Saturday, January 30, 2010

pictures of dyeing fabrics

Well, i couldn't figure out how to edit and ADD these pictures, so i will just add them here. LOL

These are my fabrics sitting in the tubs with the snow and dye on top of them. these pictures are about 2 hours old and about half of the snow has melted. some of them have dye all the way to the bottom of the bin and some not. i may have to flip the fabrics over once the snow is melted if the dye doesn't wick all the way to the bottom. we shall see.

This is #1...bright yellow and burgundy

This is #2 ... red violet and marigold

This is #3   ... cerulean blue and lemon yellow

This is red and sky blue

This is #5...imperial purple

later this afternoon i will check on them and rinse them out if they are done. tomorrow will be pictures of the finished fabric all pretty and ironed out.

Dyeing and dyeing

Well, we woke up to 4 inches of snow this morning. it snowed off and on all day yesterday and most of the night. sigh!!  i really, really don't like snow. but i dislike ice even more and we don't have i guess i should be happy.

Since i have to deal with the snow, what better thing to do that some fabric snow dyeing. i cut 2 yard pieces of PFD muslin last night and ran them through the washing machine. and soaked them overnight in a pail of water. i figured i would do 4 tubs. i also threw in a few smaller pieces of muslin that i had in the cabinet. i normally only do 1 yard pieces so i am anxious to see what happens.

I wanted to try some 2 color dyeing. i sure hope they turn out. first i mixed bright yellow and some burgundy. i put the yellow on the bottom and poured the burgundy on the top. Then i tried red violet and marigold putting the violet on the bottom. next i mixed some cerulean blue and some lemon yellow. i put the blue on the bottom this time. when i mixed my yellow i got a few specks of the blue in there...drat. so my yellow came out sort of muddy. oh, well, just another experiment. then i mixed fire red and sky blue. i put each color mainly on one side and mixed just a tad in the middle. we'll see how that works. i had one piece of muslin left that was about a yard, so i mixed up some imperial purple and used that. all by itself. 

I am excited to see what happens. they are sitting in their snow filled tubs in the reading room...the coolest room in the house. i shall let them languish in the snow till later this afternoon when i get back from the studio. then will give them a look-see and inspect the results. cross your fingers for pretties. LOL

Then, since i was in the dyeing mood, i dyed my hair. haha  i had gotten some dye a few weeks back and it sat in the cabinet. i spied it last night and decided to needed to use it up since i want to cut my hair soon. so, we shall see what happens there, too. normally i do a reddish dye. but i am all gray now, so decided to switch to a blonde...which is what i was originally in life.  it is a new product that i used. i hope i don't come up with green hair. i am going to my sister's on thursday to help her celebrate her birthday and she might not want to be seen with a person with green hair. well, she can just pretend she doesn't know me. LOL

Stay turned tomorrow for picture results of all the fun dyeing.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I amost forgot!

Remember the exploding pineapple blocks?

I finally got all 12 of mine done and the top pieced. i used up 3 pieces of Laural Burch cat fabric that i had. i think it turned out cute. now it is in the "to be quilted" stack. 

Let's make selvage placemats!

You do save your selvages...don't you? if not...start now. you can have so much fun. making selvage placemats, potholders, bags, vest, jackets, quilts and so much more.

I got an order to make 6 green selvage placemats for a lady i know; so, i decided i would document the journey and show you how i do it. Selvage placemats are about the easiest selvage project to do. so, let's get started.

First, you will need to collect your supplies.
You will need a bunch of selvages...i am using mainly green with a few yellow and browns thrown in. i pulled out all of my green selvages but you will not use all of fact, the pile will pretty much look the same when i am done. SIGGGHHH!!!

Then we need the backs of the placemats..i will cut 6. i am using this green squares fabric. i make my placemats 12"x18" so i cut the back 13x19 to give myself some 'wiggle' room. the placemat will shrink up a bit while stitching...just as quilting does. and i will have plenty of room to cut them to size.

Then you need some batting for the middle. i use warm and is thinner and doesn't tear easily. you don't want to use fatter batting won't work. i also cut the batting at 13x19...i'll need 6 pieces.

And, you will need your thread of choice. it can match the back or not...your choice. i am using a dark green rayon embroidery thread. i have used different brands of thread and it doesn't seem to matter. i will use this green on the top and in the bobbin.

now, the preparation. i have tried making these without these preparation steps but in the end you wind up all wonky and out of you don't want to skip this part.  you will lay out your back fabric..right side DOWN. and place a piece of batting over it.

