Monday, August 08, 2016

Two minute intro to deconstructed screen printing

Friday, August 12 is the deadline - if there aren't enough sign-ups for my DYE Classes at Oaks - the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza - they will be cancelled. To pique your interest, watch this:

Thanks, and here's a link to the class descriptions! Classes are September 16 & 17.
Next up, an introduction to the other class - a vest that is machine stitched, then dyed. Time to take more pictures!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Back from the Barn!

Last week I was privileged to attend Carol Soderlund's  Neutral Territory class at Nancy Crow's Art Barn retreats. With the work of our fabulous group of 15 artists choreographed by Carol, we came home with hundreds of samples of ways to mix three (or four) colors together. The results include a great palette of blacks, browns, greens, blues, greys, purples, umbers, ochers and reds. And we did one bright and sassy 12-step color wheel and shaded it with black. Altogether over 600 new samples - with no duplicates! In addition, Carol taught us a new sampling technique and provided great tools for doing the sampling.
Now I'm home and I'm still trying to get the right colors for a client. Great time to use what I've learned! Above is a picture of the washout step of a yellow shaded with two different amounts of black, and each color is done in six values. Two down - 94 cups to go! And as much fun as I find that, there's still business chores and household chores to be done. Rather than whine about that, I will sign off and go 'Git'r'Done.'

Monday, May 02, 2016

Samples are slowing progress

My plan was to start digging into the 400 yards today. If I do 20 yards per day for four days, take a day off, then repeat five times, I'll hit 400 by May 25. I do have 20 yards done, but they are 'extra' yards. Not counting them yet! Anyhow, the picture at left shows two tests on the left next to two supplied swatches on the right. Tonight I did two more to try to match the bottom blue. I got the value better, but still not there with the color. It's also one of those blues that shifts according to the light. Using the Verilux lamp makes it look closer to violet.
I'll keep you posted on my progress - good and mediocre!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

400 yards in 30 Days - ????

Monday I did something I have never done before - I ordered ten pounds of dye powders from Pro Chemical. Only eleven different colors - I got two pounds of two of the colors, and eight ounces or one pound of the rest. I'm about to embark on a solid adventure - dyeing 400 yards of fabric in about a month.
Now, lest you think I'm completely out of my mind, I'm not talking about dyeing 400 different colors. To give you a little perspective, I'm starting with just twenty colors - ten yards of each. For inspiration, and to help me narrow down my choices, I went to the Robert Kaufman Kona (R) color story page, and picked summer, 'cause it's on its way. That group is shown at right. Then I thinned that down to just the twenty colors that I'll be dyeing. That's my first, firm goal - 200 yards. And, as projects involving color often do, the concept has grown. Since I'm going to mix up those 20 colors, if I mix up just a little more than what I need for ten really saturated yards, I'll be able to dye the same colors in a lighter value. So the next couple days will be spent preparing and documenting my progress - and getting some orders filled as well.
Sue Reno's project "52 Ways to Look at the River" has inspired me to track and share what I'm doing, plus it adds a degree of accountability. If I know people are watching, I'm going to have to keep at it! I hope you'll follow along - and comment on the blog. I'm going to give something away -- but I'm keeping that under my hat. #400yds30days

Monday, February 15, 2016

Countdown to spring shows


Today is seven days before we hit the road for the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton, VA. (We're leaving a day early to take a day's vacation in the Williamsburg / Hampton area.) I've posted pictures over on Instagram of a couple fabrics I ironed yesterday. I thought I had everything ironed - 43 pieces ranging from 1 yard to maybe 6 yards - most are 4 yards. Then I remembered I had 5 pieces of vat-dyed Radiance
Vat-dyed Radiance before soaping off
that had to be processed. I ran one through the pressure cooker to activate the dye, then all of them got 'soaped off.' That's when they go into a very large cookpot with 180 degree F water and Ivory bar soap, plus, around here, water softener. They're soaking in some vinegar & water right now to neutralize any remaining alkali.
I have a few quarts of dye that I haven't used, so maybe I will be dyeing and washing out more fabric. I will be vending at the SAQA conference in Philadelphia on March 31, so if I can't get the dye used now, I can do it when I get home later.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Who needs the gym?! Snowzilla day +4

The third and probably final round of snow-dyes went into the washing machine this morning. This group was all double snow-dyed, and only 9 pieces, 6-7 of which were 4 yards long. Then it was time to clean the floor. I use an old garden sprinkler can that holds three gallons or so. The screens get rinsed along with the floor under them, then it's squeegee time. More sprinkling, more squeegee, then the mop. That big string mop is a seriously good core muscle workout, with shoulders and triceps thrown in for good measure. Moving the sprinkle can and the occasional 5-gallon bucket of water helps keep up my strength too!
On my last post I mentioned that I turn the water heater up to get 140 degree washout temperatures. Well, the furnace guy is coming tomorrow to put in a new aquastat. The current one can't answer "how high is up?" Right now it's set at 90 and the pure hot tap water measures 124. When it gets too hot the pressure relief valve does its job - maybe a little too well! The picture below shows the cloud of steam in the cellar when that happens. So I didn't need the sprinkler can after all. The floor got a good, really hot wash.
Now, for your free moment of dye education: to wash out Procion MX type dyes, you really need water at 140 F / 60 C plus detergent. The very hot water breaks any partially bonded dye; the MX dyes are called fiber reactive because the dye molecules bond to the cellulose molecules.
That brings me to the free gift for signing up for my newsletter: instructions on washing out fabric dyed with MX. You can click the link in the upper right corner of this blog, or click here to sign up. I'll send you that PDF - and right now a real human still sends it, not a machine. Thanks!
P.S. I hope to post photos of some of the snow-dyes, but they must be washed and ironed first.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Plan for Snowzilla +1 day

In no particular order:

  • Turn up the water heater to 140 for the final washout of yesterday's snow-dyes and the upcoming ones.
  • First cool washes of snow dyes - yesterday was about 60 yards
  • Squeegee the floor of water & dye runoff
  • Bring in more snow to dye the next 40 yards
  • rinse yesterday's dye off screens
  • dig my way to the basement door again so I can bring snow inside (see picture below)
  • soda-soak more fabric to dye tomorrow
Take a breath

  • Get to the detached garage, ideally without leaving any footprints in the snow
  • Fire up the snowblower
  • Get enough of the paved surfaces cleaned off to function fairly normally
  • sweep off the front porch
  • sweep off the second-floor porch, or else expect drips in the temporary (i.e. white trash) kitchen on the first floor porch
  • teach hubby how the broiler works because he's cooking dinner!