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.
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.
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:
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!
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 choicesalso, 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.
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!
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.
Hand dyed top for Vincent’s big boy bed quilt.
Can you see the red dragon in the hand painted panel?
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:
Accordian pleated, using a triangle block and clamps resulted in these two:
Same technique with the circle block (this one needs some experimentation to get the circle shape more prevalent ):
And perhaps my favorite so far – wooden clothespins:
Next up: The resluts of these dyeing sprees. Stay tuned!
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.
Later that week:
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.
What happened to posting every ten days or so? The holidays have a habit of taking over. Huge christmas sewing project for four grandchildren;November birthdays and an anniversary; playing with my new order of fiber reactive dyes; using my printing blocks; replacing the furnace in the middle of the cold snap; trying to talk myself back into an exercise program - you know life has this habit of taking over...
So stay tuned for the next few posts of bed bags and fabric dyeing; quilting and new ideas.
She gave me six shirts, six men’s long sleeved shirts, in all different colors and patterns. Make a quilt she said. Make two I thought. But would this be enough material for two quilts? These were not colors that I would choose to put together. How was this going to work?
I had researched memory quilts. And how to make a quilt from recycled shirts… take the buttons off one said. Here is how to cut the shirt up said another… cut around the labels; discard the edges and the button holes; break down the pockets.
Take the buttons off? Why? Buttons, cuffs and collars, and pockets define a man’s shirt. It is part of the structure of shirt and part of its’ charm. I was compelled to work around these design elements.
In the beginning, I stuck with a very geometric design and added in solid fabrics to complement the colors in the shirts. (photo1) I thought I was maximizing the use of the fabric by doing this. Some of the recycled shirt blogs had snuck in to hold my creativity at bay. The first quilt was going to be the largest. This quilt will go to my bother’s wife. Even though the quilt design is a take off on a Tula Pink pattern, I had to add in a few buttons and labels. It is the most traditional of the four I would end up making.
Still I had all this fabric left and now there were more buttons and pockets and labels to play with. The second quilt was more playful and incorporated more of the shirt elements. This was a quilt for my brother’s best friend. I choose more of the blues and grays, but played with the buttons and the pockets.
Charlie’s Shirts 2
Somewhere in this conversation of quilt making, my son informs me he wants a Charlie Shirt quilt too! So off we go again – more of the greens in this one and a more playful approach to this quilt number three.
Charlie’s Shirts 3
I have the squares for a fourth cut out. I made my daughter a pillow,
Pillow on the piano.
my nephew will get a pillow and my grandson a scrap bear! All made out of Charlie’s Shirts. This reminds me of a marvelous children’s book called Charlie’s Shirt by Tomi de Paola. Maybe when I give these quilts to their new owners I will include this book.
In the end, the artist in me could not cut these shirts into squares and just sew them together. The buttons and the labels, the colors and the fabrics, told part of the story of who this brother was and I played with those elements. I had fun while I cried and remembered.
I started out as a ceramic artist. Thus, Into the Fire.…My emphasis was on playing in clay with shape and color. Over the years other things took priority and now at this juncture in my life I have returned mostly to the fiber arts. I cannot say that dyeing, printing, and cutting up fabric is less messy then playing with clay, but it is easier to start and put aside for momnets with family and grandchildren. I am stilling experimenting wth shape and color.
Occasionally I have things to say about the fiber arts. This blog will be an opportunity to display my art and to discuss current trends in the fiber arts in my life. Stayed tuned…