Now i find that if i mark the batting i tend to keep the strips straighter. and this is a personal choice. it really doesn't matter if they go all wonky on you. i have used strips that were not cut evenly and just adjusted the next few strips to get back in line. as i said...personal choice. but i shall mark these. i just use my straight edge and an ink pen and place a mark down the middle and to either side. i don't actually measure and mark...just eyeball it. these marks are just there to keep you on track as you go and help you keep your strips straight.

We are going to stitch down these lines to hold everything together so i pin first. the pinning keeps everything from wiggling around.

now just stitch on your marked lines to hold it all together. it won't really show on the back side since you are going to stitch the selvages this same direction and a few extra lines won't matter. i stitch up and down the middle and then all around the edges in one pass. no big deal. we are ready for the fun. you can start on either end...again, personal choice. i tend to start on the right and work to the left. i like to stitch on the right side of the selvage. but you can decide which way you like best. set your first selvage down on the side you are using...selvage side to the outside of the placemat and stitch it down, sewing close to the edge of the selvage.

So simple...right?  now select another selvage and lay it down next to this one. overlap the first selvage about 1/4" ... you don't want to be stingy here because you don't want them to unravel in the wash. just set down the next strip...selvage to the right...covering 1/4" of the last selvage...and sew it down.

Then just keep on going...adding strips..covering the last strip by 1/4"...and keeping selvage ends to the right.

Now, take a look at this next picture. see the drawn line that i made with the pen in the preparation stage? you can see that the selvage strip is even with that line. if it wasn't all you would do is adjust the next strip or two to even out. in the end, you won't even notice if some strips are not as straight as others.

 Now, when all the strips are on and you come to the end of your placemat, flip it over and sew around the edge. i sew about 1/2" from the edge. remember you are going to trim this up some. sewing the edges down is just another step to keep everything where it is supposed to be. and it only takes a minute to zoom around the edge.

See, all strips are on and we have sewn around the edge. looking good.

 Now we are going to flip it over to the back and trim it up...mine will be 12"x18". i just lay it on my cutting mat, lining up as best as i can and trim 2 edges. then turn and trim the other 2 edges. if you have trimmed off where you stitched around the can just stitch around the edge again.

Now all you have left to do is the binding. i bind them exactly like i do a quilt. cut strips 2 1/4" wide, fold in half, press and bind. for these i used the same fabric as the back but you can use whatever you like.

And there you go...all 6 done. pretty, aren't they? it took me 3 evenings to get them all done....2 or 3 hours each evening. doesn't really take long and uses up more stash. and it really, really doesn't take many selvages to do these. there are probably an average of 20 strips per placemat. i tend to cut my selvages 1 1/2 - 2" wide. but smaller ones will work, too. up to you.

So, now you know how....go make some placemats. potholders can be made to match...same procedure.

And just to give you something to look forward the foreseeable future i will show you how i make a selvage vest. woohoo!  LOL

till next time...go use those selvages.

Friday, January 22, 2010


This is what i am working on these days. this is my third day on this quilt....and it is only baby size...about 52x58.  but it is so intense and small and filling that i can only work about an hour or so and then have to quit for a while. it makes my shoulders tight and my fingers hurt. but i think it shall be lovely.

It is for a baby that lives in Texas....he will be born in May. his grandma is my best friend in Texas. they wanted green, white and orange....the colors of the Irish flag. so, i am quilting in a light green on a white background. the border is light green and Patrick Aaron's name will be in orange in the border.

the backing is a green marble from Wilma at     Wilma and Jim quilt for others and have a business selling fabrics. Wilma invented the is a wide fabric (118") that is 3 1/4 yards long. big enough for a queen size quilt....but you only pay for 3 yards. Wilma and Jim are the best. go see their a fatback....check out her work. gorgeous.

i designed this quilt with the help of Adam from a class i took at MQR. he taught us how to break down a design and draw a piece of it and then copy and mirror image that part to make the whole. this is my first quilt with the benefit of Adam's class. Adam is a first rate quilter himself.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Do you make string blocks?

