Saturday, December 20, 2014

End, or beginning of the year musings

Well, I promised Morna, my coach, that I'd put my CEO hat on and think about where I'm headed with DippyDyes. To inspire me, I took a look a look at her blog, and posts tagged planning, found here. One of the ideas mentioned includes focusing on a word for the year.* So for now I'm writing down every odd, inspirational word that comes to me, and later I'll be selectively surfing synonyms. Did I mention I like alliteration?
Itty-bitty socks
Work in the studio recently has been on Christmas presents, so I can't post pictures until they are delivered and opened. I do have a lot of adorable baby socks to dye too - it might be a good time to plop them into soda ash solution to soak. Probably one size at a time would be smart! I also have a couple pieces of fabric being hand-stitched ahead of dye or discharge work, and I have been having way too much fun looking at inspirations on Pinterest. Take a look here if you like, and if you have work that you have made, I'd love to see it. I have a board for quilts and one for dye classes, and I love to see what happens after you leave my booth or my class, so send me a picture and be immortalized, at least in the DippyDyes manner!
 A long time ago I realized that I did a lot of my dyeing in January, and I suspect it's to battle post-holiday depression. This year that will be a good thing, because I need a lot of nifty new work for the February and March shows. I have a file labeled 'Dye Ideas' and it has 78 notes in it. I won't soon run out of work direction. And I'm going to block out a 'pulling out all the stops' session on my calendar now! That also means I should do some cooking in advance, or dinner will end up not happening.
One thing we've been doing at home that has shown up in the newsletter but not here on the blog is working on our kitchen. I'm thrilled to announce that my 1985 refrigerator is gone off the porch, and its replacement is actually indoors. Woo-hoo! The cabinets aren't finished and there are no counters, but they are coming. Thursday I spent almost all day shopping - and not for presents. Well, one present. I need to settle on the laminate color for the countertop, in- and under-cabinet lighting, some plumbing decisions, backsplash material and color and make sure everything goes with the paint and the brand-new 18-year-old green sinks.
Interesting combination of textures seen on a recent walk
Well, enough rambling - I've somehow gotten away from thinking business-centered thoughts. If I don't write again this month, I hope the holidays are wonderful for everyone, and that you have a super New Year!
*Finding a word for the year led me astray, naturally, to discover that a word that originated in 1957 like I did is oenophile. Sometimes too apt, but mostly I'm an oenophan. And did you know that droid and frenemy originated in the 50s' too? Check out this link: for more information.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Making changes

A fabric I thought was amazing, and so did someone in New Jersey!
Well, I've been thinking about the business of DippyDyes a lot recently. That's because of the coaching, and a side trip learning about 'My Why'. There seems to me that there's a lot of overlap between the why and a mission statement, so here's what that looks like as of today (updated 10/30/14):
As DippyDyes, I promise to make amazing hand-dyed fabrics for you that I’d love to keep for myself. (Sometimes I wave goodbye to my fabrics when they find a new home.) I will make unique fabrics that will speak to you, that fulfill your wildest fabric dreams, that are colorfast and made of the highest quality greige goods available, and that you’ll be proud to incorporate in your own amazing work. I’m crazy nuts about dyeing and because I really enjoy all the steps in the processes I use, it makes me happy to make these creations for you.
Thanks very much for looking - it would be great to hear what you think! - Lisa

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Class preparation

Well, there are just under four months to go before my “No Muss*, No Fuss” thickened dye exploration class at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival and Quilt Fest of New Jersey. I’ve been busy making samples and taking photographs AND planning what each workstation will contain. I will also be offering kits so you don’t have to pack your own supplies, which adds a whole new wrinkle. They need to be packed by February 1, or earlier if you ask hubby! So here are some photos to give you an idea of what you’ll be working on if you can join us.

Lots of techniques will be sampled.

A color sampler monoprint.

Screen printing.

Printed tree fabric.

Ready to spread dye through the screen.

Two examples of stamps.

Spreading dye with a scraper.

Stamping in action.
*Did you know that ‘muss’ is really a word? I didn’t. It is, among other definitions, a synonym for mess, or ‘a state of disorder.’ Well, there will doubtless be disorder in the classroom, but then that’s why I’m working on creating order this early!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fun with fulfillment

As you may know, I ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for business coaching from Morna McEver Golletz, founder of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals. Most of those wonderful people who pledged received fabric in some form – with two to go. Three others elected to come to the studio to learn about dyeing. Here’s what Candy created in 5 days of work:


She made a painted screen to print her Kandinsky tree, and dyed yardage to go with it for a quilt. Plus, working in the same color family, she dyed yardage for garment construction. And we made a road trip to Echo Hill for goodies, and to a feed store for salt to use for solids.

