Sunday, June 30, 2013

Just Listed!

A few people inquired as to whether I would be selling any hand dyes and the answer is, YES!  These were just listed in my Etsy Shop...

Friday, June 28, 2013

More Dyeing! Final Results

I will try not to drive you crazy with too many fabric dyeing posts - but I did want to share my final results!  Doesn't this stack look SO gorgeous!?

 I didn't get a lot of dyeing done yesterday because of the rain, and it snuck up on me again today!  (Snuck is a word isn't it?  Blogger is underlining it as a misspelling...but I'm positive snuck is a real word!!)  Anyhow - it rained, but I was able to get through my batch of pre-soaked fabric anyway.

Lots of in progress pictures...

...this green is called "wasabi".  I think what I was looking for was more of a chartreuse, and as soon as I can I'm going to order some.  I'm also thinking I really need some aqua and yellow.

I was really surprised at the color the green turned out to be.  It's more of a mustardy baby poop green.  Ok - I know mustardy isn't a word.  But it's amazing how different the color ended up!

This is one of my favorite pieces...

OH the pinks and oranges and purple!!!  Aren't they pretty???

The first fabric there is that WASABI green!!  It totally is NOT the same color as the dye!!  I also found that the color amethyst is more of a fuschia than a purple once the dyeing is done.

Even with the slight color differences that I hadn't anticipated, I would say this whole dyeing experience was a success.  I used procion mx dyes from Dharma Trading Company - salt - soda ash - and 108" bleached muslin.  I'd like to experiment with PDF fabric and cotton sateen...I cannot wait to run out and buy more fabric to do another batch!!!

**Almost forgot to add - Nina Marie popped in yesterday and asked if I'd like to link up with her for a little linky party regarding my creative happenings for the, YES OF COURSE I WOULD!!  :)  Stop by and see what the other awesome participants posted about!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fabric Dyeing!

Ohmagersh guess what I did today?  In spite of losing power, cable/internet/phone, my backyard and most of my town flooded...

I dyed fabric.  YAY!  I DYED FABRIC!

I had a terrible start to the week.  I won't even go into it other than to say - it was a super embarrassing moment that I pray I never allow to happen again and it involved lots of heavy thinking that I won't bring you down with today.  But I have to say - NOTHING about fabric dyeing is depressing!  LOL  The bright colors and the creativity - it was a great pick me up.  :)

Now - the water in the back yard had gone down enough to allow me to experiment only a little - and this was my small test batch.  I soaked about 15 of these (I didn't count, I'm not sure exactly how many of these squares there are - they are 108" wide yardage cut into quarters - REALLY over sized fat quarters!) in soda ash and made it through three of the squares before the sun went down.

I am a huge nerd fan of Patsy Thompson (if you haven't yet, visit her blog by clicking here - and bring a towel with you because you're going to drool, I PROMISE!) and I basically used her method for dyeing.  She discusses her process in a number of posts, but my favorite is here.  She made this post in 2009 and it was one of the first posts of hers I had ever read...and I have been itching to dye ever since!!!  The bright vibrant colors she achieves are just CRAZY gorgeous.  She was even sweet enough to give me a few great pointers on fabric dyeing after I shared with her how she had inspired me to get going - one of which was to visit Melody's blog - another highly creative and drool worthy fabric dyer!

For the most part I just mixed up the colors and squirted them on with an old Tulip dye bottle!!  At first it was very blotchy and I was NOT happy.  I started to mush things around with gloved hands and it started to meld and mesh and the colors began to bleed as they sat longer so I'm hopeful I'll get the great color mixing that I love.

I think this orange and red one is my favorite - though - it's supposed to be yellow!!  I think in my desire to have bright and vibrant colors I might have overly concentrated the dye.  If they turn out this bright though after a few washes I won't be disappointed!

Isn't this so pretty close up?

