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Oh No – No Snow!

I received a number of responses to last week’s post from readers in areas where there is no snow. Then I ran into a friend locally who had the same concern and I realized the problem … I live in the woods and, even though we’ve had a mild, warm, low-snow winter for Wisconsin – our trees are keeping me in plenty of snow to snow dye. I guess I hadn’t really noticed the lack of snow all around (duh). Here’s the current view from our deck:

This is the field across the road and my friend (and website designer) Di’s beautiful farm:

It’s hard to believe the contrast.

If you have no snow, do not despair. There is such a thing as “Freeze Dyeing”. Just go to the Milwaukee Art Quilters blog: and scroll down to the directions in the September 25th post.

Just in case you’re dyeing to see the results from last week’s adventure – here are the burp cloths:

Plus Daddy and Mommy’s shirts and baby-to-be’s onesies and bibs:

The tie dyeing was a hit and the results were such fun!

Now I’d like to share my snow dyeing saga and what I learned along the way.

1. I waited until the snow was almost completely melted:

2. I dumped the bins onto the snowy yard:

3. I removed the bins:

4. and hung everything to drip and dry in the warm shed:

5. Then it was off to the laundromat for 2 cold water washes (with Color Catchers™ to absorb the excess dye) and a ride in the dryer.

And here’s the snow dyed results:

I was really quite pleased, but I didn’t like the way the fabric sat in the “muddy” water at the bottom of the bin while the snow melted. Thanks to Johanna for her comment about elevating the fabric with an old oven rack or cookie rack. Other suggestions were inverted deli containers along the bottom of the bin or even leftover chunks of pvc pipe.

I’m anxious to try this out on some of the leftover hunks of light value fabric in my stash. New life for old fabric! But I’d better get at it before the snow’s all gone!

February 19, 2012, Color Dyeing
Tie Dye Baby

Today I threw a baby shower with a twist for my daughter-in-law Betsy: she invited her girlfriends and we tie-dyed onesies, bibs and burp cloths. We even did t-shirts for Daddy and Mommy. What a blast!

The original idea came from Kathie Boucher with inspiration from Laura Krasinski (both friends from the Milwaukee Art Quilters). I purchased tie-dye kits from Joann Fabrics. Grandpa Mike was kind enough to make room in his barn. We covered the floor and tables with plastic and then the fun began.

Above center is Betsy and my granddaughter to be 🙂

Artists come in all sizes.

The girls did a great job, but they didn’t get to see the finished product yet (it’s all still damp and under plastic).

After everyone left I decided it was time to try my hand at snow dyeing. So I mixed up a few new bottles of dye, removed my old, stained sweatshirt, grabbed a few pair of bamboo socks for the grandkids in Washington State and phase II began.

1.   I misted everything with water and bunched it in the bottom of 2 bins.

2.  Grandpa shoveled the bins full of snow.

3.  I patted down the snow and “made snow cones” (Annabelle is watching and wondering what I’m doing).

Theoretically the dye melts into the fabric and wonderful designs occur. So here’s the before:

Next week I’ll post the pictures of all the “afters”!

Have you had any group dyeing adventures?

February 12, 2012, Color Dyeing
Adding Color to My World II

Years ago I made a quilt for a challenge entitled “Name That Tune”. Can you guess the title of my quilt? 


I was a teenager in the 70’s, so if you didn’t get it, you probably weren’t <g>. The name is “Color My World”. It was a slow dance song by Chicago. It may be difficult to see on this photo, but in the void under the world I hand quilted the Creator’s hands in metallic thread so the sub title is “He’s God the Whole World in His Hands!”

I thoroughly enjoy choosing colors/fabrics for my quilts. I’m not much of a cook, but when I start pulling bolts and come up with a good mix I sense that it “tastes good”. This may sound a bit weird (I’ll accept that :-), but I actually begin to salivate when I feel the color combination coming together. It’s the only way I can describe it!

I think “drooling” over fabric is more common than you might think! If this version of quilting excitement has passed you by, here’s a suggestion for getting your taste buds tuned up:

I’m often inspired by color combinations in nature. What a wonderful week to be conversing on this topic! The trees (many maples) in my yard have finally turned. This hasn’t been the most colorful Fall, but I have some pictures from past Autumns and here’s one of my favorites:

My recent trip to Alaska provided some great shots. This mushroom was growing in Hazel’s front yard!

Or how about the phenomonal hues God’s paintbrush created on the Kenai River:


If you have a picture, but aren’t quite sure how to pull the colors from it there is a great website for doing just that. Go to: On the right side under “Welcome to Kuler” click on “Adobe TV” for a short and simple tutorial. They’ll show you how to upload your image and choose a color scheme from it in a way that’s easy, quick and fun 🙂.

PS I will not be posting for the next 2 weeks, as Wendy and I will be taking a group of quilters to Ireland! I’m sure I’ll bring back more photo inspiration and I’ll be anxious to share some with you when I return.

October 13, 2010, Color
Adding Color to My World

Students often tell me they are not good at choosing colors for their quilts. I don’t believe they are truly bad at it, I’m convinced these quilters just need a bit of confidence boosting and encouragement.

When a painter begins a new project he/she has only individual colors to start with, whereas quilters are blessed with many wonderful fabrics that talented designers have already created for us and these fabrics provide a good jumping off point. By picking a multicolor print that is appealing, a good color scheme has already been chosen for us. Pull colors from this print and good results are almost a given!


 A color wheel is another safe way to choose good color combinations. There are many great quilting books available on this subject and they cover the different color wheels much better than I could.

I’ll share my personal ways of choosing colors on Thursday. Until then, please let us know how you deal with this topic. Do you stay within manufacturer’s fabric lines? Do you ask for help at the quilt shop? or do you just buy kits so you don’t need to deal with it :-)?

October 10, 2010, Color