Working with a Partner, another year of Kid Makers Fair.

May 2020 bring you all the health and happiness and creative energy you need. This is the season to celebrate and we started our December off with another Kid Makers Fair. This year we included Thomas and his ice dyed rainbow socks – a big seller at the fair. It was so amazing to watch this six year old carefully and judiciuasly applying the dye to the ice, then see him at the end of the process matching his socks into pairs.

Paired socks by Thomas

Gram’s Contribution

My contribution, in part inspired by a class Loic took at Klum House this summer, was to experiment with my linen/cotton blend shibori dyed fabric quilted into Dopp kits. We made several out of umbrella cloth scraps to get the process and the kinks worked out first. I wanted to know what the sewing machine would handle and where we might need to make modifications. Then on to the step of using our fabric to design a new quilted pouch bag.

The quilted pouch bag

Another technique I explored was stitched shibori on the cotton twill aprons. I am not happy with the results. I feel like it was a lot of effort to get this less then defined design. It may be that the cotton is two heavy to support this type of stitching. It may be the sinew I used as the thread. It may be that I left the aprons in the dye to long. Clearly a bit of experimentation needs to take place to reach my ideals, but that is the nature of being creative… do, reflect, and do again!

Diagonal stitching on cotton twill apron

Lessons Learned

There are always things to be learned about selling. We learned that childrens socks don’t sell as well as larger sizes. For next year we will consider selling the aprons as a package – one adult and one child. (The grandmas loved this.) We also learned that recording our sales carefully will reduce the headache of doing inventory when we get home and finding some things missing – the risk of selling I guess. The bottom line though is that the boys are learning about commerce and making and being creative and just having fun doing it.

Best wishes for a happy holiday and good things to come in 2020.

Working with a Partner

I have always said that collaboration makes for a more interesting result. Another person in the conversation brings up the’ we could try ‘… and the ‘what ifs?’…  So a quick look into the latest collaboration with ten year old grandson Loic Daily the better half of Daily Hand Dyed Textiles.

Decisions to Make

We were getting him ready for a makers fair at his school. It is a fundraiser for the PTA and he gets to showcase his creativity. I get to join him as the ‘adult’!!! His little brother added some tie dyed t-shirts and I had wares made from my own hand dyed fabrics.

Loic decided on sets of napkins and tea towels. He also was working on a series of scarves.

Ice dyeing some napkins.
It’s melting!

The reveal

There is nothing better when dyeing fabric then the reveal. Sometimes we are underwhelmed, but mostly we are delighted. Loic’s shibori napkins has lead us to do more. The most popular color seems to be in the blue range. we sold out the dark blues. But everyone we sold to was delighted by the colors Loic choose. He was the master, I was his trusty helper.

Scott School Kid’s Makers Fair, December 2018

Here is a look at our booth. He did very well for a three hour kid’s fair. We had a wonderful time together.

More sustainable quilt blocks

This idea of using all that we make is very appealing to me. The centers are scraps of linen and linen blends from other projects and garments. We do end up with a lot, don’t we!  This is an afternoon of gray skys and dreary thoughts that were channeled into 4 x 6 inch quilt blocks. Then, those blocks were surrounded with neutrals (making more scraps), a random, sort of, approach to design. I had several criteria though – color, size and background. AND using as many scraps as I could to make new blocks.

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In this next photo, I am auditioning back ground color from my hand dyed stash. I am thinking that the backgound will be the more solid teal. I’ll then square up my blocks and arrange for the quilt top.

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The rest of this project will wait until after the Bali trip and the work for two entries to shows coming up in the fall.

I will be seeing you in about three weeks!

Bali here we come.

The Notion of Sustainable Quilting

This could be an on going subject.

The quilting community is talking about sustainable quilting – meaning that the “scraps” from more formal quilts and wearable art can be used in a new and different way to diminish the impact scraps might have on the land fill, as well as minimize the clutter in our quilting/sewing studios. #sustainablequilting

I tend to order my scraps in bins by color, so lately I have been working in a series of  blues and greens with pops of a bright color to add interest. I let the fabric tell me what to sew and even what the shape might be. There are a myraid of ways to begin and design. They can be very scrappy or more ordered. I like the shapes of the fabric I have to help dictated my end blocks. This eliminates more cutting up and tends to use all sorts of sized pieces.

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I  have started to use these blocks in quilt tops working towards a finished product so next time I will have more progress for you.

 

Ice Dyed Duffel Bags for Bali

My friend Jan, who I am traveling with to Bali in just a few weeks… suggested we make duffle bags for the trip. She had a Betz White class from Craftsy. I bought it and we began, exchanging our progress by text other the next few months. Jan lives in Ohio. I live in Oregon.

I sent Jan the ice dyed canvas in peaches and oranges. I dyed mine in blues and purples.  Here are the results:IMG_5225_preview.jpeg

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WE have a few things to say about the construction. For the most part the instructions were easy to follow and made sense. Betz has a calming nature and made the explanation followed by video very useful.

Being my first bag of this skill level, I had to listen to class segments several times for some of the assembly parts. We both found that putting the bottom on was problematic – too many layers to sew through. There are a few things that I would differently next time, like make the iron-on fleece a tad smaller so that it was not in the final seams at the bottom.