Here's my little set up - tub of soda ash next to my dyeing table.  I dyed the fabric directly on the table and then just mopped up the mess with a towel afterwards.  We have had tons of rain and wild storms over the last few days though and more rain is coming tonight - so I was forced to bag up the fabric and bring it inside to sit and cure.  I'm going to let it sit over night since I don't have the warming effects of the sun.  I hope that I still get a lot of variations in color and they don't all run and turn into one boring color.

I will post an update on how the colors look after washing and drying tomorrow!  I also have three dyes that I didn't even touch because I didn't have any bottles!  A dark blue - dark purple - and green.

OH - and I decided to rip.  I had made some good progress on this but I'm not happy with those uneven circles.  They are really bugging me.  So I'm going to spray the fabric and re-mark this.  Amazingly with my crazy child filled schedule I'm managing to squeeze in some sewing!  :)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fabric Dye and Whole Cloth Progress

So much has been going on in my life lately and I've been racing around trying to keep up with everything.  Yesterday was miserably hot - I was just dripping with sweat no matter where I went.  It had finally cooled down around midnight so I sewed for a little bit...I really love how my little whole cloth is turning out!  I had some issues with the marking pen - transferring the design from the pattern accurately, so I think in the future I will mark directly onto the quilt top.  The only thing I'm unhappy with is that my circles aren't uniform so I may go back and rip those out.  I'm not looking forward to it though as those stitches are super tiny!

This morning the baby and I woke up early to go grocery shopping and guess what arrived?  FINALLY???  My fabric dye?!!  I ordered this from Dharma Trading Company - I'm super impressed with the packing.  The prices considering the size of the dye containers is great too.  I'm itching to play with these but I have some things I must finish up first.  It is supposed to rain all week so maybe if I shake my rear and do a little rain dance in the back yard we can get those clouds to move along and I can get to my fabric dyeing fun!!!  :)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Curling Feathers

Man it's hot outside.  I'm still keeping busy though.  Finishing up odds and end "must do" projects and then playing with paint.

I am hoping to have some of these little paintings in my Etsy shop very soon.  Looking for good frames to put them in first.  :)  Happy  Summer!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Little About Quilts and A Lot About Art and Being an Artist

I have a few pictures to share because - truthfully - I get pretty bored when there are no pretty pictures to look at...and I'm just going to assume that you do too (despite what my 7th grade science teacher said about about ass -u - me).  Then I'm going to ramble a little about art and creativity.

Monday I volunteered to demonstrate how to make the 3-Hour Gift Tote, from the Winter 2012 issue of Quilts and More magazine for my quilt guild.  I was super excited at the whole prospect of having one of my designs published and it's been wonderful to discover - so are those around me!  I've been given much support locally on the whole thing and I'm thrilled to share this with my guild.  I hope to have more patterns published in the future though my focus has been a bit all over the place.  Below are the totes I'm working up for demonstration - they will be available for purchase in my Etsy Shop sometime next week!

Notice anything about those totes?  They are LOUD.  They are screaming loud loud loud and that's what I'm feeling lately.  During the free motion quilting class from last week I spoke a little about the Modern Quilt Movement.  I sort of have this notion in my mind that modern quilting involves solid fabrics, bright colors, and lots and lots of gray!  Well - that is some of what modern quilting is about.  I've been a little bit ... resistant of modern quilting?  I don't know if that's the right word...but I get kind of icked out by trends.  I have this ingrained hippie tendency to want to run the other direction when things start to take hold of large groups of people.  I don't know why I do that - but I've decided I want to fully allow modern quilting to influence my quilts - if the mood should strike me.  I don't want to be someone who closes their mind to something I'm expanding my quilting a bit and allowing myself to be influenced and even fall in love with - quilts that are different.

I'm sure some of this seems like an irrelevant thing to think about or agonize over - not that I truly agonize - but I do think about it.  Often.  Which leads me to the next thing that's been on my mind...

Art and artists and being creative and how that relates to quilting...and pondering that art and creativity.

Do you consider yourself an artist?  Or are you just somebody who makes quilts?  Do you ever notice that we put this sort of limit on what is considered art?  There are those quilt artists out there that everyone recognizes as bonafied and true ARTISTS.

