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Archive for May, 2017

May was a full month! When things slow down, it is always surprising to look back and see how much happened. Where did May go? One of the fun and new things that I squeezed into the month was the opportunity to lead a workshop for my local quilt guild!

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Our guild offers free workshops for members once a month. Mostly, guild members volunteer to teach a workshop based on a skill or project they want to share. Several months ago, a guild member had been asking me how to dye fabric, and our conversation made me wonder if other quilters would be interested in learning too.

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After approaching our workshop chair, and talking with the guild, it sounded like indeed they would! I was signed up to teach the May Saturday workshop. I decided to do a twelve-step color wheel, one of the chapters in the Dyeing to Quilt book, where I learned most of what I know about dyeing fabric.

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From yellow, red, and blue dyes, twelve colors are made by mixing in varying amounts. I started the workshop with a brief explanation and demonstration. I wasn’t sure how long it would all take, but the timing worked out perfect. My teaching part was about an hour, and the dyeing part for participants was a second hour.

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And just to keep things interesting, I threw in a new technique which I had never tried before! When I dye on my own, I do it next to the kitchen sink, where I can constantly rinse my gloves and tools in the running water. For the workshop, we were working outside on tables, and had buckets of water to rinse in. I wanted to minimize the mess and need to rinse. I think that’s the great part about teaching a workshop. Not only was I sharing what I know, I learned something new too!

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In another of my dye books, the Fabric Dyer’s Dictionary, she shares a technique of pouring the dye into a ziploc bag with the fabric, and closing up the bag with dye and fabric. The main difference with this technique is that it is less messy, but the fabric needs to be agitated every ten minutes or so, depending on how mottled and variegated you want the patterning to be. You can see in the above two photos, after mixing the dyes, it was easy to pour the dye into the bag, and massage around. I was super pleased this technique worked since I tried it on the fly in the workshop! And am excited that I now have a new technique in my toolkit.

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It was a beautiful sunny morning to be outside in the garden. After my demonstration, all the guild members jumped right in to mixing and measuring their dyes. There was lots of laughter and chatting while mixing, and the morning passed most pleasantly.

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Everyone went home with their wet fabric in bags and instructions on how to rinse and wash after curing. Here’s my rainbow, I was pleased with how it turned out!

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It was my first time doing something like that; sharing about what I know, and talking about what I love to do was so much fun! So often, my craft is done solo at home. To play and share with others felt like a gift. It was also really informative to prepare for the class. Mixing and dyeing have become habit for me, so it was neat to step back and read my books again to think about the why and how to be able to describe the process and answer questions.

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And of course, I got a few fabrics out of the morning activities as well!

One last exciting update, my husband has been working on a dye counter in our garage for me, next to our washer/dryer/sink set up. We were gifted a counter top from a neighbor who remodeled their kitchen. Aaron just finished installing and building the counter and shelves and I can’t wait to move in and arrange all my supplies and start dyeing in the space! I will be sure to post pictures and share how it is to have a designated dye space soon!

And thank you to Marilyn, who shared with me the photos she took of me during the demonstration part of the workshop. Thanks Marilyn!

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As Kristine shared in her note for May’s selection of fabrics for the Pressed Seam Club, California experienced an extremely wet winter after four years of drought. Rainy days are just now turning to hot sunny days, and the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the green has been lovely this month!

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The fabrics included are an array of greens and blues, in varying textures and thicknesses.

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Of interest to me was the double gauze from Japan, the green grass print. I’ve seen double gauze fabric for sale online, and this was the first time I’d felt it in person. It is lightweight, but I think possible to incorporate in quilts and other sewing projects.

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I have a lot more I want to say but it might have to wait for another blog post where the whole story can be told. I used a couple of my pressed seam fabrics in my most recent in-progress quilt! It is neat to start to dig into my stash and find the perfect pattern for a project from this selection of new fabrics I’m receiving from the club.

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I think the months got all mixed up for everyone. April’s package arrived for the Pressed Seam Club, and the introduction card started with “Happy March Everyone!” And now it is May, and I’m sharing April’s fabrics with you!

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Kristine shared in her note that the collection started with the Jubilee print with lots of multi-colored polka dots, and went from there.

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There is a very geometric feel to this collection, with circles, lines, and solids. Some fabric is from Japan and some from India. Wow!

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Toward the end of March, a friend and I experimented with dyeing shibori. I tried a running stitch pattern, and chose this brilliant maroon color to dye with. When I returned home and opened my Pressed Seam shipment, I thought my dyed piece complemented the other fabrics quite well!

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So many intriguing, interesting, and neat fabrics! Such colors and designs. I can’t wait to make something with them! Maybe adding in my dyed shibori swatch to the mix …

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P.S. This mini photo shoot included scone, strawberries, and a cuppa tea. Heaven!

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Just Keep Stitching

Many moons ago, I stumbled across Rebecca Ringquist and her dropcloth samplers. I was immediately smitten, purchased the book, subscribed to her 12 month sampler club, and decided I was going to learn how to embroider. I did complete a couple of the monthly samplers last year, but then life happened, as it so often does. As I received each monthly sampler in the mail, I neatly tucked it away into a drawer. And they sat there. And sat.

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Until this January, when motivation struck again, and I pulled out the samplers and began stitching.

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Suddenly, I was finishing one every few weeks. Maybe it was the intense winter we had, full of snow and wet and cold. Maybe it was the long dark evenings, when stitching while watching a show was enjoyable. Maybe it is because work has been extra intense, and stitching is a super great way to unwind at the end of even the most stressful day.

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It’s something I look forward to. Even if for just a few minutes, pulling out the gorgeous colors and feeling the threads and making the patterns, just warms my heart and gives me a place that is peaceful and simple.

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The second thing that really kicked me into gear and made embroidery fun was discovering Rebecca Rinquist’s class on CreativeBug, and utilizing youtube videos to learn how to make each stitch. In the picture above, I made the needle holder from this workshop.

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I discovered it is super helpful to actually see in movement exactly how the stitch was made. How the sewist held her fingers, positioned the needle, and made each stitch.

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As soon as one sampler was finished, I started on the next. I tried different types of threads and played with different colors.

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My favorite sampler of all I stitched towards the end. Raised stitches. Each was so unique. The construction of each was very detailed, and I was amazed again and again at the process that ended with such a fantastic looking stitch. I couldn’t get over each one.

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This sampler also had a few flowers on each side, which were a joy to stitch as I love flowers.

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Ready for the big reveal? Without further ado, all twelve samplers!

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What’s next? I think making them all into something would be nice. Maybe a book, like a stitch library. Then I could consult the book when choosing my next stitch (and maybe recall how to make each one).

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Have I stopped stitching? No way! Now I’m on to a colorburst sampler that was included in one of my dropcloth sampler mailings. It is neat to start to apply the stitches I learned in whatever way I like!

And from here? I am inspired to try a layered floral embroidery piece, combining different fabrics and patterns. I am interested in joining a wild boho stitch along. I’d like to try to draw my own designs to stitch, like this scene of wildflowers by Kelly Fletcher.

The days are getting longer and it is nice to be outside more, but I am still finding time to sit a bit in the evening and stitch. I’m guessing I’ll be sharing some more stitchery with you here in the future!

Are you inspired to try embroidery?

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