Here it is, all together! The papers are all removed and it's ready for quilting. I have not figured out how to quilt this yet so I'll take a week off to ponder it. There are areas in this quilt where I think there are probably 20 layers. Forget trying to sew through that, you would have to hammer a nail through it. I think my "quilting" will be very rudimentary for the purpose of stabilizing.
Here's a close up of the eye area to give you an idea of how small some of the pieces are.
My best tool for these blocks were these clips. I remember when they came out and thought they were just another trendy sewing notion that I did not need. I eventually bought some and, like everyone else, I now consider them a necessity.
I got my mess cleaned up
and all of the fabrics put away and I'm very ready to start some new easy projects.
I need some new masculine birthday postcards so I pulled this fabric that was leftover from the Corona Cats quilt back. I can't wait to get them done and share them. They are hilarious.
Today, during my normal dyeing schedule, I'll be dyeing some new sleeveless tshirts for myself.
During last week's session I dyed 3 maternity tshirts and a baby onesie for my nephew's wife. She should have them by now. I hope she loves them and that they fit. If you want to dye some, I found the white shirts at Mother Bee maternity. It took 4 test tries but I finally nailed the ombre effect. The actual color of the shirt is brighter than in the photo.
In other news, we cut down the Dogwood that I've been looking at outside my sewing room for over 20 years. It used to be full of spectacular pink blooms every Spring but it started dying off a couple of years ago. It was now time to add it to the woodpile for winter fires. I need to figure out what to put in it's place.
I think I should be over the hardest part of the Goldfinch quilt now. All of the fabrics are selected! This was not easy but it was kind of fun. I think you can imagine the mess I made all over my sewing room floor.
In the end I identified 3 fabrics that I need to dye and I did that yesterday. Even though my dyeing day is today, I wanted these to be ready to start sewing tomorrow.
While I was in the dye studio dyeing my own fabrics, I decided to play around a little. I'm going to dye some maternity tops for my nephew's wife and I want to do one in an ombre effect. I've never actually done real dip dyed ombre so I did a couple of experiments with a couple of tshirts. I was able to rig up this chain that worked great for keeping the shirt at specific levels. I'll show you how they turned out tomorrow.
The day that I was tying up all of the tshirts I noticed the rest of the stack of tea towels that I had been dyeing before. There were 16 towels left and I decided to dye all of them. Eight of them were tied and I just used whatever leftover dyes I had from the tshirts. There was no planning at all and I'm really happy with the results. I will absolutely tie dye more and almost wish I had tie dyed all 16 of the ones I had. But I decided to use the Color Magnet on the last 8 to make some more gift sets that weren't seasonal.
Of all 16 the top one is my favorite of the bunch but I'm not unhappy with any of them. Here they are...
These 2 are pretty spectacular too!
This last one is pretty cool too.
Here are the 4 sets that I screen printed with Color Magnet. On a couple of them I did overall designs instead of just edge designs and I think they turned out nice. All of them were done quickly without a lot of thought. I delivered one set last night as a housewarming gift for my college roommate's Mom and some of the others are already designated for gifts but I'm keeping a couple of the tie dyes for myself!
Before we get to the photos I want to answer 2 questions from yesterday.
About the glass ornaments. I've been collecting them at least 20 years. I usually pick them up on vacations. Pretty much every tourist gift shop has blown glass ornaments. But another great source for them is Etsy. I've bought some of my most unique ones from Etsy. But before you go there, make a cup of coffee and get comfortable, you are going to be there a while!
About tie dyeing shirts on commission. Sorry, I do not do that. Honestly, I don't really enjoy tie dyeing that much. I do it because the shirts make great gifts and people seem to love them. Heck, I like wearing them. I just don't love making them so I only do it when I'm in the mood. But if you want commission shirts I'd also point you to Etsy. There are tons of tie dyers there that do custom dyeing.
Tie dyeing actually takes me a long time. I have a lot of angst about color selection and placement. I did get some color advice from the parents for this group of shirts which made things easier. With 3 boys the responses were mostly green and blue. I did get to do a couple of rainbow ones and I got to do some pink and purple for Ella.
This tray also has 3 tea towels. Those are the long ones and the spiral in the upper let corner. I didn't really pick colors for the towels, I just used whatever was left over. I think the two rainbows at the bottom might actually be tea towels too.
I finished off the day with the JMU shirts and, frankly, I'm worried about them a bit. My color recipes sometimes don't translate perfectly to tie dyeing or immersion dyeing. These are looking a little too blue (instead of dark purple). I am holding out hope because the blue used does wash out a lot so they still might turn the right shade of purple.
Dyeing all of that took about 4 hours and I was beat when I was done. Today I'm happy to head off to my quilt club for our monthly sewing weekend. I'm working on a chandelier quilt top this weekend. I think there might even be 2 quilt kits in this one.
For the rest of the weekend my main goal is to get the December birthday postcards made and in the mail Monday morning. One of them is already a week late.
Wednesday is my usual dyeing day for the shop. If I start on Wednesday I can have the fabrics ready for the shop by Monday. My schedule is a little more complicated this week because I have a bunch of tshirts to get tie dyed by next week too. Yesterday I did my normal dyeing and today I'm doing the tie dyeing. In my free time the past 2 days I worked on the hard part, the tyeing.