Well what makes them different from me?  What makes them different from you?

Art is about being creative and expressing that creativity.  I choose to focus and funnel my creativity through quilts...but there was a time when I did a lot of painting.  Drawing, sketching, sculpting, singing, writing...I have worn many many creative hats.

Why I choose to express my creativity through quilting - I have no idea.

I think it has something to do with the fact that fabric and sewing are very comfortable for me.  I grew up with a Mother who sewed at every opportunity - and a Father who was very creative and artistic in his own right and usually was trying to think up ways to earn a living from his art!  I find myself doing the same things and at times ask myself why.

Why do I put so much into trying to earn a living from what I do?  I can only answer that question by is to perpetuate doing and give purpose to what I am compelled to do.

To validate that there is meaning in art, and it is felt by many.

Because  I am compelled to create.

I am compelled to be artistic in some way.

I am an artist - and so are you.

I don't know why these thoughts matter so much to me, why I think them - do you ever ponder your creativity?  I do feel sometimes like I need to, put my finger on it in a sense.  Is this why I feel a need to label myself a traditional quilter or a modern quilter?  An art quilter - or simply a mother?  Am I a writer?  A designer?  A pattern writer?  A long arm quilter?  Peg myself - box myself up - put a label on it so that I can present myself to the world and say - THIS IS WHAT I AM!

If I'm going to peg it and label it then I suppose artist fits the bill.  I believe that too - that we are artists - we quilters.  No matter what kind of quilts you are making.  We are compelled to create for whatever reason - and fabric is our medium.

These are my thoughts for whatever they are worth.  I feel like creativity has a tendency to flow in cycles and at times in your life completely change directions.  I feel like I'm at one of those points in my life where this thing that is so very important to me, this thing that is such a huge part of my personality - is shifting and changing shape and I'm sort of on a path to figure out what that is.  This entire blog, learning to long arm, learning to be a better quilter - it has been a journey and many of you have been on it with me over the years.  I'm grateful for that and anxious to delve into the next new aspect of my chosen art - and share that with all of you!

Oh yes, and as promised, a little about quilts.  :)

The whole cloth quilt was hung up in the front window just to ensure that the neighbors think I'm weird.  Lol*

It is all traced in blue water soluble pen and ready to quilt - I'm just tied up with other things so it'll be a minute before I can quilt this.  My dyes are coming from Dharma Trading but taking FOREVER.  Hopefully I'll be stained and dye covered next post - fingers crossed!  :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Creating Unusual Borders - Whole Cloth Progress

   Here's where I'm at with the newest whole cloth.  I'm still not sure if there's going to be some piecing in the borders or not.  I keep going back and forth.  I kind of like it like this - but I'd like to enlarge it a bit.  Time will tell.

   I did make an error in the rays that needs corrected.  One corner has narrower rays than the other three so I'm going to mark those directly on the quilt at the correct measurement since I've already inked it in on that pattern.

   The rays will have some back fill too - I'm still not settled on what and I don't want to fill it in on the pattern since I need to correct them first.  I'm itching to start quilting this.  ITCHING!

   I have gone back and forth on the fabric and I think I've settled on which one I'm going to use...but I might change my  mind again!  Lol*  My dyes should be in this week from Dharma Trading Company and I've got five yards of extra wide backing fabric to dye.  I  might wait to dye before I quilt in case I like one of those better...but I don't know if I can wait that long!

   I didn't get great pictures of this process so I'm just going to throw this out there for anyone interested rather than doing an official "tutorial".  Maybe next time?  Here's a few pictures showing how I achieved that fancy border.  I'd like it to be the final outer border...and if I add borders I'd like to keep this shape.  I'll bind it with bias binding and other than the curves the pointy part shouldn't be much different than binding around any other corner.

   What I did was mark off the bottom left straight border of the quilt design.  Then rounded the edge, and created the shape I wanted...on freezer paper...

...then I just matched up the corners...

...and traced on my border.  I flipped my make shift pattern over for the opposite side.  This is basically the same technique I used to fill in the feathered scroll border.  I used the same pattern piece and just drew in the feathers...then traced and flipped to add it to the border.

