Another Dyeing Day

On Tuesday morning we began by washing out and ironing the fabrics that we had made on Monday. Elizabeth discovered that the Fuchsia dye that we had been using was not the correct type which explained why all of my pretty red accents had mysteriously disappeared!!

Here are the final fabrics that were dyed on Monday…..


The second workshop day began with Elizabeth showing various other methods of “resisting” the dye. She then told us to go to our tables and get started.

I tried lots of different methods and came up with some fun results. My first (and easiest) piece was simply folded lengthwise in a concertina fashion, and the folded into a small rectangle. I applied three rubber bands…..

DSC00798 ….added dye to the edges (red on the corners and brown in the middle) and placed in a bath of water. The result was magnificent…..

DSC00817 Another easy design was made by folding the fabric into large triangles and then clipping various bits together using clothes pins.


It was soaked in a brown bath and came out with a wonderful symmetrical design with some blue highlights…..


The Turquoise and Orange make a wonderful brown, but apparently they dont “play well together” because the will often separate out into the two separate colors. This makes for some very interesting dye patterns!!!!

We also used clamps and tied bits with string……


….that came out like this….

DSC00879 We clamped folded fabrics between boards…..


….that looked like this…..

DSC00883 …..used machine stitching to create a line of resist……




I love the air-pocket bubbles that formed.

…..and ended the day by making gradation dyes.


At the end of the day, I had washed out 6 pieces and had 21 more soaking a ready for the final wash. Here is the sum of 2 days of dyeing……


I want to tell you more about Arrowmont and will do so in a future post, but first I want to tell you about the bears!!! Almost everyday someone has seen a bear or had a bear amble out of the forest and visit the porch of their house. SO, as I walk back and forth before the sun comes up or around dusk I am constantly aware of my surroundings.

Now look at this photo……


Doesn’t that stump look like a bear cub…..especially when it is almost dark and you are already on “bear alert”!!!! I think that the person who put this here has a VERY sadistic sense of humor!!!!

And finally, what happens when you dont realize that there is a hole in your rubber glove????


….until tomorrow…….

A Day to Dye For!!!!

Monday morning dawned bright and beautiful as we strolled from our house to the dining hall, where we feasted on Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Grits, Oatmeal, Yogurt and Banana Bread!!!! I LIKE how the day is taking shape!!!

In our first session with Elizabeth Barton we started to learn the process of Arashi Shibori dyeing, with Elizabeth talking us thru the process …..


She then turned us loose to start creating our own fabrics. The process is surprisingly simple when you look at the wonderful designs that come out of it.

First step is to roll a fat quarter of fabric (from corner to corner) onto a 2 inch PVC pipe…..

DSC00733 You hold it in place with a rubber band and then proceed to twist and squish the fabric to the middle and then rubber-band it in place at each end and then scoot the whole thing down to the end of the pipe…..

DSC00735 Place it into a zip lock bag and start adding one or more colors……


Next step is to add warm water to the bag until the fabric is completely covered…..


Find a stable place to store them and wait for one hour….

DSC00740 Cleo had the wonderful idea to bring cut-off half gallon milk cartons and we used those to put our bags into.

One of the problems that I had with the first piece was that I kept pushing it off of the end of the pipe. So, after redoing it twice, I thought about creating a bumper at the bottom of the pipe. I took two large rubber bands and wound them just at the end of the pipe. IT WORKED…. the bands formed enough of a barrier that the fabric didn’t slip off of the end!!!!!

After soaking for an hour or so, we added an activator that increases the ph of the water and causes the dye molecules to attach to the fabric molecules. Then we wait for another hour…..

Then comes the magic!!!! When you first pull the fabric out of the dye it looks like a dark blob……


But as you start to pull the fabric off of the pole, you gasp as the first bit of color shows and then grows and grows…..


A bit more rinsing and you get to see the finished piece…….DSC00786

This one started with the original orange and yellow that I showed earlier but was rolled in the opposite direction and over-dyed with navy and black.

Unfortunately, the colors will fade by a couple of shades as it dries, but I am very pleased with it.

This one was folded in half to begin with and was wrapped on the straight grain. I added string to hold the pleats in place. Here is what I saw as it was coming off of the pole……

DSC00779 And here is the final (although the color is a bit off……

DSC00782 This was the last one that I pulled at the end of the day…..

DSC00789 The design was made by painting blue and green stripes on the scrunched fabric and then soaking it in a much lighter green.

The final step in the process is to soak the pieces overnight in water with a little bit of soap in it. So this is where I left them last night……

DSC00790 It sounds kind of wimpy to say that I only dyed 2-1/2 yards of fabric in a day, but it was SO SO SO much fun!!!!

….more to come……

Arrowmont here I come……

I have a wonderful opportunity this week to travel to Gatlinburg, Tennessee and spend 5 full days in class with quilt artist, Elizabeth Barton.  Now I have known Elizabeth for over 20 years and knew her when she was piecing very traditional quilts and quilting them by hand.  But times have changed and now she is known for art made with her gorgeous hand dyed fabrics.    This week we are starting with plain white fabric, dyeing it and then using it in a fiber composition…..I AM SO SO SO SO SO EXCITED!!!!

My traveling companion ended up not being able to attend so I packed up the car and headed North.  As I looked at all of the stuff I had thrown into the car for “just in case” it was obvious that she and her stuff would never have fit anyway!!!!

The drive North is beautiful especially as the trees are just beginning their dance of color as they turn from lush green to orange to brown.

The trip was fairly straightforward as you follow one road the entire way, but things got a bit more exciting as I entered the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.   The speed limit is 35 in most of the park so cars were moving at a fairly leisurely pace with everyone enjoying the views.

I rounded a corner and there were 20 or so cars lined up along both sides of the road with people walked around them.  My first thought was “car wreck?”, but I wondered how a major crash could have happened with the lowered speed limit.  I slowly  realized that people weren’t upset, but were smiling and had cameras out.  Then I saw the Elk!!!   Two beautiful 10 point Elk were grazing along the side of the road, totally oblivious to the “two-legged” fauna that were following them.

I took a few photos out of the car window as I slowly drove past…


but, when I passed an easy parking spot, I pulled in to park and hopped out to enjoy with the rest of the crowd…..

DSC00715 DSC00716  DSC00714 So on I drove, stopping to take photos and enjoy the scenery…..

_A025582 _A025578When I came up to another group of people standing beside their cars I knew immediately what to do and grabbed the first parking place that I could find!!  I crossed the road and found that they were all taking photos of a Black Bear that was ambling thru the gully beside the road.  I watched him for a few minutes and took a few photos….

_A025591  ….but as he started heading back toward the road, I decided to return to the safety of the car and continue Northward.  As I drove off, two park Rangers arrived to make sure that things didn’t get out of hand.

That was the end of the wildlife sighting and I drove out of the park and into Gatlinburg.  So far the city looks like any tourist area with people strolling on both sides of the main road, looking in shops with evocative names like “Cherokee Trading Post” and “Totem Pole Crafts”!!!

I arrived at Arrowmont, checked in and started meeting others who are here for the week.  After a delicious dinner we met for our orientation lecture and then on to meet with our individual classes.

There are five different classes going on here this week, including, jewelry making, wood turning, pottery, painting and fiber.  We are encouraged to drop in to the studios and see what they are doing, so hopefully I will be able to show lots of pictures of things other than fiber.

I am very excited about this trip and am hoping that it will firstly, give me a bit more time to relax, but more importantly, I am hoping that I will be energized to get back into a creative frame of mind…..I guess time will tell!!!!