Sunday, May 24, 2009

"What's Up!"

I really haven't been doing anything exciting--per se (at least in the quilting arena). My favorite nephew and his wife are here visiting for the holidays from Oklahoma. I might have also mentioned that our middle son who was also in Oklahoma is here and our oldest son from Maryland is on a plane on his way here as I "speak". It is going to be a great holiday week-end! Our oldest daughter and youngest son are the only ones that will be missing, but we will talk to them by phone and make them jealous and wish they were also here.

My niece and I always have such fun when they visit. We both absolutely love to shop---but only for things that are on clearance. It is a treat to really purchase something for significantly less than the original price. Of course that also makes me a bit angry, because you know that although something is 75% off, the store is still making a significant profit. My "finds" this trip were two dresses for work that had been priced at $200 each for $21 and $24 (see the mark-up).

In addition, there is a Croc wave going on here. Almost every nurse at work wears them. I have been resisting because first of all I don't think they look very nice on my feet and I really didn't find them that comfortable. While shopping, we noticed a new Croc store that had opened and because it was literally a line of people going in, my niece and I thought we would see "what was up". They had several styles of Crocs on sale for $4.99!!!! I tried on some and to my surprise found that style comfortable, and so purchased them (I worked in them yesterday and they really are comfy). They are a weird green, but with the scrubs I wore, really looked nice.

I also saw some really cute "flats" that I could wear with jeans and even to work on "casual day" and purchased those. Since they were $4.99, my granddaughters each got a pair.

My husband and grandson each got a pair (they both absolutely love them --not the flats of course :-), but the "traditional" style since they were also $4.99). I purchased 7 pair for a little more than the regular price of one pair. Go figure---I still don't know why they are so popular, since after all, these are plastic shoes!!!! Oh well, I like to be "in style" as well, I am not sure I will become a real fan, but then I also love flip flops and have a whole box full and they are also plastic :-).

Have a wonderful week-end! I will be a bit silent because of family, but I will "talk" to you next week!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

New Quilt Started for my Handdyes!

I of course, HAVE to start a new quilt with my hand dyed fabrics. I did some research and found this neat quilt on a site. It essentially is a log cabin block (which I love). Although I like to change quilt patterns to make them "my own", when I find one that is perfect, I figure why re-invent the wheel. As a result, my quilt will resemble the original pattern, although (of course), it will be much larger. At this point (with four blocks completed) it is looking pretty good. BTW, I didn't dye the black--it is purchased Kona cotton.

My guild had their annual auction, and I got a book that explains how to dye in plastic bags. I am going to purchase another book (Color by Accident) this week-end, so I am building my reference books. I really am liking this!

I hope you have a great holiday week-end. We are going to have guest (my nephew and his wife, and my oldest son) so I anticipate fun! I do have to work Saturday, but I don't intend to let that dampen my mood at all!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dyeing Lesson's Learned!

I have had a busy week or so dyeing fabric! All total, my figures indicate I have dyed 14 yards--Pretty good for a beginner!

Yesterday was a "so-so" day for dyeing since it really didn't get as warm as I originally thought it would, in fact it rained all afternoon. The good thing is my dyeing "studio" is in the garage, so after moving the cars out, I could let down the door and it was relatively warm--not 70 degrees, but warm enough for the dye to "cure".

I learned several lessons I will share:

1. You absolutely MUST have a place dedicated for this that is NOT in your house or where you prepare food. As careful as I was, I dropped dye on the floor, it stained the sink and I was constantly wiping up. I read that once dye dries, it reverts back to powder form, where it is toxic, so you have to be so careful in wiping up every spill. Imagine if you are preparing this in your kitchen! So, unless you have a basement, garage, or porch with a sink, I wouldn't try this at home. I suppose if you had a laundry room with a door, it would work, but if your laundry room is anything like mine, I wouldn't have room to work in there. Plus closing the door would decrease circulation and you would be working with all these particles floating around. When you opened the door it would go into your house---so on second thought, not in a small room unless you had a window and great circulation!

2. Don't scrimp on the masks! Even if you are very, very careful, I noticed fine particles in the air when I measured out the dye and soda ash. Both are toxic--so be sure and wear a mask anytime you are working with either of these. Once in liquid form, there isn't a problem.

3. Wear old clothes--again, I tried to be really careful, but I did spill--I have a red toe to prove it. Also, don't forget the gloves.

4. Rinse well!!! The directions say you only need to rinse 3-4 times before putting the fabric in the wash, but I rinsed until the water was pretty clear. My fabric is therefore color-fast--so I don't have to worry about the colors migrating when I wash my quilt---at least I hope not!

