Wednesday, January 27, 2016

More Snow Dye Results

Round 3 results are OK, not as striking as yesterday, as I didn't do any special folding.  The 2 pieces in the bottom of the pans were twirled in a sort of loose "rosette". The 2 on top of the pans were just scrunched.
This pan had parakeet (blue) and dragonfruit (pink) dye.  It's interesting to see how the 2 colors deposited on the fabric.
This pan had lime squeeze (green) and golden delicious (yellow).
 This is how they looked after the snow had melted.
Below are the 2 pieces that were on top of the screens on both pans.
 The parakeet dye is not even noticeable on the piece above.
The lime is barely visible on this piece.  Not a bad yellow though.
This is my favorite of the 4 pieces.  Apparently all the parakeet dripped through to this piece in the bottom of the pan.
This one has a mixture of the 2 colors.  I was heavy handed with the golden delicious because it is on the old side, and a light color, so thought it would be over powered by the green.  Not the case.   I haven't decided if I will do any more; none in process at the moment.  There is still snow though, so we'll see!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Round 2 of Snow Dyeing

After round 1 of snow dyeing was finished (the light blue pieces), Sue set up batch 2 with the 2 remaining pieces of soda ash soaked fabric.  You may remember this picture from a few days ago.
The only color dye here is called black cherry.  There was a piece in the pan to collect the melting snow, and a piece on the mesh directly under the snow that was folded to create a mandala - at least, that was the plan.  I thought I took a picture of the folded piece, but apparently not.  Here is what the 2 pieces look like after rinsing and final wash.
Not bad for a first attempt!  You can see how the black cherry separates into the component colors.
This piece was in the pan, loosely bunched and banded - kind of like an accordion fold but not exactly folded.  I think I like this effect better than precise folds which produce straighter lines.  Round 3 of snow dyeing is soaking now, so more pictures tomorrow.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Valentine Screens and Mug Rug

With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, we decided to add a few more screens to the shop and make a quick and easy project that featured fabric printed with these screens.  Along with the "love" themed screens we have an additional snowflake screen for the snow enthusiasts as we deal with the blizzard of 2016 here in Northern Virginia.  You can find these screens in the Etsy shop.
First we printed some fabric using the new screens.  The scattered hearts and "love" screens work well together.  These were printed with white and coral paint blended together, which is why some of the hearts appear to be incomplete - those are spots where the coral paint is heavier.  By the way, the background of this hand dyed fabric was previously discharged using deColourant and our water ripple screen.

Sue also had this tic-tac-toe sample which she decided to combine with the "love print" for a quick mug rug.
The finished dimensions were to be about 6 x 8 inches, so the first step was cutting pieces to size and seaming two together for the top, but you can make whatever dimensions you want.  The dimensions she cut were 6.5 x 4, and 6.5 x 5.  The backing was cut 6.5 x.8.5, and fusible fleece 6 x 8.  The two pieces for the top were seamed along the 6.5 inch side with a 1/4 inch seam.  The fusible fleece is cut smaller to eliminate seam allowances and bulk; since it is fused on, no need to worry about it shifting. 
After applying the fleece, layer the top and backing right sides together.
Then stitch a 1/4 inch seam around all sides, leaving a 3-4" opening to turn right side out.
Trim the corners to reduce bulk.  Turn right side out and press, pressing the open edges to the inside.  These edges will be secured with an edge stitch before quilting.  Choose your thread to either blend or contrast.
First stitch close to the edge all the way around.  Then quilt as desired.  Sue chose to do concentric rectangles over the whole piece. 
Starting in one corner, she did continuous stitching using the edge of the presser foot as the guide, which puts the stitching lines about 3/8" apart.
And there you have the finished piece.  (It's not actually as wonky as it looks here - just not the best picture.)  Why not make a few for your favorite people?  Add a mug and some chocolates for an easy Valentine's Day gift! 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Snow Dye Preliminary Results

