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So you want to dye some fabric?

A recent Facebook post by Robbie E. turned into a wonderful discussion all about dyeing and washing out cotton fabric. I made a couple new friends that way; one wrote: “This is making me so confused. All I want to do is start dyeing! Any tips on where to start?” Lots of people pitched in before me to praise Ann Johnston’s book “Color By Accident.” It’s still the standard reference, and I was happy to recently revisit some of Ann’s techniques. I’ve been able to scale up to larger pieces of fabric, given the right container.
Another excellent book for beginners is “Tray Dyeing” by Claire Benn & Leslie Morgan. Time to re-read that one!
There are great on-line resources available at Pro Chemical & Dye and Dharma Trading, plus Paula Burch’s website here.
And, if you’re coming to the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza show at Oaks, PA, I’m teaching Dye Boot Camp on Thursday, September 14.
Now that the nice weather is here, it’s time to give dye a chance!

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Dye Cadets, at ease.

Dye Boot Camp is coming up at MQX – the Machine Quilters’ Festival in Manchester, NH. I will be teaching and lecturing there all week – the first class is Dye Boot Camp on Wednesday, April 5 at 8 AM! It will be a quick four-hour version covering everything you need to know about dyeing cotton quilt fabric – AND about washing it out! #MQX
Sign up here! (It’s the third on the list.)

Class hard at work, learning something new. 🙂
 Colors, colors and more colors!
No hat this year, but the whistle might have to be pulled out!
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It’s show time!!

The spring quilt shows are here!
Join us at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival, February 22 – 26, booth 605.
Join us at the Quilt and Sewing Festival of New Jersey, March 2 – 5, booth 604.
Join us at the Machine Quilting Exposition, April 5 – 8, booth 180.
If you receive our newsletter, you already have a coupon you can use in the booth. If you don’t get it – why not? You can sign up here in the box to the right. Thanks!

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Knitting and Dyeing and a Factory, Oh My!

The ladies in the Shoo Fly Quilters of Boyertown know that I have a soft spot in my heart for old machinery. Hubby and I used to own Bahr’s Mill – an historic woodworking mill just outside of town. And when we travel, we try to find factory tours where ever we can. (Tip – Lowell, Massachusetts, north of Boston, is home to Lowell National Historical Park. Go there!)
Last week I was able to get my factory fix at Kraemer Yarn in Nazareth, PA. (Yep, Nazareth, and that’s close to Emmaus and Bethlehem for those of you who aren’t from around here.) And it turns out that they sell skeins of yarn – thirty-six different varieties – for dyeing! I have eleven here now and need to narrow that down to about three or four to add to my collection, er, inventory. I’m definitely keeping the super-chunky thick and thin variety. It’s at the top of this picture. I also got some already-dyed yarn, but can’t share the details until after December 25th. Another plus is that not only is it spun right here in Pennsylvania, it’s made from US wool!
Now around here I’ll dye anything that can’t run away. Can you help me by answering some questions? There’s a survey here. And if you’re not on the DippyDyes mailing list, you can sign up at the bottom. Thanks!

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1000 Yards of Fabric Looks Like This:

Hundreds of yards of PFD fabrics


The FedEx Ground guy stopped by the house today and delivered my winter’s work. It’s 500 yards each of Pimatex and Kona in PFD bleach white. For comparison, if this was on 15-yard bolts, there’d be 67 of them.
The next step – moving them to the storeroom on the third floor. And if you wonder – the three boxes these came in weighed 341 pounds all together. Who needs a gym membership?!
PS – praying for snow next!

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What I did on my . . . sabbatical(?)

Is it a sabbatical if you don’t work in academia? Well, I spent three weeks away from home focusing on surface design, and I got to sell some fabric too. That seems to parallel the idea of a break from the normal routine to take time to study. I’ve taken single week classes before, but never longer. I wish I could say it was an instant-gratification, earth-shattering, life-changing experience, but life doesn’t work that way. This was certainly gratifying, but any change will have to come from within, which, like thinking, is hard. Whaaaa. 🙂
Using this sticky keyboard is a pain, too, so let me see what pictures I can find.

Twenty-four monoprints in one day!!

Critique of ‘Impaired’

Lovely fungus – need to make printed fabric in these colors

First stage of a monoprint, worth repeating

View from the B&B where we spent three nights. At dawn. I don’t do dawn.
This is where we spent the remaining eighteen nights. Much more affordable. Plus we visited my sister on the way out and back. Great way to break up the trip – thanks!
Very grateful to have the opportunity to attend, to be able to sell fabric and dye tools & toys to be able to afford to attend, and support from family to encourage me to attend!

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Two minute intro to deconstructed screen printing

Friday, August 12 is the deadline – if there aren’t enough sign-ups for my DYE Classes at Oaks – the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza – they will be cancelled. To pique your interest, watch this:

Thanks, and here’s a link to the class descriptions! Classes are September 16 & 17.
Next up, an introduction to the other class – a vest that is machine stitched, then dyed. Time to take more pictures!

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Back from the Barn!

Last week I was privileged to attend Carol Soderlund’s  Neutral Territory class at Nancy Crow’s Art Barn retreats. With the work of our fabulous group of 15 artists choreographed by Carol, we came home with hundreds of samples of ways to mix three (or four) colors together. The results include a great palette of blacks, browns, greens, blues, greys, purples, umbers, ochers and reds. And we did one bright and sassy 12-step color wheel and shaded it with black. Altogether over 600 new samples – with no duplicates! In addition, Carol taught us a new sampling technique and provided great tools for doing the sampling.
Now I’m home and I’m still trying to get the right colors for a client. Great time to use what I’ve learned! Above is a picture of the washout step of a yellow shaded with two different amounts of black, and each color is done in six values. Two down – 94 cups to go! And as much fun as I find that, there’s still business chores and household chores to be done. Rather than whine about that, I will sign off and go ‘Git’r’Done.’