Monday, April 17, 2017

Annual Easter egg dying—what's your favorite?

Clear off the kitchen table... get out the big box of 96 Crayons... fill the mugs with water and vinegar. Let the egg dying commence!
Prep for the annual Easter egg dying session.
As busy, complicated and chaotic as life is these days, we always schedule time to color Easter eggs. For us, this is a much-needed break from technology and the other go-go-go work-related activities. We get to spend quiet time together, unplugged, just doing something as simple as putting color on hard boiled eggs. Coloring eggs for Easter has become a great tradition at our house.

This year, Larry said he found a new technique for egg dying. Supplies required: a leaf, nylon stockings or panty hose, and a twist tie. For the fabric dyers out there, this is a shibori resist dying technique.
Larry prepares the clover resist for dying.
Larry used a clover as the resist and the process worked quite well. The veins in the leaves and the stem were quite pronounced.
Two eggs using the leaf resist method.
I worked with my crayons and drew free-motion quilting designs on the eggs. I found a metallic lime green in the crayon box that got good results. Rubber band resists is also an easy technique that works well. And if you can get the brown eggs, they offer a warmer undertone and beautiful darker nuances to the otherwise bright colored dyes. 
Free-motion quilting designs and rubber band resists.
It's fun and relaxing to be creative and crafty by using one's hands on such a simple activity. At the end of the night, we alway wish we had boiled more eggs.
Colored Easter eggs: which is your favorite?
So, which is my favorite egg this year? The resists yield great results. The FMQ designs are a nice surprise to the recipients of the eggs. I'm drawn to the colors that are achieved from the brown eggs. But the forever classic "baseball egg" is the favorite because this is the one Larry always makes. And, he's MY favorite.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

When washing vintage fabrics, watch out for the rebel blue

When washing vintage textiles, beware of any unstable dyes.
My fellow guild members and I are excited about our upcoming visit from author, award-winning quilter, and vintage fabric rescuer, Mary Kerr. Mary's doing two workshops and presenting a lecture and trunk show this Friday and Saturday. Mary's quilting forté is all about incorporating vintage textiles with today's fabrics to create something "modern with a vintage twist." (Or vintage with a modern twist—however you choose to look at it.)

In preparation for the workshop, I decided to soak my vintage quilt blocks and textile fragments so they were free of any "vintage" dirt and dust. Even if vintage fabrics don't have an odor, you might be surprised at the dirt that's embedded. I was!

First, I filled the sink with tepid water and added a Vintage Textile Soak washing powder (ask YLQS for this).
Soaking vintage quilt blocks.
As the sink began to fill, I added the vintage pieces, gave them a little swish, and began to watch the water turn grey and grungy. After a few minutes, I pulled them out, squeezed the excess water and refilled the sink.
Soaking vintage quilt blocks.
The instructions that come with the Textile Soak product said the textiles can soak for 4 to 24 hours, or as needed. Mine did not have any stubborn stains, so I let them soak for about 5-10 minutes for each wash. I actually had two batches of blocks going simultaneously so as I worked with one batch, the other was soaking. It was 3 or 4 soaks before the water was clear—except for the batch with this blue one!
Vintage quilt block with unstable blue dye.
The dark blue fabric with the white dots had an unstable blue dye. Even with two additional baths using Synthrapol, it continued to bleed. (Nope. Not going in my project!)

The pieces dried out in the sunshine on a terry towel. It didn't take long.
Drying the vintage blocks outside.
A little pressing and I'm ready for the workshop.
Vintage Churn Dash blocks ready for a modern twist.
I just have to decide on my background fabric.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

My guild doesn't disappoint: more improv blocks

Back in February, I donated a grocery bag full of discontinued fabric swatches to support my guild's Cuddle Quilt community service project and use them for the hands-on meeting program, "Making Do." In March, several guild members returned with improv strips, blocks, a quilt top and even a finished quilt! I belong to... THE. BEST. GUILD. Here is some of what we saw at Show and Tell.
Improvisational patchwork with fabric samples.
We suggested to the members not to trim their blocks. We'll size and trim once a quilt layout is determined. 
Framed squares.
Framing blocks with coping strips will facilitate making the blocks a uniform size.

Experimenting with various improv techniques.
Here are two scrappy blocks and two smaller improv pieces.
Improv blocks and scrappy patchwork blocks.
One of the guild members said she experimented with all the techniques that were presented at the February program.
Improv strips and log cabin strips.
 This is one of my favorites—a triangle block.
Make it a triangle!
Gari (left) finished a scrappy Chinese Coin quilt and Vista (right) completed a quilt top with alternating scrappy and solid quilt blocks.
A finished Cuddle Quilt and a top ready for quilting.
I am thrilled that the fabric swatches are blooming into these fun and useful quilts. And, my guild friends are having a fun time with improv piecing, colorful scraps and running the fabric under the presser foot.

Improv with a Vintage Twist Workshop 
Mary Kerr's award-winning quilt, "A Wonky Star."
Now I'm culling my collection of vintage quilt blocks and fragments in preparation for "A Wonky Star: Improv with a Vintage Twist" workshop with Mary Kerr.

The Choo Choo Quilters and the Chattanooga Modern Quilt Guild are hosting Mary for two workshops and a lecture, this coming Friday and Saturday, April 7 and 8.

There are a few spaces in both workshops and the lecture is open to quilters and non-quilters alike. Contact me if interested.
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