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Left Alone With the Dye Vat

It all started out so innocently…

We had all this indigo left over from our dyeing day and thought we’d knock some more out.
We were deep into experiment mode.

A little of this
A little of that.

Everything looked so awesome!

I’m starting to appreciate the hippy dippy tie dye look that really, as a Madison resident, I should like already.

Cuz it’s dang pretty
Dang Pretty.  I mean that’s just beautiful.
Then, Jennifer had to go home and I was left alone with the dye vat…
My conundrum was that I don’t own any white napkins; I sew my own out of funky colored cotton and linen.  I had already dyed any of my light colored dishtowels.

Then I had this sudden realization:  I can always buy more undershirts!


I also threw some of my regular every day clothes in there.

This shirt was looking very faded and worn
Not any more.
And this white shirt was too sheer – I never wore it.  
Honestly, I only bought in the first place it because it’s a large (the XL was too big) and I’m a sucker for vanity sizing.
That’s ombre dyed, people.  Thanks to Tanya, I know how it works.

Perhaps I went overboard.  I started at about about noon.  It felt like I worked for an hour.  When I went into the house, it was 3:30.  No wonder I was so hungry.
I learned a ton about how indigo behaves and ways to tie things and about good ways to get different hues.
I love learning new stuff!! 
And I had the chickens for company.  
I did exactly this much to finish my linen quilt. So…basically nothing. 
Also, all my clothes are now blue. 
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Worth it!

I still haven’t finished my quilt top.  But for a good reason!  We ran a test indigo dye class with friends.
We have dyed on our own but really want to share the fun with more people so we experimented on some of our friends
Don’t we look organized?
We happen to have amazing, creative and fabulous friends so it was bound to be fun even if we did everything wrong.
We set up a Shibori (tie dye) station.
When collecting scissors, marbles and other fun stuff starts to feel like work, I’ll let you know.
To me it just looks like treasure.
Why else would I take a picture of rubber bands?
We had some Shibori half way put together to share some techniques.
There were samples to show and, because I just have to be me, library books for reference.
The library is an amazing resource, yo.
Then we were ready to get serious.
This is about the time that Miranda (of Miranda Beyer Photography) started taking pictures.  You can tell which ones are hers because they are beautiful.  She specializes in newborn baby pictures but every picture she takes looks awesome, she has a great eye.
I make my own Kombucha but I happened to have a bunch of Nessalla Kombucha for some guests.  I decided to forgo getting my bottle deposit back so we could use their growlers to tie fabric around.
When I see what folks made using the bottles…
…all I can think…
Worth it!
We tied.
We dyed.
We untied.
We revealed and then…
…we smiled.
Check out these socks.
We were all in it together.  Here three people are undoing the shibori stuff because we can’t wait to see…
This yarn is ombre dyed and knotted so that it achieves a kettle dyed look.  None of us quite knew how to do it but Tanya was willing and excited to experiment.
And it worked really well.
Here are three pieces made by a woman who said she wan’t a crafty person.
What was she thinking?  Her work is awesome and creative.
Another woman who said the same thing.
I’ll never believe them again!
Everyone felt really comfortable trying out new techniques.
Indigo is a great medium to play with.
A great and messy day was had by all.  We plan on offering an indigo dyeing class this fall in Madison WI.  You can follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter to get an announcement closer to the date if you’re interested.Now get out there and make a creative mess.  I will too.  I’m gonna finish that quilt top, dang it!
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I Stained The Driveway