On Saturday we headed down to Philadelphia to the craft show on Rittenhouse Square. Chilly, but I got to see Rachel’s booth, and made some other contacts. And – small world – one of those also works with Kathryn Conover, the bridal couturier I’ve been doing some dyeing for.

Sunday Candy headed home, and I took the day off, mostly. Then on Monday Gail came for the day, and had her own personal dye boot camp. Here are some pictures of her newly-rinsed fabrics:



In addition to the four techniques shown (pole wrap, direct application over print paste as a resist, folded and poured from my favorite Ann Johnston recipe, and folded, clamped resist) Gail also did some low-water immersion pieces. If you can get here to my third floor studio in Red Hill, PA, you can spend a dye day with Lisa working on a technique(s) of your choice.

Now I have one more student to schedule, and two folks who want yardage dyed. And my big project for the next month or so is getting ready for the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton, VA in February, followed by the Quilt Fest of New Jersey in March. I’ll be debuting a new class there – working with thickened dyes. More details later!

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Mixed news, mostly good

Well, where to start? The big news - the Kickstarter campaign was a success, and my first coaching call happens next Tuesday! I've been shaking things up around here in preparation - it's time to get
One thing I realized in writing this post is that I share different information on different sites. One thing that never made it to the blog is that I entered two works for jurying into "Material Matters" at the Union Street Gallery in Chicago. Neither was accepted, but that means I have them here when I speak to the Denton, Maryland Heartland Quilters tonight. Here's the new work:
One thing that's not too visible is the needle felted distressing on the fabric. This was an upsetting (or distressing - grin) work for a lot of boring reasons, but it was also fun to make. Nothing like focusing on process to get through the tough stuff.
detail, Impaired
And I'm working on stenciled painted polka dots on a polyester organza for a wedding gown. Sounds nutty, but the piece I've finished so far is fun! Using paint is a little outside my usual comfort zone, and using black paint on white fabric requires real diligence in the cleanliness department! So far, so good.
And we're getting ready here for the show in Oaks, PA. If you haven't signed up for my mailing list, click here, or follow the link at the upper right, and you'll receive a coupon to use at Oaks in the next newsletter. Preregistration ends tomorrow, 9/5, and is available online. I'm teaching the pipe wrapping class again, on Friday afternoon - it would be great if you could join us! And I will be teaching next March at the Mancuso shows, so I have been working on samples for those classes.
Show and tell at pipe-wrapping class
We're also returning to Chautauqua, New York at the end of the month. The day we head home is our 35th wedding anniversary - where did the time go?! There will be another newsletter and coupon for that, so click the sign-up link if you're not already on the list.
One thing that has resulted from the Kickstarter campaign - I have folks coming here to dye. Candy will be here for a week to play, and Gail will be here the following Monday. Margaret and I have yet to set a date. I'm so looking forward to all of those visits! 
Now I need to stick price tags on some items before they go with me to Maryland. Thanks very much for reading!

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Good Week

Last week was a good week. Finished the layout on the ten-year-old quilt and started assembling the top (more below.)
The progress on the Kickstarter campaign, or experiment, has been gratifying - I'm halfway there and have 11 days to go. So, if you can, please use this as an opportunity to add to your stash of dyed or PFD fabrics, or schedule a one-on-one class. And if you can't, can you share the link? I'm going to use the funds for coaching to make my business better. I love what I do - the making, selling and teaching - and really want to keep doing it as long as possible. I need to do it better. Do I deserve the support I've already gotten? It has been humbling to have so many folks give me such a vote of confidence. Deserve - no, not just as a matter of begging. But the other way to look at it is as a 'sales drive' with the proceeds earmarked for this specific project. So I hope you can "shop-pledge" through Kickstarter before Friday, August 8.
My sister came to visit for a couple days (so I actually cleaned) and we went to the Quilt Odyssey show in Hershey. I took a few photos with my phone:
This quilt is made with Radiance, and the sheen is wonderful. And of course the design and execution are awesome. Margaret Soloman Gunn made this.
Also saw this quilt by Lee Ann Paylor - nice to see an online friend's work in person.
And - almost forgot! My Pythagorean Prism quilt (made of hand-dyed and commercial Radiance, and it's a reward on Kickstarter) will be part of the BAQS exhibit at Chatanooga! Here's a detail:
Thanks for looking - and sharing and clicking and re-posting!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New this week

