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One of the top two fabrics of the year

OK, first, I can’t believe that I haven’t posted anything since April. APRIL!
But though brief, I am going to remedy that now. Here’s a picture and a detail of one of the two best pieces of fabric that I made this year. I got a photo in the booth as I waved bye-bye. It’s a polyester faille that I wrapped on a plastic chain, dipped in and poured black dye over, let dry and heat pressed. I love it. The detail shows how the black disperse splits out. The very dark areas on the edge are the outside of the chain roll. Disperse migrates as it dyes, and that’s the resulting pattern. I made the buyer take it over to Nancy & Ann in the Pro Chem booth to show them. I’m a really demanding seller!

Thanks for looking!

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Can you mail an elephant?

That was the subject line of an email I sent when I needed to get this quilt back. It’s part of “Celebrate the Day with Quilts – An Art Quilt Challenge” by Shannon Shirley. My quilt is one of 72 in the book – six quilts per month celebrating some of the well- and lesser-known holidays on the calendar. It was included at Quiltfest Destination Savannah last month, and will also hang at The NQA show in Columbus, OH, and the PA National Quilt Exposition in September. For more dates see Once in a Rabbit Moon.

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All the stops, post #2

OK, all these photos were taken over the course of several day’s work – they’re not all from today.

Devore on polyester testThe first picture shows the results of yesterday’s devoré plus disperse test. The dye looks blackish-purple before heat-setting, and the pink seersucker burned out very nicely. The pink color comes from MX.

Orange snow-dye
Navy over orange snow-dyeNext is an piece of orange snow-dye. Not bad, just a little boring.
So it has been overdyed with navy. Next step: vat dyes!

Trying ink on scarred polycarbonate
This picture shows a scarred piece of polycarbonate with thickened black dye at one end.Prints from scarred polycarbonate
Here are a couple prints that were made from that piece of polycarb. Probably a close-up would help – the circles are pretty fine, and interesting, I think.

Ombre testHere are my tests of the ombre on silk commission fabric. The right-hand piece is my first large test for color; on the left is the second large test of color plus the ombre effect, and in the middle is a tiny blue rectangle that’s my color/value to match for the darkest area. It’s one of those blues that changes drastically according to the light source.

Inko resist testThis is a piece of broadcloth with Deep Navy MX dye. The reason it looks like cheesecloth is that it was a test of my old Inkodye resist. I spread it on, pressed the cheesecloth into it and let it dry. Then it was thoroughly glued down, so I had to moisten it in order to remove the cheesecloth. The resist came away with the cheesecloth.

Here is a piece of snow-Corn dextrin resist testdyed broadcloth that I used for a test of Corn Dextrin resist. The dextrin was a little too warm and thin when I applied it, so it resisted really well. However, in this white area I used my pink centipede to remove some of the dextrin, so there are some darker areas created where its legs touched.

Ugly fabric with potato dextrinThis is half of an ugly challenge fabric from last year, or early this year. I used it to get practice with potato dextrin. Again, too warm and thin; the best results are from an earlier application of dextrinDye squished between plastic shapes.
Finally, this is very thick black MX that was spread on the smooth side of the polycarbonate shape used above. Another petal-shaped piece of plastic was used to squish the thickened dye and lift it off. I was reminded of this technique by Sue S in the UK, and I love it! I’m glad I used an interesting shape, too!
Still on the list of stuff to play with – discharge/vat dye, if it’s nice tomorrow afternoon. Must bind up the orange/navy for that.

Thanks for looking!

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Pulling out all the stops weekend, part 1

My post from the 29th is about my decision to stay home from the craft show in Virginia. Since then I’ve spent a lot of time tidying and putting things away in the studio, so I have room to work. And most of the past three days I’ve been practicing and experimenting and learning more about some techniques I’ve underutilized. So here are some photos, just of the devoré so far:


This is a picture of a poly-cotton blend fabric. I’ve screened devoré paste on the fabric through a Thermofax screen, let it dry and then ironed it. Once ironed, I washed out the cotton portion of the fabric, leaving the poly behind.PB090152

Here’s the same fabric after washing out the cotton. It’s held up to the light because that’s the best way to see the resulting pattern.PB090156

Here’s a look at testing the pH of the devoré paste – gloves are a must! If you’re not up on your pH numbers, 7 is neutral, soda ash is alkaline, about 11 or 12, and vinegar is 2.4 – 3.4 according to this site.

PB090154And here’s the next set of samples. It shows two fabrics with devoré paste mixed with disperse dyes. The results should at least show up better than the second picture does. More later!

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Another experiment, craft show & Coursera

