Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pictureless Friday Post!

I have been busy with my grandbabies and really haven't had time to quilt or take pictures (of anything other than them). We leave early Saturday to return them to their parents in Florida. My two oldest children have left (my son on Tuesday and my daughter Thursday morning) and the house will slowly come back into some type of order----but not until I return from Florida.

Yesterday we took formal pictures at a local studio. We were all in white tops and jeans (no shoes). The pictures really turned out nice and even though I cautioned my husband about not buying too many-----we came out with a hefty costs, but wonderful pictures!!!

Carol from Giraffe Dreams list things that she is thankful for on Fridays---so Carol I am going to "copy".

The things I am thankful for:

1. Beautiful-healthy grandchildren
2. Children who seem to appreciate my fiber "art" work
3. A husband who indulges my very expensive "hobby"
4. Health and energy
5. A home large enough to accommodate my babies.

I will post pictures when I return. I have developed a new habit (out of necessity)---scrapbooking. I am making a book for each group of babies (3) to memorialize this fun summer. I will NOT have them completed before they leave, so this will be a surprise coming in the mail.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

A REALLY Busy Time!!!

I haven't blogged for a while---but I have been really busy none-the-less. We drove to GA to pick up two of my Grandbabies (who live in Jacksonville). That was 1/2 way between here and Florida where they live. We met them (with their parents of course), and put them and their luggage in the car for the ride back home. Parts of the trip are really nice---we come through the mountains and the scenery was beautiful!

The trip was a nice one, and although we had Coal with us, it wasn't too tiring, at least for us people. He on the other hand was worn out! He doesn't' sleep in the car, nor eat, so by the time we got home he was one worn out little puppy! I don't think we will take him on the return trip but will leave him at home with my son---he will not like it, but it will be best.

On Friday, my oldest daughter arrived from Washington state. It takes her 12 hours to get here via plane, and once here, her luggage wasn't with her. She was switched from one carrier (United) to another (Frontier) because of mechanical problems. The problems was her luggage didn't follow her. Both companies weren't the most helpful, with each one blaming the other (after she paid $15 to carry the bag---United charges you if you have to check a bag). They called and said that the bag was arriving and they would deliver it---that didn't happen until about 8:00 the next morning!

On Saturday our oldest son arrived form Washington D.C.! We are having such fun! All but one of our children (we have 5 total) are here and ALL of the grandbabies are here. Two celebrated their birthdays with a joint party--20 children! Fun was had by all!! I gotta tell you however, I worked so hard to get my house all clean---I should have just left it "as is"---

I have been doing a bit of sewing however. I finished putting the "courthouse step" quilt together. It is made of all my dyes (the first batches). The only "store bought" fabric is the black. I am going to use the black also for the border.

I am also joining the "nine patch-a-day" sew-along. I want a much larger quilt so I am making two blocks a day. I am also making mine very scrappy---I have a zillion 2.5
patches that I am going to use.

I also got two new books about dyeing. Although Color on Cloth was described as containing recipes, it really doesn't (in fact neither really do). It does however give me some really great information. I would recommend both. As soon as the kids go back home, I will dye more fabric---it is just hard with 4 little ones underfoot.

I also finished my Internet BOM--put the binding on and everything! Don't you love the backing! I got it at our Guild auction.

Well, I am exhausted!!!!! I think I will go to bed and read my new books!

Thanks for stopping by!!! "See" you later!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dye Spill!

As you probably know, I have been dyeing fabric at least once a week. As such, I was running short on dye and of course fabric, so I ordered, this time from a different vendor. I always order from the Internet and this time wasn't any different. The company sent me a notice telling me when the package had been sent and when it would arrive and it arrived right on schedule. I of course, was truly excited when I saw the package on the porch and ran right out and brought it in and begin opening it in the kitchen. As soon as I cut the tape and opened the box, a cloud of red followed---the cap on the red dye was off and it had spilled all in the box. I of course immediately took it out to the garage but not before some had spilled in the kitchen. My DH had a minor fit---you would have thought we needed to bring in the hazardous waste guys in the white suits. I did put on my mask however and try to save what I could. I couldn't figure out how the top came off, the bottle wasn't damaged, but the powder was everywhere, including on the 25 yard bolt of white fabric. I called the company and I gotta tell you, they couldn't have been nicer (Dhama). They are replacing the dye (of course), and only about a yard of fabric was stained with the dye, so they are replacing that yard. My suggestion to them was to make sure the jars are secure---maybe taping them. There was a hole in the box, but not one in the plastic bag that contained the dyes--strange!

I am also not ever going to open a box containing dye in the house again. I will always take it into the garage and open it with my mask on.

Well, I have to go and give Coal a bath and then I am going to bed. I am thinking about going to Knoxville to the AQS show tomorrow. It is about a 2.5 hour drive. I may not go, I don't know---I really miss the show here in Nashville! I sure hope it comes back one day. If I go I will try to take some pictures to post.

Have a good evening!


Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Beautiful Day!

Today was absolutely beautiful!!!! The temperature was in the low 70's, without humidity. It set a record low for this time of year. I went to church and really wanted to spend the entire day outside.

