Dye run complete

So this dye run is complete and I’ve realized a couple of things.

  1. Dharma Trading Company never seems to have a bad dye color. I think I could love them all, given the chance!
  2. I really need to do gradations in the future when I do a dye run
  3. I need to allow several days for dyeing fabric instead of thinking I can start in the morning and by done by the evening. That NEVER happens. In this case, the fabric sat for two days in dye solution before I could get it rinsed out and washed. I don’t do this because it affects the color process; I do it because I get busy with life and don’t get back to it for a couple of days. Most of the dye solution is activated in a couple of hours, so I could probably get very similar results if I rinsed and washed after two to three hours in the dye.

Here are the results from this dye run …


From top to bottom, they are Chocolate Brown, Cardinal Red, Grape, Garibaldi, Amethyst, Rust Orange, Ivory and Avocado. I am really pleased with everything except the Ivory, which looks more yellow-orange in person than ivory, but that might be because I used too much dye powder. I will do some further testing on this one to see if I can something closer to a true ivory color. Each of these have varying degrees of marbling, as they were dyed in zip-top bags without much agitation, but I think that I may try a couple of them in buckets with agitation every 10 – 15 minutes, to see if I can pull a more even color.

There’s nothing special in my technique – I used 1/2 TBSP dye powder mixed with a cup of hot water which I poured over the fat quarter that was already in the zip-top bag. I then added 2 TBSP of soda ash solution to the bag and closed it, being sure to press out the air as much as possible. Then, I agitated for one minute in the bag, gently. I used Hefty zip top bags and I will not use them for this purpose again because dye exploded from a couple of the bags when I agitated them – every single bag leaked at least a little at the zipper. I don’t have the same problem with Glad Zip-Loc bags, so I will be using them in the future.

Overall, I’m happy with the dye run, and a couple of these (grape and girabaldi) will be incorporated into a baby quilt I’m making right now. I’ll post photos when I have some ready. 🙂

Now I’m off to work on that quilt … See ya later!



Lazy Sunday

Today I’m doing a dye run. I received five new colors from Dharma Trading Company that I ordered earlier this week and I’m trying them out. I’ve never done this before – usually I just throw caution to the wind and dye a yard or more of fabric, but today I’m doing a test run using fat quarters. I’m doing this because a) I want to recreate colors I like, and b) I need to start a dye journal (see reason a).

I’m not really what you’d call an experienced dyer – I’ve done some dyeing but not enough to be “great” nor anything more than a novice really. I’ve had some good luck with colors, and results, but nothing I can duplicate if I want to … mostly because I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants, and I haven’t kept records of how I achieved any of the success I’ve had so far. Well, enough of that!

I’m not really sure what it is about dyeing fabric that I enjoy so much – maybe it’s the process, or the control … no, it really cannot be the control, because at this point, I lack control over my finished product. That’s why I’ve decided that a journal might be my best bet … I am making notes of the amount of fabric, dye, and water, along with any other additives, to which I will attach a swatch of fabric once it’s completed.

I have realized, however, that my master bathroom is not suitable for dyeing fabric. I have access to water, but not a good sized spout (the height on the bathroom sink is the problem) so I’m going to have to take it all back downstairs – I’ve tried several times to make it work and it’s always a hassle. In my dream home, with my dream studio, there will be a “wet” studio and a “dry” studio … I really need to win the lottery. /sigh

I’ll post photos of the dye jobs once I have completed them. I just hope the results are post-worthy!

Thursday Thoughts

1. We used the Ugly Quilt last night on the bed – it’s not really big enough for our king sized bed but for now it will do. The quilt that has been my bed for ages is one that was made for me by an old family friend when I got married to my first husband 22 years ago, and it’s falling apart now. It really must be retired before it gets any worse. After sleeping under Ugly Quilt last night, it was obvious that I need to come up with a “summer weight” quilt that will be warm but not too hot at this time of year – in Houston, it rarely dips below 78 degrees in the middle of the night during the summer months. Even with the a/c on, it was still rather warm under the quilt.

2. I need to get back to fabric dyeing really soon because I’ve got a quilt to make that will incorporate a great deal of hand-dyed fabric. It’s next after the little baby quilt I’ve already started.

3. In the last few days, I’ve realized that I have TONS of UFO’s (UnFinished Objects) hanging around, so I’ve made it my goal to get more of them completed this year. My next UFO is the fishy quilt I made my daughter when she was about 10 – she’s now 20! /hangs head in shame  It will make a great lap quilt, maybe? 😀

Happy quilting,


Ugly Quilt Completed!

OK, I know that some folks don’t think it’s so “ugly” and I can respect that. My husband chose the fabric and pattern for this quilt, as it is his, and overall I think it came out ok. There are things that are wrong with it, but as my Mom has always said, those things will never been seen on a galloping horse (don’t ask, I don’t really know). So, after much anticipation, here is Ugly Quilt in all its finished glory …




And this is the backside – I dyed the fabric myself. There are still threads to be cut, so it looks sort of odd, but I need to toss it in the washing machine so we can use it tonight. My current bed quilt, made by an old friend of my mother’s when I got married to my first husband 22 years ago, is falling apart, and we need a replacement.



I have a couple other quilts I need to get finished soon, so it’s unlikely I’ll get to a bed quilt any time soon, so until I do, this quilt, though too small for a king sized bed, will have to suffice. 🙂

Next up is a baby quilt, which I hope to have finished soon, so I can a) get my money back from the household account, as I buy all fabrics for quilts out of my “mad money” account, then reimburse myself when the quilt is a gift and done; and b) move on to a very cute Halloween quilt I’d like to get made before the holiday!

Happy quilting,


Sorta Finished Quilt

I say it’s sorta finished because the reality is, it’s done but not the way I wanted it done. See, I broke not one, but two embroidery machines making this quilt. OK, maybe I didn’t break them, but they stopped working. The result is that three squares I wanted to embroider are not done, but at this point I just have to go with the flow. It doesn’t look bad, but it does look weird, because three of the squares are across the top. However, overall, I think the quilt looks ok. I’m not completely pleased with it, but at this point, since it’s headed “across the pond” I need to get it out the door, and I can’t wait any longer for machine repairs. /sigh




What I like about this quilt is that it’s the first one that employs a lot of fabrics that I dyed myself – all the solids were done by me. The only purchased fabric in the quilt is the Winnie the Pooh/Tigger fabric. It was relatively quick and easy to make, and a fast finisher, except for the small problems with the embroidery. I think this is the last time I employ embroidery in my quilts to “tie” them off – I would need to invest in a more reliable, expensive machine for me to feel confident in doing anything too big (this was a baby quilt, only 3′ square, and it didn’t get finished despite using two different machines!). And I want to start focusing on free motion quilting – which will be interesting. I’ve done some practice squares, and I need to keep doing them, but nothing that’s been really great. I need to start spending at least 30-45 min a day practicing so I can get really good. Or even somewhat good.

I should have a photo of “ugly quilt” to post this week as well in it’s finished state. More about that then.

Happy quilting!