February 11, 2010

More snow

We've had more snow in the midwest this week, so I took advantage of it to continue with snowdyeing. I'd like to build up a reserve of pieces that I can use as backs for baby quilts. Above is a detail of a piece done with coral and teal dye, plus a little dusty lavendar/rose. The coral and teal are complementary colors, so there's also brown where they mix. I wondered if it would all turn a muddy color, but it didn't. Below is the beginning of the process, the dye squirted onto about 5" of snow, which is sitting on top of the fabric, which is on a cooling rack, which is sitting in my basement sink.

Here's the whole piece of fabric, about 42x46". More white than I wanted, and big blotches of coral. Well, maybe this one will get cut up instead of being a back.

A second piece was done with just two dyes, blue and yellow. The green you see is from the dyes immediately mixing together.

They mixed so much that the piece is a definite study in green, with only one spot towards the bottom where the yellow remains on its own. I think this one will make a nice backing.
And a couple of more details from the first piece:

February 7, 2010

Time for Black

I've finished piecing and basting the orange-red tier of "Shelter" (photo at end of post), and am now moving on to the final tier of black. Each tier has posed new challenges--up to this point all issues of construction and piecing. For the black tier, the challenge is in color/value. The blue, turquoise, and orange-red tiers have used variation in value (and to some extent in color) for contrast within the piecing. But lighter values of black would bring in gray, and I don't think that belongs. So I'm going to try variations in texture, variations in color (blue/black, brown/black), and a very little bit of variation in value to dark gray. The very dark black in the photo above is velvet, which I got for texture, but it also does value. In the photo below, you can see a bit of the brownish and bluish batiks as well; for some reason everything except the thin bit of velvet looks gray here, but they are black in real life.

And here's a shot of the orange-red tier, with one strata of blacks up against it for a glimpse of what is to come:

February 6, 2010


I decided to try the zig-zag pattern with solids; another baby quilt, 36x39. I have a large stash of solids and I thought I'd be able to pretty randomly pick 12 colors, but it wasn't so easy. I'm happy with the mix I chose. Amy Walsh has a great pattern with all solids ("Color Cues") in the April 2010 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting, and she comments in the article that "there's no substitute" for working with solids "when it comes to practicing your color expertise.

Then I decided to play with the scraps that I got when trimming the edges of the quilt. I had to make up a couple of blocks new to go into the piece, and I would have had to make a few more to get enough choice to be 100% satisfied. But I decided that 85% satisfied was good enough for this one below, which is 12x12. (The chalk marks are left over from marking the quilt--they'll come out easily.)

Since I started dyeing my own fabric, I've been less drawn to commercial solids. The colors seem somewhat harsh to me (because of the total uniformity of color), and the most readily available solids for the retail buyer are Kona cotton, which is heavier than I like to use. But it was good to come back to them for these projects. For brights and contrast, they're a great choice.

Another option for solids is shot cotton, which is a much thinner fabric (works even for applique), and which has a softer, more complex look than the solid Kona cottons because most pieces have a different color for the vertical and horizontal threads. This is the fabric I used in the "Spectrum" quilt. My sister was interested in a wall-hanging similar to this quilt, so she bought me a great collection of 60 different Kaffe Fassett shot cottons, 1/4 yd each, and I get to make quilts! Thanks, Cookie.

You can see the shot cottons, along with other beautiful fabric at the "Glorious Color" website.

And then there's the option of using fabric I dye myself, but I've got to do a lot more dyeing before that happens. . .