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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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P3220026A lot of my friends at quilt shows check out my shoes. I’m glad they do, because I have fun decorating them with Tsukineko Inks. Here’s how I do it. I didn’t take photos as I decorated these shoes, so I’ve recreated one of the flowers step by step, below. Of course the blank page is what can be hard to get past. My inspiration came from traditional Baltimore Album designs.

I started by marking the center of the flower, then added seven dots around the outside for petal points. To be safe, you can do this in pencil first, then follow up with ink. Fill in the center and then draw some funky petals. Next roughly fill in the petals with the lightest color.  Then I brought in  three additional colors, using the darkest color around the center. The white areas that remained were filled in with the original pink color, then I drew some rough leaf shapes in light green between each petal.  Then another ring of petals, some filling in with a light and a dark green and voila – it’s a flower!

Since coming back from the two spring shows, I have been working on the website. All my Tsukineko products are on-line with updated inventory quantities. And right now, until midnight on March 31, 2012, you can get 13% off your Tsukineko purchases at Thanks!