What A Beautiful Day For A Dye

I taught a workshop!

A few people I know have been asking me to show them how to do some dyeing, so I finally picked a day and did it. There were six of us in all (me included) and we did it in my backyard on what couldn’t have been a nicer day. I decided to do a shibori and indigo dye class, which was so easy because I already had all of the supplies from my own dyeing experiments ready to go.

We went from about 10:30 am to 3:30 pm with a lunch break in the middle, although once people got in the groove it was hard to get them to stop and eat!

I taught everyone four different techniques and then left them to it, being there to help along the way. It was so cool to see what everyone did and the final results were all fantastic. The general feedback is that they are all hooked and can’t wait to do it again and I feel exactly the same way!

There have been a few occasions in the past couple years when I have been asked to come teach a class or workshop, either it be dyeing or hand stitching and quilting, but things never seem to work out timing-wise. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and start running some workshops on my own, getting some practice in so I can be ready for the next request. These lovely people were great guinea pigs and I am so excited to get out there and do it again!

 

Let The Great Rust Experiment Begin!

I decided the other day that I wanted to try dyeing fabric with rust so I sent my partner in crime out to the family acreage, always a good place to find rusty bits, on a very important mission to collect various rusted objects from the workshop. What came back to me was a myriad of flotsam and jetsam made up of washers, springs, hooks, and rings.

I still have a few cotton pieces from my last go at indigo dyeing, so I donated a piece from the stash for science. Using some of my precious creamy earl grey tea that I steeped for about 20 minutes in a large metal bowl, and while still warm, I soaked the fabric in it. Laying the fabric out in an aluminum-roasting pan I then proceeded to place the rusted pieces in a way that I thought would make a nice pattern, sprayed the whole thing with the leftover tea, now in a spray bottle, and covered with a plastic bag.

I let this sit for a few days, occasionally spraying it to make sure that everything was still wet, and when I couldn’t stand to wait any longer, removed the cotton piece for a look-see. I loved it!

Before and After

Before and After: On the left is the pre-washed and pre-ironed piece, probably still a bit wet. On the right is after rinsing with a gentle soap, left out to dry, and then ironed.

Because I wasn’t sure, and am still not, what I was going to do with it in the end I decided to give it a rinse with some gentle non toxic soap and, after drying, ironed it with trepidation (I am hoping I didn’t wreck the iron). I can definitely see how I lost detail and colour after rinsing but if I am going to eventually use this in a quilt I need it to be clean.

Rust Details

Details of some of the rust dyed elements on the fabric.

I really like this effect but I have so many questions! How much will this process, and the fact that there is still rust sitting on and in the fibre, continue to degrade the cotton piece? How will this affect other fabrics placed next to it? And how colourfast will this be over time? Fortunately I have a weekend workshop on natural dyeing at ACAD (Alberta College of Art & Design) coming up in a few weeks so I am hoping to pick my instructor’s brain and get a better idea of this process and best use of it for future projects!

Quilt-ebago: Adventures in the Land of Summer

Whew! June was a very busy month for me, as I had picked up two extra contracts on top of my regular job, and by the time July came around I was in desperate need of a vacation. So I headed west to wine country and spent my days in the wineries (just tasting of course) and my nights in an air-conditioned hotel room watching HGTV. I had two missions for the trip, rent a paddleboard for a morning and get out on the lake, and get to a quilt shop.

I love my local quilt store and am very loyal to it but at my last class I came to a realization. As the woman teaching the class was showing us samples of work, I could see where I had that fabric, and that fabric over there, oh and I used that fabric in a baby quilt just last year. It dawned on me that everyone who shops at this store will all have similar fabric in one way or another in their quilts. I knew I needed to diversify. Stat.

I have a co-worker whose sister and her friends are very into quilting, they have even bought a longarm machine shared amongst them, and they recently travelled to the States for a big quilt conference that happens twice a year. They were sending back photos constantly during their trip, not only of the conference but of all of the quilt shops they stopped in along the way. This got me thinking again about quilt communities and building connections outside of my little world.

Mix

My new fabrics included floral, animal, and geometric patterns in a variety of colours.

I ended up stopping by Cherry Tree Quilts in Summerland and went a little nuts. I didn’t have anything specific in mind in terms of fabric or project, I just wanted to add some variety to my stash at home, so I just started working my way through the store and pulling fabrics that I was attracted to.

Geometrics Detail

Different geometric patterns to play with and get inspiration from.

I ended up getting a few fabrics cut in 1 metre lengths but most were in ½ metre bundles and while most will be secondary or supplementary fabrics, a few of these are definitely going to be the star of the show. I’ve broken them down into categories of pattern type-floral, animal, coloured gradients, and geometric-but these fabrics show a lot of potential inspiration for colour pairing with fabrics I already have or will challenge me to use a colour palette that I wouldn’t naturally gravitate to.

Colour Gradients Detail

Fun colour block fabrics that include gradients and gold squares.

While my regular quilt store is definitely still my number one go-to when it comes to fabric and classes, I am quite pleased with my new additions and I look forward to challenging myself to use these new fabrics instead of losing them to the abyss of the quilter’s stash.

Florals Detail 4

Florals!