textiles · exploration · misadventure

Drool Worthy


Grey, charcoal, and rust-colored naturally dyed fabric samples with orange and olive thread.

Remember these and these and these?

I bought the threads during a week-long salvage and thrift store binge last summer. The fabrics are samples I’ve created over the past several months, just throwing things together and seeing what happens using bougainvillea, yellow dock, English ivy, eucalyptus, and various mordants, including iron shavings and rust dyeing.

The resulting fabrics were so exciting, I couldn’t help but continually fondle and arrange them. One night, thinking of Claire Wellesley-Smith’s blog Clarabella, I laid out all my sample fabrics and all the threads I bought last summer, cotton and silk both, and played with different color combinations.
Lavender, blue-grey, olive, light burgundy, and rust-colored naturally dyed fabric samples with orange, steel, lavender, and olive thread.

The more I played and moved around the fabrics and the threads, the more magic I saw. Sometimes the thread colors were a direct color match with the fabrics.

Charcoal, lavender, taupe, and rust-colored naturally dyed fabric samples with orange, taupe, and burgundy thread.

Other times they were a hue or shade darker or lighter than the fabric.

Charcoal, lavender, taupe, olive, and rust-colored naturally dyed fabric samples with orange, taupe, and burgundy, and olive thread.

Sometimes the thread colors were a contrast to the fabric, like in the image below. I particularly love this combination. The dark charcoal and olive fabrics contrast so nicely with the orange thread, and the olive fabric actually has a kind of orange undertone that really works for me. I can’t wait to get these three together on a project.

Charcoal, dark olive, grey and bougainvillea naturally dyed fabric samples with orange, and lime thread.

The process was hypnotic, and I earnestly look forward to actually making something from all of these small, naturally dyed fabric samples I’m amassing. A cloth of some kind, possibly, akin to Claire Wellesley-Smith’s work.

What I really want to do is make a quilt top out of them. The idea shoots my lust and drool levels off the charts, but I already have so many unfinished cough-mid-stream-cough projects that I hesitate to take up another.

Charcoal, lavender, taupe, olive, and rust-colored naturally dyed fabric samples with orange, taupe, and burgundy, and olive thread.

Threads of various bright and subtle colors on top of many-hued naturally dyed fabrics.

Maybe I’ll just keep these in a bowl on the table and play with them. How’s that?

7 thoughts on “Drool Worthy

  1. That is neat to see them laid out like thst.


  2. A quilt would be a great idea- why not start small – like sewing two pieces together a day and then go on from there ?
    I would love to see the end product.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like the quilt idea. The colors are all marvelous and the threads are beautiful. As a quilter, I would just like you to think about something. Your quilt is only as good as your thread. As in, the thread that actually holds it together. That said, your lovely thread collection may be years and years old, thus it may not have the strength and smoothness to properly sew a quilt with. It may break easily and it may not run smoothly thru your machine needles. Just something to think about. Quilters tend to buy very good quality threads. I tried to quilt with some cheap thread I bought at Joanns Craft Store and it sewed TERRIBLY. It got stuck in the needle, it jumped stitches, the stitches weren’t even, it didn’t flow smoothly thru the needle. I then bought my multitudes of threads from Great stuff!


    • Yeah, I’d been considering this very issue, knowing the age of those threads. I don’t plan piece it with the old threads; I’ll use new, nice thread for that. But I do want to quilt it with these. I think the shorter lengths required for hand-stitching will work fine. And if not, if they break and tangle and frustrate me, well, they are a pretty collection, and I LOVE the way they look in a glass bowl on my desk or table. We actually used just such a glass bowl full of spools and dyed fabrics and yarns and such, with a tiny bit of glittery tinselly christmassy thingo in it, for our table centerpiece while mom was visiting over the holiday. I LOVE it!


      • Great idea, to hand quilt with them, and maybe doubling up will add the strength you need. Good luck and I am eagerly awaiting the results…before I’m 89.😁😁😁