Got the other halves of these two samples in the mail yesterday. They're for a wedding dress, or gown may be a better term. The upper set is screened, painted and stamped paint, the lower set is dye with the same techniques. In this case wash-fast acid dye; both samples are on silk organza. I love the creative ideas Kathryn and her brides come up with!
The second picture shows some of the blocks for a quilt I'm working on. Started working on these 10 years+ ago, and they finally are all done - 257 of them. I did a test drive of the layout a few months or more ago, so when I did the layout this week, it only took a couple hours to fiddle with it. You can see some paper ID tags sticking off the corners. So now I'm assembling the top - four blocks in all 16 rows are joined. And I'm chaining the whole thing, unless it gets massively unwieldy, but I know that all the blocks, rows and columns are in the correct position that way. And I'm going to quilt it on the household machine, so I'd better get used to unwieldy!
The third picture shows the detail of another piece dyed with vat dyes - first in a purple bath, then printed with thickened grey dye. You need to enlarge it to see the coppery halo around the grey printing. I like it!
Now I had another idea to try . . . once I finish housework, anyway.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

All's well, and a link

Hi folks - a friend posted a nice quote on Facebook about stress. Gave me a reason to 'pull up the big girl panties.' You can see it at: The skirts have been re-dyed - took about an hour, and I'll be able to iron them while I watch the ball game tonight. (See the picture below.) So all the angst in my last post is pretty well gone. Although there may be wine, not whine, with dinner tonight!
OK! Now the big news!!! Another idea we tossed around on the trip home from the West Virginia Quilt Festival (see this post: was Kickstarter. I was toying with the idea of using it to fund another class with Carol Soderlund. Then I thought more about it and decided that my money might be better spent building the business. I've been thinking about the idea of coaching for a while. So here's a link to my campaign: or
There's a lot more information there, plus a dorky video of moi. What I hope many of you find exciting is that among the rewards is a day or days in the studio with me. So please take a look, pledge if you can, and share this and post it and tweet it and help me get the word out.
A million thanks! - Lisa

Can I whine? If you don't want to hear it - close this window!

Ever have one of those days?
I have two out of three dye custom jobs coming back because they aren't right. So they will get redone. DH might not understand.
My computer decided to have a hissy fit and took an hour to boot.
Windows (are you surprised?) backup didn't work - another wasted half hour.
Took the trash to the curb and found that the #%&^%@ groundhog has returned.
Sorting years of non-filed paperwork has pushed my stress level to the red zone.
I was going to post a picture of a steam explosion and that's beyond me today.
Got a call from the Realtor who hasn't been able to sell the mill in the past 3 years.
OK, I will calm down. I know none of this is really important or even that bad, But "golly" some days . . . to see how I really feel!
Thanks for looking - whine over!

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Illumination! Colored Discharge Printing with vat dyes and Formosul

2014-07-01 18.15.08
The nice weather has allowed some outside discharge work. I pulled some existing fabrics out of the van to work with; I think they have been improved. All three pieces utilized screens made with house paint.
First is a piece of muslin that was dyed with turquoise, fuchsia and I think, navy, then stenciled with fabric paints. I used a screen painted on the lightest weight (25 gm) Lutradur. The design is inspired by “Big Iris, by Philip Taaffe, 1985”. If you look at the picture enlarged, you’ll see the random non-woven fibrous structure of the Lutradur.
2014-07-01 18.13.24Second is a piece of snow- dyed fabric that I printed with a screen created with bubble wrap.  Easier and more predictable than printing with the wrap itself, as well as tidier.
Third is a piece of Radiance cotton-silk sateen, dyed blue with acid dyes. The first picture shows2014-07-01 18.14.31 a major learning experience. Just above and to the left of center is a dark slit that shows how silk isn’t happy with prolonged periods of high pH and high temperature, especially when followed by a normal cycle machine wash. When I do this again with silk, I will only process the fabric one time!! This one had two cycles through the pressure cooker. The last picture shows a larger view of the fabric. The blue-violet areas were screened while the black circles were directly applied. Because of the density of the circles, you can see the halo really well.
2014-07-01 18.14.56The directions from Pro Chemical that I followed are found here. They advise that it is an intermediate to advanced technique. For a simpler approximation, try deColourant. I cleaned a screen with water squeegeed through onto a floor mop-up towel. It discharged by just hanging in the sun, the way deColourant does.
As always, thanks for looking. These fabrics will be on the website soon!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Life After the Latest Quilt Show

