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Archive for February, 2014

Kettle Dyeing Yarn

This weekend I had my first brief foray into dyeing yarn using acid dyes. I’ve dyed yarns with natural fibers, but haven’t delved into the world of acid dyes yet. Impulsively I ordered a few colors from Dharma midweek, and like magic, they arrived midday Saturday in time for me to play!

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I followed Dharma’s basic tutorial for kettle dyeing. The instructions were simple to follow and the whole process was quick and easy! I soaked my yarns for half an hour in water to thoroughly wet them, then brought them to a simmer on the stove. I added 1 TBS of citric acid, and then poured in my dyes.

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I mixed three different colors, 1 tsp of dye powder in one cup of water. I had four skeins in my due pot, and tried to make them all lay the same direction. I then poured the dye on in the opposite direction, to try somewhat for each skein to have all three colors.

The interesting part of acid dyes compared with procion dyeing cotton, is the yarn sucks up all the dye color! The water in the kettle runs clear after the yarn absorbs all the dye! I turned off the heat, and let the pot sit for thirty minutes.

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It only took one rinse, and I was hanging the yarn to dye!

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Today I gleefully gazed at the beautiful colors of the yarn. I’m pleased with the results! The natural variation in color is what it love about dyeing my own fibers the most. Now off to see what it looks like knitted!

Updated 3/2/14:
Here’s a couple of pictures of the yarn knit! I like how the multi-colored yarn looks knitted up.

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I’m following a simple baby blanket pattern with a focus of geometric look between garter and knit stitch. I like how it is coming along!

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This weekend I played with my hand-dyed fabric and paper piecing. I pulled out various yellows, oranges, and greens. I wanted to sew a second mini poppy wall-hanging like I did a few months ago. This is an item I’m hoping to sell in my etsy shop.

photo (3)This is a color pallette that I’ve been in love with for a while. Yellow and orange on their own can be quite bright and overbearing, so something about the light greens complements them so well and makes the whole mix pleasing.

photo (1)I love paper piecing with my hand-dyed fabrics as well, each little pop of color is so joyful to work and cut with. It is fun to use many many shades of different colors to make the composition more rich. Sixteen colors were used in this little 7″x7″ quilt!

photo (2)I even love the color of my scrap piles! I have to almost force myself to throw the colorful scraps away. There is a lot of trimming, ironing, and cutting with paper piecing. My ironing board is high enough so that I can stand while ironing and cutting. I find it comfortable on my body to sit at the machine, then stand to iron, then to sit.

photoAnd after a few hours, the little quilt was done. I haven’t used any batting or done any quilting on it. I’m thinking I want to make one more, to test out if I like it with those features. I also want to make a quilt pattern of this paper piecing, to also sell in my etsy shop. So many ideas so little time! I also have a charm pack of the sixteen fabrics cut to sell along with the pattern, in case you want to use the same color palette I did!

My goal is to have my etsy shop, Sierra Oak Threadworks, open in April. I’ve been working on the background foundation pieces, my shop policies, how to ship packages, things like that. I’ve started a twitter feed, and you can follow me at https://twitter.com/SierraOakThread. Look there for more updates!

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A Springtime View

IMG_7937Another monthly meet up of our Out of the Box Panel Quilt. We were somewhat of a quiet bunch today, we hung our panels and sat gazing at the progress we’ve made. The mountains stretch across in wonderful detail. We’ve all begun to add greens and elements to our foregrounds.

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Conversation centered around how we want to finish the quilt. We discussed what length our panels will be, and decided on 37 inches, 371/2 if you include the binding allowance. We discussed when to start quilting, and decided anyone can start when they are ready! No reason to wait. We did agree to all use the same batting, so the thickness is similar between panels. Jan and Nela generously shared their favorite batting with us, and we each went home with a strip to use.

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IMG_7940Some new detail on the quilt: Marilyn’s cabin and the wild iris and quail nest. I am going to start working on a couple iris to extend over into my panel as well. I love Cathy’s California Sister butterfly!

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Our goal is to have the quilt finished in time for our May guild show. That means we have three months left! We thought about what needs to be accomplished in that time to keep us on track for finishing. By the March meeting we will have all our embellishments on the quilt, by April each panel will be quilted, and at our May meeting we will bind and work on the sleeve. We are thinking we will do an invisible binding, like I did on my poppy wall hanging. For hanging, we were thinking one sleeve all the way across. Our thought is that this would minimize shifting and moving. We’ll see as it gets closer!

My goals to work on before our March meeting are: finishing the leaves for the cottonwood, making some yarn bushes, and a few iris. Then I’ll be ready to quilt!

{This post is part of a series. To see other posts in this series, please click here}

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Last October, I began a quilt for my close friend Grace’s baby while Grace was still pregnant. She didn’t know if it was a boy or girl yet, so I picked out these sweet golden yellows and grays. Looking back now, the colors I picked closely resemble the beautiful autumn colors we had in the Owens Valley at the time! Perhaps I was channeling the color in the world around me without even realizing it.

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I chose a quilt pattern from The Practical Guide to Patchwork, that I felt would highlight the fabrics nicely in big bold squares. Since I only had these eight fat quarters, I spent a little while doing some math, to see if I had enough fabric to make a baby size quilt. And the conclusion was . . . yes!

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It was only halfway through piecing the quilt that I realized I had already made this pattern before! No wonder the pattern felt so familiar as I cut and sewed the squares. Silly me. Oh well, it is a good pattern for cute fabrics!

photo (1)The quilt top came together really quickly, I think it might have only taken one weekend if I remember right.

photo 2Then the pieced quilt top sat on the shelf for several months, as quilts-in-progress often do. Until I saw this pin on pinterest, which got my creative juices flowing. That design is one of my favorite quilting motifs; I’ve quilted it by hand on a wall hanging. I was intrigued by being able to use the walking foot to quilt the pattern, and thought that the quilted circles would complement the pieced squares well.

photo 1 (2)I lay out the pieced top on my kitchen floor, and using a cd case lid as my template, and a disappearing ink fabric pen to mark with, traced the pattern as outlined on the tutorial.

photo 2 (2)And then I began quilting. I love using a walking foot because it moves the quilt through the machine so easily. It doesn’t tire out my arms or make me sore. The first few curves were a bit wobbly, but I soon got into the swing of things, and the walking foot easily turned the gradual curves.

photo 1 (3)At first I sewed a row or two each day on my lunch break, but by the time the weekend came, there was no stopping me. Adding in a slight under-the-weather feeling and gray skies, I knew it was going to be a sewing weekend. In just a few hours on Saturday and Sunday I was able to quilt the entire baby quilt.

photo 2 (3)It was very meditative to just follow the pre-traced lines. I love how the intersecting circles come together. This might be my new favorite way to quilt baby quilts! It is decorative and quick. As I felt the momentum growing, I quickly dashed over to our local quilt shop to pick up a fabric for the binding. I always have to think ahead, in our small town the shop isn’t open on Sunday. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stuck on Sunday in the middle of a project without the materials I need!

photo 3I picked up this super cute pink and white striped fabric. I thought the stripes would make a nice patterned touch for the edge. And Grace’s baby was born in January, a girl!, so I thought the pink would be a cute addition to make their quilt hers.

IMG_7912With the binding sewn, I popped the quilt in the wash to erase the lines, and the quilt was done!

IMG_7917I love the way the pink binding came out.

IMG_7923And I love the quilting pattern, here you can see it better on the back of the quilt.

IMG_7920The quilt is already in the mail, working it’s way to Ruby’s house. I hope it wraps her up in the warmth and love I feel for her, and I can’t wait to meet her!

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