These 8 will all be dyed in JMU colors (purple and gold) so that both families can have matching team shirts. The adults do not know that they are getting shirts too.
Each of the kids will get 2 more shirts. To keep the straight I used a Sharpie to mark a code on the shirt label and I have a cheat sheet so that I get the right colors on the right shirts.
I finished these about 7 last night and the looked over and saw the stack of remaining tea towels.
Oh, why not....
Eight tea towels tied....
...and then there will be 8 more printed with Color Magnet. No holiday themes in this batch so I'll have gifts read for the year.
It's going to be a busy day!
Since this is kind of a boring white post, here are some of my favorite ornaments from my tree. I use all glass ornaments and have been collecting them for years. The white one with red spots one is the one I purchased this year to add to the collection.
I have a small group of friends that I used to work with and we all get together each month for drinks and to catch up. Sometimes we do other things together but the monthly catch up is our thing. There are 6 of us and we've been getting together pretty much since I retired in 2010. We exchange Christmas gifts each year. Kim, Lora and Mary always make homemade treats that Chris really enjoys. Kim makes amazing peanut brittle. Lora makes a yummy coffee chocolate bark and Mary makes killer Rum Balls and cookies. Mitzy and Susan always come up with something really clever and I always make something. I've done coasters (2 ways), potholders (need to do those again), dyed socks, dyed scarves, soap and lotion, glass dishes......I can't even remember everything. I've even made tea towels before but it was a long time ago. I know that because the ones I made for myself from that year are worn out.
This year is tea towel year again and these are the 5 sets I selected, from the 10 sets I made, that I will gift to my friends this evening.
Here's how I make them.
I use stencils and screens and a product called Jacquard Color Magnet. If' you have been around the blog for a while you will know that I use this often. I have pretty severe allergies to the VOCs in fabric paints so this is the absolute safest way for me to get imagery on cloth. It's limiting because the results is tone on tone, but it doesn't fade over time like paints often does.
The Color Magnet is bright yellow and the consistency of mucous. It's really slimy. It works best with screen printing but I have more holiday themed stencils than screens and I had to figure out the best way to apply it with a screen. I made a sample cloth a couple of weeks ago trying a few different methods and the best, by far, was using a dense sponge and sponging the stuff on.
You have to be very careful using this product because once it touches the fabric it's on there. You really can't successfully wash it out. So any spatters or drips are going to show. Over time I've just learned to embrace that feature.
Having a print surface is very helpful but you can't use the same print surface without letting it completely dry out between uses. Otherwise any bleed through of the product will stick to the next towel and it will show in the dyeing. I have a random roll of batting (that I probably was given or picked up cheap somewhere) that's thin polyester with a scrim. It's pretty useless for most things but it makes a great print surface. I cut 5 pieces of that and I printed 5 towels at a time. I did 5 a day giving the print pads a full day to dry before I did the next set of 5. It worked great because I was usually bored with the stenciling process after 5 towels anyway.
This is what they look like after they are printed and while still wet. Once the dry the yellow image is very pale.
Then you dye! This process works with pale colors. The dye magnet picks up most of the excess dye that didn't stick to the fabric and that's how you get a darker image. But if you dyed the item dark, then the image would not show well at all. Yellows and oranges don't really show up well either. I think it works best with blues, greens, purples, reds, grays, tans.....
This process also works best with full immersion dyeing but I wanted some texture in the background so I used my normal low-water immersion. In one particular bin, because of the way I had the fabric arranged, the images didn't develop as well as I wanted. But I thought I knew a trick to deal with that.
In my early days of using this product I learned that the Color Magnet keeps working for a few washes. I learned the hard way that I cannot put all of the colors together in one wash cycle because the items keep picking up dye and the images turn gray. I have to do the soak process by color. For the ones that didn't absorb as much dye as I wanted, I rinshed them enough to get the soda ash out and then put them in a bin of water with some green dye. The printed areas all took up more dye and the images became clearer. Because there was no soda ash, the rest of the towel didn't absorb any discernable additional dye.
Here are all 10 designs that I made using every stencil and screen that I had in my stash that was remotely holiday themed. I made 2 of each design. The 5 at the top of the page are the ones I selected to give my friends this evening.
These are probably my 3 favorite designs. The snowflake stencils worked really well and I like the other two with the blue middle bit and the green edges. I'll probably keep one of these sets for myself.
Next up in the Christmas making department is tie dye tshirts. I've got 2 weeks to get those done.
So I've started working on Groovy 3 a little. Mostly I'm just in the planning stage.
But first, I have this random photo of a shirt that I dyed last week. I picked up this shirt on vacation and dyed it in beachy colors. I love it! I have a sheet set that I want to dye and it will be done using a similar folding pattern but in a mandala format. I think it will be awesome.
Back to Groovy.
I'm doing a medallion format for this one so the first thing I did was create a center in EQ so I could see what size I need to cut the center pieces.
Next I ironed the new fabrics I sunprinted and did some layouts to see which ones I want to use.
