Tuesday, June 28, 2016

How to Successfully Combine Hand Dyed and Commercial Fabrics

Welcome to the Pink Doxies' guest post for 
Sew Cute Tuesday 
at Blossom Heart Quilts!

Note: As a guest blogger, this same post is appearing on Blossom Heart Quilts today. Use the link to view there, and link up to the Sew Cute Tuesday Link Party!

I'm Julie here at Pink Doxies, and I do more than make quilts. I'm a fan of improv design and a longarmer, but I also like to print, paint, and dye fabrics. Surface design is fast becoming my favorite thing to do. For dyeing, Procion MX dyes are my pick because they are both versatile, and will not fade the way some dyes will. I can create a soft, pastel palette, or one that is saturated, bright, and beautiful! When I've dyed the fabric a perfect color, I'm sure it will stay that color because these dyes are chemically bonded. I'm such a color fanatic, and I love the process!

"You spend all this time dyeing them, 
but do you use them in quilts?"

One thing people tell me is, "I think hand dyed fabrics are beautiful, but I don't know how to use them. They're so wild! They don't work with anything I have."

Yes, I do use them, and they play well with others! They are easier to blend than you believe. Let me show you some tricks on how I do it, and maybe you'll reconsider these unique textiles for your work.

Most hand dyed fabrics aren't so brightly patterned, but I've made these just to show you how extreme colors and patterns do blend.

These 8 fabrics were made using a simple process called Dip Dyeing. You can read about it here. The fabric is folded many times in a pattern--or randomly, if you choose, and the edges or corners are then dyed in colors of your choice. 

You can apply clamps, rubber bands, or other materials to provide a resist, and this creates a pattern. Even a beginner can create a stunning range of pieces.

The 2 fabrics with a circular print were created using metal washers front and back, and secured with a black plastic clamp. These were all experimental, so some shapes wound up squares before dipping, and others triangles. The surprise for me is part of the fun!

This hand dyed selection include both saturated and muted colors so I looked for something softer to complement them. This comes down to playing with value, and choosing a variety just as you would with any quilt fabrics. The dyeing palette felt unusual when I chose it, but surprisingly there were many fabrics in the store with the same colors. In just a few minutes, I'd located this buttery soft print above, and liked how it had most of the colors, but not all the exact colors. Using a light, medium, and dark yellow help in giving this quilt dimension, and cohesiveness. So don't worry about all the colors you're using being in your commercial print. It just needs to coordinate. 

I still had not chosen a pattern, but 2.5 yards of the print were a good estimate for a large lap quilt. The medium yellow solid was pulled from my stash along with the white solid, and white on white inner border print to give a nice background for the rings to 'float' on. Even with the sun washing out my colors, you can see what a soft, pretty, and summery looking quilt this is becoming--and all with those bright, hand dyed fabrics! Would you have ever guessed?

Values: Light, Medium, Dark

My favorite tricks include squinting at a quilt to see the values. Can you see how the soft blue has become the dark color here? The soft green and commercial prints look the lightest, and the rest fall into the medium value range. If squinting doesn't work for you, take a photo. The values will pop with a black and white filter.

Prints: Large, Medium, Small

You might also consider the print sizes within the fabrics, and see the the multicolored dip dyed pieces fall into large prints, the more subtle dyed fabrics medium, and the commercial print between medium and small with the flower dots. There are also a fair amount of fabrics that appear more as solids. This old rule still helps, but isn't set in stone.

Sources for Hand Dyed Fabrics

Support your online and local stores that carry them. Most will offer bundled specialties, but others can be purchased by the yard for larger projects. Dyeing fabrics yourself can be very rewarding, and I would recommend the Dharma Trading Co. website as a good resource. 

Pink Doxie Textiles & Wearable Art: Also, I will be offering some limited pieces soon, and my first small collection in late summer. If you'd like to receive a notice when these are available, send an email to julie@pinkdoxies.com with your email in the message. Use 'Hand Dyed' in the subject area, and you will only receive messages about hand dyed textiles or wearable art. You may also follow me on Instagram as PINKDOXIES

Check out some other posts to learn more about me, past quilts, but especially the #BraveQuilter project. Pink Doxies encourages all quilters to grow their skills one small step at a time on their own terms. I will support your bravery, and cheer you on while you meet others also venturing into the unknown. 

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Mini Round Robin Round #2

Tish's Beautiful Block!

This is round #2 of our 2016 Round Robin with Sandra of mmm! Quilts, Cindy of Stitchin At Home, myself, and the original creator of this block center, Tish of Tish's Adventures in Wonderland. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Embroidering a Deconstructed Screen Print & Special Sneak Peek

Do You See What I See?

I have really labored figuring out how to work with this deconstructed silk screen print I made. I have torn out as much thread as I put in it, but am not disappointed I had to do it. I found out what did not work before I settled for what I believed did. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Adding Layers to Hand Dyed Fabric with Paint

Personalized Notebook Covers

It's been a few days since I've given you any news from the studio, but a lot has taken place. Let me start by saying there are several projects going on simultaneously, and I'll try to catch you up.

