I realize it’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted, life just gets on the way. I’ve also been on an adventure in fibers. Today I wanted to share about my on going process with indigo.


These are indigo plants that grow here in South Carolina, this is the tropical variety of indigo not the Japanese. I grew them in a sunny garden area and have harvested half my crop as I want to let the others go to seed for next years crop.

I placed the plants in water in a bucket and covered for 5 days. The color is extracted from the plants by fermenting and today I removed the plant and moved on to step 2.

I’ve added lye to create a base ( lowered the ph) and then stirred to add oxygen. Next I need to add a reducing agent which will take out the oxygen for the indigo to be successful as a dye.
There’s a whole lot of chemistry in this dying process but I am enjoying the learning curve.
I’ve collected coreopsis flowers and made a dye bath in a different manner using heat and a mordant of alum.

The picture shows the natural color fleece. I actually dyed the locks of wool then carded them into the batts you see. The natural is in the bottom to the left is a yellowy from the coreopsis, the purple and red are from the same pot where I didn’t mix up the food coloring dye too well and only half dyed purple and the other red. Oops! Cool mistake though ! The green came from form food coloring.

Not only will I spin with these colors I have felted too. The flower is wet felted first then needle felted into the burlap for a cool outdoor pillow.
I will show you the results of my dye vat as soon as it is ready. I’m planning a demonstration for Brookgreen Gardens fall festival the first weekend in October.
Hope all of you are well and thanks for keeping in touch with me while I’ve been away from blogging

Rules of Monogramming

I am asked this question all the time and the answer has changed over the years. When a couple is getting married how should their combined monogram read?? I ask do they want a traditional or a modern monogram, the difference being what name comes first the Man or the Woman?   If asking my advice I tend towards the traditional by having the man’s initial first, I’ve being doing that for a very long time now and that’s my thought. However, that being said, within the last several years it’s changing towards the Modern with the Brides name being the first initial. A monogram is a personal and individual thing so you can make up your own rules too.

I’ve researched this and Embroidery arts has the best response on all sorts of  monograms. Visit their site for more information at:

Here is their findings for the Tradition/Modern monogram for couples


In the 19th and Early 20th Centuries, when the rules for three-letter monograms were created, it would have been fairly easy to decide which letters represented which parts of an individual’s name.

Alice Canfield Bostwick would immediately recognize this monogram as her own – first name initial (A) on the left, middle name initial (C) on the right, and last name initial (B) in the center,               larger than the rest.

In the modern world, things get a good deal more complicated, and so it is with monogramming. The rules haven’t really been revisited lately, and some confusion and disagreement have             always accompanied these rules anyway. In an effort to help  extend the rules for the 21st Century, we hosted a focus group and asked participants to respond to a series of monogramming             situations.

We collected responses over a three month period. The results are posted below. Thanks to all who participated in this project.

1. John  Taylor and Mary Blount are getting married. They have already decided that after the marriage they will both use John’s Last Name. How would you create a monogram for them?                                      
- 766 votes.                
                     - 1766 votes.                
- 349 votes.                  

Conclusion: The majority prefer  that the man’s initial goes on the left and the woman’s initial goes on the right. However, there is a reasonable vote for  the opposite, with this comment representing their reasoning      – “…linens are generally considered a bride’s domain.”


How to make a bow tie


Bow ties are way easier to make than a straight tie…however tying them is more the challenge. This little bow tie pattern is designed to tie once and forever!


The pattern is one simple boat oar shape. The stem is 1″ in width and the paddle or bow section for my ties are 2.5″in width. You can make that smaller for young boys and larger if you want for more of an effect.DSCF7798

I’m making my bow ties a two tone design out of seersucker blue and navy linen. You can make yours one color/fabric. I had just enough scrap fabric of both fabrics to make three ties. One tie was made to perfect my pattern.DSCF7799

I added a embroidered element of the SC State tree, Logo and flag to really “prep” this out. Cut the fusible interfacing to the size of the finished tie piece. Iron onto the backside of your fabric. Place two layers of fabric with the right sides together and the interfacing side up. Stitch around leaving the small end open to turn inside out. Here’s a hint which I did on the Navy linen sections. Stitch just a wee bit on the interfacing so that it doesn’t pull up like on the seersucker end (where I have the pins.) I can iron it back down, but I don’t want it pulling or wrinkling after the tie is finished so stitch it in enough places to hold it forever.

