Monday, April 19, 2010

Design Wall Monday

Here are all of the rainbow blocks and one of the yellow to purple blocks with the others needing a few more rounds. I don't know how I am going to put them together yet. I haven't played much with them, but I'm thinking I"ll intersperse them in pairs. I have 4 more of the yellow to purple blocks to make, then I think I'll have enough for the top.

I've had the fabrics for a long time and am happy I finally found a block to use them with. I think it's going to be an unusual quilt...but I like it a lot!

If you want to see what other quilters have on their design walls, check out Judy's blog.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spiral Blocks

Two fabrics, the black and the ombre. They aren't quick to make, but I'm enjoying the process. I don't have enough of the colored fabric to do a whole quilt, but I think I will mix it with the other ombre fabric I have and see how they look.

I was thinking of dyeing some more today, but never got around to it, so I guess I'm not going to. I want to try some more parfait dyeing. I did one piece and I like the texture I got, so I want to do some more.

I sent the onseies to my niece. She hasn't had the baby yet, so she may get them in time.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My Dyeing Method

Since a number of readers have asked about dyeing, I thought I'd do a quick description of how I do it. I'm no expert by any means, but I thought I'd share my method, in case you're interested.

I buy all of my supplies from Dharma Trading Company. They have everything I need to dye. The only chemical I buy in addition to dyes is soda ash. This is what changes the Ph of the fabric so the dye can bond with the fibers of the fabric. I like the mottled look in fabric, I think it's very interesting, so I don't worry about water softener or urea to get a more even dye. I like to see some texture on the fabric I dye, so I don't use either of those chemicals to get a more even dye. I also don't use salt. I read this blog post from Dyeing 101 and she convinced me that for my purposes there was no need to use salt.

I also use the Lazy Dyer's method. I put about 1/3c of soda ash in a bunch of hot tap water (about 2-4 gallons). I stir until dissolved then add the items I mean to dye that day. I let it set till it's thoroughly wet, then pull it out and wring it before I dye it. I don't have a washing machine at home. We use well water and had problems with the red granite sediment in our washing water unintentionally dyeing our clothes, so until we have a better filtration system we go to the laundry mat. I wring the items till they are not dripping then set them aside. If I had a washing machine I would pour all of the washing soda fabric into the machine then spin with a bucket under the outlet. The soda ash water can be re-used as long as it is covered and doesn't evaporate and become too strong.

I mix the dye powder with water, first making a paste with just a bit of water to try to get all of the dye powder wet. Some powders are difficult to mix, and some much easier. I  use the proportions from The Lazy Dyer. This probably wastes some dye, but I'm not in business so weighing each amount just adds time and expense (you have to buy a gram scale) to the process. I have a number of books that give me recipes for colors. It isn't easy or intuitive for me to decide how much dye to use when I am mixing colors so I follow recipes. I bought some veterinary syringes (without the needles) that measure up to 36 ccs (a bit more than a tablespoon) to use when mixing colors. I don't buy pre-mixed colors, but prefer to use red, yellow and blue dye and mix orange, purple and green from the dye solutions. I will list the books I have that give recipes in the next post. The amount of dye solution needed for fabric is just enough to color all of the fabric. Especially because I like mottled fabric, I don't have the fabric swimming in the dye. I use a technique called low-water immersion. If you want to google that you will find lots of sites that give you tips on using this technique.

I live in the mountains of Colorado, and my house is usually (especially in the winter) not above 65 degrees. I use an ice-chest with an old heating pad in it to have a warm enough environment to have the fabric batch. From the Dyeing 101 blog I was convinced that 3 hours is enough time to batch, especially when I want to see what the items are going to look like, but it is not a problem to let the fabric batch much longer. I admit that most of the time I leave the fabric overnight and rinse and wash the next day. I rinse by hand (no washing machine) and learned from another blogger (can't remember where now) who has her water trucked in that a good way to get rid of excess dye is to pour off the dye, rinse some, then put the fabric in a container with lots of clear water and let it soak for an  hour or so. You can soak like colors together, but don't mix too much.  I guess this frees the excess dye molecules from the fabric and when you pour off that water you have much less rinsing to do. When washing many people say to use sythrapol to make sure you don't have the left over unbonded dye molecules bond to other fabric. I throw like colors together, along with a white rag to catch whatever dye is left. I find that if I rinse till there is very little color coming off of the fabric, it's ready to wash.

I never use fabric softener, but if you do it gives the dyed fabric a nice soft feel. When you've washed the fabric, dry it only to damp, that way you can finish it off with the iron and it will be smooth and wonderful to the touch.

I forgot to mention fabric. At the end of the dye session, I occasionally have some left-over dye. I admit that I have taken commercially dyed fabric that I don't love, thrown it in the soda ash solution, wrung it out and dyed it. The colors might not be as intense as other fabric that is prepared for dying (PFD) but it's a way to use the last bit of the dye. Some of those fabrics have come out looking wonderful.

I get the white fabric for dyeing from Dharma. I use the PFD and the mercerized has wonderful colors, but the feel is a bit rougher than the other fabrics I've bought. They have many different kinds. As long as it's cotton or rayon  you can use the method I've described. I've also bought many white t-shirts (Hanes beefy ts are my favorite) for my husband. Because I don't have a washer at home I just throw them into the soda ash solution, let the soak then dye them. They are brand new, but the last couple of times I've dyed I've also taken a couple of my plain colored t-shirts and thrown them in. They came out looking better than they looked going in, so I'm happy. As long as you don't mind variations in color this will work fine.