I don't mind this center with the one on the loser right for the corner but I don't care for the two darker corners.
I love this center, I don't like the lower right corner and don't love the upper right one either. The boobs in the upper right stand out too much. The upper left corner isn't bad at all.
This is probably the best center choice and I'd probably pair it with the upper right corner.
What do you think? Next I have to make a final decision and pick a sashing color so I can get it dyed next week.
Here's another fun surprise from my ice dyeing day. This was the fabric that I put under the dyeing tray to catch the drip through dye. I LOVE how this turned out and Chris loved it too. I'm thinking about what I want to do with it but one idea is to use it as sashing for a quilt made with scrappy blocks made form solid-ish hand dyed fabrics. Imagine a bunch of star blocks on this background. I think it would be cool and look kind of like a galaxy.
I'll try to work on this more this weekend after my Country School sewing days sessions.
Life is getting more balanced. I've got 6 crochet projects and I'm starting to build up a stable of quilting projects. I like having multiple (but not too many) projects on hand to be able to respond to my mood on any given day.
Yesterday I worked on 2 projects. The first was to load and start quilting the two veterans quilt tops that I made last month. We had some storms roll through late in the day so I shut the machine down about halfway through. I'll get these quilted and bound this weekend. I don't expect to get much of anything done today, I have lots of errands to run.
The other thing I'm doing is starting a new Groovy quilt. You can see Groovy 1 and Groovy 2 here. This time I decided that I wanted a medallion style quilt so I started playing around on the design wall. I liked where this was heading but I wasn't sure about that dark purple/blue corner.
No problem, I can make more! Please don't get excited, these are for me, not for the shop. There might be one extra for the shop but, at the moment, I'm not planning to make more of these to sell. I'm trying to not raise my fabric prices so I'm having to cut out things that were already marginal for me and Crystals are #1 on that list. I made them because there were fun and people liked them but I don't make money from. They would have to be $50 and I wouldn't even pay that for one!
Anyway, I set up 3 big and 6 small ones to ice dye. I put another fabric on a screen underneath to catch the drips and I can't wait to see what it does. I usually put this fabric in the bottom of the bin but I knew that it would just be brown because I was using a rainbow of colors. No matter what it does, it will be good because I can always cut it up into something!
This looks promising!
This weekend I'll get all the fabrics washed and ironed and start doing the actual math to determine the block and sashing sizes. I'll work on the scrappy HST some more too and, who knows, I might start something else.
It was a very busy weekend with yard work, washing the car and lots of other chores. Washing the car was kind of a waste of time because it's covered in pollen again but at least I got it vacuumed and the windows cleaned for our trip.
I also got to see my favorite kids Sunday and was able to tale this little dress to Ella. The tutorial popped up in my Youtube channel last week and I just had to make it. Norma does nice tutorials for doll clothes and this dress was really quick to make up.
I don't like taking things to Ella without taking something for Eli. I found a spare tshirt from the ones I bought for his Christmas gifts do I dyed it this week and then painted it with a parrot stencil. That turned out to be perfect because he has seen a parrot that afternoon at the local farmer's market.
Their Dad and I taught them how to play Go Fish after I got myself totally dizzy spinning Eli around outside. It was a fun visit.
While I was dyeing gradients I dyed more of the vintage napkins that I have. The cross stitch cocktail napkins were pretty grungy but they dyed up great! The dark blue ones have an embroidered element that I thought would show up but apparently that thread is cotton! These will be fine to pair up with some future placemats. I am not opposed to making a set of 3 placemats or dyeing another odd napkin for a set of 4.
Glass bottle slumping is continuing. I can run the kiln once a day. One program takes several hours and then I have to leave it several more hours to cool down. I've given a couple of bottles away already and I had a couple of experimental failures but, by the time I'm done, I'll have plenty to give to the family at the beach.
I've turned 3 corners on the wedding quilt but I don't know if I'll finish it before we leave tomorrow afternoon.
The weekend is here and my first order of business is to spread a truckload of mulch today. It's supposed to get into the 70s today so my car might even get washed too! But I started this morning getting the second set of bottles out of the kiln. I upped the top temperature for this one and I did get better definition on the slump on the tree image. The blue bottle is a Bombay sapphire bottle and the dark brown one is a Bailey's Irish Cream bottle. I got a little bit of kiln wash transfer on the Bailey's bottle that I cleaned up with vinegar. I started a new set up this morning with a little lower temperature to see if it helps with the kiln wash transfer.
This week I also finished dyeing this custom quilt back for a friend. She wanted pale shades of Carolina Blue. The color isn't quite accurate in this photo. I think we picked a color that's very true to Carolina Blue.
I'm also making progress on the wedding quilt binding. I do a couple of thread lengths every morning and I'm about 60% done. I'll keep plugging away at this.
Usually in the afternoon I get some time to sit and sew half square triangles. I'll need 90 big squares and 90 4-patch squares for a veterans quilt so I have a long way to go. It's nice sewing to do while I'm listening to a book.....right now it's a really long book!
This is what I expect my weekend to be like. I hope you have a great one too.
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I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.