Saturday, May 25, 2013

Disappearing 9 Patch Challenge

This month's challenge in the VMQG is the modernized disappearing 9 patch.  For every block we make, we get a ticket and at the end of the meeting a winner or 2 is drawn and you can collect enough blocks to put together a quilt top.

My problem is I like making the blocks, but don't like putting the quilt together, so I usually just hand my blocks in and don't take any tickets.  Last month I handed in 10 blocks and only took 2 tickets.  There were enough blocks to have divide among 3 winners.

Most quilts with this pattern are very regular like this one I made for a nephew several years ago.  You get a bow tie effect that's on the diagonal.  For this quilt, the centre block was dark blue and the corner blocks for half the blocks were red and the other half were yellow.  The other 4 blocks were light blue.
Here's Lawanda's version with the same fabrics.
disappearing 9 patch baby quilt
Here's Kenzie's version.
disappearing 9 patch baby quilt 

However, if you add lots of negative space in random places, you get a much more modern look to your quilt.  First make your 9 patches with your negative space blocks randomly placed in each block.  Here's 4 blocks that I made using my home batiks (the ones that turned out a bit dark or muddy).
 Then cut each 9 patch in quarters exactly through the centre.
 Mix them around, rotate them then put them back together and see what you end up with.
I've got some more 5 inch squares ready to put together to make some more, but will save them for Maker Fair next weekend.  I can demo the technique during the day to show people what modern quilting is like.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Another colour way

Yellow and Orange

I just boiled the wax out of another colour way. 
This one is really bright and citrusy.  I think the check worked out very nice in this colour scheme. 
Does the one on top look like those bugs you find in the garden in rotting posts and under pavers?  Do I need to add legs to them?

Monday, May 13, 2013

More Dyeing

Here's a light blue and green colour way being created.  The darker blue areas and the white areas have wax on them.  It's ready for the yellow dye bath.
 I started with white pfd fabric and made 5 different patterns.  I did two different potato mashers, a madras stripe and an argyle looking diamond one.  I dyed them a very light blue - hardly 1/8 tsp of dark blue dye for a gallon of water.  It came out a very nice pale blue, sort of robins egg blue.  A quilt  guild friend is making butterflies so I'm creating some butterfly wing looking fabric for her to use.  This strip will be blue and green.  I have more of this blue fabric ready to dye in red for a purple version and maybe a grey for a dark version.

Then I died them all a strong bright yellow.  Yellow in the dye bath turns orange when you add the soda ash, but it doesn't seem to turn the dye that's in the fabric orange.
Next step is to boil out the wax and see what I got.  I've got a bit of a green/blue vision issue so I may have to ask if this colour way is working or not.

After they have had the wax boiled out and are ironed, here's what they look like.  The one on the bottom still has the wax on it.  The pot was too small for all 4 pieces at once.

Here's the other two colour ways I did.  I think I like the red and grey the best so far.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Big Hexies for the May VMQG Challenge

I got my Hexies ready for the VMQG May challenge.  We were to make 5 1/2 inch Hexies in black and white and sew them into strips with one Kona bright.  Easy, peasy. 

I found some really old leftovers from a black and white quilt top and added in random bright Kona that I had had in a heap on the floor.  Quilt design decisions made by whatever I find close at hand.

These are so easy to make as strips of 3, but a real pain sewing them all together, even with the technique that was taught in a workshop at QuiltCon.  Who ever wins them at the guild meeting is going to have a lot of work ahead.

I play the Euphonium in a local community band.  We did a concert of movie tunes at a retirement complex on Saturday.  Our drummer lives there and his two arrangements of Latin melodies was well appreciated by his friends.  I was practicing for the concert and snapped this shot.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

To Boston with Love

I got my banners for Boston done!

