Thursday, April 2, 2015

Lavender Farms

This lavender farm is one of the most magical places on the face of the earth. We discovered it by accident while driving around the Mt Shasta, California area a few years ago. The panoramic views are spectacular. The place resets my calm and restful button!

While lavender is one of the most powerful essential oils, it makes a wimpy natural dye.  The color on silk, cotton, or wool is the same as tea.  My thoughts about it are, why waste the blossoms and your time making beiges and browns when you can throw a few tea bags in the water and have the same results in way less time?

Many times, we just have to try things to know for sure if they produce good color. Other disappointments include Zinnia blossoms and pink geraniums. On the other hand, grand surprises include black hollyhocks, blackberries, cactus fruit (prickly pear) and raspberries. 
What have you planted this year in your dye garden?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Plants For Natural Dyes

Items that make superb natural dyes that you may not have considered include "prickly pear" (the fruit of the cactus plant),

Camellia blossoms, 

Juniper berries,




Dyer's Woad,

Flowers such as zinnias, cosmos, hollyhocks, geraniums, hibiscus, or sunflowers!

Start thinking about what to plant in your garden now for great fun in the dye studio this summer and fall.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

How To Stretch A Canvas

My new video on how to stretch a canvas can be seen on YouTube. Here's the link:

You can use this technique to stretch a painting you have already made, finishing it off for a formal presentation. If you have a needlepoint that would look good as a piece of fine art, you can stretch it the same way. Sometimes misting the piece on the back with warm water to shrink it tight can help any sagging that might occur.

Stretching your art work on bars and then framing can take your art to a new level of professionalism.

If you would like to take my fabric painting course online, watch the roster at The Academy of Quilting ( 

Batik With Trapunto 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Returning to Online Teaching!

I am pleased to announce that I am returning to online teaching through the Academy of Quilting based in the lovely country of New Zealand. The first course I will be teaching is "Wool Dyeing" using acid dyes with a lesson at the end about how to use natural dyes on wool fibers.
I am excited to be back at it and hope to meet many more students located all around this wonderfully fiber rich world!

Marjorie McWilliams

Marjorie McWilliams image
Marjorie McWilliams began dyeing fabric in 1969 at the University of California, Santa Barbara and earned a degree in Studio Art and Art History from CSU, Fresno.
Marjorie taught on line through Quilt for 13 years reaching over 15,000 student from all over  the world.
She currently owns Fabric, which creates custom dyed silk, cotton, and wool textiles. Her fabrics can be found on all 7 continents.
You can find out more about Marjorie by visiting her website at

- See more at:

Here is the description of the course:

Class Details for Wool Dyeing

Number of Lessons: 5 
Price: US$ 50.00 
Tutor: Marjorie McWilliams 
Start Date: 27 March 2015 
Click Enroll to register.
It’s easy to dye your own custom colors on wool fibers such as flannel, felt, roving or yarn. In this five lesson course, I will show you how to dye solid colors, mottled colors, bright or pastel colors, and combinations of hues on the same piece of wool for a spectrum of beautiful results. Making your own colors will take your wool projects to a new level of artistic sophistication and professionalism.

See you there????

Friday, February 13, 2015

Hand Dyed Silk Used as Worship Tools

Here are two more shots of the worship tools Deborah Kordecki makes for her business, Colors Of Praise. Check out her web site at
She often special orders hand dyed silk from me to enhance a basic idea that she wants to embellish. The colors she asked for in this piece are called: "The Blood".

It's a rare treat for me to work with a customer who first of all trusts my judgement and artistic eye as much as Deborah does. Secondly it is great fun to allow God to orchestrate the outcome! Bottom line: it's a mistake to think we can separate our spiritual selves from our artistic selves. I've tried. I failed. Miserably.
I'm never going to go there again.
Yay for me.
Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Dyeing Wool with Acid,Procion MX*, and Natural Dyes

*This 72 page workbook comes in a convenient 3-ring binder with plastic covered pages in sleeves, and places to save swatches to keep notes for years of use as your own personal hand dyeing journal and reference tool.
*Prop it up or lay it flat to do your lessons.
*Each lesson contains step-by-step, easy to follow instructions and color photographs that take the mystery out of dyeing wool fibers.
Outline: Supply List- Everything you need for the five lesson series and where to get it.
You can chose to use wool yarn, roving, felt, flannel, or a combination of any and all wool products.
Lesson One- The Basics, safety information, preparing the fiber, mixing the dyes for brilliant colors of the spectrum, dyeing three values on the same fiber, dyeing multiple colors on same fiber.
Lesson Two-Dyeing pastel colors of the spectrum using dye stock solutions, dyeing three values on the same piece of wool, dyeing multiple colors on the same piece of wool, mottling.
Lesson Three-Clamping, twisting, knotting and banding for shibori dyed effects, using old Procion MX dyes as acid dyes.
Lesson Four-How to over dye new colors and revive drab ones. How to over dye using black to achieve new shades of colors.
Lesson Five-Basic recipes for tea, spices, and natural dyes such as berries, flowers, onion skins and more.
*First edition.

Pokeberries on Wool Yarn

Lavender Flowers

Wine As A Wool Stain!

This workbook is available for sale on my web site:! 
Even Procion MX Dyes can be used as an acid dye. It's not the best option, but in a pinch, your wool can come back to life with a new color and a new purpose. Learn how with this step by step tutorial.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

I had the rare opportunity to dye the most amazing fiber today! It’s not cotton. It’s not silk. It’s vicuña.

Vicuña is the rarest and finest hair fiber available in the world and these animals live only in the upper altitudes of the Andes Mountains. In ancient times the Inca valued vicuñas for their wool, and believed the animal was the reincarnation of a beautiful young maiden who received a coat of pure gold. Only royalty was allowed to wear this precious fiber.”-Windy Valley

My new friend Katherine is from Bolivia and was able to buy some with the permission of the Bolivian government as she is doing a master’s thesis on this remarkable fiber.

“Each year, only 13,000 to 17,500 pounds of vicuña become available.....The Italian tailoring house Kiton makes only about 100 vicuña pieces a year; an off-the-rack sport coat costs at least $21,000, while the price of a made-to-measure suit starts at $40,000. A single vicuña scarf from Loro Piana is about $4,000. Ermenegildo Zegna produces just 30 vicuña suits a year. Each is numbered, and the most affordable model goes for $46,500.”

It dyed beautifully with both natural and acid dyes.

It was a great day at Fabric Designs!

Thank you, Katherine for introducing me to this glorious wool.

About Me

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Woodland, California, United States
I am a fiber artist. I am a teacher. I teach, I create, I counsel, I listen.

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