5. Iron your finished fabric when it is damp. I didn't put the fabric softener in this time to see what happened--actually, it didn't make a big difference in feel, but the fabric was harder to iron. I think it was because I let them dry completely--since although I let the fabric dry when I dyed before, the wrinkles were easier to come out--the only difference was the fabric softener the first time. I also might use a fabric sheet next time, or a regular softener. The softener that I ordered with my dyes is expensive---the directions say to put the entire little bottle in and I paid about $4 for the bottle---too much for only one time use.

6. Really keep yourself organized when adding colors. Each color requires different measurements and it can be a problem if you allow yourself to either become distracted or you aren't organized.

Well I think that is all the "lessons" I can pass on this time. Now to explain my fabrics:

This batch is from the recipe called "Rainbow". I used 200ct Kona Muslin. It was allowed to cure for about 3 hours. The colors are nice and bright (more so than the picture shows). The colors used were Scarlett; yellow; and turquoise.

I again used 200ct muslin--, although the brightest fuschia looks like a regular Kona cotton. I don't know how it got in there, since I didn't notice the difference when I cut them. It dyed well, so I might try just white Kona next time--I will look at that when I get another 40% off coupon (It is more expensive than the muslin). This is the result of a 2 color gradient using fuschia and turquoise. Again, the colors are nice and bright.

I used unbleached muslin for this batch. The color's used was fuchsia and blue. The "hand" reminds me of linen. It dyed nicely but because it doesn't have the high thread count as the others you can certainly tell the difference. I think I will certainly use unbleached muslin again, the colors are very intense, but the feel is very different.

So this is the result of my Saturday---I am now going to start a quilt and see how they look!

Hugs! Have a blessed Sunday!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Look What I Received!

See what the big brown truck brought me!!!!! Tomorrow will be a fun day!!! I think I will do some FQ's in "Popsicle Purple"---sounds yummy :-)


Next Batch---

I dyed more fabric last evening. I am not really as satisfied with this batch as I was the first one. The colors are more muted/faded. My procedure was the same as before but the colors aren't as bold/bright. In my research I found that dye loses it's "punch" over time. I am wondering if these dyes were a bit older? There is really no way to be certain, and I suppose it really doesn't matter since some people prefer muted colors---I just happen to like the opposite. The pictures of the two fabrics are fat quarters--the reddish one's base fabric is a Kona cotton in the very light beige color.

I saw a recipe that uses table salt because it is suppose to make the colors adhere to the fabric better. When my dyes arrive, I think I will experiment with that. I have created a "dye notebook" in which I will keep the recipes and swatches of the results so I will be able to replicate my successes.

On another note, my GS took "Emma's Quilt" to school and presented it to his teacher on "Honor your Teacher Day". She cried! Today I am going to school to have lunch with him because she wants to give me a "personal hug". I am so glad she liked it and my GS is very proud of his "Mai" (pronounced "My-ee"--what my grandbabies call me).

Hugs! and have a great day and week-end!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Dye Job!

Thank you so much for the nice comments. Millie and Diane both asked questions---to answer them---

---Yes, you can lighten the color. You have to just add less dye and you get a lighter more pastel color.
---I used a kit from ProChemical that I purchased at the Puducah AQS show. If you go to their web site you can purchase one. It is $10.95 and you get enough dye for 30-1/8th yard pieces. The kit comes with a "recipe" for obtaining the colors.

The name of the kit that I used to get the colors in my Post is called "Prism" but I also purchased a kit called "Earthy Blend". "Earthy Blend" has three dye colors (Mustard yellow, Bordeaux and Deep Navy) so I think the resulting colors will be will result in navy blue's, gold's and deep red, and browns (I think).

The kits are a great way to get started since they come with complete instructions and everything you need in supplies to dye your Fat 1/8ths. It also comes with a list of equipment you need (ie: 31 plastic cups; Tablespoon measures, etc.) so there isn't any guess work.

There is also a web site---Fabric Dyeing 101 that has detailed instructions as well as lots of "recipes" for other colors. I plan on using several of these recipes in my next endeavor.

The fabric I used was White Kona Muslin, but I think next time I will see how the colors turn out using unbleached muslin (200 count). I know the color will be different, but it might be interesting to see. Either way, I am sure I will be able to put the fabric to good use, and dyeing is all about experimentation anyway.

Dyeing fabric is a hot weather activity, since the environment should be 70 degrees at least, so my plans for the summer will be to dye.