It’s Monday afternoon after the West Virginia Quilt Festival and we've been home about a day. Laundry is done, suitcases unpacked. Still have to move the booth stuff in, once the road-weariness has had a chance to abate. (And if my language is a little stuffy or odd, that's a side effect of fatigue.)
Recently, I've been getting emails from Alyson Stanfield of In her video series, 6 Tips for Improving Your Art Business, she speaks about creating ‘ecstatic encounters’ between people and your art. I've seen two such encounters at shows this year – customers who were visibly moved by a piece of my fabric. That's really gratifying and awe-inspiring. And it's the kind of feedback that makes me keep going back to shows.
That said, all the ego-enhancing experiences I've had at shows over the years don’t impact the bottom line. But, lest you think I’m planning on throwing in the towel (which is often how I feel when I get home), I’m considering how to get more buck for my bang. Another vendor who was at the show selling hand-dyed fabrics also sold commercial fabric, which accounted for 85% of her sales. And she did four times what I did in sales. What do you think: would adding select bolts of commercial fabric dilute my brand? Or enhance it?
Finally, I was thrilled to see the Dare to Dance Art Quilt Challenge hanging at the show. Here’s a picture of me with the book and some of the quilts, including mine, of course!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My Fast Friday Quilt

Hi all - I just posted a quilt to the Fast Friday Challenge blog. The challenge this month was to use purple, and the requirements were:
Technique:  use the colour wheel to create a specific colour arrangement ,(i.e.complementary. analogous, split complement etc.) one  that must include the colour purple.  Tell us a bit of how you decided which colours to use, and how the symbolism associated with the colour purple influenced your choice.
Here's a link: or go to and scroll down to find the Challenge 93 label in the right panel. Here's a detail:
Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

My ‘300 Words’ Essay–Update

Almost two years ago, in July, 2012, I submitted an essay to Quilters’ Newsletter for their 300 Words About Quilting column. It was published in the February/March 2013 issue of the magazine, available here. At the time I wrote, I  had made 172 blocks, with 84 to go. Now I have just 27 to go, and all of them are prepared. I’ve also done an initial layout, but that will doubtless change. I’m really excited! I’ve posted the essay on my pages, at right, along with a picture of the finished blocks. I’m really excited! (Said that before? Too bad!)

Friday, May 02, 2014

I'm a guest blogger!

Check out my post on making a stencil-screen at A detail is below. Thanks!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Budget pressing tool

A recent post by Jennifer Houlden here led me to post the following. Don't get me wrong - I love-love-love Clover tools. But if you don't have one, or are on a tight budget, here's an alternative:
I've sanded the pressing surfaces at left and right to make them extra smooth. Not an original idea - it came from a guild speaker. Thank you, whoever you were!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Can you mail an elephant?

That was the subject line of an email I sent when I needed to get this quilt back. It's part of "Celebrate the Day with Quilts - An Art Quilt Challenge" by Shannon Shirley. My quilt is one of 72 in the book - six quilts per month celebrating some of the well- and lesser-known holidays on the calendar. It was included at Quiltfest Destination Savannah last month, and will also hang at The NQA show in Columbus, OH, and the PA National Quilt Exposition in September. For more dates see Once in a Rabbit Moon.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My Guest Blogger - Nan Baker

Picture 1This week brings a new wrinkle to this blog - a guest blogger. Please enjoy the post, and learn more about her at the end. Thanks for writing, Nan!

