Saturday, April 30, 2016

Home Again but a Few Birds Left from North Carolina

I upgraded a bit on my camera so went around the last few days at the beach and tried to catch some of my favorite birds.  This is of course an Oystercatcher in all his splendor.

The Painted Buntings have returned to Carolina Beach State Park but are hard to get pictures of!!

I managed to get one sitting on a tree branch at a real distance and think it is an immature one because of more mottling.

Practicing with my new camera and got this Forster's Tern in action.

This was way off in the distance -- just a pinpoint but was so small I took a picture.  I was surprised when I got home and determined it was a Least Tern which I had not seen before.  There were several flitting around.  They are frequent visitors to Wrightsville Beach but I hadn't seen them down in my neck of the woods before that day.

Counting down as this is my 999 post!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Last Day of Dyeing Before Heading Back North!!

My friend Dianne and I spent the day doing both a small overdyeing sequence and a couple of gradations.  The gradation dyeing which I have talked about in previous blogs is based upon low water immersion dyeing (Ann Johnston) and her books were my first "bibles" of dyeing. Ann uses tsps and tbsps for measuring dyes.   I was converted to measuring my dyes scientifically by Carol Soderlund in the class where she has you do sequenced overdyeing of three color palettes.  Carol didn't use low water immersion dyeing but did emphasize the measuring of the dyes by weighing rather than using tablespoons or teaspoons.  The reason to use more accurate measuring is that you can duplicate your results and the dyes weigh all different amounts if you keep the volume (a tablespoon or a teaspoon) constant.  So a tsp of yellow might weigh 7 gms but a tsp of blue would weight 5 gms.  Ann is extremely used to the dyes and how to  play with them using volume measures. I like the predictability of measuring by weight better although like all dyers, sometimes I just play!!

The dye houses express the colors you will get using their dyes in % OWG (of weight of goods) which means if one of the dyes (One of the yellow dyes from ProChem for example -you can click on this link) says that the color shown is 4% OWG, this means that it will take 4 gms of the dye to dye 100 gms of fabric or 8 gms  of dye to dye 200 gms of fabric.  I noticed that they are expressing how many tsps of dye you need per pound of fabric as well now.  If you are using one of the less expensive fabrics from Dharma (about 70 x 70 thread count), a yard of fabric will weigh about 100 gms.  So again, 4% will require 4 gms of dye per yard of fabric.  If your yard of fabric weighed 150 gms, it would take 6 gms of dye to get 4% OWG, etc.  6/150 = .04 or 4%.

In dyeing the most important ratio is the weight of the dye per weight of fabric.  The amount of water used really doesn't figure into the calculation of how dark a fabric will be (although with regular immersion dyeing,  if you  use a lot of water, you will need to add salt to achieve the same results or the dye will bond with the water).  With low water immersion dyeing, you need enough water to cover the fabric and allow it to move around.  From Ann Johnston, this amounts to about 2 cups of water per yard of fabric (with the appropriate grams of dyes dissolved in it) and 1 cup of soda ash solution after the fabric has sat in the dye for about an hour.  She does it somewhat differently soaking the fabric and then using a cup of dye solution while I prefer just using 2 cups of water per yard of fabric.

The above picture is the results of an "extreme overdyeing" session.  Instead of using first five colors and then overdyeing with different five colors (which result in 35 different colors), we only did 3 overdyed with 3.  The first three were a gradation of Navy Blue.  The concentrations were 6%, 2% and .66%.  In each pot were four pieces of fabric from each of us.  We rinsed these out and then prepared 3% solutions of Sun Yellow,Golden Yellow and Mixing Red.  We resorted the fabrics so that from each of the first set of pots, we saved out one piece, place one in the Sun Yellow, one in the Golden and one in the Mixing Red.  We did this with each of the fabrics from the first dyeing.  The results of this overdyeing are what is pictured -- you get 15 different colors.  

We also did some gradations -- both of us chose different gradations.  This first one is a gradation of Intense blue (the first pot had an intensity of 10% and is halved as you get lighter.  Into each pot, 3 gms of Leaf Geen were added.  