I’ve been working on the quilt that’s due on November 15 (no pictures until later), and today I went to the local chapter craft show and took pictures of other vendors booths, and had a good chat with a number of the vendors. This was first thing on Sunday, when it wasn’t too busy. I’ll lose any potential fans/friends out there if I hit them when they’re busy with customers.
Here is a picture of my resist experiment on polyester faille:
It compares thickened disperse dye with no resist on the right, and with the following resists (from top to bottom) on the left: print paste, laundry starch, blue school glue and wax. I was very surprised by how little the print paste resisted the dye, and by how much the starch acted as a resist.
Finally, here’s the results of my homework assignment. I asked several groups of on-line friends, and the members of my quilt guild to finish the following statement:
A gizmo that helps feed fabric into my machine would . . . .
Then I organized the results and submitted them according to the assignment guidelines.
The feed guide improves material handling
The feed guide can be adjusted to hold various seam widths in relation to the needle
The feed guide keeps seams at a consistent width
The feed guide shields my fingers from the needle
The feed guide aligns the edges of multiple layers
The feed guide keeps the layers from shifting
The feed guide trims loose thread and provides a clean edge
The feed guide presses out wrinkles as it feeds
The feed guide feeds layers of fabric equally
The feed guide flattens out ruffles as they are fed into the machine
The feed guide keeps long, pinned seams from getting tangled up before they get to the feed dogs
The feed guide keeps the weight and bulk of the project off my lap
The feed guide keeps the fabric running straight
The feed guide will not allow the edge of whatever I am feeding into the machine to get caught up on the presser foot or anything else
The feed guide reduces frustration with fabric
The feed guide enables sewing a truly straight line
The feed guide keeps the fabric entering under the foot straight
The feed guide keeps fabric at an even tension
The feed guide works with one layer of fabric
The feed guide works with many layers of fabric
The feed guide prevents lighter fabrics from jamming in the dogs
The feed guide ensures an even stitch length
The feed guide is well made
The feed guide is stable
The feed guide is see-through
The feed guide sets up easily
The feed guide is lightweight
The feed guide is available in many colors
The feed guide packs easily for portability
The feed guide will not damage the needle or machine if hit by the needle
The feed guide donates a portion of sales proceeds to charity
The feed guide can be returned to position very quickly
The feed guide works with different types of machines
The feed guide works with a sewing machine or serger
The feed guide works with different brands of machines
The feed guide works with different size machines
The feed guide stands on the same surface as the machine
The feed guide will not interfere with electronic machines
The feed guide works with cabinet-mounted machines
The feed guide acts as a third arm / third hand
The feed guide fits all the way up to the needle
The feed guide works with single- or double-needle setups
The feed guide works with straight stitches
The feed guide works with wide stitches, such as zig-zag
The feed guide doesn’t damage the machine when installed
The feed guide works with different types of fabric
The feed guide works with different thicknesses of fabric
The feed guide works with fabrics with different surfaces (slick, napped)
The feed guide works with dissimilar fabrics
Thank you very much to everyone who gave me their input!

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Scarves and more

The scarves are out of the autoclave! And I did some experiments with buttons and bean-bag poly pellets while they were processing. Here are pictures:

All three wrapped pipes

The resulting scarves in the same order
Before processing
After processing

The finished scarf
Buttons and poly pellets
Some buttons did not dye either in disperse or acid dyes. All these buttons were tried in acid dye first.
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More from the Barn and since then, part 4

PA270010OK, my worktable was a disaster. I needed to sew a bit on the tent, so I had to clean everything off. The tent project ended up to be a life lesson – don’t try to sew through adhesive Velcro! Once I got the gummy balls out of the machine it worked fine PA290005again, and I hemmed 4 scarf blanks. Even if I could find white polyester scarves to dye, the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen won’t accept them for jurying. Then I used some of my big roll of white paper to cover the dye-stained surface, and PA290017topped that with clear vinyl. It does look better.

When I processed the turquoise dye rag, I also processed another shibori pleated piece of georgette. I’m working on an elephant quilt and really want the shibori texture for his PA290018trunk. These pieces were also an outgrowth of the black sampling I showed earlier this week. The deadline for the elephant quilt is November 15, so if we don’t lose power (the hurricane is just making landfall as I write this) I’d better get some sewing done! And by the end of November, I need a lot of product for the holiday craft festival at the Elaina Fine Art Gallery. Scarves for sure, and the camo piece quilted for a start, plus some Kanzashi flower pins. More on that later!

Thanks for looking!

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More from the Barn and since then, part 3

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         This is a value sample made simply with drops of dye mixed with gradually increasing amounts of water. Click on the image to see a larger version.


PA290011The second photo shows some DSP prints that I made while in class. When home, I pulled out my plastic faux wood grain tool and spread thickened yellow ink on clear vinyl, then took a monoprint from the vinyl. A detail is below.PA290012


PA290006Finally, I have another monoprint made using colors from the screened sample pages. I made a DSP screen using leaves from the park out back. While that was set aside to dry, I rearranged the wet leaves and made a monoprint from them. When that was done, I used some thickened dye and a wallpaper brush to color the background all over with tan. Looks somewhat like camouflage, but pretty camo! Thanks for looking!

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More from the Barn and since then, part 2


When I got home, after unloading everything out of the van that we’d taken for the show, camping and class, I had a series of black to pales grey fabrics to dye for a customer. This is the result. After that, the next project was processing the color PA290007samples from class.

This first picture is a color sample made with thickened disperse dyes painted onto paper. The different values of yellow were printed onto fabric as full sheets; the various values of red and blue were cutOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         from paper and arranged onto paper by color and value. The the result was heat pressed onto each value of yellow.

The last photo is a truncated series of color samples that were mixed the same way as above, but the thickened dyes were printed directly onto the fabric. The colors are delightfully rich. The yellow was screened onto the fabric first, then it was heat pressed and washed out. Once dry, the process was repeated with red, then blue. The next experiment will be to put some clear print paste onto fabric, then screen colors on top. That should show if the print paste resists dye the way it does with MX. It might not be the case because of the dyes subliming. The gaseous dye might just migrate right through the print paste. If there’s no difference, I’ll be able to screen all the colors on as soon as the last has dried, and only heat press once.

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More from the Barn and since then, part 1

Here are some pictures of the work that came out of my week with Carol Soderlund at the Nancy Crow Barn, and what I’ve been working on since.


This fabric happens to be a ‘dye rag’ that I used when working in class. I like this picture because it shows the difference that happens when a piece has been heat pressed. The next thing I did with this piece was to run it through the smocking pleaterPA290015 with widely spaced needles.  Once that was done, I soaked it with a different blue color and let it dry. Then I processed it in the autoclave to set the color and texture at the same time. The second photo shows the finished piece.PA290016

The last photo shows one end that has been spread out and taped down. You can see that the original turquoise remains and the dark blue migrated to the high points of the fabric.