Posted on Leave a comment

Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop

Oh, my. Where to start! This 12th century quote is attributed to St. Bernard: “Hell is full of good intentions or desires.” (That’s a hint.) Cheryl Sleboda annually holds a blog hop focused on cleaning our studios. When she announced it, I thought the timing couldn’t be better. I had just acquired this:

That is a full set-up for painting silk, including a whole array of Tinfix dyes. The big beast on the right is as steamer, and I’ve already steamed cotton painted with MX in it – it works great! It will live either in the garage or the basement, because I need to use it outside, not in the studio.  And, yes, even I need a step-ladder to use it!
My first step was to make sure all the studio stuff was up on the third floor where it needs to live. The before pictures of the storeroom show the existing mess with new goodies added.

Well, it does look a little better in the after picture. The UFO pile at the top behind the door has actually been added to, but for me that’s organized.
Here are the views from the door into the storeroom.

Still an improvement. But the dirty secret is that the adjoining room looks no better. That’s where half the junk got relocated. And that’s just the two nice corners of the room.
The actual studio space is in about the same condition. So, to make a tedious story shorter, I moved the needle some, but the tank ain’t full!
The up side of all this is that I’ve learned a lot of things I shouldn’t do! When you have every weekend in a month already booked; when your income taxes still aren’t done; when the total rework of the website is barely begun, do not, I repeat DO NOT commit to any more time-consuming projects! Look for future posts on studio cleaning, because I am not going to allow myself to play with the silk-painting goodies until taxes, website and studio cleaning are done.

Here is the awesome list of all the rest of the participants! There’s a lot of great inspiration to see, with more to come!

April 23 – Lori Crawley Kennedy – 
April 24 – Jennifer Thomas –
April 25 – Robin Koehler –
April 26 – Andi Barney-
April 27 – Misty Cole –
April 28 – Carolina Moore-
April 29 – Heather Pregger –
April 30 – Linda Bratten –
May 1 – Lisa Reber –
May 2 – Teresa Coates –
May 3 – Lisa Chin –
May 4 – Jamie Fingal –
May 5 – Sam Hunter –
May 6 – Jessee Maloney –
May 7 – Randa Parrish –
May 8 – Sarah Vedeler-
May 9 – Jessica Darling –
May 10 – Melody Crust –
May 11 – Debby Brown –
May 12 – Cheryl Sleboda –

Posted on Leave a comment

Working and loving it!

Yesterday I spent a lot of time in the studio. I’m dyeing the fabric for a whole-cloth quilt that will go into the teacher’s row at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival next month. It’s inspired by the work of Alma Thomas, and you can see a study for it in the Painterly Class sample picture below.
I finally got it rolled up in plastic to batch at about 6 PM yesterday, and now I’m doing everything I can to force myself to wait until 24 hours have elapsed before I start washing it out.
I also did some deconstructed screen printing – not a technique I’ve used a lot, but I loaded the screens with dye after the Oaks class in September. I finally released the dye; they are waiting to be washed as well. And since there’s no way I’m waiting until 10 PM tonight to start the washing out, they’re going to be stuck with only 20 hours of batching.
At right you can see two of the screens that are not yet fully released. Now I need more soda-soaked fabric!
Another way to fill my time will be dye a batch of solids – some fat quarters and a tee-shirt or two. They have homes already – more on that later! Thanks for looking!

Posted on Leave a comment

End, or beginning of the year musings

Well, I promised Morna, my coach, that I’d put my CEO hat on and think about where I’m headed with DippyDyes. To inspire me, I took a look a look at her blog, and posts tagged planning, found here. One of the ideas mentioned includes focusing on a word for the year.* So for now I’m writing down every odd, inspirational word that comes to me, and later I’ll be selectively surfing synonyms. Did I mention I like alliteration?

Itty-bitty socks

Work in the studio recently has been on Christmas presents, so I can’t post pictures until they are delivered and opened. I do have a lot of adorable baby socks to dye too – it might be a good time to plop them into soda ash solution to soak. Probably one size at a time would be smart! I also have a couple pieces of fabric being hand-stitched ahead of dye or discharge work, and I have been having way too much fun looking at inspirations on Pinterest. Take a look here if you like, and if you have work that you have made, I’d love to see it. I have a board for quilts and one for dye classes, and I love to see what happens after you leave my booth or my class, so send me a picture and be immortalized, at least in the DippyDyes manner!
 A long time ago I realized that I did a lot of my dyeing in January, and I suspect it’s to battle post-holiday depression. This year that will be a good thing, because I need a lot of nifty new work for the February and March shows. I have a file labeled ‘Dye Ideas’ and it has 78 notes in it. I won’t soon run out of work direction. And I’m going to block out a ‘pulling out all the stops’ session on my calendar now! That also means I should do some cooking in advance, or dinner will end up not happening.
One thing we’ve been doing at home that has shown up in the newsletter but not here on the blog is working on our kitchen. I’m thrilled to announce that my 1985 refrigerator is gone off the porch, and its replacement is actually indoors. Woo-hoo! The cabinets aren’t finished and there are no counters, but they are coming. Thursday I spent almost all day shopping – and not for presents. Well, one present. I need to settle on the laminate color for the countertop, in- and under-cabinet lighting, some plumbing decisions, backsplash material and color and make sure everything goes with the paint and the brand-new 18-year-old green sinks.

