Category Archives: Workshops

Hand dyeing workshop with the London Modern Quilt Guild

I spent last Saturday teaching an enthusiastic and adventurous group of women hand dyeing with Procion MX dyes. Kristyn of the London Modern Quilt Guild of Canada asked me last year if I would be interested in teaching how I dye fabrics to the guild members. I was excited to be able to share my love of dyeing.

I created kits for all the participants.

Our group set up in a room in the East Lions Artisans Centre in London, Ontario. It is a great facility with access to plenty of water! Necessary for any dyeing workshop.

Some of the beautiful and colourful hand dyed fabrics drying.

One of the very courageous members @melonpatch.quilts brought cotton yarn. The example above is dyed with olive-green and then sprinkled with black. I can’t wait to see the results.

These are just a few of the lovely pieces that the guild members experimented with. T-shirts, silk scarves, linen, silk noile, a canvas hat, and many pieces of cotton were dyed in a rainbow of colours.

Thank you all for letting me spend the day with you, sharing and creating a rainbow of fabrics.

Teaching a Fabric Dyeing Workshop at the London Modern Quilt Guild

In a couple of weeks I will be travelling to London, Ontario to teach an all day fabric dyeing workshop. Kristyn McCoy of the London Modern Quilt Guild contacted me last year to ask if I would be interested in sharing my knowledge. I absolutely was!

Join me and the members of the London Modern Quilt Guild on Saturday July 8, 2017  from 10am-4pm for a hands on workshop exploring colour, folding, twisting and scrunching fabrics to create your own original hand dyed fabrics. Information is available on the Events page.

Hope to see you there!


Graffiti Quilting with Amy Garro

I spent an inspirational day with Amy Garro of 13 Spools. She taught her workshop on Graffiti quilting to a group of very enthusiastic quilters.  The workshop was well planned with lots of useful information. First we practiced the motifs by doodling on paper, then on the sewing machine.

Amy Garro

Amy Garro

Amy Garro red quilt

Amy Garro explaining her graffiti quilting

It was helpful to see Amy practice her technique and also to hear her thought processes when she decides on her designs.

Amy Garro Icy Waters quilt

Amy Garro Icy Waters quilt

Amy brought a selection of her quilts including the Icy Waters quilt pictured above. I was happy to hear that her aim in quilting is not perfection.

A few of us brought quilt tops that needed to be quilted but we were having trouble deciding on a quilt design. Amy asked what we liked most about our quilt – the precise piecing or the colour combination or the interaction of the blocks. With this in mind, select a quilting design that makes this a feature of the quilt.

I’ve begun the quilting on a piece that I’ve had on the design wall for some time. How do you decide on your quilting?

Indigo Dyeing Workshop: Part Two

On the second day of the workshop we were back early with stitched pieces of fabric ready to dye! Preparing the fabric was time consuming but the results were fantastic! The beige fabric is a linen/cotton blend that will become a pillow. It is basted from the center out with upholstery thread and running stitches. The other beige piece has the fabric pulled through metal washers. The white cotton on the lower left has small plastic bead wrapped inside and tied with thread.

Fabrics prepared to indigo dye

Fabrics prepared to indigo dye

Linen/cotton fabric prepared for Indigo dyeing

Linen/cotton fabric prepared for Indigo dyeing and rayon velvet

There are four basic techniques for shibori dyeing that we worked with:

  1. Arashi Shibori – pole-wrapping
  2. Itajime Shibori – folding and clamping
  3. Kumo Shibori – bound resists
  4. Nui shibori – stitching and gathering
Indigo fabrics drying

Indigo fabrics drying

Shibori designs are created when the fabric resists the indigo dye. This is achieved by creating portions of the cloth where the dye can’t penetrate. So, the tighter that fabric is gathered, clamped or stitched, the more it retains its original colour in these areas.

Indigo shibori pieces drying

Indigo shibori pieces drying

Above, on the left is a PFD cotton that was folded in half lengthwise and then pole wrapped. The cotton gauze on the right was folded into squares and clamped in-between two pieces of wood.

Indigo fabrics drying on line

Indigo fabrics drying on line

Each time I unwrapped a piece, more design possibilities were suggested. I would like to experiment with different weights and textures of fabric as well as silk and pure linen. I think that the differing weaves of the fabric will also contribute to the uniqueness of the finished designs.

