Thursday, February 1, 2018

Ice Dyed Mandala Flowers: The Endeavourers


Last year seemed to be too busy to breathe, so I thought carefully this year before I committed my time. One pond I dove in to was joining The Endeavourers. They are a dynamic, adventurous group of quilters willing to take risks exploring their world. Sure, it's with fabric, but still it's a unique opportunity to express our opinion or feeling through fiber. That's typically more than we focus on when piecing a standard quilt. It's a bonus.

The quilt above has been in process for the last month, and is from a dyeing project started nearly two years ago. All the details are at The Endeavourers.

This quarter's theme is Nature, and there's no way of knowing all the ways it will be interpreted. I'm truly looking forward to seeing what everyone has done. Visit us at The Endeavourers.

Allow me to leave you with a saying about nature and quilts I from Lewis Carroll in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass:

"I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again."

Please visit us, and see how Nature is expressed in our quilts.


Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Natural Dyes for Fabric: Goldenrod

Goldenrod: The Color of the Fall Meadow

While I should be mowing off crab grass tops, I will instead pour another cup of coffee, and show you some magic tricks. No, that's not my cauldron. Well...yes, kind of. I've been playing with natural or plant-based fabric dyes this week, and they've all had a turn in this pot.

Finding a good source on how to dye fabrics with natural dyes has been on my to-do list for some time. I've scoured books and websites as well as personal notes and insights from my own experience using chemical dyes. I will share what I've learned with you so you can take advantage of the season, too. It's a great time to dye!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Quilting & Finishing a Gelli Print on Fabric

Several months ago I acquired a Gelli Printing Plate. I had previously used the method with regular gelatin, but was thrilled to work with a more durable product than I could produce in my kitchen. Gelli Plate printing is a monoprinting method, and in my opinion gives a slightly different look than using an acrylic plate. You can read more about the original process in these posts from Pink Doxies:

Once I had the hang of working with paint on fabric, and there was definitely a learning curve--read here, Inks and Paints Not Labelled Safe for Fabrics, I started to experiment with stencils, stamps, and anything else I could use to impact the print. As each print was pulled, some remaining paint added to the overall complexity as new paint was then added. 

This particular print is my pick to add to this bag made from some salvaged fabric I had printed and then dyed.

Can you see what tools I used to create the textures? 
Bubble wrap, a wood graining tool, a stamp, and some 
bunched up plastic wrap all worked well.

Printing onto an absorbent substrate such as fabric means you must increase the amount of paint you lay down before printing. This is interesting because with paper it's much more desirable to use a thin layer, and it took a few tries before I could get it right. Viewing the print above you can see how the edges on the left are impacted while using slightly too little paint. I wouldn't say it's undesirable, but the whole point of experimenting for me is learning how to control the media in my favor. So, this did not do what I intended. 


Applying paint to the plate is easiest done with a brayer. It provides a fairly even coating on the plate, and this type of printing requires working quickly. You would be very surprised to find how quickly paint dries in a thin layer. Adding an extender or medium like Slo Dri to the paint is helpful, but I find even a fabric medium increases drying time if I use regular acrylic paint. In an emergency, I have a spray bottle of water nearby, and have spritzed over the paint lightly if I find it is getting tacky too quickly.

These prints were pulled a few months ago, but I had no idea what I wanted to do with the extras. When I saw a request from the Ohio SAQA group for pieces to use as a travelling mini art quilt show, I knew I could make one work. How? I was short on time, and this was the perfect size already! 

Paint Does Not Recover From Ripping--You Have One Shot!

I set to work trying to see something in the print. Do you do this? Do you turn it this way and that hoping something will show itself? I do. But I find that often it is easier finding an image when it is oriented differently than how I saw it when it was created. In this case, I turned it sideways. There were places I found this skull seemed to pop right out at me.

I had many options for thread color, but I chose a dark violet. This 8" x 10" piece was longarmed, and I will say that is equivalent to driving a jet ski through a baby pool. I worked carefully, and buried threads afterward. To finish the edges, I took the top to the back, and created a faux binding on the backing. I find this method creates a nice edge to the print.

Revealing My Source

Just a Fraction On the Floor of Lunn Studios

 I was on the look out for quality batik tjaps for months before I found one. Several people asked where I discovered the one I played with in the last post here, and I thought I should share it because it's such rich source. Lunn Studios has hundreds of batik tjaps for sale. There are both traditional tjaps, and those created specifically for Artisan Batiks by Lunn Studios. The workmanship and selection is outstanding, and I admit to being overwhelmed by the choices. Shipping is free for both tjaps and fabric, and the story behind Lunn Fabrics is one I want to tell. See this post for some information about Michael Mrowka's and Debra Lunn's green manufacturing methods, and altruism by creating a free library in Indonesia.

The Doxies have been quite a help this week getting ready for the Quilter Bloggers' International Retreat here next week. I will have a lot of fun pictures to show you next week as we play in my wet and dry studios. Most of us have never met in person, and it's a very exciting prospect after years of being friends online. I cannot wait!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Several Results from Batik Process with a Tjap

First Trial Run Results

This piece of batik is a result of me working with a tjap for the first time, and experiencing both too much and too little wax application. This post will explain more. Though many of you kindly offered ways on how to save this experimental fabric, I have to admit I was not disappointed with it. As a matter of fact, I love the organic imperfections! I had plenty of dye left over from the surface application, and used it to do a companion piece in an Essex linen. I used a low immersion method to get the wonderful variation of color and texture, and together I think they'll create something quite beautiful, and positively unique.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Batik Process with a Tjap

Tool or Piece of Art?

This is a professional batik cap or tjap--pronounced 'chop'. Lunn Fabrics advertised a large shipment recently, and I had already been eyeing up the samples when I first saw the shop. There were so many enticing pieces to pick from, but I actually let my husband help pick it out. It fell between my love of busy, and his of simplified. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Welcome to One More Thing Before I Dye

The Sister Blog of Pink Doxies!

In January of 2016, I started experimenting with Procion MX dyes to create my own fabrics for quilting. I was instantly hooked on the thrill of putting color where I wanted it to go. Dyeing led to printing, printing to silk screening, and so on. Pink Doxies' readers never knew what to expect! Soon my posts were more about mixed media than quilting, and I questioned whether I was a quilting blogger or a fiber arts blogger. The line continued to blur, and I was pulled equally in both directions. I cannot tell you how deeply I feel quilting is an elemental part of who I am. It keeps me balanced. But the dare devil in me needs the adrenaline thrill of more and new, and keeps my mind engaged with my spirit. Therefore, I chose not to be one or the other, but to separate the blogs into two domains.