DSCF7801 Turn inside out and press liberally to perfection. Now… add three small half inch button holes to one end and find three matching buttons to add to the other end to make this adjustable. This is also how you put it on and take it off so you never have to tie it on someone. Especially helpfully little feature for fidgety little boys while trying to get the ready for church!!!

Here is my personal favorite video on tying a bow tie…. I can not tie with pictures or written directions… I need a visual.

Happy Bow tying



Man’s Sport coat re-do

This sport-coat has a story. Quick version: a friend lost her husband several years ago and this was his….


Already dismantled for a re-purpose….


Under the front flap I was able to use one pocket for a ‘cell’ phone pocket


and on the back I put the patch pocket and flap for another pocket….


Project bag


I want to describe this little project knitting bag that I wear on my wrist to carry my yarn while I knit.


I went to The Sewing Basket meeting at our Local library which is held every Thursday from 11-1. The group of spinners came also. I had my project reticule bag and got to talking about it. I have several of these bags with projects in them ready to go. This is wonderful for sock knitting keeping together everything for one project, nice and neat. I have one bag in my car, one in my studio, one in my bedroom…. all with a  project and directions ready to be knitted!

This is a class I have taught a couple of times so I will post my directions so you can make the bag too. Click on the link below.

Project Reticule Bag

This is a perfect little project to use your scraps or re-purpose clothes. Be creative! Here is an old post I made on this project before a class I taught. :

I have tons of scraps left over from the little pockets I make for T-shirts (called Frockets fyi.) These strip are about 7″x .50″ so they are tiny strips usually with rough ripped edges.


I piled them up and then sorted them into a bit more organized manner.DSCF7657

I have leftover scraps of fabric  for the base to sew these tiny strips onto about 7″ x 12″ (you could use any size as a base.) Make it easy on yourself and don’t go too large with this, you can later sew these sections together to make a larger piece if needed. I’m just using what I have on hand that would normally get thrown away.


I just laid the strips of scraps right side up butted next to the next scrap and zig-zaged  They are too thin to make seams so the raw edges will have to show. I do overlap the edges just a hair.


I randomly put colors together, but you can be more selective. This will be the fabric to make my next bag.

Now back at the Sewing Basket….


It so happened (probably due to the artic freeze happening) that everyone was knitting or spinning and not sewing.DSCF7667

Oh yeah… eating too!

Come on by the Conway Library on Thursdays 11-1 if you’re in town!

Thanks Susan!

Homemade pasta

Homemade pasta is so much better than the store bought box varieties! Who knew?? My husband bought a second hand pasta machine for me and I’ve been playing with it since the new year.


Recipes are very simple too and YouTube has thousands of easy to follow videos. What sold me was with flour, eggs, water, olive oil, salt and cheese I made homemade ravioli that was so yummy and so inexpensive to make but it was like gourmet ravioli!!

Simple linguini noodles drying and made in under 30 minutes but the flavor from our eggs make them so tasty. If you want to try buy farm fresh free range eggs for real flavor!!

To make a snowman

20140118-170437.jpg. Even though its so cold we haven’t even had a flurry, so making a snow man this year will be with wool and needles! I took my inspiration from something I saw at a Christmas party this year.

I wanted a wine bottle topper I could use this time of year and a snowman fits the bill.
To knit your snowman it’s super simple and can be made in an evening. The fingering weight hand spun yarn I used for the snowman took more stitches than a worsted weight so adjust to fit your leftover yarns.
Cast in 26 stitches on dpns k2 p2 to create a ribbing for about 3 inches in the round. To make the head just knit in the round for about 1.5 inches. For the last row knit 2 together knit 1 then cut a longer tail. Thread a yarn needle and run through the live stitches to cinch tight to close the head.
To knit the hat I used Worcester weight so I needed less stitches I cast on 16 stitches on dpns and knit in the round to make a hat to fit about 1.5 inches tall, cinch to close like the head of the snowman.
To knit a little scarf cast on 40 stitches knit 2 rows, cast off add a little fringe to the ends.
To put it all together stuff the head with stuffing. Embroider eyes and mouth tighten the head with a bit of yarn wrapped around the “neck.” Dress and put on wine bottle.

Brrrr just keep on knitting!

