I have some work friends that I get together with each month and we've been getting together at least since I retired 13 years ago. Every Christmas I like to make gifts for them and this year I chose dyed beach towels. I get my beach towels from Dharma Trading. They dye beautifully and are very soft.
I used to always dye beach towels in a spiral design but I'm kind of tired of that so this year I decided to do something more organic and, honestly, it took just as long! I love the effect and might order some more towels to do some for myself. I each of my friend to tell me their 2 favorite colors and that's the guidance I used for the colors. I delivered two of them last night and will deliver the others next week.
I also dyed one for June. June works for Hanover County and she is the person who "manages" our group and she is the NICEST person in the world. She loves the color red because it's the color of her college sorority so I made her a red stripe beach towel.
I have 4 more beach towels to dye for my SIL's grandkids and then I'll be all done with Christmas making.
Chris and I don't exchange gifts but conveniently we are getting a new printer and new water filtration system for our "gifts" this year.
Yesterday I also got 2 more veterans quilts loaded and one of them done. I hope to finish off this one this afternoon. After that I have one more pair and I'll be done for the rest of the year! I might get one of my big quilts loaded and started.
Today I'm going to do something that I've never done before, participate in a medical trial. It's for a blood test for cancer screening. It's already commercially available but they will have to have a pretty extensive trial to prove it works for insurance to cover the cost. All I have to do is give blood and I get the test for free and they follow me for 3 years. That's it. If you are interested you could probably find a trial near you. It's being done nationwide in the US and they are enrolling thousands of people over the age of 50. It's a very expensive test and this is an opportunity to get it free.
It's also being run in the UK by the NHS.
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.
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!
These are my last gifts for Christmas and I even have them done a few days early! All of these are for my SIL's daughter's families. There are 2 daughters and they each have 2 kids. We are happy to be included in a lot of their family events. I don't other kids in my life and these 4 are a lot of fun.
The first part of the gifts are family shirts. Both daughters went to JMU so each member of each family gets a JMU shirt in purple and gold. Working with complementary colors is always risky because when they blend you just get brown. There's a little brown in these but I did pretty good keeping the colors separated.
Each of the kids get 2 more shirts. Eli and Ella are the ones I see most often because they live locally. They go to a school that has Seattle Seahawks colors so their Dad suggested shirts for school spirit days.
These are their other 2 shirts and I suppose you can figure out which shirt is for which kid.
Lincoln is the youngest of the 4 kids. I think he's 3 and he said he likes green and blue so that's what he got.
Sawyer is the oldest of the 3 boys and his school colors are navy and white. He was also the only one of the kids that said he liked bright colors so I had some fun on his second shirt.
My favorite of all the shirts is the navy and white one.
All that's left is the gift wrapping!
I also dyed 16 more tea towels but I didn't get in the sewing room to iron them today. I had to do some shopping this morning after a productive visit to the chiropractor. Then I spent the afternoon baking bread and testing out a new cookie recipe. I'll iron the towels today and have them to share tomorrow.
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.
I worked on the pink doll dress yesterday and proceeded to sew the wrong skirt to the wrong bodice (it's a reversible dress). these things are hard to make so I wasn't about to take it apart. Instead I walked away for the evening. I've figured out a solution and it will be just as pretty (if you like fluorescent pink). I'll get it finished this afternoon, I think.
Meanwhile, the tie dyeing that I did last week for the boys is done! It took almost 3 days of soaking to process these blue dyes. Each of the 3 boys gets a spider shirt because they all love Spiderman. The oldest boy loves blue so his second shirt is a blue spiral and it's probably the best spiral I've ever made.
The two younger boys each get shirts like these. They both love red and blue.
Ella's brother is Eli. I see a lot more of these 2 so I did 2 more shirts for him. These were done with Dye Magnet and stamps and stencils.
This is all that I have left to do on Chris' blanket! It might get done during the Eagles game tonight, especially of the Eagles don't play well. When it's done it will have almost 3000 yards of yarn in it!
Before I get into the birthday gifts I have to tell you that last evening my quilt club met as a big group for the first time in MONTHS and IT WAS AWESOME! We had a real program and real show and tell and lots of catching up chatter.
It was a much better time than the 2 days Chris and I have spent burying he phone line (about 300') because the phone company couldn't be bothered. If you don't have Centurylink for your phone service you are blessed. They must have the worst customer service of any company in the world in any category.
Now, on to Eli. Eli is brother to Ella (recipient of couture doll clothes). He's turning 4 this weekend and he's all boy. I decided to dye some shirts for and hopefully he'll like one or more of these. I'm especially thrilled with the spiral. The two in the back were dyed using Color Magnet and stencils.