Keeping records is very important when you experiment as much as I do. I note measurements, temperatures, dye colors, processes, etc., knowing there's no way I'll ever remember everything. But one problem I keep having, is not being able to locate one special notebook to keep everything together. Dyes in one, paints in another, etc. I have at least a dozen composition books and journals going, but recipes all need to be kept in just one.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Tie Dye for Fourth of July!

First Batch of Tie Dyed Clothing

Like these little outfits, this post is short and sweet. It was on my June plan since I bought the clothing, and needed to be done before the kids grew out of them. Oh, yes, that has happened to me before!

I have done tie dyed fabrics before, and shown you the process, but never clothing. There are lots of babies in the family right now--remember all the quilts, and the Fourth of July is a very big deal in our little town. We host one of two fireworks here, and there is a good, old-fashioned parade. Gnadenhutten, Ohio is Smalltown, USA in every respect.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Dip Dyeing Details

Dip Dyed Fat Quarters

Yes, I know I was supposed to stick with stamping, but I wanted to try out a different dyeing technique I'd read about. That, and I still owed fabric to Jennifer @inquiringquilter for winning the April link up for #BraveQuilter. Let me give you a quick run down on how this process is different, and the recipe is at the end.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Foam Stamps and No Reply Bloggers

Foam Stamps

One of the quickest way to produce a unique stamp with little effort is to use pre-cut foam shapes. Here's a quick tutorial for a project on a rainy day with kids.

Foam stamps can be purchased plain or with an adhesive under a backing paper. I prefer not to pick at the shape pieces to remove the paper as I tend to nick the edges of the foam. Every little little divot in the surface will be picked up in your print so work carefully. Instead, I buy the foam sheets in large rectangles with adhesive, peel the backing of one, and can then stick the shapes to it. I can reposition the shapes until I find the design I like, too. 

To customize the foam, hole punches transform rectangles to high rises with windows. I stacked my shapes to create a make believe city street with a sun or moon. Who knows? You can also score the shapes with a pointed tool or pencil to embellish it. Remember, if you're creating word stamps, you'll need to make a mirror image so it prints correctly. 

Simple dots large and small might give the impression of bubbles. Vary the amount of ink, and change its direction to add variety. 

You can see how I trimmed back the edges of the background sheet near the shapes. This gives me a clearer picture of the edge of the stamp so I keep from marking over a previous print. Use a brayer to add just a small amount of ink, and trying reprinting several times before re-inking to vary the saturation. I also found it helpful to press very lightly when using this kind of stamp with ink.

Foam Stamps and Printing with Paint

If you wish to use foam stamps with paint, you can paint the stamp with a thin coat of acrylic craft paint first, and allow it to dry. A little bit of paint will give these some 'tooth', and pick up your printing paint. Foam stamps have had the tendency to smear for me if I used them without this prep. 

A Blog Post Worth Reading

A few weeks ago I started answering blog comments on the blog. I have spoken with several other blogger friends, and each of us is experiencing difficulties with No-Reply Bloggers, and others who aren't even aware we cannot respond to them. Sandra from mmm! quilts has written a highly detailed post on what happens to her when trying to reply, but computer upgrades change things often. Even if you have a Blogger account, and I was able to access your email in the past, it is now impossible for me. I want to create fun projects to share with you, and spending so much of that time on the computer eats it up. As much as I believe in being courteous and polite, I hope you'll understand not receiving a personal email, and check back to the blog comments. Thank you for your understanding.

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go Dip Dye.
Coming up next on Pink Doxies.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Deconstructed Screen Printing: Fabric Art

Deconstructed Screen Printing:
Fabric Art

Making a homemade screen out of my sheer fabric worked so well, I decided to buy some larger frames with stretched and primed canvas. You can often find them reasonably priced in art and hobby stores in two packs. Even Walmart has some smaller sizes. I took a razor knife, and cut the canvas off at the stapled area on the back. I carefully set it aside to use for something else. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Low Tech Printing and Stamping: Potatoes, Foam, and Embossing Plates

Another Layer

What fun I've been having, and all 
the better when I'm sharing it with you! 

The majority of folks don't have a bottomless purse to fund their hobbies so I've been keeping that foremost in my mind while doing these projects. I think being economically and ecologically minded with both money and materials should be a consideration in all our lives. So I try to stay within a reasonable budget, and RRR: Reduce, reuse, and recycle. If you're trying some of these projects yourselves, start being aware of where you can scavenge free materials. Your junk mail, jars, bubble wrap, onion bags, packaging on many items, etc., and so on are all freebies. Make sure they're clean, and start accumulating interesting shapes and textures to use for printing. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Silk Screening SUPER Simplified

"Design On-the-Fly" Silk Screen Tools

Okay, so we don't normally have silk screen emergencies, but play along with me here. This is one of the most fun posts I've done in a while.

All through June I'm playing with methods of printing, and friends keep asking me, "When are you silk screening?" I had intended to do this toward the end of the project, but because I thought it was one of the more expensive, and technically involved methods. But when I got such fun results from using a lowly spud in the first posts, here and here, I thought, "How can I super simplify this so it's accessible to nearly everyone? How do I take away the dark mystery of silk screening?"