August 25, 2013

Dyeing folded fabric--fun!

Last weekend, I had some friends over for an evening of dyeing fabric, in preparation for which I mixed up quite a lot of dye in advance, way more than we had time to use.  Having this much dye on hand, and wanting to make use of it while the colors remain true (which gives me about 2-3 weeks), I've been motivated to do some experimenting with using multiple colors on folded fabric, something I've not done much of, as I use mostly solids and close-to-solids in my quilting.  But I thought of a good use for this other sort of dyeing--I can use the whole piece (about 42" square) for the back of a baby quilt.  Or, I can more simply just back the fabric with some flannel and make it into a receiving blanket.
The fabric at the top of the page is my favorite.  The fabric was pushed into parallel folds, and then I manipulated the resulting "rope" into double-S.  The red, purple, and blue dye then ended up being at 90-degrees to the lines of the folds.  Adding black here and there gives extra depth and a bit of mystery.  I won't be giving away this piece!  Some details (double-click on any photo for a larger size):

The next one was folded in lines, the same as the first, but not put in an "S," and no black was used.  I swapped out the blue for teal.  I chose the colors for the various pieces based on a few different flannels I have on hand that I can use for the backing.  This piece is also nice, but not as dramatic.

I did another where the fabric was folded in half, and then the sides pushed down, kind of like a folded umbrella.  Yellow at the point of the "umbrella", then blue and green.

Only problem with this one is that the fabric was an inexpensive muslin, and I didn't see the holes in it until the dyeing was done (or maybe they developed in the process)--there are several more holes like this pair:

I think I'll have to cut up this piece to use it, rather than leave it whole.

The fourth piece is quite nice.  Again I began with a linear fold, but then I manipulated the "rope" into a spiral.  I put yellow in the center, then blue, then green.

And here are a couple of photos from the results of the evening session of dyeing, first the fabric:

and the quilters, very happy with the results: Sharon, Jill, Janis, and Mary Beth.

August 6, 2013

"Union Station" quilt complete

I'm very happy with this quilt!  The fabric is all hand-dyed by me (dyeing discussed here).  The pattern is "Union Station" by Janine Burke, published in Colorful Quilts, by Amy Walsh and Janine Burke.  The back is one large piece of hand-dyed fabric.

Here's a close-up of the quilting.  I chose a dark charcoal thread; I like how the design disappears in the black stripes.
I came up with the quilting pattern, a meander with mostly sharp corners but some curves thrown in.  My sample is on the left below (beige fabric).  I gave this sample to Mary Walck, my go-to long-arm quilter.  She did a great job with the quilting, but it's also interesting to me that even while she was following my design, it has her own "signature"--quilting is like hand-writing that way.

For the binding, I did a machine-stitched binding, sewn first onto the back and then flipped to the front.  I used a "faux-piped binding" method that involves piecing two binding strips together, resulting in a small flange on the front of the binding.  

The method is designed for having the flange in a contrasting color, but if you do both strips the same color, it still has the advantage of giving you a very clear line to follow when doing the top-stitching on the front, and the stitching gets buried in the seam.  This was my first try at using all one color--I like it!  Thanks to fellow Galesburg quilt guild member, Ron Bishop, for telling us about this method, and for suggesting doing it with all one color.  The next photo shows how the binding looks on the front of the quilt (lower horizontal) and how it looks on the back (upper).  One does end up with a line of straight stitching around the edge of the back.  I forgot to put thread in the bobbin to match the green of the background fabric, which would have made it less noticeable.  But being the same color as the rest of the quilting, it still looks OK.

August 5, 2013

Organizing the wet studio

The wet studio (for dyeing/painting/printing fabric) is definitely not as pleasant an environment as the sewing studio upstairs.  Nonetheless, I'm lucky to have a basement with plenty of space, a concrete floor, convenient electricity, and a large, deep double sink.  This is the main table I work on, here covered with an array of stuff I've been accumulating since starting to take classes on screen printing, stamping, discharge, etc.  Working further with the new techniques was being hampered by the difficulty of finding what I needed, so it was time to get organized.  I laid it all out on the table, and then organized things in plastic or cardboard containers.  Multi-use tools that could be used for more than one technique (like cotton twine and sponges) got their own box.  Here are a couple of the newly organized shelves:

And on another shelf, I have most of what I need for regular dyeing and painting.

The plastic shelving is from Walmart--much easier to put together than the metal shelving I've used for decades, and it won't rust.

I've got a new project in mind that will involve both printing and discharge, so this was a necessary first step.  I've got a week or two of work to do on "Regret" to get it ready for quilting.  Once that is all prepared, I'll move on to the next project.  The deadline is related to the weather--discharge needs to be done when it's warm enough to work outside. . .