Giving New Life to Old Linens

This past natural dyeing season–that’s Spring, Summer and Fall in Chicago–went so quickly I scarcely had time to consider all that I dyed.  I created lots of hand-dyed scraps of natural cloth, including linen, silk and cotton.  Some of the cloth was for my personal story cloth making, and some of it was sold in my Etsy shop.

I also repurposed some old vintage linens, mostly hand towels and napkins.  Small pieces, some hand-embroidered by others many years ago.  There was nothing so wrong about the linens except that aging look and maybe a few pinholes.  I naturally dyed many pieces with madder, logwood, Fustic, mint leaves, chamomile, cutch and black walnut.

Huck towel shibori dyed (wrapped pipe)
Huck towel detail, shibori dyed logwood and Fustic

I enjoy looking at the special touches added to vintage linens back in the day: monograms and sweet embroidery stitches, scalloped edges, drawn work, and “hidden” texture.

Madder-dyed vintage linen napkins


Fustic dyed vintage  cotton hand towels

Next time:  Repurposed cloth Christmas “patchwork” gifts.


Super Moon Arises

Ever since super moon arrived awhile ago, I have been thinking about creating a Super Moon Cloth as part of the SunMoonStars Series.  But super moon has to be really spectacular, doesn’t it?

Super moon arises, a vintage tie-dye scrap
Super moon arises (vintage tie-dye scrap)
Super Moon arises amidst other planets and stars, including the Sun
Super Moon arises amidst other planets and stars, including the Sun

I found a background cloth of cotton batiste, which I had shibori-dyed with black walnut exhaust.  It’s got those nifty little planets roaming around the universe.

And then I found a scrap of cutch-dyed jersey, which looks like an excellent sun or star.  But wait a minute.  What is the difference between a “star” and a “sun”?  Cornell University states that a star is called a sun “…IF (my caps) it is the center of a planetary system.”  That’s in the beginner series for those who are astro-curious. And, of course, it’s much more complicated than that.  OK… I will need to be careful what I call my scraps of cloth.

A sun, or “the sun” or just another star (cutch dyed organic jersey scrap)
A sun, or “the sun” or just another star (cutch dyed organic jersey scrap)

Thinking About Moons

Lately–ever since Super Moon appeared and disappeared–I have been thinking about moons.

Nine Moon Indigo Patches (Jude Hill)
Nine Moon Indigo Patches (Jude Hill)

Moon over Miami


Blue Moon

Man in the Moon

Man on the Moon

Cow jumped over the Moon

And, “I’ll be looking at the moon, but I’ll be seeing you.”

Moon time to be stitching.

Artists Stand with Standing Rock Sioux, Protectors of Water Rights

The Dakota Access Pipeline.  This is what I’ve been thinking about lately.  I have taken a short break from natural dyeing and stitching.  I read yesterday that police “water cannoned” the peaceful protestors in freezing temperatures.  You can read more about it here, and also enjoy the art which has been made in support of the Standing Rock Sioux.

Artists Join the Fight to Protect Standing Rock




Super Moon

Today I learned about a new kind of moon–well, new to me.  Super Moon. And its effect on oceans.  The pull of gravity.  So immediately I thought about my SunMoonStars cloth.  Did I have a Super Moon?

No, I didn’t think so.  The Hopi Sun looked promising, but it’s not a moon.img_3086I feel a new Story Cloth coming on

…a Super Moon.  Next time.



Detoxing with Nature

With the USA election now over, I felt a strong need to seek Nature.


So I took a long walk, gazing at trees in all their autumn splendor. I noticed there was one wild rose left on my front yard bushes.  That is amazing, considering it is now November in Chicago.


But it wasn’t enough.  Yes, this has been a tough election with surprising results.  So I decided to detox myself further by making one of my famous Vitamix veggie drinks.  This time I included the following fresh vegetables:  brussel sprout leaves, baby spinach, broccoli, one red beet, half an avocado, cilantro sprigs and a squeeze of lime.


And then, as Eric Carle’s very hungry caterpillar said, “I felt much better!”

SunMoonStars: Beginning to Come Together

The central sun


My second version of SunMoonStars is beginning to come together–finally!  I feel like I’ve been giving this way too much thought and not enough actual stitching.  However, composition is important.  I learned this from Jude Hill.

SunMoonStars V.2

There’s been some thinking about half moons and constellations.  About lightening.  About use of color and color theory.  And all of this is good to think about.

I care very much how this turns out…for me.