Folk Fibers Blog / process

  • The Back Story on Quilts

    Sometimes the backsides of quilts are just as beautiful, if not even more desirable than the tops. When I make the backs for my quilts I construct a free-form design by sewing together large pieces of fabric, usually remnants leftover from making the quilt top. This process is improvisational and creates a moderate design compared to the front of the quilt. The large blocky designs on the backsides are a nice breather after the intensity of piecing together the formal and forward design that is intended to dedicate the quilt. It's always a delight to see the hand stitches come to life...

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  • Natural Dyes - Pomegranates

    Natural fibers dyed with pomegranates harvested in Austin, Texas above: no mordant--pure and earthy  below: alum pre-mordant brightens colors creating yellow tones Steeped in history and romance pomegranates have long been cultivated, they're even biblical. I find myself lucky to be living in a place they grow prolifically, they're packed with usefulness and in my case a botanical dye. Overall the pomegranate is an attractive shrub or small tree and is more or less spiny, and extremely long-lived. The fruit is widely praised for the juice, but I'm after the brilliant dye properties great for coloring textiles. The dye properties are found in both the rind...

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  • Natural Dyes - Wild Mushrooms

    This was my first experience obtaining color from mushrooms. I have a growing interest in mushroom hunting, so it was only a matter of time the lore of natural color would guide me to collecting them for dyes. This past August I stumbled upon a perfect wet wooded breeding ground for a variety of wild mushrooms. I used rubber gloves to carefully harvest all the mushrooms found on the waterfront of my parents lake house near the Virginia/North Carolina border. Warning, some mushrooms are extremely poisonous, and even after dye and washing, the fabric can still hold dangerous properties that could irritate skin. Stay safe...

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  • Our Hand Quilting Community

    Meet the Folk Fibers hand quilting community! From the left: Monica, Juliet, myself, and Mercedes March of this year I reached a point in my studio work that I needed assistance with the hand quilting process of my quilt making. A step that I was not ready to take years ago when I first had the idea to start a quilting business. This year was different, I was now ready. I started by simply placing an add on Craigslist, seeking the help I needed. It began through a process of emails and then meeting individually at a coffee house. Since...

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  • Natural Dyes - Yellow Onion Skins

    Yellow onion skins create a golden range of earthy colors. With a concentrated dye bath and enough time for the fibers to soak, the colors achieved are a combination of red and yellow, usually resting in the middle as an orange. The results radiate warmth and happiness, combining the physical energy and stimulation of red with the cheerfulness of yellow. Protein fibers such as wool and silk, dye deep to medium shades of ochre, creating pigments in the cadmium-orange families. Referencing sienna, burnt orange, pumpkins, terra cotta, and rust. Cellulose fibers such as cotton, hemp, and bamboo dye a range of dark orange to a lighter orange peel, having deep notes of golden-yellow or...

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  • Natural Dyes - Red Onion Skins

    Red onion skins create a earthy range of colors. Protein fibers such as wool and silk, dye a pale to medium nutmeg brown, with a mix of rosewood, russet and rosy browns. Cellulose fibers such as cotton, hemp, and bamboo dye a range of seashell pinks, with a mix of champagne, pale, and silver pink. Natural dye colors are living colors, they are alive with the life that made them.  The dry outer skins of onions can be used for coloring natural textile materials and easter eggs. Red onion skins create a different range of colors than yellow onions skins, so it's important to keep...

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  • Nui Shibori: Stitch Resist

      I made this stitched resist rabbit many years ago, but I still love it so. Nui shibori includes stitched shibori. A simple running stitch is used on the cloth then pulled tight to gather the cloth before submerging in a dye pot. Stitching affords flexibility and control to create designs of great variety, delicate or bold, simple or complex, pictorial or abstract. This technique allows for greater control of the pattern and greater variety of pattern, but it is much more time consuming.  mokume shibori also known as woodgrain

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  • SHIBORI

    I was introduced to shibori dye methods in college while taking the history of fabric class in the fibers dept at scad. Recently I have been revisiting the techniques. keeping an active indigo dye pot (along a slew of others) at my fingertips promotes the constant activity of testing and experimenting with cloth and color.  I love resist dying and when I started studying shibori I found it was just the right sort of sophistication and historical context I was looking for in what I knew before as tie-dye. I don't see the resist dye techniques entering into the crafting of my quilts, for now...

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  • My Indigo Journey Begins

    "Don't rush,­ life is long and there's no race to be the first to do anything with indigo,­ it's all been done for thousands of years. The big question is how do you make it your own, and that takes years and years." -Rowland Ricketts This year I have immersed myself in learning first-hand the age-old-traditions of growing, dying, and processing Indigo. Due to my years of experience in working on organic vegetable farms, I was able to start confident and strong with growing and harvesting Indigo; but then came the question of how to process indigo, meaning getting color from the plant onto fabric?...

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  • Folk Fibers Quilts for Levis Made Here

      I am very excited to announce that I am making quilts for Levis!  You may have noticed a little lull in my online presents over the last couple of weeks. This was all due to my gusto and focus on getting a series of quilts designed and crafted for Levis - Made Here Stores. Made Here is a project created and run by Jay Carroll, a concept designer for Levis. Made Here are special Levis stores that deliver a bespoke interpretation of the Levi’s® brand. A meaningful component of the Made Here store is the initiative to sell beautiful objects...

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