Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Meandering Hooked Feathers

Not a lot of quilting going on around here but I did manage to try some meandering hooked feathers on some fleece the other day.  I had 1 metre of yellow and 1 metre of green so thought that would work for practice. It took a bit to get the size of my echoes on the feathers even and consistent but overall I am happy with the result.  I have some baby blue fleece I want to try some wonky swirly feathers on next.

The weather has been warm and humid with lots of rain but when the sun shines we spend as much time as we can in the water as we only get about 2 months where the water is warm enough to jump in.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Classic Summer Storm

We have had some crazy weather here this week and it started Monday night with a fabulous wind/thunderstorm that knocked out our power and phone for 16 hours and we lost one tree. The light show that went along it this storm was non-stop at 4am and it was raining sideways!  Then it cleared up Tuesday and was hot and humid so we spent the day was nice to have the kids off the TV, computer, etc the whole day!  Then came more rain for the next two days.  We have had so much rain that our lake has risen about 5 inches!! I know that based on how high the water level is on our steps at the dock.

 The bottom step here is usually about 2"out of the water, now it is 2" under water!
And the water is now touching the bottom of the dock. Our little fishing boat is sitting so high too, usually the top edge of the boat is just above the dock.

So with all this rain I had time to quilt!  I finished the quilt I started at our last guild retreat, I used the Yellow Brick Road pattern and a fat quarter collection called Holly Taylor Classics.  I am making two twin size quilts the same and giving them to my Mom for her guest room where my boys sleep when we visit.  She wanted to make that room more masculine.  Well my Mom is visiting me right now and I wanted to surprise her and I had one finished so when she walked in our guest room she would see it on the bed.  Funny thing was she didn't recognise it as her quilt at first and starting going on and on about how fabulous it was. Then she realized it was the quilt for her and she got quite emotional.  She then confessed when I sent her the picture of the quilt top pieced her first reaction was that it was too busy and she didn't like it but wasn't going to say anything to me. She was preparing herself to not show her true feelings about it.  So when she saw it quilted she genuinely loved it and it really caught her by surprise.  We had a good laugh about that and the lesson learnt was don't judge a quilt until it is done! :)
I have had clients drop off quilt tops and say that they are not happy with the quilt top they made but want it finished and then when they see it quilted they just love it. So I told my Mom she is not the first one to react this way.

I quilted it using my free hand Topo design and free hand leaves in the border.
Wool batting and So Fine thread.

My Mom just said the pictures don't do the quilt justice, the colors are much more vibrant in person.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Crinkle Sun Dyeing

I wanted to use up the rest of the Soy beverage in my fridge so though I would try some more sun dyeing and experiment with the crinkle texture.  I dyed 6 fat quarter size pieces of fabric and this time instead of painting on the dye with a foam brush I just put the fabric in the jar, swished them around and then rung them out.  I smoothed them out on the plastic and then crinkled them to different amounts.

The first one I crinkled a little and the second one just a bit more.

The third, fourth and fifth fabrics I created deeper crinkles like in this pink one.

The last one I made smooth and threw sand on it to see how that texture would look. I kept adding more sand every ten minutes so it would have a range of pink tones.

And the results...a super cool crinkle effect!!
These pieces are ironed and starched so all the wrinkles are from the dye!

 I prefer the smaller crinkle in the blue and purple fabrics as compared to the larger crinkle which has a lot of lighter areas.

The sand texture turned out really nice too but it might be hard to see as it is so light.

I am really lovin this blue piece of fabric and think this the technique could make a very cool quilt backing.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sun Dyeing

The sun is shining today and I have been waiting patiently all weekend to try some sun resist dyeing using a Soy beverage and MX Procion dyes. The idea behind this method is any items you place on the wet fabric in the sun will create a lighter imagine in the fabric and the background that is in the sun will be darker.  Lori sent me a link to some great instructions on this process so you can see how it is suppose to be done :)    Harmony Hand Dyes Instructions
Since this was my first time trying this method I definitely learnt a lot!  And I'll even share my whoops with you.

Use a Soy beverage as your liquid and mix your MX dyes using the colors you want.  I used 1/2 cup warm soy to 1/2 tsp of dye and mixed up four colors to try.

Next I soaked my fabric in a soda ash solution for 15 minutes and then layed them out on some plastic in the sun. I then painted on the dye using foam brushes and once done that add resist items on top of the fabric. I chose rice, glass beads and pretzels.