I dyed yesterday (what else is new) and rinsed when I got home from church. I have to amend my "lessons learned"---salt DOES make a difference. My belief that the 200 count muslin doesn't dye as bright also held true. This time I dyed purples and greens and the purples and one FQ of green was with Quilter's Cotton---you could really see the difference. I am accumulating so much fabric, I bought a special three drawer unit to keep them in. I love just looking at the bright colors realizing I created them all by myself.

No pictures this time---maybe next time. Have a great night! We'll "talk" later!


Friday, July 17, 2009

New Lessons Learned (in dyeing that is)!

Okay---so I dyed yesterday and left the batch to "cure" overnight. Not quite 24 hours, but pretty close. This is what I learned this time:
1) The addition of salt doesn't appear to make a big difference. One batch I added salt to the soda ash solution and in comparing the results, the addition of salt doesn't appear to make the color brighter (it is suppose to make the fabric more receptive to the dye).
2) A "stronger" soda ash solution appears to help. One solution was made with 9 T. of soda ash vs. 4 tsp. The stronger solution resulted in much brighter colors.
3) I really do like the Quilter's cotton better than the 200 ct. muslin. The colors appear much brighter with the same soda ash solution. The downside is the the fact that the fabric will ravel. Since I DO NOT do applique, I don't think it will be a problem for me. If however I did more applique, the 200 ct. ( which doesn't ravel as much)would be preferred. I ordered some cotton that was recommended in my reading (Melody Johnson's blog) and will see how it does. I wanted to try Egyptian cotton, but I could only get 1 yard at Joanne's. It too is a tight weave, but I am going to dye 4 FQ's to see how it goes.

I also rinsed in HOT water, at least as hot as the tap provided. I had mentioned earlier that I was going to try cold rinsing, and Elizabeth suggested I not even try it---she was right. I did rinse in cold just to see, and could never get to the point where my water ran almost clear, unlike when I used hot water. I rinsed a LOT by hand BEFORE putting it in the wash to make sure color accidents are at a minimum.
4) I think the longer it is allowed to "cure" the better the color. Some of my dye solutions (the reds) were almost clear, indicating most of the color had gone into the fabric. So overnight it will be!

Here are my fabrics: The first is a primary rainbow made from fuchsia, navy and golden yellow. The two "extra" FQ's were made from left over yellow with just a couple of drops of navy; and fuchsia and navy (equal portions).

The second group is turquoise and orange. I started to get what appeared to be really dark colors and so I stopped thinking I was messing up. I shouldn't have. The browns are absolutely wonderful! Lots of mottling and shadows. These pieces would be great in winter sky or I see them with some of my greys/browns. I am going to do this again and not "chicken" out this time. The extras were from the left-over dye when I stopped mixing.

I am currently making a quilt with the first dyes I did---you can really see the difference in the quality of them and these. I was going to enter that quilt, but I think I will finish it, but make another using dyes from later sessions. It is clear I am getting a bit better at this.

BTW if you click on the pictures, you will get a closer look.

Hugs! Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Just Stopped By to Say Hey!

Just wanted to say hi---I am continuing to work on sewing down the binding on my quilt. I have decided to enter it and my dimensional block quilt in Quiltfest in Jacksonville. I am absolutely positive I will not win anything, but it is nice to read the Judges comments. When we go down to take my Grandbabies back I will take them to Diane so she can turn them in for me. I am also going to try to get down for the show as well.

I ordered some fabric (for dyeing) and some more dyes from Dhama. I am still trying to find "the" fabric I really like and to try to get more saturated colors. I was re-reading my instructions and found one that says to rinse and wash in cold water. So next time I will: 1) let the fabric "cure" overnight; 2) add salt to the dye solution; and now 3) rinse and wash in cold water. Did I tell you I was enjoying this new learning experience :-)!

BTW--I have started a new quilt! Diane sent me a bunch of patterns and one I simply had to try. I am using a stack of Amy Butler and Miller FQ's plus some other scraps. Of course I am going to make it larger by adding some borders. I will post a picture once it gets from the cutting/block stage.

Well, gotta go get some "beauty sleep". "Talk" to you tomorrow!


Friday, July 10, 2009


I have been one "busy body". I loaded my web BOM and decided to quilt it. Before I knew it I had been at it for about 4 hours and was almost finished! I went ahead and finished it and decided to go ahead and bind it as well since you know how I am with bindings. I did that and have clipped it in place, now all I need to do is to hand sew it down. I decided to do a simple meandering rather than anything fancy. The stretched out places quilted out well, even the block with the points off looks okay. I used a thread with shades of beige/brown variegated thread. I think I am finally figuring out the tension on my longarm (premier). The TOWA gauge helps me a lot. The tension was pretty good, I still would have liked it a little better, but it is better than it has been. I still get little pin dots, but in reading, there is no way to not, so I guess I will make myself satisfied.

I also ironed the FQ's I dyed. I really do like them. They do seem brighter and the color deeper. The browns are great! I think I will let them soak overnight from now on.

