Sunday, June 30, 2019

100 Days 100 Blocks 2019 begins July 1

Is anyone doing the 100 Days 100 Blocks quilt-along this year? It starts tomorrow, July 1! I had a blast participating in 2018, so I'm taking up the challenge again in 2019.

My fabric pull for 2019 is a selection of yarn-dyed textured wovens from Diamond Textiles
Fabric pull for #100Days100Blocks2019: Tweed Thicket (top) and Nikko III from Diamond Textiles.
The fabrics include the full color gamut of Tweed Thicket and a selection the Nikko III textured wovens. Tweed Thicket is fat quarters and I have yardage in 6 colors of Nikko III. I'm looking forward to making this project all with yarn-dyed textured wovens!

100 Days 100 Blocks pattern
The 2019 pattern is the "Kinship" sampler quilt that was designed specifically for this quilt-along by the quilt-along host, Gnome Angel. How cool is that?!? One of the things that intrigued me about the pattern is the combination of square and rectangular blocks—very interesting. It's geared for beginners and confident sewers and you can get assembly instructions for patchwork, Marti Michell's templates, or English paper piecing [EPP].

Several quilt shops and on-line resources are sponsoring the event with prizes. My friend, Angie, owner of Stitch Morgantown, is again one of the sponsors.

My initial plan is to use Tweed Thicket for the focal areas and Nikko III for the background.
Full color gamut of Tweed Thicket from Diamond Textiles.

However, I reserve the right to change my mind as the quilt-along progresses (#myquiltmyrules).
Nikko III from Diamond Textiles.

There's still time to join in! 
The pattern is available in a digital PDF file for immediate download. Registration, program rules, helpful tools, a coloring sheet and other information is on the Gnome Angel website.

So pull some fabrics and make a sampler quilt... one day at a time.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

New work, new direction

Inspiration: use nonstandard materials, introduce new tools, layer in three dimensions, take the familiar and merge it with the unconventional. There is much to contemplate, study and explore after spending studio time with Michael Brennand-Wood.
Staple gun, thread and fabric bits.

First sketch: a minor attempt at a three dimensional composition.
Detail: Sketch 1

Unfamiliar tools.
Wire cutter and pop riveter.

Collage. A bit surreal.
Sketch 2

Incorporating dimensional elements. What is the dialog?
Progress: Sketch 2

An inspiring director looks at the skills, abilities and experience of an actor. He contemplates. Then he gently encourages a new direction in which the actor should go.
In the studio with Michael Brennand-Wood.

I'm hoping a departure from the familiar will inspire new work.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Experiments with natural dyes and quilting cottons

Donna Brown's "Can you Dig It" natural dye class was an eye-opener to putting nature's color palette on cloth.
Dobby weave cotton cloth hand dyed with logwood and osage orange.

I have some experience fabric dyeing with synthetic dyes, but the time had come to learn about pre-1856 colorants—natural dyes, extracts and pigments—for coloring textiles. So, for the class supplies, I gathered cuts of several quilting cottons that I generally use for sewing, garment making and quilting, along with a few rubber stamps, stencils and brushes, to learn about natural dyes and techniques for applying these colorants to cloth. Here are the results.

Immersion Dyeing
The class spent time weighing and mordanting the fabrics prior to the dye process. Dye pots were prepared and the coloring began.
Osage orange (yellow) overdyed with Logwood (purple) on
a white textured yarn-dyed cotton from Diamond Textiles.

Logwood (blue violet) took nicely to a printed batik from Majestic Batiks.
Notice the flower motifs of the batik design.

Pomegranate (yellow) overdyed with Logwood (purple) on a
pintuck cotton from Diamond Textiles.

Direct application of natural pigments
We learned about mixing natural dye extracts and pigments with tragacanth so the colors could be directly applied to textiles. Various tools can be used to create patterns and imagery to make complex art cloth.

Stencilling on Tweed Thicket, a yarn-dyed cotton from Diamond Textiles.

