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What to do in a pandemic?

Solid swatch samples

Why, dye fabric, of course!

Since early March I have embarked on the latest edition of dyeing solid fabrics in colors not offered by commercial fabric companies. The picture at left shows the samples I dyed of 69 colors. They were all supposed to be shades – pure hues with grey or black added – but somehow some colors that pop crept into the bunch! The dark colors don’t photograph well, but there’s a nice variety of blues, browns, reds, and greens included.

The way I work has changed over the years, not that I’m getting older or anything!! 😜 Now I’m dyeing as many yards as possible at one time, especially for solid fabrics. Besides saving my strength, it also decreases water use and fuel consumption, which is important to the planet. To do that, I need either a fairy godmother who wants 15 yards of every color I dye 🦄🦄🌈🌈 or a lot of people who need a yard or five. I do have a few customers who fall into the fairy godmother category, and they have my thanks – you know who you are!

Here’s how you can help and get some goodies. I will send you samples of all these colors and when you see what I will be dyeing, you can add your order to the total. Samples swatches can be yours if you send a self-addressed, 70 cents stamped envelope to:
DippyDyes Solids Order
PO Box 150
Red Hill, PA 18076
International orders are a bit different – send an email to Orders@DippyDyes.com for details.

See https://www.dippydyes.com/product/custom-solids-dyed-for-you/ for pricing and other details.

Boy, my last post was about the vision board. It certainly is time to rework that. But my next post has to be how we’re increasing capacity at DippyDyes!

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A Vision Board

I’ve never made a vision board before. Finding pictures to show what I want and need to focus on, then cut and pasting them was just too much work. I finally decided to check out a YouTube video and ‘got permission’ to make a digital one. The video was also helpful with ideas of what I should include.
Below is my Spring 2020 board: it’s to help me remember my upcoming events and jobs. I have it set as my desktop wallpaper, too, so I see it several times per day.
Spiraling clockwise from the upper left corner:

  • Art Quilt Elements & Artist’s Open House: a lot of friends and clients have work included in the upcoming show in Malvern. I’m planning an open studio on the weekend of the opening reception at the end of March.
  • MAQGnet meeting – a get together for guilds to meet speakers.
  • Lebanon Quilters Guild speaking and workshop, where I will be teaching Dye Boot Camp, with a side of Stitched Resists.
  • Bolts of fabric in a good-looking rack. As I dye bigger pieces of fabric, I’m moving from the fabric racks to bolts. I’m planning on going to Atlanta for QuiltCon 2021, so I need to be prepared!
  • Value and saturation scale. Nancy Crow’s students need their flat and glowing colors. Workshops at the Barn start on May 10, and I will be dyeing a lot of flat colors between now and then.
  • A glowing array of Kona colors, borrowed from the web!
  • A really cool downspout on a classic wooden hall at the York Fairgrounds. Heading there in April for non-quilt-related doings.
  • A view of the show floor at Spring Market, coming to Pittsburgh, PA this spring. I’m sending in my registration when I get home from the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival.
  • A visit with a friend and speaking to the Berry Basket Quilt guild in New Jersey.
  • In the center is my wringer washer, which is what I use to dye lots of flat and glowing solid colors!

That’s it for now – it’s time to go set up my booth. I’ll come back and add some links to the events above when that job is done. Thanks for reading!

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Looking ahead

Well, the truth is that I get focused on today, and don’t spend much time ‘thinking great thoughts’ like the scarecrow could after he got a brain. It’s just so much more fun playing with fabric! 2019 was a pretty good year, with happy successes and a few failures. It helped me realize that I’m very lucky to get to do what I love.

Looking forward to the coming year, I’ve finally updated my public calendar! I plan to vend at three shows, maybe more, plus I have two speaking engagements already booked! Coming up in just six weeks is the annual MAQGNet meeting, where speakers, teachers, and guilds all get together to learn about one another. If you belong to a quilt guild between Vermont and Virginia, you can find a speaker through MAQGNet!

Me and Kona

In the studio lately, I’ve been working on a line of the basics. Since I sometimes find myself at a loss for which color I really want to dye today, I decided to look at the huge, yet limited array of the colors of Kona. Of course with hand-dyes, basics are NOT solids. I am taking an assortment to a couple of quilt shops and selling them wholesale. More on that later!

Well, this has taken rather longer than planned, so I will sign off now. Thanks for reading!

P.S. – if you wish to stay updated on what’s happening at DippyDyes, join our mailing list! We have a little PDF on washing out hand-dyed fabrics as a thank-you and will be creating a new free offer soon. You will get both!

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Tints, tones, and shades

Vivid viola shade in several values

Tints, tones, and shades are some of the basic terms used when talking about color. They can get confusing because sometimes other words are used to mean the same thing. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Tints – a pure color, or hue, that has been made lighter. With paint, this is done by adding white; with dye, we just use less dye.
  • Tones – a pure color that has been modified by adding grey. This needs to be a neutral grey, not a blue-grey or grey-green, etc.
  • Shades – a pure color with black added. Often we ask ‘what shade of blue is your favorite?’ even when we mean ‘what color blue?’ Don’t let that bother you. The grammar police are eating donuts with the quilt police. 🙂

A pure hue is often described as being ‘neutralized’ or ‘flattened’ – made less pure, or intense, or glowing. This is done by adding grey or black, or sometimes by adding the complement – the pure color that is the opposite on a color wheel.