If you have any more questions about my methods, post a comment and I'll be happy to answer if I can.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dyeing-Washed and Dried

Here is all the dyeing I did after it is washed and dried. I washed by hand, then went to the laundromat to dry it. I'm going to pack up the onesies and send them tomorrow. My niece is due in 4 days, I doubt they'll get there before the baby is born, but they're sized 6-12 months so she won't need them immediately.

I just found a post about sharing one moment. Focusing on the world we walk through and taking at least one moment to be mindful. I LOVE the colors of these fabrics I dyed. Taking the time to appreciate the color in the world around me today. If you want to see more posts, click the link to see others moments.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dyeing Results--and Design Wall Monday

I have about 10 different ombre fabrics. I love the way they look, but I didn't know what to do with them. I came across a pattern on Connecting Threads that gave me this idea. I cut one strip of fabric all the way across the width, then cut it into pieces and it get's sewn back together. I don't know if the whole quilt will be from this one fabric, or if I'll use bunches of different colors. I really like the black as a neutral. I tried white (using Paint to see what it would look like) and I just don't like it as well.Check Judy's blog to more design walls.

Here is the shibori...kind of fun. I don't know what I'll do with it, but it was fun. Obviously I need to  improve my technique if I'm going to do this again. The cloth is 36 x 45 and was wrapped around a metal pipe I had laying around. I used fire red and deep orange together. I like the two colors together and might do something with them again.

The onesies came out really bright. They're still not dry so they'll dry a little lighter. I have to wash all of these still, and have more stuff that still needs to be rinsed. I'll probably do that tomorrow.

How fun is this!

A Dyeing Day

I was going to go to the quilt show in Pueblo today, but it was only on Friday and Saturday; guess I should have checked. Instead, I dyed. I dyed 12 sets of onesies and socks in rainbow colors, I dyed clothesline for more bowls. I dyed two of my older t-shirts to make them more interesting. I dyed one set of light-medium-dark fabric for the eventual tumbling blocks. I over-dyed some fat-quarters I had dyed previously that had a lot of white. I over-dyed some commercial fabric, and I took a shot at doing some simple shibori. If the shibori doesn't work I'll just over-dye, so no risk really.

I've done some reading, and I only have to wait three hours till I can start rinsing. That will be in about an hour (the onesies will be rinsed first). Then the shibori and all the other stuff in two-three hours. It's always like opening presents. I'll take pictures when I've rinsed. I didn't get any while I was dyeing, I'm just too messy!
I got some pictures...the top one is of the onesies being rinsed, the bottom of the other items being batched in the sun coming in the back door. It's still too chilly outside to put them there.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Quilting Suggestions

Here is the top I made from the 9-patch swap during the summer of 2009. I've stitched just inside all of the sashing, and think I need to do something in the 9-patches. I want something easy. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I thought of just an X across each block, and that would work and be easy, but somehow that is not exciting me.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Design Wall Monday

By rights, I probably shouldn't post this picture. I just helped a friend who was having difficulty matching the center seams...but it's so pretty. The colors aren't very true here, but I can't seem to get them any closer to the actual colors. It's a table runner and I guess the person who taught the class still had the pattern in her head, so it was a bit difficult to understand.

My design wall has the same quilt on it that I had before I went to Hawaii. My internal clock is having a tough time resetting to mountain time after pacific time, so I have been kind of off. I have one more charity quilt top to finish before Thursday (our guild meeting) and I hope to have the two of them done and quilted. I don't know if I'll get to them, but I'm going to try.

I think I am going to dye some onesies...there are babies coming. One niece is having another baby, and there are two women at work having babies. Candied Fabrics has a wonderful tutorial on how she dyes sets of onesies and socks, so I may work on that today. Check back for pictures!

Oh, I almost forgot, check out Judy's blog to see what other folks have on their design walls.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Hawaii Pictures

Here are some pictures I took. We visited the Big Island and stayed near Kona. One day we drove around to Hilo via the north road. Let's see if I can give you a bit of info about the pictures. The first pictures are taken at South Point. For some reason, I love going there. There aren't any houses there, and it's 11 miles from the main road. There is always wind, and the waves just crash against the rocks. Somehow it's very elemental.

The turtle picture was taken on the trip to Hilo. It was at a small beach on the northern end of the island. I can't find the name of it, but there were lots of turtles to see basking in the sun.

The next two pictures are from the Polulu lookout. You can't actually drive past the valleys here, so this is the closest you can get without hiking.

The falls  are the Akaka falls, and the plants pictures were taken on the walk to see the falls. The ferns unfurling just fascinated me, and the purple one...I have no idea what it is, is just so cool! The orchid was only about 3 inches across, and there weren't very many of them.

I have to have the Hawaiian rainbow. That was taken from the balcony of the hotel in Hilo. It gets about 200 inches of rain per year, thus the falls and the rainbow. It rained off and on the whole time we were in Hilo.

And of course, the gecko. I love the colors. I may have to do a quilt with the colors from the gecko and the design of the unfurling fern.

I almost forgot the fabric I bought. Most are for shirts for my husband, the one in the upper left is for matching shirts for friends, and the other grey/blue one second from right is for matching shirts for Joe and I. The lower right one is for a shirt for me and the rest are for Joe. I really like the one in the lower left. I don't know how I'm going to work it yet, but when I do, I'll be sure to take pictures of it.

Now...what to sew next?


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