Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Almost Out of T-shirts!

Well, as almost all the new t-shirts have been dyed, I have gone back into my closet to search out shirts that I was tired of or didn't wear very often.  All the shirts but one fit into this category in this blog.  First I used a 50% solution of Chlorox to bleach out the t-shirts.  After bleaching, I washed them and then did an additional soaking with Anti-Chlor (sodium bisulfite) I believe
which takes out the bleach which remains in the shirts and will eventually break down the fibers.  It bleached out to a beige and yellow and then I overdyed with black and brown.

This next tshirt was either the before for this t-shirt or the next one.  I had liked it but was tired of it.

This was a the t-shirt after the bleaching.  I kind of liked it so left it like that.  It is even paler in person than in the photo and very soothing looking.    I suspect I will get bored with it and overdye it at some future date. You can see how the  yellow doesn't discharge though.

This was also a t-shirt that  I left alone after bleaching it.  The before version is below and it was  okay.  This very pink version goes perfectly with a sweater I have so it will probably stay this way for awhile.  You can see that there was a lot of fuchsia in the original as it does not discharge.

This  was okay but I didn't wear it at all.  I liked the upper part okay but didn't like the bottom as it didn't seem to go together.  Will probably get sick of the pink version as well!!

 This was one that I overdyed with Boysenberry and a little Grape.  It is okay.  

This was just various shades of probably either mixing blue or navy.  I didn't bleach it but just overdyed with sun yellow.  These long sleeved t-shirts all shrunk up and became bigger around so will have to take them in a bit.  I am okay with this one.

Probably my favorite of the bunch as you can see definitely patterning.  This was also a bleached and overdyed with brown and black tshirt.  It and the other brown and black one had some fuchsia splotches that needed to be covered which is why I chose the darker dyes.  

An interesting fact though is that these shirts dyed to as dark a shade as those that had never been bleached.  I remember reading that bleaching the colors out really didn't release the dye sites on the cotton but there must be one heck of a lot of dye sites as there is NO discernible difference between those I dyed from white to those I dyed after bleaching out all the color first!

This was one last t-shirt dyed from white.  I wanted to see how dark I could get the Basic Blue (ProChem color name) to dye.  It is the only one of the pure blues that is biased to a red rather than yellow.  It is one of my favorite dye colors.  I have never been able to get it this dark using traditional low water immersion methods.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I'll Be Wearing Nothing but T-shirts for sure now!

 Well, another day of experimenting was in order as it was hot and humid out so back to the basement and trying to improve upon a couple of the long sleeved t-shirts I had dyed last  year but wasn't happy about.  The one on the left is the "before" and the one on the right, the "after".  I had folded it into the usual fourths and then dumped "New Black" and "Basic Brown" powdered dyes on the ice.  I certainly like it better than before and perhaps will wear it a little more (although I do have to take it in as it is just too wide.

This was another t-shirt that I just wasn't crazy about -- just too boring.

 I like this version much much better.  I again added mostly black but a little brown as well and had refolded it kind of where the old folds were.  I don't know whether anyone else likes these patterns but I am intrigued by getting the repeating patterns instead of just random color.

This is another before and after.  The before was okay but I seem to go for higher charged color!  I folded this and another t-shirt which was almost identical into quarters but laid them flat instead of scrunching and sprinkled "Sun Yellow" and then "Intense Blue" on top of the ice.  I had a spice container that I had filled with the yellow and it did a nice job of sprinkling lighter than I have been doing with just spoons.

 This was just another of the white t-shirts sprinkled with the black and basic brown from above as I had liked that combination last year when dyeing.

A second formerly white t-shirt sprinkled with the brown and black dyes.

This was another of the lavender and blue shirts overdyed with the yellow and intense blue.  Not sure whether I don't want to just overdye again with just yellow.  I have a few more tshirts that are too dark and will do some bleaching before attempting to overdye with some ice resist dyeing.

Besides all the dyeing, I did finally manage to get the outside borders on the retirement quilt for a friend that I have been working on.It was a problem finding a dark blue that went with the dark blue used in the inside borders but managed to find a large piece in my stash from a long time ago.  It is even enough for a backing as well which was great.  Now to just get it basted and quilted.  It is now about 60 inches square so will be a bit of a challenge.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Ice Dyeing Addiction....