Here's a little about the project from the VMQG site:
When tragedies occur, quilters and crafters rally together and use creativity to comfort and heal those in need. There have been Quilts for Japan, Pillowcases for Newtown, and many other examples of the love and generosity of our community. Now as we watch the events in Boston unfold, again we are putting our hands together to do something for those affected. “To Boston With Love” is a collaborative effort of makers to bring peace and love from far and wide. What we’re planning is a public exhibition of flags strung into banners that will be displayed in Boston in early June 2013
Quilt guilds and individuals around the world are participating and the deadline for submitting your banner is May 21.  There is a Flickr group and tutorials with patterns if you want to participate.  Check out the VMQG site for links and instructions.

I made two more to send off.
I'm not sure if I want to write something on the back or not.  What can you say to a city and nation that has this happen to them?

To Boston with Love

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dyeing at Home: Palliative Care for Fabric

Let me show you my little set up for dying at home. I use Procion MX dyes. They are cold water dyes that use salt and soda ash in the process.  I got them locally here in Vancouver, BC, at Maiwa on Granville Island.  I'm pretty much following Malka Dubrawsky's instructions from her book and workshop.  Check out her great book "Color Your Cloth: A Quilter's Guide to Dyeing and Patterning Fabric" for her complete instructions and great project ideas.

First there's the waxing.  I had started outside on the colonnade, then I moved into the kitchen under the stairs beside the hot water tank to be closer to the sink and less cold.  I use Kona PFD (prepared for dyeing) fabric.
You can see the electric frying pan with the melted wax, my potato masher stamp and the fabric pinned over a cardboard box.  Since it's a big box, I keep the rest of the potato mashers and cardboard stamps in it.

Then the table gets set up for dying.  The cooled wax in the electric fry pan goes into the box and slid under the table and the dye vats (by Rubber Maid) come out.  This one has about 2 yards of waxed fabric soaking up the grey dye before the soda ash gets added.  The soda ash has been dissolved in that container with the blue spoon in it.
 Here's a turquoise vat getting fixed for a couple hours after the soda ash has been added.
Then the fabric is rinsed well until the water runs pretty clear, then hung up on a curtain rod in the hall at the top of the stairs.  I put plastic sheeting on the floor and up the wall to the rod height and an old towel on the floor to catch the drips. There seems to be great air flow up the stairs because the fabric is dry in 90 minutes.
Here's the grey ones drying
Next I waxed what I wanted to keep grey, then discharged most of the grey out of the rest of the fabric so that the red dye that I did next would be bright.  If I hadn't discharged, the red over the grey would have created a very dark maroonish colour and I wanted bright red.
Then I boil the finished fabric in a big pot for an hour, then let it cool outside so that the wax floats to the surface and solidifies.  I pull the wax off the top of the pot and give the fabric a quick last rinse and hang it up again to dry.  Here's the finished red and grey fabric.  I made 4 16 inch strips that all coordinate.  On these I stamped them with: a cardboard diamond stamp, a potato masher, a paint brush, and sun glass frames.
Here's a shot of the discharging process.  The two vats are diluted bleach and diluted vinegar. You soak and agitate the fabric moving it from one bath to the other bath.  The star fabric was all royal blue and the blue discharges almost completely.  Here it's just a light grey and once it dried it was hardly coloured at all.  The yellow does not discharge much at all.
Red discharges a bit and is quite slow.  Turquoise discharges very slow, and ends up a light light-blue.  Brown discharges to orange, which makes sense as it's the red and yellow in it that stay.  I made a nice dark plum colour with red and royal blue and it discharged to red, the blue almost completely came out.

So the process is pretty much Wax, Dye, Discharge, Repeat, then Boil out the wax.  The discharge is an optional step, but without it, you'll have to always dye from light to dark and the second colour will usually be a mix of your first and second colours.  For example red after yellow will be orange, blue after yellow will be green.

The fabric that I used three colours on usually didn't turn out that great.  They end up dark and muddy.  Two colours and one discharge give you great results and that limitation actually makes me more creative and gets me thinking about what will work out and look great.