Monday, March 21, 2011

More snow dyeing

Waking up this morning to see it snowing.. after a few days of mild temperatures that melted almost all the snow we had left... actually got me excited!  My first thoughts? ... I can do another batch of snow dyeing!  Sick, I know... after being so tired of winter... but this technique works best with snow.

I put my pans out in the back yard on the barbeque to collect snow.  Unfortunately, after about 3 hours, the amount I'd seen accumulating earlier had started to melt.  The weather was forecast to turn mild, 3 degrees and rain.

Crap... I had to move fast.

The fabrics had already been pre-soaked in the soda ash water.  Now to get enough snow in the house to fill the 3 pans.  I'll tell you, there was more than enough on top of the suv to fill the pans.  I'm sure the neighbor would have been delighted if I'd taken the snow off his car as well.  :)  Anyone seeing me, scooping snow off my truck with a dust pan and putting it in a bucket to take INTO the house would have thought I was nuts!  hehehe

So, I now have 3 more batches sitting in the laundry room melting.  This time I did 2 yards in each pan.

Tomorrow morning can't come soon enough to see the results.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Snow Dyeing Experiment - Results

Well, (fellow reader), are you as excited to see the results as I was?

I'll warn you now... my camera is good, but given the lighting in my small space, the pictures really don't do these justice.

Each picture is the full yard of fabric.

Seriously, these are way more vibrant in person.

The orange I figure I'll use in a quilt that my sister in law wants.. chocolates and browns.

The green, I'm not sure yet.  Hubby saw it before I put it in the washer and said he'd wear a shirt made with it.  Understand, this is a man who enjoys wearing bright, bold, hawaiian type shirts.  The backing on a crib quilt would be a nice idea for it.

The purple... well... it's so beautiful I almost don't want to cut it!  Hmmm.. possibilities.  I could do a whole cloth lap quilt with a beautiful quilt pattern to enhance it.

Either way, this whole experience has been great and I want to do some more... I think this is the first time I've actually wished for fresh snow!  :)

Snow Dyeing Experiment - Stage 2

I swear, the hardest part of this process is the waiting.

Picture taken last night before bedtime.... snow is melting.

Pictures taken this morning... all the snow is melted... now just waiting for them to sit some more, supposedly to about room temperature.

The colours are bright, vibrant... but I'm worried that they will turn out too solid versus the varigated, bleeding effect that I'm expecting.

After they sit for a few more hours, it'll be time to rinse until the water runs clear, then hot wash with synthrapol.

*hint, purple is already washed and in the dryer, green is in the washer, orange is waiting to be washed*

Pictures tonight of the end results after drying and ironing. :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Snow Dyeing Experiment

So.... I wake up this morning to this....

It was still lightly snowing, Jake had a blast making fresh tracks all over the backyard and bouncing around like a gazelle!  Look at the bird feeder!  It was about half full two days ago, apparently the birds knew that this downfall was going to happen and stocked up when they could. Don't worry, I've refilled it for them.

And yes, the first thought that came to mind was.... "I can try snow dyeing today!"   I had purchased the items I needed from PRO Chemical and Dye a few weeks ago, but of course we haven't had much snow fall lately, in fact, it rained quite a bit to the extent that most of what we had left was ice.

Good thing I bought those bolts of muslin from Jo-Ann's the last time I was there... one bleached, one unbleached, 44" wide and 15 yards on a bolt, for $30 a bolt.

First step... cut three one yard pieces of bleached muslin.

Soak in soda ash water for at least 10 minutes... done.

Placed the fabric in three individual pans (unfortunately I didn't have any plastic tubs to use, so used my roasting pans).  Set them outside for about a half hour so they could partially freeze.

Mixed up the dyes... done.  Yellow, red, emerald, bubblegum pink, indigo blue, ultra violet.

Next, fill up the containers with fresh snow... best snow was on top of the truck... safest too... no "yellow snow" or "surprises".. lol

Ready to add the dyes:

First one - lots of yellow with some red to try and get an orangey fabric.

Second one - emerald green with a good dose of yellow.  I want a nice bright green so we'll see how it works.

Third one - here's where it'll be interesting... ultra violet, with some indigo blue and just a few swirls of bubblegum pink. :)

Supposedly, certain colours in the dye line will separate into their component colours.  So all the dyes I purchased are varients of the primary colours.. therefore, they should all "bleed" well.

I'm going to keep watch on the process, the melting of the snow.  In total it should take about 24 hours for it to all melt and the fabrics to come to room temperature.

Then it's a matter of rinsing each individually, thoroughly, to get the remainder of the dye out, then setting it in a wash with synthrapol to set the dye, drying and ironing.

I'll take pictures of the stages.... can't wait!


Pineapple blocks

I guess I should really blog about once a week instead of 3 or 4 posts in one day!  Unfortunately, I never seem to find the time during the week.

