Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Improv Quilt: Gold Rush

Gold Rush

Stripped together from a box of scraps donated by a friend, these outcasts have taken on a new life. Two people said immediately it reminded them of a Gustav Klimt work. I believe this is the piece to which they referred. Stocletfriez

Image: Gustav Klimt, Wikipedia

I was a bit uncomfortable as I pieced the above blocks, and I think that's what held my attention. These were not my style of fabrics, and I had limited myself to only the donated boxes of scraps. I picked out strips that would play off each other by contrast or size, and ultimately used about 3/4 of the pile. The navy ditsy print comes off as a solid here, and it was from my vintage stash. I used every last inch of it.

The design wall was full so I laid everything on the floor. It was easier to switch blocks around with so many pieces, but there was an amazing change viewing it pinned to the wall. You just can't beat the perspective of a design wall.

This book arrived over the weekend, and I've read it cover to cover once. Then I started again at the beginning. It's really good! If you like improv, and you're going to get one book, this is it. I have told several other bloggers that tend toward improv, emphatically, that they need it. The link will take you to Amazon where you can use the Look Inside feature for more details, but if I have to pick 3 things that appealed to me most:

1. There are no patterns, but Ms. Wood uses the term 'scores', as in music. Each of the scores is shown as it is interpretted by several quilters. Every quilt is amazing!

2. The technique section is full of new things I've never seen anywhere else, and I read a lot. 

3. There is an emphasis on the mind/body connection, and bringing creativity to your work, your world, and your life. (She's singing my song, or I'm singing hers!)

If you don't need another book on your shelf, try your library. It's a have-to-read book for the New Year!

Gradation Dyeing

The orignial Sky Blue fabric I dyed. It was too deep for what I wanted, and I tried a dye run to create a gradation from dark to light.

I won't get into specifics on how I did the gradation dyeing, but basically the amount of dye was cut 50% each time I dyed a new piece. You can see it's all the same color, but the intensity and depth is reduced to a very pale blue by the end.

The mottled effect is from low immersion dyeing, and was the easiest way for me to experiment. You could avoid that by using a larger container, and stirring it often for the first 20 minutes or so. This Solo Cup method worked well for what I needed to see. Also, can you see the bit of red dye on the edge of the palest piece? There was likely just a tiny grain of dye on my glove when I touched it. The powder travels easily, and this is why a mask is essential when measuring dyes.

Versatex Screen Printing Dyes

Another fun product I've come across to color or paint fabric with is Versatex Dyes. They have more of a creamy texture--think Pond's Cold Cream, and are listed as screen printing dyes. They can be thinned for a less intense saturation, but I just grabbed a paint brush I had nearby and played with the color. I used the dyes full strength from the jar, and with a 1/2" angled brush so there were some limitations to the detail. I'll finish the piece with a permanent marker, but wanted you to see the brilliant colors. Here they're used on watercolor paper, but they work as well on fabric, and can be heat set for permanence. Imagine the possibilities of customizing your own fabric, quilt labels, etc.?

Dharma Trading Co. has them on sale right now, and I have no affiliation with them. I do think they are an excellent company, and am very impressed with the amount of tutorials and information they have on their site. These are also available on Amazon.

It's just a few days until Christmas, and I hope you are all Making Merry, whatever that may be! If you haven't been able to find the perfect thing for someone, may I suggest a copy of Uppsala Stars? It's my pattern download available through Craftsy. Click through the button at the top right.

A gift for someone, and one for you, too, from creativebug? That's sweet! Hundreds of classes to take, and all available at one low price! Wouldn't you like your favorite designer or artist to teach you?

How about a Quilty Text Mug from Connecting Threads for your favorite sewing sister?
Quilting Words Mug - Red

RedBubble has edgy merchandise from t-shirts to coffee mugs to lap top sleeves, and you're supporting blossoming artists! 

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


  1. I love your Gold Rush quilt! It is so striking! And your hand dyes turned out beautifully as well. Merry Christmas!

    1. Thank you, Katy, and Merry Christmas to you, too!

  2. Excellent breakthrough for you with Gold Rush! You limited yourself and met the challenge of using fabrics not your style. It is not only Klimt, it seems like geologic strata, with the earth and sky tones. Very organic. Good progress with the dyeing. I did all that back in the hippie days and still use some of those bits of fabric. One is a tie dyed dish towel, I think that would break the envelope.

  3. As soon as I saw it, it reminded me of Klimt, the painting of the Kiss
    I think it's the way the gold shines out!

  4. You have proven that leftover scraps can shine just as brightly as newly purchased fabric. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing with Oh Scrap!


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Pink Doxie Mama