Thursday, 28 January 2010

Dyeing day

I had a wonderful time today teaching dyeing. I love the graduation from the yellow to blue above. Once I have some photos of the washed fabrics I will post some on my web site.

I want to say thank you to everyone who has left a comment to win my fabric basket filled with goodies (see below). I am having a fantastic time discovering new blogs and some wonderful, creative people. I have entered lots of giveaways so I have fingers and toes crossed that I will win something as well.

Sunday, 24 January 2010


Well its official, thanks to DH I now have a website! It is something that has always been at the back of my mind to do, he has the magic fingers and know how to make it happen.

I think I am still too young for google to pick me up so if you want to have a peek you can just click on the image above. The website is still a very new venture for me so I would love any comments from you.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

I'd rather be stitching

Its been a busy 24 hours. Last night I went for a Chinese with an old friend. Fantastic company but not great food. The local Chinese we went to has changed so much, instead of table cloths, linen napkins and Chinese crockery we had blank tables, paper napkins and a buffet that only had two veggie things I could eat (except for rice and seaweed). There was not a chop stick in sight with only knives and forks in baskets. Today was very different with fantastic food and company due to the Expedition Quilt Art girls. Tonight, well I felt very old! My teaching assistant whom I worked with had a 30th birthday party. It was good to catch up with old friends but I found it hard to shout at everyone which you had to do above the noise (sorry music). I did feel old beyond my forty years as I would rather have been home doing this, and this,
and this,
I was home by 10pm which surprised DH. This mini quilt is for the Expedition Quilt Art challenge, lots of other wonderful people have completed their challenge - not me. Well it is finished and is sitting in the dye bath, just got to wash and dry before revealing photos hopefully tomorrow on their blog.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Miniature Quilt

As promised images of my miniature quilt. This week seems to have flown by, most evenings spent making a Norman castle with DS for history homework. I have been impressed though as he has done most of it. Our secret method was "No more nails", fantastic for big boys junk modelling. Any way, here is a close up of the bottom left,
And the bottom right
And the whole piece. It measures 5" x 7", made from tissue paper, lutradur, plastic, organza and a tiny amount of angelina fibre. The binding was the plastic net shower curtain stuff (I'm sure it has a technical name though)
My tutor is pleased, just hope DS history teacher likes the castle tomorrow as well!!

Saturday, 16 January 2010

snow dyeing results

Here just for sweetiepie are the late photos of my snow dyeing. It seems to have taken me a week to get these on as life has a nasty habit of all too often getting in the way. I used procion cold water dyes, turquoise and magenta. The colours are not great, I had plans to photograph them outside but it has rained all day here.

I had some black and red left over and this was the result of that snow dyeing -

I have also been working on this, my miniature quilt made from tissue paper, lutradur and plastic (with a small amount of plastic)
It has a lot of hand stitching which doesn't show up on the photo. Just at the point of putting on the binding (plastic shower wash thing- do you know what I mean?) it had a major accident. I had green painted tissue paper under the white, all subtle when small child came and picked it up with wet hands. After consulting with my tutor I bravely put more water onto the tissue. This then meant the bottom plastic circle was not dominate enough, it receded too much. You can't see how much stitch went into this, the image below is slightly better. My aim for tonight is to get this plastic binding sewn on. If I manage this I will post photos tomorrow.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Snow dyeing - part 3

The title isn't very original but describes the latest snow dyeing.

I put a mesh shelf (from an old animal cage) over my sink in the utility room and put the soda soaked fabric on top (left image), I then piled fresh snow on top of that (right image) put the dye solutions over this snow and then left it to slowly melt.

After a few hours I had peeks of this -
I will have to wait overnight to see the final results.

