Monday, October 3, 2011

Tulsa State Fair

My family and I visited the Tulsa State Fair yesterday.  Selfishly, my main motivation was to see if my entries earned any rewards.  My "Autumn Palette" mat took a first prize in primitive rug hooking, small mats, and my large, hand-dyed, hand-stitched pillow took blue and premium ribbons!  This is the first premium ribbon I have ever received at this state fair and I am thrilled!

Although there are many things to talk about when it comes to fairs, my primary point for this blog entry is to encourage EVERYONE to enter SOMETHING in their local event.  Too many times we sit placidly by as the presence of our fine crafts disappear from our local fairs, seemingly dieing never to be resurrected.  Your entry doesn't have to be fabulous or even large.  It can simply be a "place holder" to say, "rug hooking", "weaving", "spinning", "dyeing", "knitting", etc. is still alive and well in the 21st century!  Some people are too shy to put their work out there, but it is one of the most important things you can do.  Even if your local event has come and gone for this year, start planning now for next year.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Is It Nuts to Act like a Squirrel?

Here we are at the end of August and due to being heat stressed, the walnut trees are already dropping their nuts.  (Usually this doesn't happen till late September/early October here in Oklahoma.)  At first the nuts were smaller than usual, but the closer we get to "normal" harvest time, the larger the nuts are becoming.

I like to take the opportunity of my lunch hour to get out of the office and pick-up walnuts.  I try to be deligent and get them as soon as they fall, when they're still green.  I never pick them off the tree quite simply because the tree isn't finished making them yet.  Many times, I feel like an overgrown squirrel picking up nuts and putting them into my recycled shopping bag.  There are always plenty to share with my furry bethren as I pass over those that have lain on the ground too long, or are slightly imperfect due to other ways.

In the park where I typically pick up these little packages of brown dye, there is one tree that has been barren for several years.  Today, it yielded three nuts to me!  I wonder if that is all it will produce.

When I return home from work, I will hoard my nuts into drying racks.  There they will wait until it is time to relinquish their tannin treasure to my dye bath.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Busy, busy, busy....

I didn't realize that it had been so long since I last posted.  It has been a long, hot summer and my dye/native plant garden is showing the wear. 

I gave a talk on dyeing wool to the Green Country Quilters.  What a fabulous group of ladies!  So many good questions and fun interaction.

My indigo class at Fiber Christmas was just one person shy of being a full fifteen.  It was great!  I even had a couple of "sprouts" in the group who were very engaged during the whole class.  It was great to see all my friends and meet new ones.

Monday, June 27, 2011

As Is Wool in Rug Hooking

I spend many hours playing with dyes and turning wool beautiful colors.  Currently, I am working on a sample for a beginning rug hooking class at Woolkeepers Hook-In in Camby, Indiana this fall.  As I work on this mat, I'm reminded that some of the best effects often come from "as is" wool.  It is a matter of choosing your color palette and looking for a piece that has all of those colors.  Although I purchased wool I thought I would use in this project, only one of the two pieces "worked".  I went to my stash and found a replacement for the non-working wool that is perfect.  I just hope I have enough of it for all of the kits I need!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Just when you thought you were safe...

This past Monday I had a glorious time vending at Texas Rugfest in Grapevine, Texas.  It being my fourth time at the event, I see many returning faces that I now consider friends.  The downside to the day was the engine hiccup my vehicle had driving back to Oklahoma.  My good friend who was with me at the time rescued me with her AAA membership and a 200 mile tow back to Wagoner.  (I knew trouble was coming when I found out my husband was scheduled to be out of state for work this week.)

Today marks the start of another weekend.  I'm teaching a beginning rug hooking class at the Multi Arts Studio in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  Let's hope the travel is uneventful....

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Native Plant and Dye Garden

My garden bed is a glorious riot of color!  It's slightly messy appearance reminds me that it is a "wild" thing not to be tamed, but appreciated.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cherokee Ethnobotany

Tomorrow I have the opportunity to attend a conference hosted by the Cherokee Nation on ethnobotany.  I am really looking forward to it, both professionally (primarily the plant identification) and personally.  More later.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Weld and Indigo

The weld gave a beautiful, soft baby chick yellow with an alum mordant on the yarn and fabric.  I wasn't sure it was going to take, but after removing it from the dye pot, I'm so pleased.

A long time friend graduated with her doctorate this weekend and I wanted to give her something special.  I chose to dye her a silk scarf in indigo using shibori surface design.  I actually used four different types of designs and made a duplicate of each.  For me, choosing the article of which to make a gift is a lot like choosing the perfect teddy bear, it's all about appearance.  My arashi was a little loose and two of the scarves came out looking marbled.  It was perfect.  Giving a gift that I make or dye or both is like giving a little part of myself.  It was well received

Monday, May 9, 2011


One accomplishment for the weekend was harvesting weld for the first time from my dye plant garden.  I've simmered the foliage to extract the color and it is sitting on my stove waiting for the insertion of yarn and fabric.  The smell of simmering weld is akin to that of cooking asparagus.  More on this adventure in future posts...

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Balancing Act

A busy weekend lies ahead.  I bless all those individuals who commission me for work and are patient, because balancing my "real" job, my fibery "extra" job, family, and home work is a feat.  For instance, I have a daughter with a birthday this weekend, my weaving guild meeting, a soccer game with the other daughter, dance pics for the youngest, a haircut appointment, church on Sunday, laundry, garden, a commission for 5 pins, a purse commission to finish, rug hooking kits to finish, bills to make out, and a home that desperately needs attention!  Oh, did I mention it's Mother's Day Sunday?  Calgon take me away.

The rug hooking talk went really well last night.  The audience was wonderful and receptive.  It was a lot of fun and I'm so happy they invited me.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Alright, I'm taking the plunge and blogging.  Catch me tonight at the Murrell House in Tahlequah for a talk about the history of rug hooking in America.  Lecture starts at 7pm.  See you there!