We ended up with mixed results from our rust dyeing.  
Jennifer had two big pieces of canvas.  This one ended up looking really cool.  
One day soon, it will be an apron.
The other one should have been really amazing, she placed in on coils of wire.  But they didn’t rust, we figure they must have been coated.  
This part sat on the outdoor fireplace grill – a very popular piece.
But this one is fabulous and we learned to test metal first.  If you get it wet and leave it out, you’ll be able to tell if it will rust or not before you play with it.  
I love this, it’s from the grill of the smallest hibachi I’ve ever seen.  Smaller than the one in the link.
This one was wire wrapped around rebar.  It’s my favorite of the stuff I made.  
The lines are from the wire.  
I think it was floral wire – not sure though.  That’s what happens when you buy your supplies at thrift shops and yard sales.  🙂
This is from where the rebar touched the fabric.  I like this part, too.  We’re going to find some larger tubes to wrap fabric around so that more of the fabric gets color.  We’re thinking wine bottles or large pvc tubes.   Stay tuned.
Here’s a sweet little piece that I put on some rail road ties and steel scrubbies. 
 I don’t know how I feel about it, it’s a bit too something something for me.  Geometric, maybe?  
I love this.  It’s a sleeve from a horrifying lilac linen jacket – plus sized with a very unflattering cut – it needed a change.  I laid it on top of a steel screen from our outdoor fire pit.  
I love the all over pattern from it.  
This sleeve I wrapped around a rusty wrench with some various washers and metal doo-dads added in.  Its pretty cool, too.
Psychedelic man!
And here’s the shirt.  I think I like it.  I put it on a drain cover that I found on the side of the road several years ago.  I picked it up because…just because.  
This is the back.  I like the front better than the back.  I covered the stain I wanted to cover.  But all over, I’m not nuts about the look.  It looks stained more than dyed.
Here’s the apron with my bonus shadow.  The apron just looks dirty to me.
Up close, if I were to take the time to appreciate the details, I like them.
But parts also just seem dirty to me.  I think I like the all over patterns better.  The splotchy bits don’t work for me at all.  
Next time – and there will be a next time – I might pick up some iron oxide powder.  You can sprinkle it on the fabric and it colors more of it.  I’m hoping the color will look more intentional.  
Also, it took more than 24 hours because we moved the rusty pieces around to different parts of fabrics to dye more of it.  The difference between vinegar and salt was only in the smell.  I didn’t see a difference.  
We learned a ton.  We’ll be trying this out again maybe on a smaller scale.  I laid out a tarp in the driveway and it took up lots of space.  Jennifer came up with the idea of just putting a piece in a plastic bin.  We could always have a piece rusting if we chose to.  It takes up less space and probably wouldn’t stain the drive way.  Oh yeah, I stained the driveway.  
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Rust Dyeing

Time to try something new.  
It seems a little whack-a-doo but that never stops me from trying something.  
In fact, it kinda makes it more tempting, doesn’t it?
The idea is pretty simple.  You take some metal that will rust and put it on or wrap it in some fabric.
Get them wet to encourage rusting.  
We added vinegar to some of the pieces and salt water to others to see which would encourage rusting  better.
I’m thrilled to be rusting this shirt.  It’s an Alabama Chanin design that I made with an old tee-shirt.  It fits me really well but I stopped sewing at this point when I saw the very light but also really big stain on the front.  Oh, that’s why that shirt was in the thrift shop.  So I’m rusting over the stain here, fingers crossed.
Bottle caps on a linen sleeve that is resting on a grate.
Soaking some washers and bottle caps in salt water.
The tool chest, including my ubiquitous cup of tea.
I looked for spray bottles at the dollar store but couldn’t find any so I bought these cool water cannon things.  
Way more fun to use than spray bottles.
These are Jennifer’s pieces, at least one is destined to be an apron.
Then we covered everything with a tarp.  We just need to keep it wet and hope for the best.  It should take about 24 hours to get rusted.  
Have you ever rust dyed? I’m curious to hear about people’s experiences.  
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Getting My Act Together and Taking It On The Road!!!!!!!!

