WIP Wednesday

In an effort to keep myself motivated both on the quilting front and the blogging front, I present my first ever WIP Wednesday. Hopefully, this will become a “thing” with me and I’ll continue to post progress on projects I’m working on each week. At least, that’s the plan.

This week’s work in progress is a quilt I’m making for my friend Heather. Late last year, or early this year, I posted a photo with some fabrics I had in my stash, asking if anyone would be interested in having a quilt made for cost using one of the fabrics. She immediately responded with her fabric choice, and I pulled it out and posted it on my bulletin board. She asked for a throw quilt, design and additional fabrics to be determined by me. Now, I know this might sound weird, but I wait for fabric to speak to me before I start a design. Sometimes, a fabric yells at me in the LQS and I know I must buy it. Sometimes, it simply says, “Hello” and it’s so cute, I can’t resist. This is how I’ve built my stash over the years – fabrics speak to me and I know I have to have it. On occasion, a fabric tells me immediately what it wants to be in a quilt, usually when I go to the store with a quilt or two in mind that I would like to make. But more often, fabrics say their hellos to me and compel me to buy them, promising to tell me what they want to be at a later date. Such is the case with the focal fabric I’m working with now for Heather.

In fact, this fabric was pretty silent from the time I bought it in 2007, until two days ago. I mean, I love the way it looks, and it’s soooooooo pretty, but I really had no idea what I wanted to do with it. And I know it was purchased in 2007 because it says so, right on the selvage – Hoffman Challenge, 2007! I posted it on my design board and stared at it for months before it hit me on Sunday what I want – no, what I NEED – to do with it. And this is the prototype result of that idea.

Heather's Quilt

I am not kidding you that when I finally came upon the idea for this quilt, the fabric was screaming to me from upstairs. As I climbed the stairs, it became more adamant that THIS is what it wants to be, and when I dragged out my fat quarters and scrap boxes, the fabric began to sing. SING, I tell you! It was quick work to match fabrics that work with the focal and eliminate the things that weren’t so great. By the time I had everything out and on the table, I knew this was the right direction.

And I think my prototype, which is now the first square of the quilt, proves I was right.

Fortunately for me, Heather has been very patient, and now I hope that her patience will be rewarded with a quilt that’s uniquely hers. I have since made a second square (there will be 16 – 10″ squares in all, with 6″ sashing and a 6″ setting square (nine patch) to complete the quilt), and I’m even more pleased with it than I am with this one – it is all darker fabrics; subsequent squares will be a mix of light, dark and medium values.

Already, I can tell this is going to be one of my absolute favorite quilts ever. I put each finished square on my design wall, and I stand back and look at it. And with just two squares up there right now, I know. I know that this is going to be one of my greatest quilts ever. And that makes me really happy, because Heather has been a great friend to me for years now.

Until next time,



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!