Indigo fabrics drying on line

Indigo fabrics drying on line

There are more pieces waiting to be washed and ironed. I enjoyed creating the varied styles using the shibori technique and will try them out using Procion fabric dyes during the summer.

Indigo Shibori - Itajime

Indigo Shibori – Itajime

The fabric on the right looks like daisies!

Indigo Dyeing Workshop: Part One

A few weeks ago, a friend and I spent 2 full days dyeing fabric using Indigo. It was great fun and I made some beautiful pieces of fabric.

Colour Vie Studio

Colour Vie Studio

The workshop was held at the Colour Vie Studio owned by textile designer and teacher Gunnel Hag. The 2 day workshop “The World of Indigo” was taught by textile designer and indigo dyer extraordinaire Pam Woodward.

Indigo samples

Indigo samples

Pam had a wall of samples, each one more gorgeous and inspiring than the last.

Indigo Shibori sample

Indigo Shibori sample

I especially wanted to try making something similar to the one above.


Indigo Dye Bucket

Indigo is a plant based dye and the process differs slightly from Procion MX dyes which I’ve used in the past. It’s important not to add oxygen to the vat of indigo, so care needs to be taken adding and removing fabric from the dye pot. The metallic sheen on the surface means that the solution is ready to be used.

Indigo Gradient

Indigo Gradient

When the fabric is first removed from the vat, it is a green colour. The piece changes colour from green to blue as the fabric is exposed to the air and oxidization occurs. It’s like magic seeing the colour change!

Indigo gradient with 3 dips

Indigo Gradient with 3 dips

Our first piece was dyed with repeated dips in the vat, introducing less of the fabric each time to give an ombre effect.

Indigo gradient fabric

Indigo gradient fabric and pole wrapped piece

Our second piece was created by wrapping the fabric around a PVC pipe, wrapping the fabric with string and then pushing it up and twisting it around the tube tightly to create small pleats. The pipe was submerged into the dye about four times, oxidizing for 20 minutes or more between each dip.  When I unfolded the fabric, I found the dye had created a beautiful diagonal movement with leaf shapes.

Indigo Shibori - Arashi

Indigo Shibori – Arashi

This is the PVC pipe with the fabric ready to be submerged into the indigo vat. This technique is called Arashi. I dyed a few more pieces using variations of this technique and it’s one of my favourites. Every time you unwrap the tube it’s a surprise.



Indigo accident

Indigo accident

This is what happens when you have a leak in your glove!

Next week I will have more photographs of the fabrics created and the techniques learned during the indigo dyeing workshop.

Dyeing with Kim Eichler-Messmer at QuiltCon

These are some of the delicious fabrics I brought home from Austin, Texas this February.

Shibori hand dyed fabrics

Shibori hand dyed fabrics

I took two fabric dyeing workshops at QuiltCon with Kim Eichler-Messmer. She is an excellent teacher: knowledgable, approachable and super talented.

Kim Eichler-Messmer teaching workshop at QuiltCon

Kim Eichler-Messmer teaching workshop at QuiltCon

Kim has written a book called Modern Color: An Illustrated Guide to Dyeing Fabric for Modern Quilts. I highly recommend this book for all of you who are interested in dyeing your own cloth. She outlines safety, setting up a dye studio at home, gives comprehensive instructions to create gorgeous fabric from just six basic colours and then shows you how to use the colourful fabric you’ve just created.

Modern Color by Kim Eichler-Messmer book cover

Modern Color: an Illustrated guide to dyeing fabric for modern quilts by Kim Eichler-Messmer

The first day was an introduction to dyeing and it was comprehensive. Below are some of the fabrics the class produced.

Hand dyed fabrics

Hand dyed fabrics drying

The second workshop we learned to create Shibori style hand dyed fabrics. These required folding, clamping between two pieces of plastic and adding the dye in small amounts. The parts of the fabric that were tightly in between the plastic resisted the dye and left the fabric in its original colour. There are an infinite combination of designs that can made with this technique.

Shibori hand dyed fabrics

Shibori hand dyed fabrics drying on fence

Not all of these gorgeous fabrics were mine, although I wish they were!