So, this will seem pretty random but when I was in college, I had to bring in a song to learn for Musical Theatre class.  I knew nothing about sheet music or what to pick so I asked the guy at the shop to pick for me.  I don’t remember which song he picked but it was from the musical “I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking it on the Road“.  I think the reason I don’t remember the name of the song is that I never sang it.  My teacher said he didn’t want to spend the semester hearing it over and over again so we picked an old standard from the ’40’s for me to sing.  It was actually pretty funny.
In any case, any time I am getting myself organized my brain shrieks: I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking it on the Road!  And that is what is ringing in my head because I am vending at a craft fair (My first in years) this coming Saturday.
I made cards.  I sewed on them a little bit.  
We’re probably going to change the design eventually so I only made 40.  
It doesn’t seem sustainable to always sew on our business cards but I like the way it looks.
I made a big ol’ sign.  I sewed on that, too.
But you can’t really see the stitching unless you’re up close to it.  I need to fix that somehow.  I don’t want to sew on it too much because it perforates the paper and if I do too much, it will fall apart.  
I have some stuffed animals.
Jewelry out of electronic components in muffin tins…Yes that’s right, muffin tins.  They’re good for storage.  
Pin cushion bonanza!
Jewelry out of tee shirts and my partner has a lot of wool crowns and balls.
And I have the ability to take credit cards which feels like a super power.  I know there’s butt loads more of stuff to prepare but I feel like I’M GETTING MY ACT TOGETHER etc…  
PS – I still can’t carry a tune.  That poor teacher was tortured by my singing for a whole year, 
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Big News + shiny stuff

I’ve been pretty busy making stuff for our craft show on May 11th. (pssst..check out the links above this post) I haven’t done a craft show in years and I’m super excited about this one because it’s sort of the kick off event for my friend, Jennifer, and I.  
Drumroll please……
We are starting a business.  Woohoo!!!  
We will sell crafts, craft making materials (including some of the obscure, vintage-y, remake-y stuff we both love so much) teach crafts and help people get in touch with their creative sides.  We do some of this already though the Fearless Crafter workshops that we teach at Monona Library and we want to take our act on the road!  We’ll slowly be rolling stuff out through the summer and into the fall.
We’re calling ourselves Rusted Thread. 
I’m very excited and will have more detail coming up!
Back to now; I want to share some of the jewelry pieces I made over the weekend:
Those are hex washers up there with fresh water pearls and garnets.
I usually try to include some beads in everything but I just wasn’t feeling it.  These are O-rings and little screw, eye things.
Big washers, some sort of gasket-y deal and lugs.
I don’t know what these are made of but they’re shiny!
Bracelet made out of lugs with sleeves.
And finally, a necklace made out of washers, beads and a tee-shirt!  I haven’t made jewelry for a while but I really enjoy it.   I also wanted to practice my mad photographing skillz using my phone’s camera to help me figure out if the pictures are good enough for Etsy… I can’t decide.  I’ll have to have a look around there and see what I can see.  
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Halfway and counting down…

I’m calling this the halfway point.  I emptied the shelves and put lots of stuff into bins.  We’ll be moving these shelves into the next room and then putting in some way deeper shelves.
Gotta find a sunny spot for my table.  It all looks so spare and tidy now 
But this is only some of what I have to put back in an orderly fashion.  
Actually, I’m going to cal it the thirdway point.
There’s more here.  The quarterway point is starting to feel right.  I’d better get up and get moving.  
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Totally Made My Day

We went to a Flea Market yesterday.  I had big intentions to talk a guy way down on some of those cool glass insulators things that sit on top of electrical poles.  But by the time I came back around, I was all out of money.
Check it out!!!
It’s just the top but the fabric is so beautiful. Lots of vintagey scraps.  I thought I would cut it up and remake it into many different things. You know what happened though.  When I got home and opened it up, I knew I would never be able to chop it up.  
I’m just going to finish it.  
I have to pick a backing and border color.  It will have to wait, though.  I have so many other projects right now.
Also, I picked up a couple of books  (There is no book better than The Sailor Dog, just FYI).

This book is pretty cool.  I have a thing for Mr. Zip.

A buncha crocheted doilies.  Did you know there there’s no such thing as machine crochet so every single crocheted item you ever see was hand made.  Just sayin’.
And so many vintage buttons.  I love it when buttons are all sewn onto cardboard.  Why did anyone do that? I mean why would you sew buttons of all colors and sizes onto a really big card?  Sales samples maybe?  I’m glad they did, but still.
Also, we went out to lunch and the waitress complimented my necklace. 
 It was this worn around my neck instead of my wrist:
It totally made my day.
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Here’s Something You Can Do

Here’s something you can do with a strip of tee shirt.  
I like it.
Pretty bad ass.
And I have all this left to play with.  
Expect more badassery coming this way.  I will need to get more doo-dads to add because all of my beads have small – not shirt width – holes so I get to do a little shopping!