For one of the fabrics I thought I would try the crinkle method as I really liked how it looked in the instructions.  So I painted the fabric green and then crinkled it up.

The next one I painted blue and added the glass beads hoping it will look like bubbles.

Then on the red fabric I added the rice and on the orange fabric I added pretzels...the whole time wondering if added food was a good idea!

I had some paint left over so soaked another piece of fabric and thought I would layer all the colors on one piece without added any resist items. I wanted to see what kind of texture it produces.

I was hoping all the little creases and air bubbles would create an interesting affect with the dye.
Now here is my whoops moment. When I can back out to see if the fabrics were dry I saw this! Darn!

The blue dye has run into the red fabric!  Mental note, keep fabrics farther apart.

Once the fabrics were dry I rinsed then in water with TNA soap and then soaked them in Raycafix to fix the dye.  Put them in the washing machine on a rinse cycle and then into the dryer.
So now to the results.

I am very happy with these three, minus the blue blob on the red fabric but I was still happy with how the rice worked as a resist. I had to place rocks on the corners of the fabric as it is windy here so that is why the corners are light.

But the green one didn't turn out anything like I was hoping it would...blah!   I think I did the crinkle too tight, next time I will make it a lot looser. I was hoping for a grassy textured piece of fabric but that is far from what I got!

Now I was pleasantly surprised how much I like the multicoloured piece.
It has great texture, like a crackle finish, and the colours are a bit cloudy too giving it a soft feel than I wasn't expecting.

I think I might try this method again as I want to get the crinkle method figured out. I'm sure the Soy beverage won't disappear from my fridge any time soon, unlike the rest of the items in it!  ;)

*edited to added*- My second attempt at the Crinkle method worked out great, you can see it here

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Summer in the Park

Yesterday was your first rain day and it looks like the rest of the weekend will be rainy too so that means time to sew!
I have started piecing a quilt called Summer in the Park. I first saw this on Suzan's blogs in June and just fell in love with this pattern.  Then when I searched this pattern name I found a YouTube video on how to make it, what luck!

So I used a bali pop and dyed some light blue background fabric and cut it into 2 1/2" strips.  I don't need to get into more details on how to make it as the YouTube video has it all.

Now that I have all the blocks done it shouldn't take long to put it together.

We have had a great week, warm weather, lots of swimming and just being lazy!
The lake has finally warmed up so I can get in to cool off but the boys have been much braver and been swimming for a few weeks now.

This is the thermometer we leave in the lake, once it hits 70' I can get in. I have never seen it over 76'.  You might think this thermometer going up to 260' is over kill but you can never be too optimistic! :)  I think it is an antique as my dad had it at his cottage and he wasn't one for buying new if he didn't have to. I'm pretty sure this one was from his lab as he was a chemist and I'm sure someone was going to throw it out and he rescued it.

Here are a few shots of the boys just relaxing in the water.
Hope you are having a great summer or winter if your down under!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Low Immersion Dyeing

Low immersion dyeing is the technique I use for dyeing my fabrics.  Last year a local artist was kind enough to teach her dyeing method to Lori, myself and a few other quilters.  After her introducing this method to us, Lori and I experimented with different techniques and came up with a method that works for us. So I am not saying this is the only way to do low immersion dye, just our way and I thought I would share some of what we have learnt over the past year of our dyeing journey.

Supplies.  To be honest it is a bit of an investment at first to get all the supplies needed but well worth it if you plan on doing a lot of your own dyeing.

I purchase my Procion MX dyes from G&S Dyes in Canada.  They also carry the Sodium Carbonate (as known as Soda Ash), Raycafix and TNA soap that is also needed.   You will also need salt and in the beginning I was told to use non-iodized salt but I now use regular salt as it makes no difference.
You will also need measuring cups, measuring spoons, containers for dyeing, rubber gloves and a mask.

Fabric.    100% cotton fabric but be careful as some cottons dye better than others. Our first batch of fabric that we purchase did not take the dye well and we ended up with white patches.  Then we discovered Wazoodle and buy our white cotton from them. It takes the dyes beautifully. 
* Edit on Oct 2012 - Wazoodle no longer carries white cotton so we now buy it from Sew Batik *

I have also experimented with white on white prints.  The print resists the dye and stays white while the background takes the dye like in this snowflake fabric that I dye with Royal Blue.