Finally, I have posted pictures of the Mola's I purchased from Priscilla. They are really pretty. The fish one is bigger than I thought it would be---I think it is a little too big for the back of a vest (what I was going to use it for). I may make it the center of a wallhanging, or maybe put it on the back of a fun coat. At any rate I am very satisfied with them and certainly plan to purchase more form her.

Well, I have to go to work tomorrow, so I am going to relax a bit and then go to bed.



Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More Dyeing!

I gave my last lecture of the summer session today. Next week I give my final test and then summer school is done---at least for me! To celebrate I decided to dye fabric (of course).

This time I presoaked my fabric in soda ash water and also dyed it in soda ash. According to my research, this should help to make the colors more vibrate. All together I dyed 3 yards of fabric (1/4 yard pieces). I did orange to blue; shades of brown; and shades of green. The green was actually left over from my browns (I had some yellow and some blue). It looks like the greens will me "softer" in color---more pastel. I squeezed the color through to make sure I had no white spots, and then scrunched it up and put it back in the containers, so I should still have some mottling--but no white spots. I have also decided to let the color set overnight. Now based on research, the color strength doesn't last that long after the soda ash has been added, but I am tired anyway, so I figure it isn't going to hurt. I have been out to check the process (in the garage) and some of the colors look pretty good--of course you never know until you rinse out the access.

I am really getting interested in snow dyeing and fabric painting. I haven't gotten a chance to look for the books that Kat suggested but after posting I am going to go to the ProChem site and see if they have it.

Tomorrow I will post pictures of the results. I am not keeping as organized as I should since I am NOT really keeping a dyeing notebook like I should, but if these turn out nice I will certainly do put samples in the notebook and write out the process so I wouldn't forget.

It is amazing how many different methods you can find, particularly in relationship to the amount of soda ash. What I have determined is it is necessary, but the amount can certainly vary with the same results---it would appear you need at least 4 tsp. per gallon of water.

Well, gotta go! Have a great evening!


Monday, July 6, 2009

A Finish!

I hope everyone had a great holiday! I had a great one, although it rained in the middle of our fireworks activities :-(

I have been very busy---I finished my web BOM (Nancy Rink). It really turned out nicely---I think! The picture doesn't do it justice, but I will try to take a better one once I quilt it(click on it for a larger view). I found a great batik that reminds me of stained glass to use in the sashing and border. It worked perfectly with the handdyes. The background is a pale yellow batik. My task now will be finding the correct quilting thread. A pale yellow, or beige would be great, but I am concerned it will look too white on the blocks. I guess I could always use old reliable grey, but I think I will audition a little. Except for the batik that I purchased, all the fabric was from my stash---in fact the handdyes were purchased in scrap bags(over several years). Although I haven't quilted it yet, I am taking it out of the "working on" and moving to the "completed" projects.

I have also changed my mind about the last fabrics I dyed. I looked at them again as I ironed them and they aren't half bad. I do think though that I will work more to distribute the color more since I still think they had too much white.

Well take care and have a great evening!


Saturday, July 4, 2009


My Blogger Friend, Kat, is having a give-a-way on her blog . Stop by and register---who knows, you just might be a winner

Friday, July 3, 2009

Dyeing Lessons Learned!

I dyed today and learned some valuable lessons (at least I think so):

1. If you soak your fabric in soda ash water AND add it during the dyeing process, the colors appear brighter.
2. I do NOT like parfait (dyeing several colors in one canister). The colors bleed together and I really don't like the look.
3. I need to squeeze the color through the fabric more---I got a lot of white spots today.
4. I should ALWAYS wear gloves when working with the dyes---it is easy to end up with brightly colored fingers.
5. I think I like Quilter's Cotton better than the 200 ct. muslin--- the high count muslin doesn't appear to take the color as well so when I rinse it seems dull. If I were doing a lot of applique though the muslin would probably be better since it doesn't appear to ravel as easily.

On another note: The on-line BOM has ended and so I started putting the quilt together. It is really turning out to be a pretty quilt. I am using handdyes (not my own) and got a great batik to add in the sashing. I'll post a picture of the top as soon as I complete it and then an updated picture when I quilt it.

In addition, I noticed that I have had over 2,000 views!!!! WOW! It is amazing to me to think that people are actually reading my blog! I get a real charge when I see those numbers go up. I have noticed that bloggers give gifts to commenorate certain milestones. I'll have to think about that---I really don't have a lot to give---maybe some of my handdyes! I'll have to work really hard to get good and then maybe offer several FQ's. I'll think about that!

Well, have a great night---and thank you so much for stopping by to see me!


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Past Project!

I was reading Beth's Blog today in which she posted some great pictures of some mola's she had recently purchased. In a earlier post, she had a great picture of a recent coat she made using her handdyes. I thought I would again show you the vest I made from a class with Rachel Clark and in which I had used one of my mola's---the "N" stands for "nice" or "nutty" or "nubian" or----- (click on the pictures for a larger view). As I mentioned before, I plan to make another vest and use some of my more "spectacular" pieces of handdyed. Beth does marbling and comes up with absolutely wonderful pieces. I am going to look for a book on the subject and make that and shibori dyeing, the next thing I learn after I am a bit more experienced in dyeing.

Have a great day! Hugs!