Pretty neat and not too difficult!  Since this is intended to be a whole cloth there really isn't any piecing to worry about.  I'm planning to just place this down on to fabric and cut the shape out - plus 1/4" seam allowance...maybe a few millimeters extra so I can fit that beaded/pebble border in without cutting off my circles with my binding.

That's where I'm at!  Hope all is well in Blog Land.  Oh!  And...I'm still looking for quilts to quilt!  Free return shipping or 15% off for local customers is still going!  You've got a few more days to get your quilt in!  :)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Another Wholecloth

I'm in love with whole cloth case you hadn't noticed.  :)  I started working on this during the week but I had a yard sale Friday and Saturday so I couldn't squeeze in as much time as I'd wanted.  My house looks like a tornado hit - I need to straighten up and do some shopping this weekend, then get going on this.

The fabric I showed you - I think I've narrowed it down to these two hand dyes.  Rayon thread for quilting as I have a ton of it ... the colors are delicious ... and this isn't going on a bed.

There are many ways to design a whole cloth quilt.  For this quilt I decided I wanted to draw it out - life size - on paper.  Partly because I am not a big planner.  I like to plan to some extent.  But I'm finding the organic process of just building a quilt as I go is a lot more satisfying for me than to plan and execute...even if it takes a little bit longer.  I tend to spend more time mulling ideas over this way rather than going, "yep that's it" and essentially creating from a preset pattern.  For me, the end result is more of a surprise and keeps me interested the whole way from start to finish.

For this quilt, I started by taping sections of freezer paper together, then squaring off the hunk I'd created...roughly the size of the fabric I have to quilt....give or take, I may add some borders.  I fold it to mark my center and have started designing from the center out using guides I marked on the paper to keep things square and straight.  When I'm ready I'm going to transfer this design to the quilt top.

Hoping to make some progress tonight.  I have LOTS of chores to make up for.  OH!  Very exciting news...for me anyhow...I ordered some dyes to hand dye my own fabric.  I've been reading about it forever, and I did dye a few t-shirts this past fall.  But I have several yards of fabric I thought it'd be fun to experiment with.  I cannot wait!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Doodle Bug

I have been so busy these past few weeks that I am ready to just drop...but of course I planned a yard sale this weekend and so I'm scrambling last minute to pull things together.  Honestly.  I have no idea how I'm going to do it.  Lol*

In a fit of procrastination and irritation I decided to start another quilt.  I learned a very important lesson with my celtic knot/applique quilt...I will never again put a jarble of circles and triangles into an embroidery hoop again.  EVER.  I attempted to add some decorative stitching - EPIC fail.  I stretched those stinkin' circles all out of whack.  I can still quilt it without pleating or wrinkling but it's going to be a beast and I'm going to have to improvise rather than do what I'd wanted.  Poooooh.  Uber pooh.  Oh well.  Last night I decided I couldn't stand looking at it any longer so I've buried it in the craft cupboard for some day in the future that it doesn't make me nauseous to look it.  HOURS of work.  Boo hiss.

Anyhow - on to the next.  I've been doodling like a mad woman.  It is a wonderful feeling to be artistic in my quilting.  I have always loved very traditional quilts but there is also that artist side of me that comes out once in a while and I have to make something that doesn't match anything in my house.  What to do with these quilts?  Usually the end up being my favorite.  :)

This technique is gaining in popularity among long arm quilters - do you remember doing this in art class?  I do!  Now it truly serves a purpose.  I section off a quilt block - you can section it into 1/8th or 1/4 of a block and use a mirror to see what that section would look like repeated.  I did 1/4's here just to get the ball rolling...

Make small changes and get big results.

More doodling that may or may not translate into quilts.  E littlest babe Emm.

I ended up pulling these fabrics.  Yes, not one bit prim or grungy or traditional is it.  These are the quilts that I love though.  Probably next week when this quilt makes me frustrated I'll start pulling out those reproduction fabrics...  ;)