Rubber stamps and stencils on silk broadcloth.

Initially, the colors were from the pure pigments. However, with a room full of artists, painters and a few experienced dyers, the workshop participants quickly began creating and sharing elaborate and beautiful "custom color" dye mixtures.

Pigments mixed with tragacanth for direct application techniques.

Direct application of pigments with a foam brush
on embossed cotton (Diamond Textiles).

Stamping with a wood block on cotton knit from Art Gallery Fabrics.
The highlight colors applied to select leaves with pigment pastels.

First layer: monoprinting with a Gelli plate
on white cotton [ColorWorks from Northcott].

Silk screen (central motif) and stenciling on a batik from Majestic Batiks.

Silk screen, stamping and direct application on various quilting cottons.

Once cured (about a week for the direct applications), I'll be excited to begin working with these samples!
Natural dyes on quilting cottons. Photo credit: Yvonne Martin-Kitt

Not one "mean girl" in the bunch
Natural dyeing is a combination of history, chemistry, and art. I enjoyed all the ingredients and aspects of the recipe. Thank you to Donna Brown, a knowledgeable and generous instructor, for taking me on my maiden voyage with natural dyes, extracts and pigments! You made me and everyone successful in our creative textile endeavors.
Donna Brown (left) and I at Shakerag Workshops 2019.

And to the fellow artists who graciously shared in this learning experience with me, your talents, friendship and thoughtfulness are without limits. Thanks for a wonderful experience.
"Can You Dig It?" natural dye workshop. 2019 Shakerag Workshops.
Photo credit: Yvonne Martin-Kitt.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Nearing completion of The Farmer's Wife sampler blocks

My Farmer's Wife sampler project is coming up on the last mile of the block-making process. I have 93 out of a possible 111 blocks pieced. Below are the latest 30 additions to my ever-growing pile of six-inch patchwork mini compositions.
My latest 30 Farmer's Wife blocks made with Art Gallery Fabrics.

I've infused more Art Gallery fabrics into the original fabric mix. The more, the scrappier, right? And I've also been patchwork-liberated with my new philosophy of #myquiltmyrules—making it possible to modify, simplify and get a little more creative with the construction and the machine piecing of the blocks—as I see fit.
93 of 111 blocks from The Farmer's Wife sampler quilt. 

The plan is to finish the Farmer's Wife blocks by the end of the month to make way for the 2019 "100 Days 100 Blocks" Challenge that starts in July. I have the Kinship pattern and I've got my fabric chosen—a lovely array of Tweed Thicket fat quarters and Nikko III from Diamond Textiles (insert angel choir here).
Tweed Thicket (top) and Nikko III from Diamond Textiles anticipating
#100Days100Blocks2019 Challenge.

Yep, I'm a sucker for a good Challenge. What about you?

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Reflecting on my Me-Made-May wardrobe

Now that the calendar page has turned from May to June, I'm doing a brief assessment of my participation in the Me Made May Challenge 2019. [#MeMadeMay]
Patchwork jacket with yarn-dyed textured wovens from Diamond Textiles.
High on the list of accomplishments in May was making and wearing this patchwork jacket—my new favorite jacket—and also a piece on my MakeNine list. Started in 2018, this one took the longest to complete and, as with most jackets, it had many hand finishing details: button loops, buttons, burying thread tails and hand sewing hems, facings and bias bindings. It also has an inside pocket that was hand sewn into place. But it was worth all the effort! I'm extremely pleased with how it turned out.

This jacket was completed in time to wear in the Diamond Textiles booth at Spring Quilt Market. Yarn-dyed textured wovens are all the rage lately, so it was fun and appropriate to show and wear this jacket. A well-attended schoolhouse session with Linda Lee about using textured wovens for garments, as well as in quilts, reinforced the versatility of these beautiful fabrics.

Knit Tops
I make and wear a lot of cotton knit tops, both long sleeve and short. They are all made from cotton knit fabric from Art Gallery Fabrics. Art Gallery has at least a gazillion different knits—different designs, colors and also solids. You could make a different one for every day of the year!