All the snow on the dye pieces had melted this morning, so it was time to to rinse, soak and wash, but first, I had to see what they look like!  Keep in mind I was aiming for a light blue/white combination, something that might evoke the idea of crystals.  So while the results are not spectacular, I think there's plenty here that I can work with to create the vague vision in my head.  The first 4 have the baby blue dye.
This is the piece that had the whiffle balls in it.  Bursts of darker color, lots of white.
The pole wrapped piece.  This worked better than I expected.
This piece was loosely bunched with widely spaced rubber bands around it and was in the pan under the whiffle ball piece.  It worked pretty well; more random than the piece in the next photo which was in the same pan.
This one was accordion folded with rubber bands about every 3 inches.  This has a more defined pattern because of the folds.
This is the piece that was scrunched and has both azure blue and kingfisher blue dyes.  The pinkish/coral color in the bottom right corner is probably from the kingfisher blue.  In snow and ice dyeing, the dyes that are made up of multiple colors separate out which can create some really interesting fabrics.  This is an "extra" - not intended for the "crystal" project.  These pieces are all soaking, to be rinsed and washed later to get rid of the excess dye.  We'll see if they change much through the rinsing and washing.

Since I had one more piece that was soda ash soaked, I was inspired by Vicki Welsh's dyeing to try creating a mandala.  So I used a portion of the half yard to fold for the mandala, and put the rest of the piece in the bottom of the pan.  This has black cherry dye, which is one of those that is made up of other colors, so I'm hoping for some interesting patterning.  We'll see tomorrow.  I've never done a mandala before, so again, another experiment!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Blizzard of 2016 = Snow Dyeing

Winter storm Jonas hit northern Virginia about 1PM Friday, continued through the night and it is still snowing at 3PM Saturday.  We are easily at 20 inches, with more to come.  So what does one do with all that snow?  Snow dye, of course!  Elizabeth had her pieces prepped earlier in the week in anticipation, but unfortunately had to leave town due to a family emergency just before the storm hit.  So not to disappoint, I (Sue) started pulling things together Friday night by soaking some PFD (prepared for dyeing) fabric in a soda ash solution.  This afternoon I finally got things set up and dye applied.  I am trying some different things this time, a few shibori pieces, so we'll see what the results are some time tomorrow.
The piece on the left has the fabric banded around baseball size whiffle balls.  A smaller size might work better, but this is what I had available.  Don't know what you'll get until you try it, right?  In the pan underneath are 2 pieces - a half yard that is accordion pleated and rubber banded, and a fat quarter.  These will soak up the melting snow and dye.  The blue pan has a piece that is pole wrapped.  Normally, this would be set in a container of liquid dye, but again, another experiment to see if this works with snow.  The green pan is the standard scrunched half yard on top and a fat quarter below.  My philosophy is, if I don't like the results, they can always be over dyed!
Here are the pans packed with snow.  It only took 2 dishpans of snow to cover these - not even a dent in the amount of snow outside! 
It must be a blue day.  The left & center pans have baby blue dye and the right has azure blue with a bit of kingfisher blue added in.  This is another experiment.  Usually I mix a liquid dye solution to pour over the snow, but this time I decided to try it in powder form.   The reason for all blue is a project I have in mind.  I want light blue with plenty of white still showing, so that is the reason for the various shibori methods.  The azure blue on the green pan surprised me with how dark it is.  Hopefully the end result of all will be considerably lighter with some interesting effects.  Stay tuned for results!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Moon River

The process of making Moon River was challenging.  There were a few trial and error elements to this quilt that evolved over time.  Here are some pictures from the process as well as some detail shots of the finished quilt.  Since the exhibit and piece are all about the moon, that's what I started with.  I had a shibori resist piece done with large circles, so I used one of those circles, which were light blue surrounded by indigo, and printed with half a head of cabbage to give it texture.
In the first incarnation, I kept the indigo surrounding the moon as part of the sky, but wasn't happy with the sky so ended up cutting the moon out and making it a fusible applique on top of the reworked sky.