Saturday, 9 January 2010


This was the view from my front window tonight. The sun came out at about 2pm and a lot of the snow in the field had melted.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Snow dyeing 2

Well the trays spent all night outside and were covered in fresh snow when I went out to them this morning. I figured that all the dye/water was frozen so I decided to pour warm salt/soda solution over the trays. There was very little difference between the fabrics in the two trays, one thing I wasn't expecting was that the dye must have frozen before it got down to the last fabrics in the scrunched cutlery tray. The last piece was very pale and had hardly any dye on it. I didn't want the black to be too domineering but I actually made the dye solution too weak as the fabric is mainly reds with some grey. I will try another type of snow dyeing tomorrow as I don't think this experiment really worked. The frozen dye didn't give me any significant marks. I was pleased with the results though and will be able to use the fabrics, perhaps in my January journal quilt.

We have snow forecast for both Saturday and Sunday so if possible I am going to put the snow on top of the fabric, dye over that and then leave it to melt in a warm place (ish). Snow dyeing is getting addictive! I was going to snow dye some shibori tied fabric which I was teaching at my LQG next week but this has been cancelled due to the weather.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Snow dyeing

Kevin, Lilly and Daisy in the snow

"Snow makes whiteness where it falls
The bushes look like popcorn balls
And places where I always play
Look like somewhere else today"

By Mary Allen

Today both boys made it to school (at least for some of the day) and then I had a call to say the school where I was due to go this afternoon was closing early so they wouldn't need me. What do you do on a snowy day with an hour or two spare........snow dyeing. I have been wanted to try this ever since Julie at Mixed Media shared her dyeing last February.

I started by soaking some cotton in soda ash. I wrung this out and put it in a cat litter tray but supported on some plastic trays, I did put some rusted fabric that I didn't like under the trays. I have read several blogs on how to snow dye, each having slightly different instructions. I decided to put the snow on top of the fabric and then pour dye on top. I'm not sure if it reflects my mood or not but I am in a red/black phase at the moment. I made the dyes quite strong but if the final colour is too intense I will just take some out with discharge paste. The second tray had fabric pushed to the bottom of a metal cutlery holder which had a wire bottom. I'm hoping this might give me a scrunched effect. This again had snow packed down on top before the dye was poured on.

The third tray was a "what if" moment. I soaked the fabric and then just sprinkled black procion dye powder over it. I tried to do this sparingly but the dark areas show just how hard this was in the cold. I put snow over the top and the poured more soda ash solution over the top. I have decided not to bring the trays inside but leave them outside overnight. It is snowing at the moment and will definitely freeze, I will bring them inside tomorrow morning and wait for things to defrost! I wish that I had put some threads into the trays but it had started to snow and my hands were so cold that my mind was focused on getting inside by the fire.

My aim is to have some fabric that I can use in my January 2010 journal quilt. If it defrosts I will share photos tomorrow. By the way we now have heat and a fully working Rayburn thanks to the very nice repair man.

Monday, 4 January 2010

"Things can only get better"

Things have not gone to plan so far in 2010. My rayburn which provides heat, hot water and somewhere to cook stopped working last Sunday. We do have a log burning stove which has been wonderful as a source of heat and two plug in oil radiators in both boys bedrooms so at least they are cosy. To give you an idea of how cold, there was ice in a coffee mug in the kitchen today! The repair man should arrive tomorrow so I have everything crossed that we will not have the predicted snowfall.

With my life so hectic coping with DS2's behaviour and special needs as well as life, I have realised just how much I depend on my friends and how precious they are. Many of those friends have been made through quilting. These friends prop me up, give me requirements lists for workshops over again when I lose the first one, lend me fabric, dyes, books or just give me advice about life or projects I am working on. They are always ready to listen and give me the support to keep going through black and difficult times.

Trying to be positive I did finish my nephews Christmas quilt. The pattern got simpler as it got nearer to Christmas and ended up just being 9" squares of novelty fabrics sewn together. He loved it though which is the main thing. How many children underneath?

I am also with DH help working on my website. This was something on my "to do" list for last year but it never got done. DH is very cleverly building it from scratch. Here's a peek

It will have all the workshops I teach on it along with examples of finished pieces. In my diary I booked three Saturdays in the summer in which I can get an indigo vat going in my garden. These days have proved to be incredibly popular and are now fully booked. The dilemma is do I find more days? It's not as simple as it sounds though as all the "boys" have to leave home for the day.