The fabric is 95% cotton jersey and 5% spandex, so it washes and sews easily while maintaining shape and stability. My knit tops are soft, comfy, easy-care garments that are great for travel. 
Short sleeve knit top. Fabric from Art Gallery Fabrics.
I have several print and solid Art Gallery knit tops that I coordinate with MeMade jackets or wear by themselves. The versatility of layering is great for unpredictable weather and travel.
Short sleeve knit top (front) coordinates with a Primitive Stars jacket.
Here is one of my long sleeve knit tops that I worn with a MeMade knit vest in early May, when the weather was still cool. The Lolita vest is another of my MakeNine projects.
Lolita knit vest paired with a cotton long sleeve knit top.

Woven Tops
I've made 4 Siena Shirts so far and I'm sure there will be more! I know how this top fits and it gets quicker to make each time because I am familiar with the construction. The Siena and Cortona Shirt pattern is from The Sewing Workshop. My shirts are made from 100% cotton woven fabrics and I'm getting my money's worth with this pattern!
Siena Shirt #1. Fabrics from M&S Textiles Australia.

I have worn each of my Siena Shirts a few times throughout May. Pictured here are various versions using several fabrics.

  • Siena Shirt #1 (above): cotton fabrics from M&S Textiles Australia.
  • Siena Shirt #4 (below left) is made with an Australian aboriginal print M&S Textiles Australia paired with a yarn-dyed woven called Tweed Thicket from Diamond Textiles
  • Siena Shirt #2 (below right) uses more Australian aboriginal fabrics from M&S Textiles.

Left: Australian aboriginal print from M&S Textiles and Tweed Thicket from Diamond Textiles.
Right: Two complimentary prints from M&S Textiles.

Siena Shirt #3 is made with Stonehenge fabrics from Northcott. More details on the hand stitching embellishments can be found in this blog post.
Siena Shirt #3 made with Stonehenge fabrics from Northcott.

Another Sewing Workshop pattern I like is the Nine Lives Vest. I wore this top at Quilt Market and it's made with a pintuck fabric from Diamond Textiles.
Nine Lives Vest from The Sewing Workshop.
Pintuck fabric from Diamond Textiles.

Other MeMadeMay tops were:

I got both of these patterns from TopStitch Studio and Lounge Atlanta.
Wiksten Top (left) made in Tweed Thicket from Diamond Textiles.
Collins Top from In the Folds in Nikko Geo 4708 from Diamond Textiles.

This is another well-loved jacket that I made in 2017. I wore it a few times for MeMadeMay and at Quilt Market. Fabrics are from Diamond Textiles.

Primitive Stars jacket.

This jacket is made from the same Raggy Jacket pattern as the patchwork jacket above [Raggy Jacket from Four Corners Designs]. This version has kantha hand stitching on the back. Details about the hand stitching can be found in this blog post.
Kantha stitching and applique patches on jacket back.
See more details in this blog post.

My Me-Made Wardrobe Assessment
You may have heard the latest terminology for the go-to basics you continually reach for from your closet: "core wardrobe" and "uniform" pieces. In reflecting on this month of "Me Made May," I've concluded I'm all about comfort, versatility and functional garments, and my wardrobe and garment sewing endeavors reflect that.
  • The cotton fabrics—knits and wovens—are easy care, breathable and easy to sew/stitch.
  • I re-use my patterns. Once the garment patterns are fitted to my body, style and comfort, the garment construction process gets easier and quicker with each make. There is minimal learning curve with "familiar" patterns.
  • Layering and versatility of individual pieces is important to me. It's imperative for my travel job.
  • Infusing creativity. Even though I use the same pattern multiple times, the choice of fabric, color, threads, embellishments and details will make each garment interesting—to make and to wear.

Did you participate in Me Made May 2019? What did you learn about your wardrobe of your sewing practices? Leave a comment and share what you discovered.

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