Safety    Always were gloves and a mask when working with Procion MX dyes! ALWAYS!

Procedure  I will go step by step to show you how we dye a 1/2m piece of fabric to get one color with some texture using two powdered dyes.  For this sample I used Hot Pink and Cerulean Blue to make purple.

Step 1.   Pre wash your fabric with TNA ( Synthrapol) soap to remove all the sizing and residues on the fabric.

Step 2.   Cut a 1/2m piece of  pre-washed fabric, width of fabric.

Step 3.   Crumple the fabric into a jar, I used a glass Cheez Whiz jar.  I like to crumple but if you want to play with folding techniques to get different patterns that works well too.

Step 4.   In a 2 cup measuring cup mixed 3/4 tsp of Hot Pink and 3/4 tsp of Cerulean Blue together and then slowly pour in 1 1/2 Cups of hot water while stirring.  Add 2 tsp of non-iodized salt into the mixture and stir until all the dye and salt is dissolved.  Some dyes need more stirring than others.  The salt is used to brighten the colours, we have tried salt and no salt experiments and the fabric with the salt always turned out much brighter.  The general rule for salt quantities is 1 tsp of salt for every 1 cup of water used.

Mixture of Hot Pink and Cerulean Blue in 1 1/2 cups water with salt ready to be added
Step 5. Pour dye mixture over the fabric in the jar. I like to poke and stir it a bit with a stick to make sure all the dye gets to all the fabric. The more you stir the less texture there will be. 

Step 6.  Mix 2 tsp of Soda Ash (Sodium Carbonate) in 1/2 Cup of hot water.  Stir until dissolved.   We usually wait about 20 minutes from the time the dye is poured onto the fabric to the time we pour in the Soda Ash over the fabric.  Soda Ash is a fixative and we like to let the fabric have time to absorb the dye before pouring on the fixative if you want a more even texture with your fabric. The general rule for Soda Ash quantities is 1 tsp for every 1 cup of water used.  We used 1 1/2 cups of water with our dye mixture and 1/2 cup water with our soda ash mixture for a total of 2 cups of water.
Our water quantities are based on the amount of fabric your dyeing so in general we use 2 cups of water for .5m fabric, 4 cups water for 1m fabric, and so on.

Fabric in 1 1/2 cups of dye water ready for 1/2 cup of Soda Ash mixture to be poured over top.
Step 7. Let the fabric sit in the dye/soda ash mixture for at least one hour. If you want a solid colour fabric then after a few minutes take the fabric out of the dye jar, gently squeeze out most of the dye and then place it in a ziploc baggy for an hour.

Step 8.  Pour out dye water. Fill a tub with warm water with 1/2 tsp of TNA soap or Blue Dawn dish soap (works just as well) and place fabric in water. Agitate fabric in water to wash off excess dye.

Step 9.  Squeeze out fabric and then place in a tub full of hot water with 1/2 tsp Raycafix ( Retayne). Raycafix is a fixing agent that will prevent the fabric from bleeding.  Let the fabric sit in the Raycafix for 5 minutes without touching it.  Squeeze out fabric and rinse under clean water. If colour still runs soak in Raycafix again.  Pinks seem to need more Raycafix to set.

Step 10.  Put fabric in washing machine on rinse cycle and then dry in dryer.

The result is this fabric.

Procedure 2   I also want to show your how to dye a 1/2m piece of fabric that gives you more colour variation.   I used the same two dyes but did not mix them together dry. Instead I put 3/4 tsp of Hot Pink in a measuring cup then added 1 cups of hot water, and then added 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp soda ash to the dye mixture.  In a separate measuring cup I added 3/4 tsp of Cerulean Blue, 1 cup water, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp Soda ash.   I mixed until all the dyes and chemicals were dissolved.  I then poured both dyes over the fabric at the same time.

I waited an hour and then followed steps 8 to 10. 
The result was this fabric.  

The addition of the soda ash in the dye mixture allowed the dye to set very quickly resulting in the the multi coloured fabric.  So how your mix your chemicals will produce different results.  

I hope this helps those of you that asked how this was done.  If you have any questions please don't hesitate to email me.  There are so many ways to experiment with this process so if you give it a try please let me know how it goes for you, I would love to see pictures of your fabric!!