IMG_0368[1]I know its so much I know it’s colder in other parts of the country, but here in the coastal south, when we get in the low teens it kinda stops us! The kids went back to school and it was a good thing because we lost power. So I started a fire and started knitting to keep warm. The basket of yarn is all my hand dyed and spun yarn. Since I don’t mass produce I really don’t make enough of one color to make an entire sweater, but I figured I mixed them all up and make a sweater to put all this yarn to use. I making this up as I knit so… it’s a learning process…


I like knitting with circular needles in the round and with as few seams to sew up when I’m finished. I started at the bottom hem and knitted the front sections and back in one piece. I am making this into a cardigan with the sleeves knitting on in a raglan fashion to eliminate sleeve seams.IMG_0372[1]

The chevron pattern is worked only at the bottom part of the cardigan. It is a 14 stitch pattern worked on every other row. It’s simple to memorize and to figure out measurements with whatever type of yarn you are using by knitting a swatch sample and measuring it to do the math so it fits you.  For your swatch cast on 28 stitches:

row 1 knit

row 2: Make 1 stitch (by knitting in the front and then back of the first stitch) knit 4, K2 together, PSSO, knit 4, make 1. repeat  If you don’t know was psso is here is a quick you tube link:

follow pattern for 4″. measure swatch.

I’m not finished with this yet and it’s at a weird stage to photograph so, when I get further up the neck I’ll post more pictures. The power is back on so… dinner is waiting!

Stay warm friends!


Hemming knits and sweater tops

DSCF7631I happen to have a short body. Meaning, if a top isn’t a petite cut then it will be too long on my body, sort of making me look frumpy. In my Pattern Drafting a perfect T-shirt class, one of the main target areas is making a proper hem length to  accentuate your body. When they are too long and fold over in layers it adds to the waist line look. I don’t need any extra help there!!

I shop Goodwill so beggar’s can’t be choosers and petites aren’t as easy to find as regular cuts. Also, when a cool top comes along I don’t want to pass it up because of a hem length. Here’s my fix:

Hemming knits and sweaters (especially tighter finer knits)DSCF7633

Fold the top to the hem length you desire. I typically try on the top and then fold the hem up to the outside of the top. I pin in a couple places to hold in place.

Set up your machine with a twin needle. Make sure your machine is capable of using a twin needle also make sure you use the proper foot and faceplace if that needs to be changed. I like a 2mm needle for this hemming. I use the twin needle with knits especially to retain the stretch without popping the threads and to keep the knits from stretching out of shape while sewing.DSCF7636

Stitch around the finished hem, just above the original hem. I use a very small zig-zag about 1.5 width and a 2.5 length.

Fold back the excess hem, do not cut off yet… and top stitch with the twin needle, but this time use a straight stitch.DSCF7638I like to try and have the one needle, in the ditch and the other needle on the fold. These two rows of stitches will finish off and hold the hem. Now, turn over and trim the excess off, cutting as close the stitching and not the fabric as you can. Here’s a look at the back and the front on this sweater I am hemming.DSCF7639DSCF7641This will also work to hide and “fix” a torn hem. Fold out the excess and stitch as above.DSCF7642Once steamed the stitches ‘hide’ into the fabric and you now look tailored to a “T.”

Holiday Dress

DSCF7628We are invited to a fancy Christmas party next weekend… Oh dear, what’s a girl to wear????? I found this past spring the pink shift dress at my favorite place (goodwill) and even more favorite price tag ($5.) It’s so simple and fits me comfortably.

Hunting in my stash (collection of fabrics) I found a remnant of the beaded piece of fabric.DSCF7629I could cut the front in one piece, but the back I had to patch and piece together.  Since the background of the lace was sort of random it was easier than I thought…. well…. minus the beads which was tricking maneuvering around. The best way was to drop the feed dogs on the machine and free-motion zigzag random shapes and sizes together to create enough fabric to cover the back pieces. Look around the back arms-eye. If you look closely you can find the  seams… BUT if anyone is looking that closely at the seams on my dress… it’s a dark evening party!

The pink dress was so easy to copy too! 2 main pieces: Front and back. I laid the dress flat on my table and traced around it. I like the shoulder seams and  simple neck. This simple design works great with the fancy beaded fabric and since it have very few seams I only went through a pack of needles!

I made a full lining out of a yard of a worsted wool black. I created a 2 piece bodice lining out of a cotton sateen. I’m not a fan of separate neck and arms-eye facings. Check this out here from an earlier post I did on facings:

One tip wear safety glasses due to possible flying beads!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 63 other followers