Posts Tagged ‘Rubbing Plates’

Technology and the Dye Cup Fairy (Pat Winter)

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

I love technology. I hate technology. I feel like the red queen and though I can’t possibly run fast enough, or at all, I must try.

Pat Winter is the Dye Cup Fairy. When I’m done dyeing fabric, I always have a bit of left over dye in the cups. Not so much that you could dye yards and yards of fabric. But ribbon? Yes! So Pat comes by and picks up the dye cups. I go for long periods of time when I don’t see the Dye Cup Fairy but you always know she’s been there. There’s a note, missing dye cups, and if you’re lucky, new plants in your garden or an Icy waiting for you. If you don’t know Pat, she’s perhaps the most inventive and amazing crazy quilter in the world.

Several years ago, I bought what I call a boob camera. Not because it’s for those of us who are a bit behind. No. It fits in my bra. Now this is important because if you don’t have a camera with you you can’t take the picture. I know you’re supposed to be able to do this with a phone. 
Please! I can only master one plastic box at a time.


Panasonic Lumix Boob Camera

I love my boob camera. Simple, no cap to lose. Takes a lot of pictures before it declares itself dead. Do I know what all the settings are? Don’t be silly!





So one day I walked into my studio and found the Dye Cup Fairy. And being the Fairy of Large and Incomprehensible Messes, we played together. With the boob camera and paint sticks.

Pat is much better with a camera than I. We both looked at the sport setting and said Sure! Why Not! You press the button down and it takes picture after picture after picture after picture. Well, you get the idea. She pointed and shot. I just played.


We got 836 pictures. What do you do with 836 pictures? Even after you take out the ones with blurry hands, more is definitively less  there really is a too much. Who’d have believed that?We’re not going to use that setting again.





Did we have fun? You betcha

I hope you have a Dye Cup Fairy who takes, gives and shares wonderful things with you!

I hope you play with your friends, even when the technology is incomprehensible!

I hope all your messes bring you wonder and joy! 

You’ll find Pat Winter’s blog at Pat Winter Gatherings. She also does a fabulous crazy quilt magazine that will launch you into a brand new crazy  quilting world.

You’ll find more about paint sticks on older posts of mine at 

The Secret Handshake: New Toys 

Paint Stick Updates

The Schamburg Expo

You’ll find my camera on There are lots newer ones, but none better. And it fits just fine in a DD cup.


Paint Stick Update: New Toys 2

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

painted fabric 1

The last time I talked about paint sticks, I had rubbing plates hanging from the ceiling, paint sticks everywhere, huge piles of fabrics I was waiting to dry and no idea how they would work in quilts.

That’s about par for a new toy. You don’t always know how to use it.

There’s a great book out called “Poke the Box” by Seth Godin. It’s kind of a one note wonder, but the premise is rock solid. It really doesn’t matter what the instructions say. You learn any new tool by taking it out and poking at every button, switch and display it’s got. You learn by poking the box. You watch what it does and when it does something bigtime cool, you see if you can repeat it. 

863 vinery

So I was a bit worried when I took my first couple of oil stick rubbed scraps and used them as surface designed starting spots. They remind me of wall paper. I love them.

From a practical point of view, I stipple less. But they fill the space with glowing light and color and I think I now have all the rubbing plates except the ones for Xmas.

Poke the Box! Take a new toy out. Don’t worry about what will happen. Poke all the buttons and switches and see what you’ll come up with.

You’ll find all kinds of cool information about paint sticks at

Laura Murray Designs

And at

Cedar Canyon Textiles

You’ll find Poke the Box on Amazon  

And you’ll find my very cool new quilts on my web gallery 

Check them out!

The Secret Handshake: New Toys!

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

I hate recipes for cakes that don’t rise. You know. The ones with one  absolutely essential element left out. It really offends my sense of fairness. There you are looking at your  very flat cake and wondering  what is wrong with you.  I hate it as a student. I abhore it as a teacher.

I don’t suppose there’s a quilter on earth who hasn’t tried paint sticks by now. I certainly did. Several years ago I bought some rubbing plates and some paint sticks and made a god awful mess on several pieces of fabric. I stuffed them into a box and they went into the archeological project pile, perhaps never to be seen again. 

And it would have stayed that way if I hadn’t been to the Shaumburg Expo. I wandered into Laura Murray’s booth and she very gently told me “You’re doing it wrong.”

This was not an offense. This was a grace and a revelation. She had two gadgets up her sleeve that made paint sticks work for me. I’ve been playing all week since.

My dad had two saying about any task at hand. “If it’s too terrible, too hard or too long, you have the wrong tool. “And  “you can use a hammer as a saw, but it’s awfully hard on the hammer and whatever you are sawing.” So true. The right tool always makes it better.

In this case the two right tools were the Grip and Grip mat, which holds your rubbing place firmly in place.




The second object  was a temporary spray glue. I’m using 505 spray to hold the fabric in place. It makes sense that if either the fabric or rubbing plate are moving around you’re going to get a messed up rubbing.








Now that I know the secret hand shake, I need to figure out where I want to put it and how I want to embroider it. That may  take longer.

Summing up:

If something isn’t working right, go ask someone who knows. There may be a new tool that makes it all better. Or at least possible. This is the moment for moral guidance, information and a tutorial or two. Take it, be glad, please pass it on. And support the people who are generous with their information. They’re pure gold.

You’ll find paint sticks and rubbing plates at both  Laura Murry Designs and at Cedar Canyon Textiles. You’ll also find that great Grip-n-Grip mat that makes it work so much better. And  on both sites you’ll find tutorials and help that will give you the secret handshake.

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