I'm taking a couple of courses through Quilt University, just because I thought it would be neat to do so and I wanted to learn some new skills, and it gives me another excuse to sew!

The first one was on celtic design.. the concept and blocks are amazingly simple and I've come up with a few patterns in EQ7 that I just love and can't wait to do.... and while I haven't made any blocks of it yet, they are on my "to do" list.

The second course is on pineapple blocks.  I've never made any before, and they've always intriqued me, the design is so stunning.

The first lesson explains the basic concept, provides you with a paper pattern for a 6" block, and demonstrates how to construct it.  Granted, one block looks really cool, but you don't actually see the pattern emerge until you do at least 4 blocks and put them together.

I made one block... turned out pretty well... then decided to make the other 3.. all at the same time.. piecing the same piece on each one... to cut down on ironing and trimming time between steps.  Then sewed all 4 together.  

WoW!  They look so cool!  

It took one fat quarter of the dark and about 1/2 of a fat quarter of the light fabric.

Unfortunately, I only had a fat quarter of each of these fabrics.  I want to continue to make more, in order to do a full sized quilt.  Guess I'll be heading to The Running Stitch sometime this week to see if they still have bolts of these fabrics.

If not, I can always make a pillow top out of this one. :)

It took me all day to make these four blocks, it's quite time consuming.. but the result is stunning!

Drunkards Path blocks

Is it just me?  Everytime I read the quilting yahoo groups, look at other quilters blogs, see magazines and web sites, I'm always thinking... I want to try that block! 

Even though I have a couple projects on the go, I want to try others, see if I can make them, see how they turn out, envisioning lap quilts and bed quilts.  I can spend hours designing them in EQ7.... only to be put on the backburner because I want to get the others finished first.

But... as I go, I've been stocking up on tools and equipment that I know I'll need to make these things.

A couple of weeks ago my girlfriend and I did a day trip to Watertown, NY to check out the Jo-Ann's Fabric store there.  I have been to the one in Ogdensburg, but found it very small and as such, had a limited selection of fabrics, quilting notions and odds and ends.

At the time, Jo-Ann's emailed flyer said that they have the Accu Quilt Go cutter on sale for $199.00.  Now that's a steal considering it's been selling for $349.00.  But, I keep hesitating on purchasing it, mainly because I see the wasted scraps of fabric after you've cut the pieces you need. 

Now as all quilters know, there are ways to use scraps... and Bonnie Hunter is the absolute Queen of scraps!  But, they would have to be a certain size to even utilize in small pieced blocks, the rest can always be used for stuffing pet beds and such.

That's been my bone of contention with the decision to buy or not buy the Go Cutter.

So the other day, I decided to try and make some Drunkards Path blocks, using the Inklingo product I have.  Now, this is an amazing product.  The ebooks/patterns come in pdf form, all the calcuations are done for you to print the pattern pieces on the backs of your fabric for cutting and there are marks as well to match up while you're piecing.

I'm not big on doing a lot of pinning, and one of the products I purchased to help sew curves is the CurveMaster foot.

Luckily, there are Youtube videos of people using this foot and it looks quite ingenious!

After a few false starts, a few pieces sewn together that I had to rip apart and do over again, I finally got the hang of it.

I used a blue hawaiian type print that I found a while ago and a neutral with blue and yellow flowers.

Here's a few of the blocks I've made.  I'm really impressed!  They go together so easily!  I do have enough of this material to make a queensized top.... so this will be a work in process. 

Of course it is a little tedious to cut out all the pieces, but I get six sets per page of fabric (8 1/2 by 12), and there's very little waste. 

I save time by printing on the back of the light fabric, then iron with starch the light and dark fabrics together, and cut together.  The straight lines can be cut with a rotary cutter, and so can the curved pieces if you're careful.  It's a nice easy thing to do while watching tv if you want to do it all with scissors.

Purple lap quilt has a home

I finished the binding on the lap quilt and last weekend we went to Jim's mom's for his 40th birthday (Feb 27th) to celebrate quietly with his mom and his sister.

I guess I could have saved the quilt for easter and given it to her then, but I couldn't wait (I had wanted to have it done for christmas but I was so nervous about doing the free motion quilting on it, I kept putting it aside).

Well, it was received with much appreciation.  The poor woman is always cold, and she loved the colours.

Funny enough, we were all snoozing in the afternoon, when she came into the room and found Jim had put the quilt on me to keep me warm, she immediately pulled it off me and threw a big wool blanket on me.... lol  She then placed it on the back of the couch. 

I really hope she uses it, it was made to be used, not just a decoration... :)

Of course, she wanted Jake to get in the picture with her... hehehe

Enjoy your quilt Barb.

Lots of love was put into it,


PS.  Then his sister asked me where her quilt was?  Huh?  Apparently she wants one in chocolate browns and oranges.   I have very few chocolate browns left after piecing RRCB, and no oranges, so I guess I'll have to keep an eye out for fabrics in those colours when I eventually go shopping again.
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