Well, can't stay away from the bags of ice, even though I am disappointed at the quality of the ice.  Last year the bags from this grocery store were the best but this year, they appear to be from the same distributor as my ultra-cheap bags from BJs which are 1/3 the price.  This was probably my favorite from the bunch I did today.  I had decided to mix up some green and then surround it by blue and then purple and then throw in some strong orange at the end next to the purple.  Things never end as you predict using this technique except for the repeating because of the folding.  This was folded in quarters and I do like getting the repeating pattern.  It seems easier on the eyes to me than an all over lack of pattern.  It might be a bit busy for some though!  This is the back of the t-shirt and the front looks basically the same!

This was my second favorite and uses the same colors as the above one.  The green was made with lemon yellow and intense blue but even though this was the main color added, I have very little occurrence of it on the finished t-shirt.  I suspect the yellow decided not to play with the others!  This was also folded in quarters.

This was not folded but just scrunched.  You can see a little green here and then more purple than I would have predicted.  The intense blue and grape were very fresh dyes.  I am truly amazed at how well these very inexpensive tshirts from KMart dye -- the colors are very rich and dark.  I think, though, that using the full strength powdered dyes on the ice (or snow) is about the only way to get this depth of color.  I have never gotten grape to be this dark despite using 10% strength in my LWI dyeing.

Another scrunched one.  I think I forgot which way the t-shirts were faced when all scrunched up and so ended up with top and bottom color change instead of up and down stripes!  Same with the above which were probably the two I had placed together...

This is the last of the t--shirts from yesterday and again you can see the folding in quarters.  I can fold quilting fabric in twelths and get the repeat but a little tougher with the tshirts.  Folding in quarters results in eight layers as well and that is about the most I can get the pattern to repeat through.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Back to Ice Dyeing!!

Well, I can't stay away!!  I found my favorite Basic Edition t-shirts at KMart in my size and decided I needed some new colors of tshirts.  This is one of the tshirts, folded in fours and scrunched up on top of a cookie rack over a plastic bin.  They have been soaked in a soda ash solution for 15 minutes.  I then squeeze out the excess and arrange the tshirts.  The soda ash solution is 1/2 cup soda ash to 1 gallon of water.

 This is a second scrunched tshirt -- scrunched overall.
These are two shirts, accordion folded and then twisted into a spiral.

 This is the all-over scrunched tshirt with the layer of ice cubes and then the dyes are liberally sprinkled on top.  The colors I used for this were ProChem's grape and intense blue as I just wanted to see these colors together.  I added a little turquoise in as well.

These are the two spirals with their dyes (same colors) applied.  The grape stayed kind of clumpy and didn't melt for a long time.  The intense blue literally sprinkled.  I think it is because there is a filler in the intense blue.

This was the spirals after about 2 hours of sitting.  There is still a little color left in the ice.

These are the spirals right before I take the next step -- this was about 3 1/2 hours after I started.  I use very cold ice cubes frozen in my chest freezer which gets things colder than my fridge freezer.  You can see there is no color left in the ice so I call it "done".

My next step is to take each individual tshirt and keep it wound or scrunched as it is and put it in a plastic tray with a styrofoam plate covering it and put it in my studio microwave for 4 min.  I fill up two 4 gallon pails with warmish water while I am waiting for each tshirt.  I rinse in each tshirt in each of the two pails (I change the water in the first pot between each tshirt, ie for the second shirt I use the pot I used second for the first tshirt which doesn't have as much color and then for the second rinse, I use the clean water.)  Especially for turquoise and the other blues, this microwave step assures good strong color -- these Procion MX dyes are "cold water" dyes but heat really speeds up the process and it is my "make sure" step.  There was an article some time ago  in Quilting Arts magazine that showed what happens with turquoise if you don't apply some heat at some point in the process --- very little color.

The last step is to wash in the washing machine for at least 30 minutes using the hottest water you can and Synthrapol and then rinse twice.  Sometimes I do this process twice depending on the colors - reds are particularly hard to get out.  Synthrapol is a strong detergent/surfactant.

This is one of the two spiral tshirts.  I do like the colors and the color seems to go all the way through as this was the first time I had tried this approach.

