Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dyeing prequel

The two-day dyeing session turned into two weeks. After standing on a concrete floor playing with cloth and water, I was too exhausted for any fmq'ing. Yep - dyeing broke my fmq obsession.

This is what happened. Started three days earlier when I did some studio cleanup to prepare my fabric. I sorted through the eleven varieties of dyeable cloths, scoured them all and set aside 26 one-yard pieces for 13 neutrals in two dark values.

Then I starting thinking. You know, I should dye a small set to make a value gradation. And, you know, might as well do two sets - bleached and unbleached - in the same batch for comparison.
10 step gradation, unbleached & bleached
The unbleached muslin influenced the color more as the value gets lighter. Note that for both sets, values 9 and 10 are practically the same. The unbleached is Aurora muslin and the bleached is Dyers' Cloth.

Since I have eleven varieties of dyeable cloth, you know, I'd like to compare their dye-ability. So eleven 3x3-inch pieces went into the same bath with enough leftover dye for the darkest values.
compare 11 dye cloths
The six on the left did not get as dark: Aurora muslin, bamboo-cotton from Roc-Lon (no longer available), Dyers' Cloth, Muslin pfd, Roc-Lon muslin, and Sew Essentials muslin. Now you know why the values 9 and 10 are nearly identical in the value gradation - these will not accept more dye. The bamboo seems just a bit brighter or more saturated than the others.

The five on the right absorbed dye well: Moda Bella pfd, Cotton Print Cloth, Kona pfd, Legacy muslin,  and Pimatex pfd. For a softer hand, go for the Moda Bella or Kona. For a crisper feel, go for the Cotton Print Cloth, Legacy or Pimatex.

Since we're on the subject, here's another comparison done at the end of the two weeks with another batch of leftover dye.
compare test fabrics with kona
The two Test Fabric samples were thrown in with a yard of Kona. Surprise! Darkest to lightest: Test 400M, Kona, then Test 419, which is a tighter weave similar to Pimatex.

After this little bit of dyeing, I thought, you know, I'd purchased this stainless steel stock pot several months ago for the final hot rinse and I should use it instead of just piling all my surface designed cloths in it. It took several baths, but now they're ready to use.
surface design fabrics ready to use
So that was the three-day prequel to the two-day dyeing session. Stay tuned. I'll tell you about the actual dyeing session.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Maturing twins and other things

I've finished quilting the challenging twins and intend to have it squared, faced & sleeved by next Wednesday's mini-group meeting. Then they'd be ready to hang at the next EBHQ community show. I've learned a lot from this project. More about that later.

No more quilting projects before my October trip. But I intend to continue with fmq each day by quilting more little 4x4 samples of Leah Day's beginner-intermediate designs.

In the meantime, I'm preparing for a two-day dyeing feast with my friend Pat. We'll combine a couple of exercises from True Colors with Carol Soderlund, to dye neutrals in dark and medium-dark values. All one yard pieces - at least 26 yards total. A real dyeing experience (as opposed to little sixteenths last year (here and here).

I'd rather be in the studio (or the garden) but I'm actually doing some housekeeping. It's starting to look presentable for my critique group which will be meeting here next week. I clean for a reason!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Challenge of twins

I've been spending time with the twins.  In a recent post I described the birth of non-identical twins in response to a group challenge. Now they've been pieced:
non-identical twins pieced
And I'm in the middle of quilting it. Of course I am fmq'ing as part of my quest.

I started by quilting along lines of the bolder prints: 
follow the print lines 1
follow the print lines 2
Then mimicked other prints:
pebbles on dots
double e's on ribbons
Those were the obvious ones. Remaining prints are more subtle and I stretched to come up with a quilting motifs:
roses on floral print
Then quilted their polar twins in a similar fashion:
extended print lines
Or close cousins:
wiggly grid lines
Or distant cousins:
flowers on a string
With three more sets of twins to quilt, I have a week and a half to finish before my mini-group meeting.

Because these filler designs are so varied, I have doubts about this approach. The quilting will not make it more cohesive. What the hey! - it's a worthwhile experiment and experience. It will be perfectly okay when it's done. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Something to hoot about

Showing in the New Quilts of Northern California exhibit at Pacific International Quilt Festival (PIQF) which runs October 11-14 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.

Spin in Brown 
Spin in Brown, detail
It's the second time I've been juried into this exhibit. Orange Rhyme made it in last year. Woot! 

I won't be able to see it there, but I hope you can. Instead I'll be having fun in Ohio at the Crow Timber Barn for a machine quilting workshop with Sandy Ciolino. Woot!

Friday, September 7, 2012