But a fun example of what can be created with ice dyed canvas and contrasting Essex linen cotton. With hand dyed Kona Cotton for the lining. We are excited and amost ready to go!

summer fun, ice dyeing

Ice dyeing is a process of setting up the mordanted fabric and covering with ice. Then a small amount of dye powder is sprinkled on the ice. (I use a mesh tea strainer to help me sprinkle.) The tub with fabric, ice, and dye is left to its own devices and as the ice melts it carries the dye particles through the fabric and trickles down the folds and creases. The dye particles are diluted by the water that the ice makes as it melts, revealing intricate and lovely patterns.

Summer has brought us lots of hot weather. Intrigued by the patterns of ice dyeing, I set aside some studio time to explore ice dying on a variety of fabrics. The results were fabulous and very interesting. Each fabric has its own characteristics and each takes the dye a little differently.

I have found that cotton, maybe obviously, produced some of the best patterns. I assume that the fiber of cotton is more open then other fibers and thus takes the dye well. Here are my observations:

Cotton will yield some really bright colors along with subtle spaces where the dye has diluted.

Linen Cotton also lends itself well to ice dyeing.

Cotton duck (10 oz. canvas) reveals subtle patterns with intense color in places.

Linen rayon produces very soft fuzzy patterns. The color is somewhat diluted looking. It is not a look for everyone, but I think I may stencil some interest spots into the pattern. That is a whole other bog topic!

The color choices also, make a difference. What happens when the dye starts to run with the melted ice is a separation of the colors of dye particles that make up the dye. That was a mouthful! So look at the example: sapphire blue. What do you see? Blues, reds, lavenders? The dye has these color components to make the sapphire color when dissolved in water. As the powder is sprinkled on the ice, there is no mixing of the dye particles to make the one color of sapphire. Instead the individual components might separate, if they mix it is as the melting ice wets dye particles together. They do so at will. I find the results fascinating. Some I love, some I will cut up and use as sashing or borders in a quilt. There are endless possibilities for creativity!

There are a number of blogs and videos with steps about the process of ice dyeing. Give it a try. Let my know what you did! OR Step over to my Shop and see all the fabulous hand dyed fabrics and look for the iced dye category.

 

Dyeing in denim.

The last month has seen a number of custom requests for my dyed 10 ounce bull denim, so last week I embarked on a series of experiments with the denim. I folded several pieces using shibori and itijame methods. I also wondered what ice dying heavy fabric would do. Off we went on this experiment. I choose four colors: indigo blue, Pagoda Red, an emerald-green and a jade green. I had done a few yards in indigo blue and in a black, also a charcoal gray.

I was pleasantly surprised with the new colors. The blue was fabulous – lovely irregular stripes. The red piece in 3″ itijame squares just popped! The greens were pinned and tied more intensely than the other two pieces. This resulted in softer, more ethereal color.

Having gotten the shibori pieces under way and in the dye bath I set some fabric up for ice dying. As I had a piece of cotton duck from another project, I decided to see what it would do in the ice too. I must say the cotton duck is marvelous. The denim is softer and more muted. There are many reasons for any of these results. It will take further experiments to determine what works best for me!

Creativity Cannot be stopped!

Wow! Cannot believe it has been six months. I have been busy. Grand children, garden, life and creating up a storm. Here are a few of my favorites. I am off to Spain for a memorial, then home and the summer to play with fabric again. 

Featured photo is the pile of fat quarters I dyed for an upcoming art quilt.

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Hand dyed top for Vincent’s big boy bed quilt.

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Can you see the red dragon in the hand painted panel?

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Thomas and his big boy bed quilt!

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Experimenting with Shibori.

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More Shibori. Love these Colors.

New Directions: Hand Dyeing Fabric.

The deadline for Christmas gifts is over for another year and we launch right into a plethora of January and February birthdays! However, in the weeks in-betweenI have returned to a craft that has fasinated me for forty years – the art of hand dyeing fabric.

Recently, I came across two scarves that I had done in a master class on Shibori – the art of hand dyeing with indigo. Our instructor was a Japanese Dye Master, from the sister city of where I was living at the time. We spent several days learning the art of sewing our designs into the fabric and then playing in the indigo dye. the results are stunning.

I took that knowledge and did some research on shibori. My take away from my results is that the more precise I am with my folds and the tighter I can make my resists, whether using blocks and clamps, clothespins, or rubber bands, the better I like the resulting designs. Also, I can control the dyeing by varying the thickness on my folds. Smaller pieces of fabric result in more uniform design throughout the fabric. Larger pieces (because the dye does not travel so far) result in a more random design.

Here is a gallery of last last few weeks:

Accordian pleated, folded into triangle, bound with sticks becomes this:

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Accordian pleated, using a triangle block and clamps resulted in these two:IMG_0734

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Same technique with the circle block (this one needs some experimentation to get the circle shape more prevalent ):

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And perhaps my favorite so far – wooden clothespins:

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Next up: The resluts of these dyeing sprees. Stay tuned!

The Mystery of PiIlow Beds

Mom, she said, can you make us some pillow beds? They would be great for the boys to play on, read on, watch a show… So I researched pillow beds (there are a couple of great online explanations), and launched into the pursuit of fabric and pillows – I found sale fabric and decided on king sized pillows.  Of course two pillow beds turned into four, one for the cousin and one for the nineteen year old step-daughter who is living on her own! Did I take photos of them before they were over run by chidlren? Of course not!

Christmas Day: Grandson #1 enjoying his pillow bed.

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After dinner:IMG_0744

Later that week:

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Comments: *Make sure you leave a good overlap in the back where the pillows are inserted. *These things are heavy when done! *The boys love them.