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Some of the things that have been keeping me busy lately. 
Dying with rust.  That will get it’s own post soon.  It’s totally fun.
A name tag challenge via my Modern Quilting Guild.  I used some of the linen that we dyed with indigo and was inspired by denim badges of the seventies.  Funny how even when I don’t use denim, I use denim…sort of.
And my parents have been visiting.  During which time, my husband and father put up a shed and we (Well, mostly they and a little bit I) built a coop and run for the chickens.  It’s not quite done yet but it’s incredible sturdy and I’m thrilled with it.  
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Jennifer Napkins

I decided to sew napkins yesterday.  
I figured they needed the largest bit of uninterrupted fabric.  Everything else that I’m itching to make (quilts, bags, journal covers) can be put together with scraps.  I guess napkins could too but they I think the fewer seams they have the better. 
They were already folded up in the napkin basket when I took these pictures.  That’s why they’re all wrinkly
I made five napkins.  Once I settled on what to make, it went pretty fast.
Top half was a shirt – see the darts?  I unstitched them  after dying.  I think they look pretty cool.  The bottom half was a skirt panel with embroidery.  I french seamed the two together.
I should tell you that we are big cloth napkin users.  We don’t even own paper napkins.  I grew up using paper towels but only if needed – like with ribs.  Usually, we just used our sleeves.  
My husband grew up with paper napkins. He used several per meal.  It took us some time to find the middle ground of cloth napkins.  They are very handy and you can take them anywhere.  These are our first linen napkins and we feel pretty fancy.   
Small napkins work well too.  
We really like using cloth napkins now.  We keep them in a basket near the table so we can grab them as needed.  Our napkin basket is a real hodgepodge.  We actually still have some napkins from out wedding (20 years this summer).  There are lots and lots of napkins that I’ve sewn over the years and none of them really match.  
Since this had been a shirt, it wasn’t quite big enough to cut out so I just left out a corner.  Everything I dyed had been thrifted, that’s how we ended up with these big blotches when we dyed them.  I don’t know what they were dirty with, some kind of oil probably, and the wax didn’t take there.  All part of the adventure.
I’m a huge fan of the random and find things that are too consistent looking to be annoying.  I can accept that about myself as part of my aesthetic now, instead of a weird quirk.  It’s just who I am.  So, with that in mind, the napkins I sewed yesterday are pretty random, in size, shape and patterns.  
They are Jennifer napkins.
I left the the curve of the hem of the skirt intact.  🙂
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You know what I need?

You know what I need?  A sewing machine with an attached laptop.  So I can blog, look at Pinterest, check Ravelry and listen to Podcasts while I sew – one action smoothly transitioning to the next without having to interrupt my flow.
But my flow is temporarily interrupted for the best reason.  I have wanted indigo dyed linen to play with since the first time I saw boro quilts and fell in love with them.  Now I have some and I can think of too many things to do and I want to do each one equally as much as the others.
I want to make a traditional quilt.
I want to make a small “art quilt” to hang.
I want to make some pogaji with enclosed seams.
Also, napkins and a small bag and a journal cover.
I want to embroider on it.
These things aren’t all mutually exclusive.  
I could embroider a napkin or make a quilted journal cover.
Gratuitous close up
I want to make it all all at once.  Kind of like how I want to surf the internet, sew and listen to stuff all at once.  It’s like this weird energy I’m stuck in right now.  In the pause between paragraphs, I’ve been threading my sewing machine, gathering supplies, answering emails and making my plans. 
To do everything at once.  
What the hell, flow?
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We did it again

We just couldn’t help ourselves.  
The dye was right there and so many things that could be blue, aren’t weren’t.
We’re mostly thrilled with the shibori stuff.  
 Made this!
These …

Made this and…
This.  Plus that’s me goofing off a bit and wearing a shirt I dyed last week. 
Gratuitous doily close up – not the last one you’ll see today. 

Made this.
Told you there would be another.  I have a thing for crocheted doilies.
Made this.
Every time I see one, I buy it.  Every crocheted anything you see was made by hand.  There is no crocheting machine.
The yarn was exciting too.
Little yellow flowers rained down on us from the tree the whole time.
We have learned so much about indigo.  We’ll be doing this some more and we want to share it with more peeps.  If you are near to Madison WI and are interested in joining an Indigo Dyeing Day, send us an email, We’ll totally send you all the details when it gets closer to the date.  It’ll be in the fall.
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Quilt me

“Wouldn’t I make a lovely quilt?.” the fabric quietly whispered to me,”quiiiilt meeeee”
“What?” I said, slightly deafened from all that Joan Jett back in the 80’s
“I’d be delightful.  Linen quilt…indigo dye….hint, hint”

“Oh, hey.  Good idea.  Speak up next time, I don’t hear subtle hints.  Sheesh.”
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Well Done, Indigo.

