Folk Fibers Blog / fiber arts

  • 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 - 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...

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  • 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...

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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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  • 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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  • The Story Behind The Delaware Baby Quilt

    The Delaware Baby Quilt is almost entirely made with natural dyed fabric, almost. The bright peach fabric is actually a vintage cotton Liz Claiborne skirt.  The bright turquoise fabric was in my fabric collection and I'm not exactly sure where I acquired it but I do know it is a sandwashed cotton, meaning it has been gently buffed into a smooth and soft texture, resembling a suede but having the practical qualities of a cotton. For this quilt I dyed the sashiko cotton thread used for the quilting in a red onion skin dyebath, the result is a pale pink thread. This quilt is entirely hand quilted.  I prefer to hand...

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  • DEAR MOM,

      My Selvedge Magazine arrived today, and to my surprise a pair of long wool mittens came with it! The mittens are an incredible addition given by ESK-Life, they are made in Scotland, a blend of cashmere and mohair, and very soft.  Thank you so much for the generous gift subscription, I wish I could thank you in person with a great big hug + kiss!  

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