Interesting combination of textures seen on a recent walk

Well, enough rambling – I’ve somehow gotten away from thinking business-centered thoughts. If I don’t write again this month, I hope the holidays are wonderful for everyone, and that you have a super New Year!
*Finding a word for the year led me astray, naturally, to discover that a word that originated in 1957 like I did is oenophile. Sometimes too apt, but mostly I’m an oenophan. And did you know that droid and frenemy originated in the 50s’ too? Check out this link: for more information.

Posted on 3 Comments

Fan-fold pleater details

When I posted earlier about the Tale of Two Uglies, I showed a picture of green fabric in a pleater that I use. A couple people have asked me how I made it, so here are some pictures.
The first picture shows an over-all view with a yardstick for scale.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         The second picture shows a closer look at the back side.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Here’s a close-up of the front. The red line is the center from end to end, the lighter blue lines are on either side of the center slot. That helps me start my fabric in the middle of the pleater if I choose, and, if I want to help keep it square, I can put a crease down the center of the fabric and try to keep it in line with the red mark as I pleat.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         The last picture shows an end view with the slats spread open.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         The wood I used was actually dollhouse siding, and hubby donated it because he was never likely to use it for anything. Any wood, including light (1/4”) plywood would work fine. You’d need to sand it well to smooth it. If you used plywood, it could be cut from a 4’ width of material.
The fabric I used for the back was canvas or a heavy denim. Again, it was what I had laying around, and it was old and 36” wide. I then glued and stapled it to the slats. The staples are in the bottom of the face of the board, rather than trying to staple into the skinny edge. The glue I used was probably Elmer’s, and I would change that to a silicone or rubbery adhesive. White glue dries too stiff.
When I use it, I push the fabric down into the slots with a plastic drywall spatula. A credit card or other flat squeegee tool would work.
PS – please help my with my business wish by voting at . Totally anonymous, and it will helps towards a chance for me to go to the Houston shows in the fall. That trip will be so expensive that I doubt I could make enough money to break even.
PPS – if you haven’t, and want to, please sign up for the DippyDyes mailing list.

Posted on Leave a comment

A busy week

On the job front – had a good interview that went nowhere. Got a call from the former employer – rather peculiar but as I said when asked “How are you doing?” “Calmer, which is good; unemployed, which isn’t.” Calm. Dyeing helps! Selling dyed goods also helped.

Have gotten lots done on the studio and am finally moving in! Now where am I going to keep all the stuff? The first two pictures show the two sides of the space after mopping the floor, the last picture shows the return of the fabric bins.

Posted on Leave a comment

Actually got to dye something again

Well, it has been a topsy turvey week after leaving the ‘real’ job. This was a rather sudden departure (my choice), so the past week has been spent job-hunting and trying not to throw up thinking about the old one. Stress CAN be a great motivator, however (see yesterday’s post.)

The dye workshop had been set up on two 6 foot tables that had been borrowed from work, so mid week I cleaned them off and today we returned them to the job, and also picked up that dratted library book. So the only thing that remains is to wait for the final paycheck and I can close that page in the book.

Not having the tables is a real drag, but the substitute is at least in the wood shop. So in order to dye today I returned to the original space – on top of the stove. (No counters in the 9-year-old temporary kitchen, but that’s another story.) Anyhow, got about 3 yards of fabric dyed, did the rinse job in the upstairs almost studio. If the energy level permits, I’ll get more staining done tonight, so the second coat can go on tomorrow.

Also got the washer tub and lid picked up at the powder coater – it’s a beautiful finish, and will protect the aluminum from the dye solutions. I could even do solid-color immersion dyeing, rather than low-water stuff. Took a picture of all the disparate bits of washer for a future ‘before and after’ post.

Here’s a picture of the owner’s manual (found on eBay):

I consider myself lucky because this model has a pump – not all did! Why a wringer washer you ask? That’s a story for another post.

Oh, and my book came from Honolulu – OPULENCE: The Kimonos and Robes of Itchiku Kubota. Another eBay purchase, recommended by various dyers, including Paula Burch on her great site. (Have to add that to the links column.) Incredible images, inspirations, Itchiku.

That’s it for tonight!

Posted on Leave a comment

Trying to be serious about this

Well, I’ve accomplished a number of things today in the ‘yes, this really is a business’ department:
Filed for sales tax license on-line
Decided against fictitious name registration at this point because of fees
Looked at tax implications of for-profit vs. hobby income
Printed up business cards
Set up new e-mail account for DippyDye

Also got the left hand wall of cabinets stained while hubby finished making doors for the under-sink cabinet (see pics!) With a studio like this, I’d better go pro. If not, it’s going to be the greatest hobby room ever.

Got a call from the powder coating company. $70 to coat the tub and lid for the wringer washer. That’s a really reasonable amount, and I’ve seen his work, but it does argue against the trip to the PMA craft show.

NB – find a closer craft show – Boyertown Belsnickel is Thanksgiving weekend, and supposed to be very good.

In general, the problem I’ve had with craft shows is that I usually can make what I see, but don’t want to. Likewise I’m too cheap to buy what I see there. Now I must go with a different focus, like what would it be like to set up at this show? (PMA is a whole nother deal, with serious juried competition.)

That’s 10 minutes for tonight!

Sat 7:00 AM added the pictures above. Someday there will be textiles to see!