You know i don't throw much fabric away....i save most all pieces. i have the tubs to prove it. LOL

i save the ends of bindings left over...the strips left after cutting parts....all strips go into a tub. the tub was too full to close any more, so it was time to make some string blocks. 

this is a project i do while the embroidery machine is running. i usually don't run the longarm with the embrodiery machine because it is too noisy and i can't tell if the embroidery machine 'needs' me for something. it gives me all kinds of beeps and tunes and noises...depending on what it wants. this is a bath kittie that i am doing for my sister...there are 6 of them and they are cute as can be.

so, while i let it embroider i am usually at the next table piecing something. i have lots of piecing projects. this is my piecing workhorse. all it does is a straight stitch...nothing fancy. but it does cut the thread with a push of a button...gotta love that.  this machine is about 10 years old and never had to be repaired. it started its life and was designed for a quilting machine on a small frame. it's a Baby Lock Quilter's Choice Professional. it was set up on an 8 foot table with a small quilting frame and i quilted many small quilts for years before i got my longarm.

this week i decided to make some string blocks. this is the way i do it.

i have a stack of batting squares....these are cut to 6".  i have made them larger and usually that is the way i go...much faster. but i had loads of batting strip leftovers from quilts so this is the size i wound up with. these batting squares are from Warm and Natural batting. this is my batting of choice. i have tried and used other battings in these strip blocks, but the fatter batting is harder to control so i usually don't use it for this.

And a stack of backing squares...also 6".  these don't all have to be the same could mix them up. but i had a few yards of this so decided to use it.

And here is my tub of strips. all different widths and all fabrics. of course, you could do a controlled color my friend Marilea would HAVE to do. LOL  or you could put the same fabric in the middle each time and the whole quilt would look more cohesive. but, i just want to use up these strips, so it is very random. and crazy looking.

as i am embroidering or a spool of thread comes close to the lives here next to the workhorse. or leftover bobbins with thread from quilting get placed here, too. luckily the bobbins i use on the longarm also fit the piecing machine. in piecing most things i don't really care what color thread i use...unless it will make a difference. so, for the string blocks, everything is fair game. i don't care if the thread matches or not. this is a GREAT way to use up all that thread on your leftover bobbins.

Since i had worked on these string blocks in the past, i already have some done...see?  i am making a queen size quilt (eventually) and figure i need about 200 blocks. so far, i have 88. but i have LOTS of strings.

so, here is how i make mine. first, you lay a backing square down on your table...right side DOWN. then place a batting square on top of that. and lay a strip down the middle....corner to corer...right side up. i usually use a wider strip for the middle strip.


then you lay another strip on top of that....right side DOWN. with edges lined up on the right. you are going to sew this down and then flip it over. 

keep adding strips till you cover that side all the way to the corner. then flip your block around and do the same thing to the other side.

i don't worry about ironing these...just press the seam with my finger after stitching. finish the second half the same as the first....lay down a strip, sew it down, flip it...repeat.  your square will look something like this.

i am glad this happened, so i could show you what NOT to do. LOL   as you are adding strips, you might want to check and make sure your backing fabric is laying like it should. i have done this more than i want to admit and you will have to rip it out and start again. 


now, i flip it over and stitch all around the edge...real close to the edge. what you want to do is catch all the strips and sew them down so it will be easier when you attach them all together. i try to get as close to the edge as possible but don't fret over it. i zip right along at this step. make sure your little corners are laying down as they should as you edge stitch this....they tend to flip back....don't ask how i know. LOL  (see last picture).

 that's strip block done - takes less than 5 minutes.. i trim the edges even with the backing fabric. after i am through sewing them for the day, i take them to the cutting table and trim them up. they are quick and fun. while the embroidery machine worked for 2 hours, i got about 25 of these little blocks done.

some day, when i have my 200 or more blocks, i will put them together and make a quilt....and will blog about that process, too. but don't look for that any time soon. i'm a long way from 200+ blocks....but some day.

just so you know i actually finish is a string quilt that i finished a few years is reversible....and i kept the color pallettes similar on each side. on this one, half of the block was a solid color so i could form a pattern. when doing it this way and wanting a pattern on each is a job to keep each side do need a clear head.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Red Delicious is done

Thank you Esther Aliu in Australia for this BOM. it is indeed delicious. i love, love, love it and it is going to hang on my living room wall.  a year well spent piecing.

i just finished quilting this today and wanted to share with all of you. it is one of my favorite quilts. there is a warm and natural batting on the bottom and an extra loft poly on top of that. when quilting down the backgrounds really tight it allowed the applique to stand out. i quilted with brown so fine thread top and bottom on the red areas...and a white in the backgrounds.

Here are the individual blocks. i quilted each background different. my fingers hurt after all that tiny quilting.

And here is a better view of the border

The back was pieced from the rest of the border fabric and some extra reds to make it large enough. this was so much fun.

thank you Esther

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