I am liking the grape a lot but will have to do my accordion folds a little more evenly I think!!

 This is the overall scrunched tshirt above.

This is the scrunched tshirt that was folded in fourths.  I do like the combination of the intense blue and grape.

Friday, July 4, 2014

July Meeting of RAFA

This quilt was a surprise for one of our departing members!!  Both she and another member are heading to retirement in Ft. Collins Co.  They had each independently chosen this new location because of its beauty but also because of the active quilt community out there!  Mary Louise was surprised, shocked and obviously overwhelmed by this lovely gift that many members had secretly put together.  Mary Louise has been publishing patterns lately and is using her patterns working with Andover Fabrics.

This is the back of the above quilt -- love the machine quilting done by member Valerie Schultz.

This is one of several quilts that a new member showed today.  She LOVES to do the machine embroidery and these were all really nice.  She was also the lucky recipient of 10 boxes of my drapery and upholstery samples which she was very happy to fill her car with!!  She uses mostly these types of fabrics in her pieces.

She also did this lovely embellished and discharged and dyed piece!!  She still has some embellishing to do!

Beth Kelly is modeling a jacket she recently purchased from a local dyer who uses flowers from her garden both for the dyes and mordants.  I thought it was just stunning because of the repeats that she got using her techniques which she teaches locally.  This is the first time that natural dyes have ever appealed to me!!  I have always been envious of Beth's beautiful white hair though but I am getting there (too bad I have to get older for this to happen).

This is the back of the jacket - stunning!!  Looked like it was the kimono coat pattern that I use.

Four of the ladies have gotten together independently and made these table runners!!  Nice!

This is one of our new members who came to us from Oregon where she studied with a number of famous quilters.  She is a wonderful dyer as well as you can see from this top she made (which I love).  Her name is Tina Somerset and she will be teaching some art quilt classes at Patricia's and I might just sign up!!

This is one of the samples from a class she will be teaching and below is a second sample which shows curved piecing.

 Sure looks like my kind of quilting!!  

We are at our limit for members yet again with a waiting list as well.  I feel a little guilty staying in the group as I am here so seldomly but will be there more next year.

Ann showed us another one of her beautiful pieces which was as nice on the back as it was on the front!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Quilt For Betsey!!

Well, for several months now we have been planning and conniving behind the scenes in honor of one of our email penpals who was retiring from her very demanding job this spring.  Betsey particularly loves France so our West Coast pal got together a bunch of French themed fabrics and we decided on a "round robin" approach to making the quilt.  There are only four of us remaining in this group so we didn't go round too far!!  Mari of the West Cost did the large star (30 inch square) in the center with the fussy cut diamonds.  Sue in Albany added the set of borders with red and blue emphasized so when it came to me it was essentially a "primary color" quilt and was now 41 inches square.  This is always a challenge for me as I am a "secondary color" kind of gal!! (give me green, purple and orange any day).  I stared at it for a couple of days on my design wall toying with making blocks 5 inches, 8 inches or 10 inches as I figure that would make the math pretty easy.  

I had an "aha" moment finally when playing with the different sizes -- I was going to do stars to balance the middle star.  Nothing seemed to work until I remembered that I had a drawer full of Dear Jane blocks which I
thought might match the colors.  Over the years I have made probably close to 1000 DJ blocks and have used 500 of them in three quilts, and given 300 away as an auction item.  I still have about 200!  These email pen pals and I had exchanged blocks probably 10 years ago so it was a good tie in for Betsey (although these were blocks I had done for another quilt).  

 I tried just putting the blocks side by side and they were just too busy so then I decided to put them on point.  The blocks I chose had lots of red and tan but very little yellow so I decided to add some 9 patches utilizing yellow in the center and repeating the navy and red that were in the quilt already.  You can see the two versions of the nine patch and I settled on the one on the right.  Each of these blocks was initially 5 inches (unfinished) and when I added the triangles to make them on point they were 6 3/4 inches which made them just short of the 41 inches I needed.

So the blocks have been added with the created nine-patches repeating around the outside.  The only things left to do now are to put on the final borders and then back and baste and quilt!!  It now stands at about 53 inches square and will be a bit bigger by the end after the final borders are added.