The river was the other important part of this piece and I had purchased several batiks that I thought would work, but as I auditioned them and went through my stash, this piece of pole wrapped shibori jumped out as being the right one.
Back to the moon.  It needed more shine than just the paint, so I fused some Angelina fibers together, then fused them on top of the moon to give it a glow.  The sky was redone with curved piecing and embellished with fibers.  (The first go round used raw edge strips that were straight; it needed the curved edges instead.)
The trees were cut from a batik, fused on and then stitched.  Those in the path of the moonlight were stitched with "shimmer" thread for extra sparkle.
In the bottom left corner of the quilt is a rock made from a hand dyed fabric and thermofax printed with a crackle screen.  Next to the rock is the silhouette of a boy, contemplating the river and where it might be going.  The song lyrics by Johnny Mercer are reminiscent of his youth in the southern US and his longing to expand his horizons, so that is my tribute to the lyricist.
Also in the corner is a QR code which, when scanned with a QR reader on a smart phone, links to a YouTube video of the Andy Williams version of Moon River.

I'm pleased with the end result, though it was a bit of a struggle to get there!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Fly Me to the Moon!

Sue is pleased to announce that her quilt "Moon River" was juried into an upcoming exhibit called "Fly Me to the Moon" which celebrates the 50th anniversary of man's first walk on the moon in 1969.  This project was conceived by Susanne Miller Jones who describes watching the moon landing and walk with her grandmother and cousin, and some family connections to the lunar project and astronauts.  She invited participation from national and international quilt artists through a call for entry early last year.  The collection includes 175 quilts, all 18" x 30", made by 142 artists.   Although specific venues are not yet nailed down, Susanne is working on that aspect and has interest from several.  It is anticipated that the quilts will travel through 2019.  (Due to space restrictions, not all quilts will travel to each exhibit.)  The quilts depict a variety of topics, including the first moon walk, the Apollo missions and astronauts, scientific moon images, moon idioms, songs, pop culture, myths and superstitions.  Here is Sue's quilt, "Moon River", based on the song that debuted in 1961 in Breakfast at Tiffany's and became even more popular when Andy Williams made it the theme song for his TV show.  She also remembers playing it on the piano.
  More about the quilt and its creation in another post.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Let it Snow!

Here in Northern Virginia we had several hours of fine snowflakes falling Sunday with no lasting results.  However, next weekend we might get a significant accumulation starting on Friday into Saturday.   The weather forecasters are even talking potential blizzard.

Let it snow—remember this plaque that Elizabeth made using the Silhouette Cutter last fall when she took a class from Susan Emory at Kelly Ann’s Quilting in Warrenton?
To prep for the possibility of the first big snow and snow-dyeing, Elizabeth cut PFD (prepared for dyeing) fabric back in the fall and soaked it in soda ash when the weather was still good enough for it to dry outside.
Now it is time to try something new.  How about golf ball sized whiffle balls wrapped in fabric?
She took the balls and surrounded them with the prepared fabric, securing them with rubber bands.
Now to wait for the snow to fall.......

Friday, January 15, 2016

Discharge Surprise

Have you ever discharged a fabric?  This is a fun product and technique to work with for surface design, screen printing, or just plain altering a fabric.  Discharge, in the textile world, means taking color out of cloth and can be done with several products.  Bleach is the most obvious, but also the most harmful; you must use a bleach-stop product or risk damage over time to the fabric.  There is a product called Anti-Chlor to do this.  You can also use a bleach pen, spray, or even Cascade dishwasher detergent.  However the product we use most frequently is called deColourant by Harbor Sales Inc.  It's available from online sources like Pro-Chem and Dharma Trading and retail outlets like Artistic Artifacts.  This is a much more user friendly product in that the odor is greatly reduced and it is the perfect consistency for screen printing.
It comes both colorless (on the left) which merely takes color out so the end result is a surprise, and in colored versions (on the right) which remove color but also replace it with the color of the product, so you control the result, to a certain extent.  The most fun part is using the colorless because you never know what the result will be.  It depends on what dyes went into making the fabric in the first place.  We've seen turquoise discharge to purple, and other interesting results.

