Folk Fibers Blog

  • A Trip to Telegraph Hill, SF

    The view from Telegraph Hill is grand. I hear a faint sound of parrots chirping from the lush trees. The darker brick colored building on the right is the Levis HQ. 

    Read more →
  • Quilts In Women's Lives

      Quilts in Women's Lives is a film by Pat Ferrero released in 1981. Used by folklorists, anthropologists and historians of art and women's history, the film shares the lives of ordinary women in the days when few documentaries came from women filmmakers. The full length film is a series of first person portraits of quilt makers. I was moved by the women's stories. They seem to speak straight from the heart. There is a delightful 15 minute preview of the film at folkstreams.net  my new favorite website.  Folkstreams seriously rules. It's a national preserve of documentary films about American folk or roots cultures. The films were produced by independent filmmakers in a golden...

    Read more →
  • Waza Community Quilt

    The Waza Quilt was hand-dyed with indigo, machine pieced, and finished with a collective of hand-stitches at Heroku's developer event in San Francisco know as Waza.  Heroku's Waza (技) conference celebrates the art of software development through technical sessions and unique happenings. This year's event was held at the SF Concourse Exhibition Center on Feb 28, 2013. It was an honor and joy sharing the craft and techniques used to make quilts. As it turns out there is logic in bringing a quilt to a tech conference. The conversation at Waza was about what’s happening in technology, how people are thinking about the future,...

    Read more →
  • Open House: 17th St ATX

    (psst.. I'm hosting another Open House BBQ on May 19th. I'd love to have you over.) My bedroom suddenly turned into a dream after installing shaker pegs, draping a quilt or two, and hanging a fresh garland of bay laurel over the bed.  I had fun displaying my work around the house and sharing an intimate evening in the company of bright spirits who came to support Folk Fibers. It was a great experience display the quilts and pillows, allowing people the chance to have a hands-on experience. I made new friends, some living here in Austin, some all-the-way from Oxford, Mississippi here for QuiltCon....

    Read more →
  • 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...

    Read more →
  • Natural Dyes - Osage Orange

    Osage Orange is one of my favorite dye sources for creating a range of golden yellows, metallic and russet golds, as well as soft mossy greens. I usually steer clear of using mordants in my dye process with the exception of yellows. Above all I prefer the soft earthy color results of mordant-free dye baths. In this post I demonstrate how using mordants can be used as a color changer, brighting or darkening protein or cellulose fibers, creating beautiful shifts in color. I find this exciting when working with natural dyes to create my patchwork quilts!  Natural fibers dyed with Osage Orange heartwood  no mordant--pure and earthy Natural fibers dyed...

    Read more →
  • Natural Dyes - Harvesting Osage Orange

    Ah at last, my eyes gaze at the source, as my fingers wipe away the fresh yellow-orange sawdust I feel connected, truly connected to the source of the golden color hidden in the heartwood of the Osage Orange tree. The bois d'arc tree, commonly called Osage Orange is a small deciduous tree. Even though it's name implies, It is not related to the Orange tree, it's an American relative to the Mulberry Tree. Osage Orange occurred historically in the Red River drainage of Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas and in the Blackland Prairies, Post Oak Savannas, and Chisos Mountains of Texas. It has been widely naturalized in the United States and Ontario.  Historically the wood was being used for war clubs and bow-making by Native Americans.  It's popular because...

    Read more →
  • Quilts for Terrain

    Maura with Quilts, photo by Wynn Myers A batch of 5 quilts created exclusively for Terrain.  I drew inspiration from colors found in the natural world, made only with insects, minerals, and plants. The naturally dyed fabrics were patch worked with vintage scraps and unbleached cotton. The results of these efforts are heirloom-quality pieces, each one unique, timeless, and beautiful. All of the textile colors are found in nature and work beautifully together.  Inspired by traditional pioneer quilt blocks that evolved durring the mid-1800's when pioneers began migrating to the west coast. The pioneers endured hardships of hostile terrain. Women provided the strength and reason to endure. Their determination to meet...

    Read more →
  • 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...

    Read more →
  • 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...

    Read more →