As I "make" more colors, I will keep you updated on my progress. If you decide to do the same thing, be sure and share the results with me. I am also going to try creating my own "recipes"--who knows, an entirely new color might be created :-)


Monday, May 11, 2009


Aren't they pretty!!! I am just amazed at how nice my first try at dyeing turned out. Unfortunately, they are not all the same size. I don't know what happened, I thought I was measuring correctly---but anyway, it really doesn't matter..I plan to use them in a quilt I started a couple of years ago and stopped because I couldn't find the right color handdyed fabric. Now I can have all the colors I can dye---

I ordered seven jars of dye to make more I am on a roll. I am washing fabric now to finish the next starter kit, so I should have some new pictures in a couple of days. This is too much fun!!!


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mommie's Day!!!!

I had a great day!!!! The fact that my children (all 5 of them) are in reasonably good health and seem to be happy---not that life couldn't be better, but it could certainly be worst; my husband and I are in good health; we are able to meet our bills and even have a little money left over to support my quilting habit; we have friends and family that we love----life is good!

My daughter, son, husband and three of my grandbabies took me out for brunch! We had a lot of fun, laughing and joking. My son NEVER meets a stranger---wherever he goes, he always ends up making people laugh and having a good time---so needless to say, my brunch was great. I got telephone calls from two of my other grandbabies and their parents (my son and his wife), and I also got calls from my other two and their spouses---so I heard from everyone.

Since this is MY day---I spent it dyeing fabric once I got home. I stopped by the "Dollar Store" and got 30 plastic reuseable cups and dragged out all the plastic bins I had been salvaging from the trash at work, and set up my "dyeing station". The weather started out nice and warm, but it has since clouded up and gotten cooler. According to the directions, the temp should be at least 70 degrees, so my husband closed the garage door and hooked up a space heater (sweet of him). I am not going to let them "cure" overnight---first because I am anxious to see how they turn out, and second, I really don't want to leave a space heater plugged in all night. It was a very interesting process. It would appear I will get quite a range of colors from only three colors-- yellow, red and blue. I have included a picture of the cups curing and of a extra piece of fabric I just poured the extra dye over. I am not sure if it will even be usable, but this is a learning experience for me. Later I will post an "after" picture. All in all, I enjoyed the process and it wasn't as difficult as I thought, especially since I have a sink with running hot and cold water in the garage.

Here is hoping your "Mommie's Day" (what my adult children still call me) is (was) a blessed one!


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What Have I Been Up To?

Life gets in the way sometimes. I had been doing really well in posting regularly and then got sidelined. Something kept happening to keep me from posting, but I am determined to keep current----I really like this process!

What have I been up to?---well, as I mentioned, I had pinning (graduating nursing students have a ceremony where they get their school nursing pin---the ceremony is called a "pinning") and graduation at the college where I teach. It was really nice to see the students so excited and their families so proud! The majority of them have jobs---nursing is still in demand, and in fact, many got jobs in areas they really was hoping for. The next hurdle will be writing the NCLEX for their state licensure, but I am sure they will be successful.

I am teaching this summer! Four hour lecture with two 8 hour clinical rotations! Summer school only last for 10 weeks, which is nice, but I have to get 13 hours of lecture into 10 hours. Needless to say, I will be talking fast! I think I am really going to enjoy this group of students, but then I try to enjoy each new group. It is sorta like your children, each group has such distinct personalities.

As usual, I have been quilting---I actually quilt almost every day. I have finished my Guild Challenge and am in the process of putting on the binding. It isn't my original one however---that one ended up being more involved than I reallly wanted so I developed another idea. I think it is going to be nice as well and is very different from what I ususually do---for one thing, it is a "small" wallhanging (remember I don't do small). When I showed it to my husband, he was surprised, and my Grandson commented that it must be for a really "little" person (he thinks a quilt is made to be used to snuggle in). I'll show you a picture later---a couple of my Guild sisters read my blog, so I don't want to spoil the surprise!

I have also been working on catching up my BOM---these are the pictures of the finished blocks. It is a BOM on-line---Nancy Rink's website--called "Building Blocks". I am really proud of my blocks since they are all made from a scrap bag of handdyed fabrics. I started buying these fabrics several years ago at the AQS shows---Starr Fabrics. The scrap bags are great!!!! Most of the pieces are really good size and in fact, there have been FQ's in them. I usually don't use solids as you know, but these colors are really beautiful. There is one more block and then the directions for putting the quilt together. I am going to have to buy a couple of yards of fabric for the sashing, but other than that, everyting came from either the scrap bag or my stash.

Speaking of handdyed fabrics---I am preparing to dye my first fabrics. I have washed my fabric and have collected all the equipment. I am excited!

I am going to go and put the label on "Emma's Quilt"---tomorrow is "Honor Your Teacher Day" at my Grandson's school and he is going to present her with the quilt. He is so excited! I sure hope she likes it!

Well--hugs! and have a great evening!