Color Your World by Nan Baker

One of the most exciting things about starting school was getting a new box of crayons. Opening the box and seeing all those gorgeous colors was such a treat. I could hardly wait to use them.
Now I will admit, I much preferred a coloring book (and yes I colored inside the lines) instead of a blank sheet of paper. In fact, a blank sheet of paper absolutely scared me to death. What would I put on it? I needed lines and I felt safe when I had them. (I still do to this day – I use graph paper.)
It was always fun to pick out my favorite colors with the crayons. I would go towards the yellows, oranges (fall colors and they are still my favorites today). Isn't it interesting how a little box of crayons can say so much about how colors will play in your life? At least that is the way it has been for me.
As quilters, colors play such an important part, yet they can be very intimidating. Now I will admit, I am not an art major, but I do have an eye for color. At least that is what I have been told over and over by some art majors. Yet even with an eye for color, it is still sometimes very difficult to pick out those "purrfect" colors for a quilt.
Picture 2There are some wonderful books on the subject and I have several. One is by Maria Peagler called Color Mastery:10 Principles for Creating Stunning Quilts and another is Color Confidence for Quilters by Jinny Beyer. These books have proved to be very Picture 3helpful in understanding and choosing colors.
I also have a color wheel which has proved to be very beneficial.
However, I must admit that sometimes I see a piece of fabric and it just calls my name. That happened to me when I was making my first pair of drapes for my new home. I walked in the shop and on one of the front rows – there it was! I looked no further – I knew I had to have it. Those drapes hung in two houses and I never grew tired of them. I even kept some leftover fabric and made a quilt. I pulled colors from the fabric that coordinated and I am pleased with the results. The pattern is from 9-Patch Pizzazz by Judy Sisneros. Picture 4Picture 5
Picture 6Now I have another small piece of fabric - not even a FQ - and the colors just make me happy. I don't even know where this fabric came from. It was a scrap in my stash. Since I don't have enough for a quilt, I am going to pull colors from it that will coordinate to create my masterpiece. I don't even have a design in mind, butPicture 7 I know these colors will work beautifully together as they do so in the lovely fabric.
Again I am not an expert, but when you can't decide what colors to use in a quilt, consult a book or two for some basics and guidelines. If you are still not sure, find a piece of fabric that you like and pull from the colors there to help create your work of art.
Then if you are still not satisfied and can't find the right fabric, check with Lisa as she just may have what you need. Thank you Lisa for letting me be a Guest Blogger. I am pleased and honored.

Nan Baker is the CEO and Designer for Purrfect Spots, a company where quilts, needlework and animals are loved. Her designs have appeared in numerous publications including The Quilt Pattern Magazine, Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, and on Visit her website at and her blog at Nan is also the Marketing Director for The Quilt Pattern Magazine.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sampling PFDs


Thursday, January 2, I got samples of 15 fabrics from Robert Kaufman. I added some other white/PFD fabrics I had on hand and dyed all of them in a single 10% OWG dye bath. the results are above, sorted with the darkest results at the bottom left and worst on the upper right. I have added the Kaufman white fabrics to my website, plus color choices of Kona®, Radiance and Utra Sateen if you want to order a bolt.

The left column starts with 400M and 419M from Testfabrics at the top. I scoured samples of everything, including those two, and they are on the left of each pair. These came pretty dark, but weren’t the darkest. Hampton Twill is next, then Essex (55% Linen/45% Cotton), then Organic Wide (57”-58”), then Ibiza Stretch Twill. The latter came out the darkest, and contains 3% spandex. It’s basically stretch denim and weighs 7.3 oz/sq yd.

The middle column starts with Ultra Sateen, which is not PFD, but dyes beautifully. Not a big winner in this experiment, but is great for other uses, like LWI and dye painting. And it comes in 11 other colors, too! Next is Organic Voile – 100% cotton and great for shibori and vat dyeing, as it’s very sheer. There’s only one sample here – I left the scoured one in the washer. Brussels Washer is  55% Linen, 45% Rayon and looks like linen; I thought the color shifted a little towards the red in this sample.  Pimatex and Patina are the next two, and Kona is at the bottom of the column. It also comes in another 270 colors!

The right column includes Organic Poplin, Pure Threads Dyer’s Cloth from James Thompson Co, Cambridge Lawn, 21-Wale Corduroy, which is from an old lot but is still available. Then there’s Laguna Jersey, Kona 60 and ‘Cherrywood’ muslin. The muslin samples were both prewashed; the one on the left also went through the scour cycle with the others. The muslin is on the website too, by the yard.

The far right are some miscellaneous fabrics, as follows:
Radiance - the silk side is showing. All the dye sites were filled with red first so that’s why there’s such a color shift.
Breezy Wide and the Seersucker are both polyester-cotton blends – Breezy is 65% polyester, the Seersucker is 45% polyester. It does give a nice light color, and it’s a fabric I love in warm weather. (What’s that?) The Stretch PIn-wale Pique is 96% cotton, but it’s no longer available. Oh – the seersucker is back in stock at Kaufman since I added text to the photo – just ignore the ‘NA’.  

As of this writing, 2/9, the Laguna Jersey is no longer on the Kaufman site. One fabric that I didn’t test is a bleached white muslin from Robert Kaufman, and there are dozens more – for next time! I hope you’ll see something you’d like to try – just click on the links to shop.