Tuesday, July 03, 2012


Zip-bag curing
I like dyeing in the summer, because -- even though I do it in my Back Room rather than mainly outdoors -- everything seems so much less messy because I can keep the windows open, including the one on the back screen door, and I can dry the stuff outside on my wee laundry rack.  So...one of the 'play-ces' I've been for the past 10 days is in the Dye Pot zip-bag, with low-water immersion dyeing.  I've put up 3 small batches of fabric, and there's a batch of Former Failures (i.e. over-dyes!) curing as I post.

I deliberately chose no 'recipe' this time out, playing only with Dharma Trading's Golden Yellow, Sky Blue and Scarlet.  From these three I made a variety of greens, red-browns, some definite sky fabric (I live in big-sky country, after all!) and a brown-black that I plopped in wherever it felt right.

Wanna see?

Dyepot 1 - All cotton, all the time

Dyepot 2 - More cotton

Dyepot 3 - Mixin' it up

In the third batch I dug out some different fabrics with which to play.  At the top: a piece of semi-sheer curtaining in white with little white flecks -- definitely some part synthetic something-or-other -- that turned into the neatest blue-flecked textured piece, as the flecks picked up the dye.  Next up, two white pieces.  Huh?  Yep.  Two pieces of definitely synthetic silky stuff that...didn't hold the dye at all.  Third from the top, my very favourite piece of the batch -- a piece of white cotton velveteen dyed plummy-brown (close up, below).  Then a tiny piece of something labelled 'brocade' that was originally cream-coloured, and a remnant of cheesecloth/scrim that I painted with a pipette -- red and yellow -- and then plunked in a bag to cure.  Last but not least, a wonderful piece of cheesecloth that's going to shred beautifully.  It's my second-favourite of the batch.  As my friend arlee would say, "Yumpth!"

My two faves, close up:

Cotton Velveteen


The second 'play-ce' I've been is out in the back yard, with a small experiment in sun printing. Margie Davidson is a member of SAQA Western Canada,as am I. I admire her work so very much that I hesitate to refer to her as a colleague; not yet anyway -- I'm just not there! Anyway, Margie does the most amazing sun-printing of leaves, and I decided I had to figure out how to do it -- how to work with them out in the open air where (at least here) the wind can stymie one's best efforts.  Sure enough, yesterday was perfectly sunny, but by the time I got the fabric prepped and the leaves gathered, a definite breeze had come up. I coped by using fine glass-head pins to tack down the leaves and feathers in my experiment, and was pleasantly surprised by the results.

Feather Print


Flowering Crab 

And simply because I had to add a little 'weight' into the mix....

Metal washers...or whatever they're called

While this dye-stuff has been curing, I've been keeping at it in the studio.  I finished another CQ block -- with TAST stitch-of-the-week #20, the Dreaded Bullion Knot.  Yes -- I managed to get the hang of it and discovered this:  it's much easier and more fun to make a DBK with wool than with cotton floss.  Heaven forbid I'd try it in silk!

Look closely -- there are some Bullion Knots in there.  My favourite part of this block, though, is the tie (used both right-side-up and inside-out) and finding embellishments to add to the seams so I wouldn't have to do too many of those knots!

I've also continued my sampling for All the Streets End in Trees, which is still in mock-up on my design wall.  I'm trying to create a lacy effect with the leaves.  I began by knitting a swatch of 1/4" fabric strips, and then made a sample of bits-and-bobs bonded by stitching using water-soluble stabilizer.  I combined one sheet of water-soluble Sulky Paper Solvy (r), and a piece of Inspira WaterWorks Soluble Film (I got this on a roll -- 8 inches wide by 10 yards long; can't remember where -- probably at a quilt show merchant's booth, and I can't find an independent website for Inspira products...).  The paper enabled me to draw out a rough 'leafy' sketch over which to place my materials and stitch; however, it didn't make for as sheer a result as I'd like.  At least, I think there was paper trapped in the stitching to make the sample more opaque than I wanted.  So...now I need to go back and make a sample using two pieces of the soluble film instead.  I'm also going to change up the colour of the hand-stitched yarn/floss.  See what I mean here:

On the left is the knit sample -- garter stitch, with live stitches still resting on a strand of red waste yarn -- and on the right, the stabilizer-stitched sample, a combination of machine and hand stitching a la Beaney and Littlejohn, whose DVD, "In Action", is a must have! (It's expensive, but I got it at the Central Alberta Quilt Show last month from our favourite show vendor, Copperfield's Books of Winnepeg. They always carry a wide selection of books, CDs and DVDs for textile artists of all genres, at discounted 'show special' prices.  Who can resist?)

And...today?  It's been cool, rainy and windy -- a perfect day to try 'light printing' (like sun printing but using my south-facing work room window, overhead light, and my daylight lamp), to catch up on this blog, to do some handwork in front of a DVD, and some spinning...Away I go.


Darlene said...

Very nice! Next time I want my white socks dyed, I'm sending them to you!

JennyPennyPoppy said...

Great post of all your wonderfully dyed materials. Especially like the sun printed leaves cloth. I dyed some cloth for the first time last summer & was very pleased with the results. Planning another dyeing day with a couple of stitching friends in a couple of weeks :)

Jenny K. Lyon said...

Love that piece with the bullion knots-superb!

Gina said...

I love the fern-print!