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.

 

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.

 

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!

Every ten Days?

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.

Getting Started: My First Blog Post

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…