Posted in creativity, quilting, stash

Experimental Wall Hanging Now Purple!

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Compared to the last photo before it went into the dye bath.

How did the predictions turn out?

That the printed cottons (pink with Chinese characters and the purple and pink dots around the border) will take up less of the dye than the other fabrics.

Not really, the pink and purple dots are the darkest elements in the piece now and you really have to look to see the dots.

That the upholstery fabrics will retain more of the dye than the piece used in my other workshop project, which glowed when it came out of the dye and then mostly rinsed off.

Yes, that worked better because I hand washed the upholstery samples I was planning to use with Synthrapol.

Quilted with purple polyester serger thread, which will retain its current colour and contrast with the dyed finished wall hanging.

That happened and now that everything else is a similar colour I like my free motion quilting better than when I took it off the machine.

Surprises:

  • It was weird to see the turquoise polyester stay brilliantly its own colour throughout the dyeing process.  It positively glowed as I was agitating the dye bath trying to ensure that everything dyed evenly with no freckles or streaks or unintended weirdnesses.
  • Not sure about the butterfly shape above the central panel.  I will say no more.  It will tell me what to do over time.

Points to Ponder:

To dye something evenly you need to stir the dyebath fairly constantly during the first half hour, and then at intervals after that.  I had planned to do this Saturday morning but by the time the piece was ready to go in, I was planning to meet friends for coffee, so I postponed it until the late afternoon.  Even then, I spent several hours out at dinner, but it had been stirred around enough in the early stages that it was okay.

Equipment:

One of the most important safety principles in dyeing is that nothing can be used for food once you’ve used it for dyeing.  I have a jug, measuring cups and spoons, old yogourt containers, a bread knife and a form that have all been dedicated to dyeing and surface design.  For this piece I needed something to stir the pot with and hesitated to sacrifice a wooden spoon.  My main objection was not the expense of replacing it as much as the nuisance of needing to do so.  Me eye fell on a nice smooth piece of driftwood occasionally used as antlers by Young Sprout to be a “boy deer.”  Perfectomundo!  Problem solved!  And there’s plenty more where that came from …

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Next steps:

Trim the edges

Make bias binding

Bind

Embellish?

Stay tuned!

Posted in creativity, quilting, stash, surface design

New Experimental Wall Hanging in Progress

This piece was started on the last afternoon of Ana Buzzalino’s workshop while our main projects were soaking in the dye.

The bright turquoise is pure polyester that will not be affected by procion dyes.

Everything else is 100% cotton except for the centre Chinese print and the purple, which are both poly-cotton blends, and some of the neutral pieces around the borders, which are upholstery samples.

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Scouring:

I’m in the habit of prewashing all quilting fabrics other than pre-cut jelly rolls and charm packs and the like.  That said, I wash my stash with regular detergent.

Scouring means using Synthrapol to really remove all dressings and treatments and ready the fabric for surface design treatments.

In this piece I did wash the upholstery samples in Synthrapol, and the muslin I’m dyeing for the binding was also scoured when I bought it, since it was intended for dyeing.

Prediction:

That the printed cottons (pink with Chinese characters and the purple and pink dots around the border) will take up less of the dye than the other fabrics.

That the upholstery fabrics will retain more of the dye than the piece used in my other workshop project, which glowed when it came out of the dye and then mostly rinsed off.

Quilting:

Purple polyester serger thread, which will retain its current colour and contrast with the dyed finished wall hanging.

I’m new to free motion quilting, not that I need to say that to anyone who knows about FMQ!  But you have to start somewhere and since this is a very experimental piece I figured it was a good place to start.  I used the approach explained by Elizabeth Hagh of the Modern Quilt Guild and found it was much faster than quilting with a walking foot.  Maybe this will inspire me to persist and tackle larger pieces, of which I have several almost ready to be quilted.  I bought 5.4 metres of Warm & Natural the other day based on current projects, so that’s an added incentive.  The batting was 50% off so to me this was a rational decision …

Backing:

Blue with a large white hibiscus print.  Since this will be dyed purple I wanted a simple backing in a primary colour, and was limited to finding something large enough that I wouldn’t have to piece it before starting the quilting.

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Posted in creativity, quilting, surface design

Ana Buzzalino Workshop

Our quilt guild was recently blessed by a presentation followed by a two-day workshop from Ana Buzzalino of Calgary.

We pieced directly onto a quilt sandwich (backing, batting and muslin foundation) using cotton, poly cotton, and other fabrics that take fiber-reactive dye.  I.e. no wool and no pure polyester.

Ana is an absolutely inspirational teacher and although my machine was not behaving terribly well I felt brave enough to attempt free motion quilting and curved piecing.

In fact, as often happens in life, the challenge with the machine led to a serendipitous find.  I left the workshop to drive straight to Sawyers where Denise identified and fixed no less than three issues, so no wonder I was frustrated!  Anyhoo, they had a table full of polyester serger thread in all colours.  The polyester doesn’t reach with the Procion dye so you can choose the best colour for each project.  Before the workshop I had been somewhat challenged to find even white polyester thread.

Having finished a piece in the course of the workshop I left buzzing with ideas of other things to try.  Ana’s supply list was to bring suitable mixed fabrics in light and neutral colours, all of which pick up the dye a little differently.

For the second project which we began as our quilted projects were steeping in the dye bath, Ana gave us some pure polyester turquoise fabric (think bridesmaid dress!) and some lilac poly cotton.  I’m still working on that, because I added in a bunch of black and white prints and it’s grown and grown.

I decided to make a small experimental piece and ice dye it so instead of it being one colour all over you would get a marbled/mottled effect.  So I used some of the turquoise and lilac, plus other black and white fabric, and an upholstery sample which I prewashed with Synthrapol to remove the Scotchguard treatment.  Ana is big on using fabric with writing on it, which is another thing I enjoy working with, so I used two fabrics with Chinese script on it.  The dark purple one in the photo started out neutral; the lighter one with the larger characters started out hot pink.  I think this must have made the fabric less able to pick up other dyes.

So  the front is the last photo, quilted with fuchsia polyester which stayed the same colour.

And the back was a cool bicycle print!AnaBuzz002

At the workshop Ana reminded up to throw some plain muslin into our dye bath so we’d have the exact right shade of binding.  I placed a piece under the quilted piece, covered everything with ice, and sprinkled the powdered procion dye over the top of everything (navy, fuchsia and grape).

However much as I love what happened with the intended binding piece it’s too light to work as binding. (see photo, which is navy and white basically).AnaBuzz003

Fortunately I have a dark purple fabric with YET MORE Chinese script!  Which will be the binding.  Lesson learned, next time I’ll put the binding over the top of the quilted piece so it’ll hopefully be nice and dark yet the piece will still look good.

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