26 November 2011

Transperse Dye play date

I love playing with Judith. She is so much fun to watch when she goes on a roll with her creative ideas.
Well, I was feeling a bit guilty about not getting to the transperse dyes sooner but Judith came over a rescued me. She will be talking about how she used the materials and I will talk about how I used the materials. I added 4 teaspoons of dye powder to 1/2 cup of boiling water and stirred. I made blue, yellow, red, turquoise and black. I decided that I wanted to do sketches in dye paint so I used a sketch I did earlier for my altered books project and printed an enlarged photo of a crow. I painted over the pencil lines on my sketch with what I thought at the time was black (note to others: LABEL as you mix). I used printer paper. This formula was a bit darker than the medium recipe (3 teaspoons per 1/2 cup). I also made two sheets with just overall color. I wanted to see if the colors were transparent. When I painted red, then yellow then blue with overlapping sections, the transperse dye/paint didn't BLEND making green and purple. I wanted to see if when heated they would blend. They did and quite beautifully. On one of my crows (the one from a photo), I used 3 values of the same color dye/paint. Again I thought I was using black.Here are my results:
                                             You can clearly see the 3 values of blue
This was more sketchy
    The ghost is another print under neither it showing through the fabric. Ignore the man behind the curtain.

                                                             Too little heat on the bottom
 See how light I made the feet? The dye/paint was very watery and you can see the other differing values in the birds body and wings. That was what I was going for.
 This one (above) was ruined by steam iron vent holes. That was the first print. We quickly plugged in my solid sole plate iron. You can clearly see the orange and green above.

                                                                  This was our set-up (below)

OK. This is my 2 cents.
1. These transperse dyes really smell B A D and I mean stink. The stunk up the whole kitchen during the mixing process and every time we opened a container of mixed fluid dye the smell was awful.I have a massive exhaust fan within inches of our ironing surface so there were no fumes we noticed during the ironing part but I bet we'd be choking up a storm without that fan.
2. I thought they were no big deal although I can tell you Judith had a ball. I will probably never use them again - really
3. It was messy since they were fluid however the mess washed right off easily mostly without staining anything.
4. The way I prepared and applied the dye was way easier than Judith's way - she was following direction.
5. I think there s a huge difference between transfer and transperse dyes. Mine were easy to use and I painted on copier paper and got tons (10-15) prints off each sheet.
Stay tuned for Judith's blog post coming up soon.


This is definitely one of my favorite ERICs.  11 X 17 . Heavy quilted manipulated personal digital image printed on cotton.

23 November 2011

Back to my old tricks

I now have Google translator on my blog since I have a few "friends" from the Netherlands who stop by on a fairly regular basis. I also just bought myself my combination (birthday, Christmas and every other occasion) gift of the year. It's a new Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 It's lots of fun and makes my crutch on the internet even bigger. Love technology.

OK, my old tricks. After I finished the bed quilts and got that out of my system, I decided to start on another of the textural pices I love so much. It didn't work...
There were still a few ERICs left that needed to come out. This one is finished except for the border that will be stretched on stretchers. It's hard to see but it is fairly heavily quilted except that large area of Eric's face.
Best friends
On the heels of this one is Dreaming which I just started. The sky fabric was hand dyed by myself.

There is still another ERIC or two left. Wish I could move on but ERIC just won't let me go yet.

20 November 2011

Left overs

First I have to tell you that the first thing I found after completing the quilt were these:
               My brother received the quilt on Friday and sent these pictures

I had so many scraps left over after I'd finished the quilt that I decided to make my brothers grandson, Ryan, 5 months old, a baby quilt. Here is Ryan:
 I made this one a little differently, joining the blocks with narrow strips (2" wide for top fabric, then ironed in half and 1 1/4 " wide strips of the backing fabric - no batting since they butt). Picture of narrow strips:

I also didn't use a border since size wasn't a consideration. The quilt was 3' X 4', 12 blocks and 1/3 the size of the queen size quilt. I used some striped fabric for the backing except for 2 left over squares of olive from the other quilt. Made it interesting.

                                              In a light strip of fabric I inscribed the quilt.

18 November 2011

Finishing touches

OK, now that I have exercised my muscles wrestling this now very heavy quilt, I decided to call my brother and tell him how beautiful it was. As I mentioned yesterday, he said he’d rather have it too big than too small. I checked out the size of a queen quilt which was 90”X90”. This one is about 80” square right now so I needed to add a border. The directions for adding a border were in Marianne’s tutorials.  I kind of liked the 4” look so I cut pieces again, (4 ½” wide) wanting the broken line of multiple fabrics instead of a solid border.  I over estimated each side and I also cut and sewed 2 – 45” strips of the polka dot underside fabric to face the top fabric as well as a 90”X 4” batting piece.
                                                 Trimming the "tails" off the row connector

One of the things Marianne wrote in her blog was a warning about the thickness of trying to sew two sandwiches together; that is the finished edge of the quilt , two layers of fabric with batting between, and two layers of fabric with batting between for the boarder. She suggested sewing the top and bottom fabric to the edge of the quilt and butting the batting to the edge like in the connecting strips. Bowing to the master, I took her suggestion. This worked very well and I finished off each border with 5 rows of quilting to hold the batting in place. I did the 2 sides first, then the top and bottom edges not in the log cabin style.
                          Just finished sewing the top and bottom border fabrics to the finished quilt edge
                                              Placing the 90" batting strip "into" the boarder
                                                 Adding the 5 rows of quilting to the border

I cleaned up the edges with the rotary cutter in anticipation of applying a binding.

