Spoonflower Fat Quarter Sale Announced

I’m all packed up for my last teaching travel date for 2012. My studio is clean, swept, and the sewing table is cleared off. When I get home, I have two baby gifts to make and I want to plan my holiday sewing before (drum roll) the Spoonflower fat quarter sale starts next week. They just announced it: The annual two-for-one fat quarter sale starts Thursday, October 25th, 2013 (8am EST) and ends Wednesday, October 31st (10pm EST).

Donna Kallner’s Bananafana fabric collection on Spoonflower

The Bananafana collection above is one I designed this summer for a baby gift (fingers crossed that bun stays in the oven a few more weeks). Having no idea what colors or designs to use, I went to my niece-in-law’s Pinterest boards and found yellow and gray. Gotta love Pinterest for that. Before holiday making starts, I’d sure like to know if there’s a Pinterest equivalent for teenage boys.

Donna Kallner & Mary Sue Fenner

Back to Spoonflower. Mary Sue Fenner and I both taught for the Michigan League of Handweavers in August. I sold a bunch of my Spoonflower proofing swatches from the old color profile while I was there. Then in September at the Sievers Gathering, Mary Sue hands me a bag with this awesome collage vest made from my Spoonflower fabric!

Vest pattern is Vogue 8777

Mary Sue made the vest from t-shirt fabric with the cotton fabrics collaged on as raw edge applique. It’s very comfy and the shaping in the back was really flattering on everyone who tried it on. And it’s totally my style! I ordered the pattern as soon as I got home from Sievers.

But that will have to wait. Baby gifts first!

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Harvesting Color — Bracken

Bracken dye brewed with iron, on cotton rug warp

Bracken fern grows in abundance in my neck of the woods. In September, I brewed up a big batch of bracken dye before I headed off to teach in Denver.

Bracken (left) and staghorn sumac leaves (right)

I find that giving a stained dyebath some extra time to sit in an aluminum pot can help brighten colors. I also find that I should tape a label to the pot lid, because my loose notes got mixed up and I can’t swear to what kind of dyebath I used for a couple of things. The one at the top I know is the second simmer of a bracken bath in which I added some rusty nails to get that dark gray.

Merino top in bracken (?) dyebath

I’m only 90 percent certain this was the first dyebath extracted from that bracken. Oops.

Natural dye sampler workshop at Sievers’ Gathering

Anyway. There’s a good stand of bracken outside one of the studios at Sievers, so I cut enough to brew a pot for a short natural dye workshop I taught as part of the biennial Gathering the last weekend in September. The school is on Washington Island, and being surrounded by Lake Michigan has a huge influence on their weather. While the bracken at home was showing definite signs of frost and freeze, there was fresher stuff at Sievers.

Naturally dyed silk scarves

 In a 4-hour sampling workshop, there’s not much time to take pictures. But trust me, students did some beautiful silk scarves, some of which were dyed with that bracken brew.

Unwrapping cold-bundled silk samples

They also unwrapped some silk I cold-bundled before I left for Denver so these students could swap swatches.

Students’ sample cards for cold-bundled hops, bracken, Virginia creeper and willow leaves

 The second column from the left in this photo includes bracken leaves. I’m 90 percent sure the brew I basted some of the bundles with was bracken, too. The students got the idea, and probably learned to keep better records than I do!

Frozen bracken for winter dyeing

 In September, I “put up” enough bracken in the freezer to make several dyebaths. I’ll try to do a better job of recording and photographing bracken when I brew those. Where did I put that tape?

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