Shibori hand dyed fabrics

Shibori hand dyed fabrics

Shibori hand dyed fabrics

Shibori hand dyed fabrics

Shibori hand dyed fabrics

Shibori hand dyed fabrics drying on picnic table

I am looking forward to warmer weather here so I can get outside and dye some more fabric.

Kim Eichler-Messmer QuiltCon2

Shibori hand dyed fabric drying on fence

Now I need to actually use up these beautiful fabrics!

More Hand Dyed Fat Quarters

These fat quarters were dyed using extra dyes left over from another project I worked on in the fall. It had been a while since the dyes were mixed and I wasn’t certain how the fabric would take the dye. I selected 6 pieces of PFD (prepared for dyeing) fabric and put them in the dye baths with no expectations. These are the results.

Hand dyed fabrics folded 2015

My favourite piece is third from the left below. Both red and yellow dye were added to the container. The result is a watermelon pink with some yellow areas. The biggest surprise from the dye bath is the piece on the left. In the container it was a deep intense blue, after rinsing out the excess dye, the blue looks like a patch of frozen ice.

Hand dyed fabrics hanging 2015

I also dyed a piece of cheesecloth and am pleased with the colour and look of it. There is a lovely variation in the colour and the texture is scrumptious too!

Hand dyed cheescloth 2015 Hand dyed cheescloth roll 2015

I have a piece of silk velvet that is waiting to be dyed. I used hand dyed velvet, that I purchased, in the Icterine series and love the texture it gives to a piece. I haven’t decided what colour I want my velvet to be yet! What types of fabric have you tried dyeing?

Tiny Homes – Fusing Workshop

Recently, I took a workshop with Laura Wasilowski It was great fun – she has a wonderful sense of humour. We worked with kits made up of her gorgeous hand dyed fabrics and thread. With these we set out to create our very own “Tiny Homes”.

Tiny home hand dyed fabric

Laura explained how to make elements by free hand cutting into the fabric. Multiple elements can be fuse tacked together to create more intricate pieces.

Tiny home elements

These small units are then used to create your piece.

Tiny home placement

I don’t have my piece completed yet. I think I need a few more elements before I decide on the final layout. Once the pieces are all fused in place, the details are added with the hand dyed perle cotton.

Even though I didn’t complete my piece, I graduated with a degree in Architecture from the Chicago School of Fusing!

lauras hand dyed fabric

Of course, I couldn’t leave without a few pieces of her beautiful fabric and thread to take home for my stash! You can see some of the colours she hand dyes on her website.

lauras hand dyed fabric

More hand dyed fabric for quilting

Here are the rest of the hand dyed fabrics that I dyed in Malka’s workshop.

hand dyed fabrics folded

These were also stamped with a variety of tools to create the designs.

Hand Blocked Fish

Hand Blocked Fish

The fish were stamped with a woodcut block from Malka’s collection. The purple fabric below was stamped as well.

Hand Blocked Cross

Hand Blocked Cross

The following two pieces were created using a small paintbrush dipped in wax.

Hand dyed stripe

Hand dyed stripe

hand dyed pink fabric

Hand dyed pink stripe

This green hand dyed fabric had the wax applied with a plastic comb. It didn’t work out like I thought it would, but I like the effect anyway.

hand dyed green fabric

Hand dyed green fabric

Now they are ready to incorporate into a quilt!

Hand Dyed Fabrics For Quilting

I have finally gotten around to washing out the wax from the hand dyed fat quarters I made at Malka Dubrawsky’s class at QuiltCon in 2013!

hand dyed fabric folded

Malka taught a full day workshop teaching wax resist dyeing. You can see some of the beautiful pieces she creates on her website: A Stitch in Dye. All the information on creating your own hand dyed fabrics are available in her book.

Colour Your Cloth

Colour Your Cloth: a quilter’s guide to dyeing and patterning fabric by Malka Dubrawsky

These are just a few of the fabrics that I dyed that day.

hand dyed fabric for quilting

Can you guess what was used to make the designs?

hand dyed fabric for quilting

Potato masher

hand dyed fabric

green pepper

hand dyed green fabric

silicon barbecue brush

hand dyed fabric for quilting

cardboard tube

The rest of the fat quarters are in the wash. I’ll post these once they have all been prepared.