I had leftover fabric from his pillowcase so I made a gift bag for the shirts. Cookie Monster is his favorite Muppet. The bag is lined in turquoise.
I was rummaging around the sewing room looking for something to use as the drawstring and I spied the clothesline that I usually wrap with fabric for coasters and bowls. I decided to see if it could be dyed. It turns out that it can! I put lots of Fray Check and glue in the knots so that they don't come apart in use.
Mom and I will go to his party Saturday afternoon. Not sure if I'll survive a party full of 4 year old's but I'll give it my best shot. Mom and I might need to stop at a bar on the way home to recover.
Today is "dyeing day" and that reminded me to share a new top that I dyed for myself last week.
This is a top that I dyed a couple of years ago. It's the Flower Power Top from Dharma Trading. It's got several things going for it that I love. It's soft cotton knit, it's very comfortable, it's manchine washable and it's long enough to completely cover my hiney. I love wearing it with cropped leggings. The only thing I don't love about it is the sleeve but that's a minor complaint. This year I ordered a couple more with great plans to get them dyed and they have been sitting on the shelf for over a month. I finally got motivated last week.
Last Tuesday I was invited on a road trip to the Virginia Quilt Museum and I didn't have to drive. I took along one of the tops, a bag of glass florist marbles and my waxed sinew. In the car I wrapped marbles in the lower half of the top.
I did not tie each individual marble. I just wrap each one a few times and pull tight. That hold the marble in well enough.
I usually do low water immersion but I wanted the color in this top to be smooth solid so I did a full immersion dye and I'm really happy with the way it turned out. What I love about Dharma clothing is that the thread used for construction is cotton so it dyes too.
It took a lot less time that I expected to tie this dress and I'm glad I remembered that I had it to work on during the car ride. Now I need a design idea for the second one that I bought.
There's a little shop across from the Viginia Quilt Museum that sells kind of Bohemian clothing. I usually find something that I "need" in there. One of the things I needed this time was this tshirt that seemed to have been made for me! If you need one you can get it from Tie Dye Dan, a business in Harrisonburg.
I haven't tie dyed in ages but I had just the right motivation to get back to it last week. Jamie, the contractor who is working on our kitchen and a laundry list of other things, loves tie dye. I actually had to bribe him to do our job by promising him some new tie dyed shirts. While we wait on the countertops to be installed (on Valentine's Day), I got busy on his shirts.
Jamie is expecting 4 shirts but I dyed 6 to make up for any duds like this one. This was supposed to be 3 spirals but it didn't work out. The colors are still good though and this really is the worst one of the bunch so that's good.
He picked the designs and he wanted a spiral. he also lives lime green. The yellow and green spiral is one that he expects but I always love a patriotic spiral for holiday wear so I made both.
This was another design that he picked. I sure hope I got it bright enough!
Jamie love the beach and he loves fishing so I think he will be thrilled with this one. I've done this design several times but this is the best version that I've ever made. After making these I was stymied for what to do on the last shirt. I wanted to use the leftover dyes and needed a design that would be good for that.
Oh yeah, that's a darned good grand finale!
Now the reason that he thinks he's getting 4 shirts is that the first pack of shirts that I bought had 4 shirts. But when I was tying them I saw that they were 40% polyester. I had to go back to the store and get 100% cotton. That package had 6 shirts. But I had to do something with the 4 poly/cotton blend shirts.
I dumped some leftover dyes on them and made him some new work tshirts.
I already apologized to his wife, my friend Kim, because I know she's going to get sick of seeing him wear tie dye every day. I can't wait to give him these next week.
We have been Airbnb hosts since September 2011 and we have one family that has visited us every year in June. They were pregnant with their 5th child in the first year and now have 6. These kids are the best behaved kids I've ever been around. They are also outside kids. They don't play video games. They run around barefoot on the gravel driveway, play Frisbee, chase frogs and catch fireflies. I look forward to seeing them every year. It's a joy to watch kids really play.
This year I offered to tie dye with them.
When they visit they are here for 3 nights and are gone all day until about 7 pm. To accommodate their schedule we tied Thursday night and dyed Friday night. They told me the colors they wanted Thursday so that I had everything ready to go when they got back Friday. I washed the shirts out Saturday morning so that I could soak them all day. A final wash about 6pm and I had the shirts ready when they came home Saturday evening.
Dad declined a shirt but Mom participated. She and her only daughter went pink/purple with their shirts.
After they got home they donned their shirts to send me a family photo.
They are a very happy family! I'm already looking forward to their visit next year.
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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.