Again I cut masses of 2 ½” wide strips and sewed them together. I forgot to connect them with bias seams and when I turned the binding I had great lumps of fabric at each join. Bad me. It was pretty much too late to change courses mid-stream so I just horsed my way through. I didn’t take any pictures of the binding but it came out pretty nicely. I also didn’t take a picture of the words I free motioned along the edge of the quilt since it was personal and to my brother.
                                               Displayed on a double bed hanging way down
      The back of the quilt with polka dots and solid olive greens used. You can just glimpse the boarder

I found an empty box that was the exact, and I a mean exact, size of the quilt which I had folded so that the sentiment free motioned into the border would be on top facing my brother as he opened the box.

For someone who doesn’t make bed quilts, I can tell you this was a project of love and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the process. Marianne made it very easy with her excellent tutorials. I hope I made this process easy to follow and perhaps, if the spirit moves you to make someone special a warm gift, you might try this technique as I did.

Bye for now,

17 November 2011

Now it’s starting to get heavy.

I forgot to show you the three configurations I used in assembling the blocks
log cabin-ish
                                                                    Square in a square

                                                                   6 rows done
So far this process has been very quick and easy. I looked and looked for any info on joining rows on Marianne’s website. There was nothing specific about that part of the process. Many of the quilts in her gallery had solid fabric delineating the rows and I didn’t want that so I cut more strips about 13” long and joined the rows into long sashes. When the rows were joined with multiple fabric sashes, the join was not as noticeable which was the look I was going for. It was a bit harder and heavier working with the rows until the end when I started to wear a tacky glove to push and pull the bulk of the quilt on my left.
  This is something you DON'T want to do. I thought I would be very clever and surge the seam on the joining back strips. Don't do it. It was so bulky the machine kept getting hung up every time I sewed over the surged seam. Seemed like a good idea at the time...
Above I am treating the join as I did with the blocks and I am ironing the strips open readying it for the insertion of the batting strip which is 7 feet long then the fell flat seam (top stitched). You can clearly see the multiple fabric joining strip as the quilt drapes on the ironing table. It's not as harsh an appearance as a solid strip of one fabric.

After I finished doing the happy dance celebrating the completion of the quilt, I called my brother (recipient) to  tell him I was done. I told him how big the quilt was and he said he wanted it to be larger rather than smaller for the bed. So tomorrow I will show you the last few processes I used which are good to know and a picture of the finished quilt, which measures about 84" square.

16 November 2011

Now for the cool part

OK, so now all the blocks have been made and I have continued to keep all my supplies in fabulous order…


By the way, I wanted to show you my new Janome 7700 with the built-in walking foot. 

I was very disappointed with this machine in that my old 2004 Brother Innov’is 4000 spins circles around it. The Brother threads itself with the touch of a button (YES) and STOPS dead when the bobbin is about to run out. I started to sell this Janome with 2 hours of use on it on Ebay but then tried the built in walking foot. I kept it for that that reason alone and it is all I use it for. The built in walking foot is a thing of beauty.
I also wanted to show you my sewing/ironing station inspired by Melody Johnson who actually is organized.

Now on to the blocks. Here are the 36 blocks I have made from 3 different viewpoints. I used the floor as a design wall and when done stacked each rows and labeled them rows 1 through 6 with the far left block on top. It is now time to join them together.

I will write this in words then add pictures. I think it is clear but then I also think I’m organized so you will be the judge…

                                                          looking down onto work
I took a 4 ½ inch strip 13 inches long, folded in half length-wise and ironed. I took a 2 ½ inch strip 13 inches long and a strip of batting 1 ½ inches by 13 inches long. This will create one join. I always have the block on the left and I start by laying the folded strip raw edges to the right edge of the block and at the same time take the 2 ½ inch wide strip and place it facing right side up on the bottom of the block. I will stitch one seam. I don’t trim.

                                                 Lifting the work and looking at the bottom
I then go to the ironing table and iron the folded (brown) piece flat, flip the block and iron the back (2 ½ “) strip flat.
Get this next step right and life will be easy.
I take the block I want to join on the right, lift the 2 ½” strip and pin it.

You know you are right when the right side of the 2 ½”strip and the BACK of the second block are facing each other. Sew that seam (second block to 2 ½” back strip). Take to the ironing table and press join flat. You are not done quite yet.

Turquoise block on left, brown folded strip laid open to the left, wrong side of backing (2 1/2") strip facing up (polks dots) and green second block now joined by polka dot strip.

Lay both blocks (joined by the backing strip) on the sewing table, add the strip (1½”) of batting in the ditch, cover with the folded fabric with the folded edge touching the stitching line of the backing strip. Sew a fell flat seam (top stitch)to hold the folded fabric in place. You have just joined two blocks.
add 1/2" wide rows of quilting to hold in place
 I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted!!!!!
Use this method to join the 6 blocks in each row. I pinned the # of each row on the left edged block for each row so I would remember how each row needed to be oriented. Tomorrow joining rows which was where I came up short. Just how was I going to do this without using one solid strip of fabric (I didn't want that look).
Tomorrow, answers to that question....