If you look closely, you will see a damask like pattern in the fabrics.  This fabric is called Bazin and is used extensively in Africa.  Dianne introduced it to me as she lived in the Cameroons while in the Foreign Service.  She sold me some of her precious stock but I did find it online as well and bought 10 yards (it is on both Amazon and ebay very surprisingly).  I wanted to make sure that the fabric I bought from Amazon was the same as what I got from Dianne as it dyes beautifully and adds some pattern to the fabric,.  It is 48 inches wide and about the same weight as a better commercial cotton with almost a sateen finish.  It is not cheap however.  (It was very cheap when Dianne bought it in Africa though.)  It comes in 10 yard lengths and is heavily waxed and perfumed (although I suspect the wax is more like some kind of starch as it washes out easily.)  The experiment was a success and I may buy more at some point.  It is slightly cheaper on ebay -- no shipping charge but it comes directly from China so does take a little time (but not a lot.)

This was my second gradation.  It was a gradation of New Black with Strongest Red added in an equal amount to each pot (3 gms/yard).  Dianne pointed out that Navy Blue is about the strongest of the dyes we have used and I think she is right!!  If you look at the first picture, you can see how dark those fabrics on the bottom row are.

I did like the darkest of this gradation as it was a really rich dark brown.  This Strongest Red might not be too strong anymore as it is quite old and I have found that the reds exhausts faster than the other colors.

Another blog I also talk about this technique is - Blog on dyeing.

As an aside, this is blog number 998 so 2 more and I will have done 1000 entries in the last eight years.  Whew -- and I hated writing through school and college!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Purses, Purses and More Purses!!

This is a collage of the most recent purses that I have completed.  Four of these use some of my marbled fabric, one uses commercial fabric and one uses a hand dyed fabric that I purchased from another dyer (upper right hand corner).  It was different than anything I had so I purchased it just to see if I wanted to do this.  It basically is dye powder sprinkled on a soda soaked surface which is at an angle so the stuff moves around.

This is a closeup of one of my favorites of the bunch.  Each of these purses uses a heavy duty pseudo suede in the handles, the bottom and on the sides of the purse.  Each purse (except for the one with the commercial fabric) has a zipper on top.  All have two zippered pockets inside and I believe I have solved the drooping problem by sewing the pocket to the lining instead of letting it just hand down from the zippered opening.  

This is also one of my favorites and utilized one of my favorite marbled fabrics.

Friday, April 8, 2016

QBTS 2016 Show

Our Wilmington quilt club did something a little different this year in terms of a quilt show.  We participated in a gallery showing at the Brooklyn Arts Center in downtown Wilmington.  Because of this we had size limitations and had to jury to some extent which quilts would be shown.  They were all hung from wires coming down from the ceiling so they were well above everyone's heads.  This was for two reasons which were that it allowed for more quilt and it also prevented anyone touching the quilts as they offer food and drink at this venue and this is how they make their money.  Many of the quilts were for sale as well.  There were also quite a number of vendors both underneath the quilts and in the courtyard.  You can see here a number of the quilts.  One of mine (I just noticed) is up in the upper right hand corner and is one of my sunset pieces

A view of some more of the quits.

Still more!  In the upper right hand corner is a quilt by fellow dyer Dianne Brisson who was one of the lucky ones who sold her quilt.

A view to the back row.

Two magnificent quilts in the middle surrounded by two of my less significant quilts.  I believe the top quilt is by Pat Mattison. 

The quilt that is on top of this picture evidently won prizes at Houston and it is stunning.  It took five years to make and is all hand appliqued and quilted.  You can see one of my more modest quilts below it -- the snowflakes called Winter in Rochester which was prophetic this year!

Here is a closeup of the above quilt!

All the challenge quilts were up on a wall together.  The challenge had been Circle of Friends.

We had a very short Iron Quilter demo at the show as well into which Pat talked me into participating.  The day before she told us the theme and we were allowed to bring in any fabric we wanted.  The theme was "rain".  We only had an hour and a half to complete a small quilt.  This was the winner (voted on my the audience) by Ann Hope Marvin even though she didn't have it quilted! There were only three of us particpating as there wasn't much room on the stage nor time to be truly creative!  

This was Pat's piece showing the spring gardens and rain.  Lots of bling!

Here is my piece which was obviously a rainbow at the beach.  I thought at the time that everyone would do a rainbow and was surprised that only I did.  One of the parameters we worked under was that we had to incorporate a piece of fabric from each of the other two quilters -- the two fabrics I got were the turtle fabric and the green in the rainbow.  The background is all pieced and the rainbow is fused on and quilted.  It is about 12 inches by 18 inches.  The turtle was my daughter's idea and I really liked it!  There was one woman who watched me almost the whole time I was working and said she had learned so much which was rewarding!

We have already been invited back to this venue for next year!!  It was estimated that we had close to 1000 visitors, many who hadn't been to a quilt show before.