I don’t plan on washing it so it should stay pristine. It’s just so much work and skill for probably very little income for some craftsman.

But I just love the whimsy of the bugs on this and the frog’s open mouth! It’s a very special gift!



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