I don’t want to cast aspersions on your personal life, but I’m going to guess that I had more fun than you did on Friday.  
Jennifer and I dyed fabric with indigo!!  It was awesome fun.  I recommend it highly.  
We had some worrisome moments.  The dye in the vat was supposed to be yellow-green looking but it wasn’t.  
It looked pretty and blue.  You’d think that would be right but it ain’t.  
The blue of indigo results from the way it reacts when exposed to oxygen –  it’s supposed to happen to the fabric later when it comes out of the vat and hits the air.  
We consulted the interwebs for advice.
This was hard to do in the sun so there was some improvising.
That’s a Jennifer consulting her laptop under there.
We added all of the oxygen removing chemicals that we bought along with warmer water, magic mojo juju grisgris to the indigo but it was still blue. 
So we figured something along the lines of “Screw it!”.  We removed the “flower” which is just a really nice word to use for scum.  It’s actually really pretty and iridescent – but scum nonetheless.
We threw some fabric in there.  We started with a little silk scarf that came with the supplies we bought.  
I had tied it all up with string.
As soon as we did, it broke through the blue surface and left this cool yellow/green star shape.  
We were in business.  It must just have been the surface of the indigo vat that was blue.  
The indigo was perfect.  It stunk up the joint – we were glad to be outside – but worked beautifully.
When we pulled the scarf out, it was green but quickly turned a gorgeous blue.  It felt like magic.  Or maybe chemistry.  Or magic chemistry.  Yeah, that’s it.   
Right as we pulled it out of the dye
A couple minutes gone by.
After about ten minutes
Lost track of time here.  Later.
Check out the change in the color after it was exposed to the oxygen.
I broke in my apron!
We dyed for a while.

This linen cloth…
Is the piece all the way to the left.  
Watermarked picture.  🙂
We tried it on linen, woven cotton and cotton jersey.  They all took the dye beautifully.
Here’s another dramatic color change.
It was awesome to see it change color in the air.  
Then we broke for lunch.  I had to take a picture.  I think I was just so hungry by this point that I thought the food looked beautiful or maybe it was the high pH fumes.
And admired our handiwork.
We thought our hands looked pretty blue here but 10 minutes later, they were bluer.  
Well done, indigo.
Here’s some quick follow up pictures of the scarf.  I tied it too tight so there’s lots of white.
But the places that are the dye reached are beautiful.  I think I’ll re-dye it tied more loosely.
We will definitely do this again.  After a little more practice, we’re planning on running a couple of workshops in the fall.   Check this space for more info.
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At First Blush

I had a little too much fun writing this Etsy post.  I just thought I’d post it here too because it really made me giggle.  I think I want to write more things like this.

It was the last photo they took before he broke into tears and ran out of the room yelling, “I hate you, I hate you all!” Her face hurt for a full week. 

At first blush, you might want to place the blame on the photographer. He was unrelenting in his pursuit of the biggest possible smiles. He cajoled, yelled, laughed manically all while taunting their, at least to his eye, dour expressions. 

The day had started off on a pleasant note. Surely, this couldn’t take more than an hour or two. They were consummate professionals. This was not their first ride on the record cover photo shoot pony. Hell, they’d been cranking out records to the tune of two a year since joining Decca. 

But this time was different. The photographer had received news that if the smiles of the dancing couple weren’t the biggest smiles on any record cover to date, he would lose his job. Even that wouldn’t normally be enough to shake him, after all, the record cover photography business has always been cut throat. But on this day, the photographer had just incurred a huge gambling debt to Billy “The Knee Splitter” Johnson. Also his home wife has found out about his away wife. 

Actually, you could totally put the blame on the photographer. He was a real tool. There can be no surprise then that the photo session ended in tears and in two divorces and a hospital bill that would make anyone weep. It’s surprising that it didn’t have a worse end.

You can enjoy this record, if you really want to, by turning the volume down. It’s pretty boring and no one explained to me why a record of happy songs has “You Always Hurt The One You Love” on it, but has no skips that I heard. It’s got a great picture and ridiculous title. If you need more reason than that to buy a vintage record off of the internet, how about the fun copy on the back that explains why the “growth in suburban living” has caused the rise of “happy music” or the great little pictures of other related re

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Didn’t Know An Eyelet From A Hole In The Grommet

And to think, an hour ago I didn’t know an eyelet from a hole in the grommet.  
Yesterday I took a pile of canvas bags that I bought at the thrift shop…
Chopped them up and (though you can’t tell and it felt sort of pointless) ironed the bejeebers out of them.
I used the pattern from this book as a general guide
and made an apron.
Here are some extraneous close ups
Because I like extraneous close ups.
I got stuck for a bit at the ties because I knew what I wanted but I had never successfully made eyelets before.  My business partner and I have spent a fair amount of time figuring the ins and outs of good apron ties.  They can’t just go around your neck – that pulls and is uncomfortable- they need to cross in back.  
Eyelets are not hard, it turns out.  They are hard if you just grab some and start hammering them without knowing what you’re doing.  That’s the technique I’ve been using for years.  
Today I checked youtube and learned that there’s an actual technique and that I already owned all the right tools.  How did we ever know things before the internet?
So…BOOM…apron.  I think next time I’d round the edges at the bottom.  I do plan on making more.  This is just a practice apron.  I have some other apron ideas:  I’d like to try a patchwork of canvas bags and also of denim and then make one out of linen …
I’ve spared you the NINE shots of just my butt as tried to guess the right photo taking angle.  
I really only wanted to get a picture of the ties.  
Also, I found this when I was out shopping and put it right up on the Etsy shop.  How cute it that?
It’s totally cute but I think someone else should use it to make stuff or to watch or for some other purpose.  I’ve got a pretty good eye for finding tidbits, though.  Just not an idea of what to do with every kind of tidbit I find.  They do tend to pile up sometimes.