Notions-Drye Goods Studio Diary

Thanks for checking in. I am a fiber artist and designer. My currant emphasis is on eco printing and other wildcraft with a touch of up-cycling thrown in. You can also catch up with my wanderings on my Facebook page Drye Goods Studio.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


This would fall under the category of what not to do. Lesson One: Don't try to prep scarves for a class while doing nine other things. Last week I was putting scarves through the iron pot in order to prep them for my last class of the year. The cauldron I use for this is my son's Dutch oven from Boy Scout days. It holds about a gallon of water with a splash of vinegar and three scarves comfortably. I bring the water to a boil, put in the scarves let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Then I turn off the heat and let it set until it is cool. To get ten scarves done takes about a day, and since three fit at once, you can probably see where I am going with this. After 3 batches, there was one lonely little scarf left. It was time to start dinner and as I was putting the last one in I thought to myself "Remember to set the timer on your phone, or you will forget this poor little loner and boil the pot dry." Somewhere between thinking that and deciding to go get a squash out of the root cellar, the timer never got set. When I remembered this was halfway through dinner. You can imagine what came out of my mouth. My husband is used to this sort of thing and went on about finishing his meal. I, on the other hand, went flying across the yard to the studio stove. Amazingly enough the pot had not boiled completely dry, but was very close. The water that was left in the bottom was very, very rusty. The poor scarf had not actually burned yet, but for all practical purposes, might as well have. Needless to say I needed a re-do on a scarf for the class, which I had the sense to leave until the morning. I pulled the now extremely rusty scarf out and hung it up in the studio. I figured after being heated to that extent and exposed to that much rust it was probably useless. While some metal exposure is useful as a mordant, too much heat and too much metal exposure is not good for any fiber. It makes silk stiff and brittle. But, being the fugal soul I am I decided to go ahead and steam some leaves in the thing and see what happened. I used maple and filbert leaves, which you can see from the picture made wonderful black prints. I can't sell this one since I can't stand behind it from a quality standpoint, I am just going to keep it and look at it for now. Even though it feels pretty good now, in fairly short order it could develop brittle spots that would basically crack, making holes in it. I would only wear it if I were wearing a turtle neck, or use it as a belt or something as too much metal exposure is not good for us either. After enjoying the beautiful rich blacks and deep greens for a bit, I may decide to cut it up and do other things with it, we will see. 

To use rusted water as a mordant in the right way, you would take some rusty objects and put them in a quart jar of water with a splash of vinegar. Put the lid on it and let it set until the water looks rusty. To mordant the fabric put about half that rusted water in a gallon of water in a neutral pot, bring to a boil, put the fabric in and simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it cool. Take a look in there every once in awhile and pull it out when you think it is "rusty enough". Proceed with eco printing and you should get similar black prints without degrading the fabric quite as much as I did.

Set the timer. ALWAYS set the timer.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Thought for this week

"The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off."
Gloria Steinem

Fern and bracken on silk charmeuse

Friday, October 7, 2016

For Your Reading Pleasure

I have featured work and project designs in both Jewelry Affaire and Haute Handbags this fall, check it out!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Thoughts for Monday

"There can be something cruel about people who have good fortune. They equate it with personal goodness."
Anne Patchett

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Fall Harvest

We usually think about harvesting in terms of food, but fall is a good time of year to gather dye stuffs and wild crafting supplies as well. While out on my bike ride today it hit home that the trees are starting to change color for real and I should probably spend a bit of time each day collecting. Here is today's haul:

A lot of leaves that work when green will also work when red and some that won't work green will work when they turn. The best way to find out what does what and when it does it is to experiment. This collection includes vine maple, golden currant leaves and one mystery leaf from a scruffy little tree that grows out by the river. It is one of the first things to turn red here, has some sort of berry on it-and I have no idea what it is. I refer to it as "misc." on the tags. The acorns do make a dye, but also make a tannin for working with cotton. Which I think I should do more of.

Since the two things I have plenty of are cardboard and newsprint, I use a rather humble flower press to press and preserve the leaves. I cut up the cardboard about 12"x12", which is the size of our newspaper folded in half. The ideal time to collect the leaves is when they are red and still somewhat leathery. They press well this way and last forever. Collecting on a dry day will make life easier also, if the leaves are wet you will need to keep changing out the newspaper until they dry or they mold.  I top the stack of paper and leaves with another piece of cardboard and plop a book on top of that. They sit for several weeks and then I store them in shirt boxes (my husband hasn't worn a dress shirt in years-where do all those boxes come from?). 

The other items are for ideas I have had over the summer that I will now have time to work on. I have decided (sort of) that while I find whole cloth natural dyes intriguing, what people really want to buy are the eco prints so I don't intend to do much with whole cloth dyes (we will see how long that idea lasts). I brought home some elderberries (which will make a dye to my understanding) to experiment with making ink or watercolor from them. I have no idea where that will lead, but it sounded fun. I scooped up some pine cones that I may do something with at Christmas, or I may just put them in a basket and look at them-not sure. 

Remember to be responsible when collecting. If picking seeds or berries only take 10% and leave the rest for our furry friends. Don't cut branches or dig stuff up unless it is part of a landscape task anyway. When in public parks it is ideal to just pick stuff up off the ground. And don't wear wool shoes when collecting, unless you just want to plant Hound's Tongue all over your yard when you get home!

Monday, September 19, 2016


"Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace."
Amelia Earhart

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Time Well Spent

I had a lovely time in Anacortes Washington, both at the show and at the campground. I got quite a bit of work done while there, using all the lovely plants that don't grow on the eastern side of the state. The campground is right on the water's edge with a lot of untouched forest. Thimbleberry, salmonberry, ferns, and bracken all grow among the old trees and make wonderful prints.

I also walked a lot and spent time thinking and not thinking. I came across this tree one afternoon and watched the passage of time in the tides.