So why am I blogging about this?  Well, Sue's art group issued an "ugly" challenge in which we swapped fat quarters of an "ugly" fabric (and let me tell you, ugly is all relative, depending entirely on individual perspective), and need to use the "ugly" in a 12" square quilt.  I decided to alter my "ugly" fabric first by discharging it.  It is a batik, black background with brown cats.  Typically, black will discharge to brown, sometimes gray. So I set about applying the discharge paste through a screen with a crackle image, anticipating a brownish result that would add some background texture and blend with the cats.
Here is the piece with the discharge drying.  After it dries, you take it to the iron (steam helps) and iron it to activate the color change process.  The more heat you apply along with steam, the more change you should see.  You can stop the process whenever you are satisfied with the result.  Well, imagine my surprise when I didn't get brown as I thought, but rather a blue-grey and light beige!
This coloration totally changes the fabrics I would use with it, compared to those I had pre-selected!  Plus, I can't honestly say I LIKE this combination of black-blue-brown-tan.  I think it's actually uglier than when I started! (Perhaps that would be the true challenge, to use THIS piece!)  I do like the effect of the crackle screen, just not the colors.
Here's the before and after.  Good thing I just cut a piece off the fat quarter, instead of doing the whole thing!  Not to be defeated, I had another deColourant with color added - called Natural Nutmeg.  So I decided to try another piece, smaller this time, leaving some of the original unaltered.
You can see the texture in the black background; its less visible on the cats themselves.  This is more what I was going for, though I do wish for a bit stronger color.  Maybe another round is called for - we'll see.
Here's a comparison of the brown discharge with the original piece.  Now to mull it over a bit and decide which way I'm going to go with the challenge piece.  Will I use the really ugly discharge piece, the slightly altered, or the original?  That remains to be seen.  You'll have to check back for the results later, after Feb. 3!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2016 UFO Busting

In case you couldn't tell, we are off to a very slow start in 2016.  The slow down started in December with the holidays and so far we have not really dived into the New Year, other than the previous inspiration posts - I hope you've found more inspiration from them than we obviously have (not)!  Of course there are reasons we are sort of stalled.  Elizabeth was on a two week vacation over the holidays, her entire school break, and returned home to go back to work the next day.  Not too much time for creativity there.  Sue has been in the midst of house renovations for several months, which pulls in one direction, and volunteer commitments to Virginia Consortium of Quilters pulls in another (Sue is president as well as co-chairing the biannual retreat coming up in April).  Consequently creative time has been limited.  Now that our VCQ annual board retreat has passed (still some follow-up to do), Sue hopes to work in more creative time, along with having hardwood floors refinished and choosing bathroom decor.

One way to get started is to commit to Vicki Welsh's UFO Busting again this year.  Sue's even behind in that, since Vicki was on the ball and did her initial post January 1, and it's already the 12th.  But it's never to late to join in!  Recapping 2015, Sue started out with 8 UFOs (that she claimed - there are others very carefully packed away!)  Over the year, one of those 8 was finished, and progress was made on some others.  Most of the finished projects throughout the year were new projects that were both started and finished in 2015 - looking back over the blog posts there were 19 of them!  I'd say that's an accomplishment, even if they were mostly small (wall size) projects.  Most were challenges - for magazine submission, art group challenges, and exhibit entries.

So where is Sue starting from in 2016?
Starting UFO count: 11
New projects started this month:
Projects finished this month:
UFO count at end of month:

The UFOs include 7 from 2015.  Five are projects needing to be quilted; one is a table runner and one is a wall hanging, but the other 3 are lap size or larger quilts, which is probably why I haven't tackled them yet.  One is the repair project I blogged about last year (30's bed quilt).  Two are piecing projects in progress.  Two are hand stitching projects, one of which is almost done, and then will need machine quilting.   The last is a 12" square that needs mounting on canvas - no excuse for that not being done, so hopefully I will get to report it finished next month.  Here are a few pictures - I decided if I pulled some out and took pictures it might motivate me to work on them. 
This is the repair project.  I have made some new "footballs" to applique over the worn ones.
This is a finished top.  I have a backing.  It needs to be sandwiched and quilted.  Lap size.
Another top; these were block lotto blocks that I won in 2010.  I have border fabric, which needs to be added, and backing.  The goal is to finish this by the end of April so I can take it for show & tell at the VCQ retreat.  Doable, if I make a point of getting it done.
This is a finished top, double size.  I have the backing so it too just needs to be sandwiched and quilted.  I made this for my daughter when she was in college - she switched from a twin bed to a double.  It didn't get finished then, and she's been out of college and on her own for 7 years and moved on to other colors, so I need other motivation.  I do really like it.  Maybe this is one that should be quilted by check.

So there you have it.  Check back each month to see how 2016 is progressing.