CYM color wheel image from Wikimedia Commons.

The gallery below shows the colors I will soon be dyeing on demand. I’m also going to dye a glowing turquoise color called Breakers. As a reference, pages from Joen Wolfrom’s 3-in-1 Color tool are included. Some of the folks going to the Crow Barn Workshops beginning the end of September have asked for flat colors, so here they are! If you are a new customer, you can start the order process here. Existing customers – you know how to reach me, and thank you! For many more colors, order the virtual swatch book! We’ll do more colors as time allows.

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Your chance to tell me where to go!

“How can I help you?” Millions of people are letting Alexa, Siri and others help them with trivia, homework, how-to instructions and more. What I can’t ask the computer is how I can help you. Dyeing fabric is something I love more than chocolate, but running this business can be a challenge.  One fabric has been sitting around for close to 10 years – I think I’ll call it the ‘life lesson’ fabric. That’s more polite than ‘that @^%# ugly thing.’ So rather than take advice from a machine, I need to ask you a couple of quick questions. And I promise not to try to sell you that @^%# ugly thing, or anything else! 😊

If you have a moment to help me out, click below. It should take only about two minutes of your time.

By the way, I used the word “craft” in the questions because “craft/art/hobby/business” got awkward. And here’s a bit of that ‘life lesson’ thing!

Discharged green and yellow muslin
Discharged green and yellow muslin
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The Wonder of One-Touch White Balance

In an effort to provide the best images of my fabric online, I finally learned how to set the white balance feature on my camera correctly. The photographs of solids and my virtual swatch book require the best color rendering possible. Turns out the camera has a super-quick way to set it up. While it does require four clicks to get there, once the menu item is open, it really only needs one click to set it. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are two versions of the same picture:

Two versions of a photograph of Kona(r) grey fabrics, one with, one without white balance
Top: Kona® grey fabrics without correction
Bottom: Kona® grey fabrics with white balance corrected

If you have any of those Kona® fabrics on hand, you can judge which picture shows them more accurately. If you don’t, you can believe me when I say that the corrected version is far better than the uncorrected one.

You can also see this picture along with 430 pictures of DippyDyes solid fabrics in the Virtual Solids Swatch Book found here!

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Transparent fabric?

This quilt is a really neat example of transparency in quilts. Boy, I wish I could say it was my work! It’s by Modern Quilt Studio, and it’s super! It is a good quilt to dye for, once you know some dyeing basics.

“Swatch” by Modern Quilt Studio

And transparency is the subject of my upcoming class on Saturday, May 11 at  Quiltfest Lancaster!

You’ll learn all the basics of dyeing, plus receive lots of recipes for colors that you can use to create your own unique transparency effects!
At the bottom of this post for the first time are all three versions of my Shoo-Fly Transparency quilt. What all these quilts have in common is the illusion you can create that one fabric is laying on top of another, and the combination of the two creates a third color.
P.S. – for a look at more samples of transparency quilts, check out my Pinterest board. Thanks!

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2019 Schedule!

There are just 25 days left this year. Yikes!! Time to share the plans for the new year. Click on the links below to get more information and Sign Up!
Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival: February 28 – March 3.
Metro Modern Quilt Guild, New York, New York: Saturday, April 6 (Vending)
Quiltfest Lancaster: May 9 – 11 at the old ‘Host’. Class: Transparent Illusions, Saturday, May 11.
Dynamic Disperse Dyes class at Peters Valley School of Craft, July 26 – 30.
Lancaster Modern Quilt Guild: Trunk Show and Class: No Muss, No Fuss Thickened Dye Exploration, August 10.
(updated 2/21/2019)

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Doesn’t everyone use three timers at once?

At DippyDyes, we dye a lot of solid fabric. The easiest way to do this is with a washing machine. For three-yard pieces, a table top washer is ideal. The washer does the stirring for you, because if you want solid fabrics, you must stir. A lot. And then stir some more. Up to 90 minutes for the darkest values.

From left: phone timer, washer base with timer, kitchen timer.

Here’s where three timers comes in. There’s a timer built into the washer. That runs, stirring the fabric for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes of being still, it needs to run for another five minutes. So when I start the five minutes on, five minutes off period, I set the washer at five, the kitchen timer at ten minutes and I set my phone timer for 30 minutes. The ten-minute timer reminds me to jump up and restart the washer for another five minutes. The washer does a good job of stirring AND of snarling a three yard piece into a mess, and it just doesn’t have hands. So at the 30 minute mark, it’s time to completely rearrange the fabric.
Yes, there’s a little compulsiveness going on here, and thanks to that, I get good solid fabrics. If you’d like to learn more, you can sign up for my email list here: (http://eepurl.com/cHfygr)  Thanks!
Gotta run – my timer just beeped at me!