Tutorial Tuesdays

What’s the Point?

Tutorial Tuesdays headerI’m not trying to be “snippy” or sound uncaring with this title but my least favorite thing to do on a quilt is the binding.  I get so BORED!  You cut and sew and cut and sew and don’t really change the look of the whole thing.   It is like the last blank page of a book.

Ok, sister I hear you saying it has to be done or the batting falls out.  Well, if is has to be done, at least make it pretty.  So I started looking into the trick of using prairie points as a binding.  I had seen it a time or two on old quilts and that it certainly adds interest. Boy! was I in for a surprise.  Prairie points aren’t just for binding and there are a ton of tools and ideas out there.  I started with prairie points at the center of my “Vintage with a Twist” quilt and it began it work its way out from there.

center-web

Traditional with a twist

This Tuesday Tutorial isn’t full of diagrams about how to make those decorative points, but it is a beginning step on where to find the best help about prairie points.

Let’s start with the definition of Prairie Point:  Folded square of fabric (no size limits, color restrictions, or even fold location). Some with center fold, others will side fold. Craftsy gives a clear distinction between the two types, overlapping or side by side.  Each give a unique look for a specific purpose.

Next think about where to use Prairie Points: Of course, I would recommend our Let Freedom Ring patterns that use them.  Even the free pattern for the BBQ mitt has added style with patriotic points. Check out the PS patterns under the Brag Book tab.

Freedom mitt single

PS Pattern BBQ mitt

Back to quilts and points:  Don’t leave them on the outside edge.  Try using them in the sashing as well.

sashing-web

Prairie Point sashing

My personal favorite is the dimensional use in a block like these:

triangles-web

Inner block points

But don’t stop with quilts, add them to the pillows too.  I remember making one with ombre shades net! (Yes, it was green even back then.)

pillow-web

Pillow points

Cute as a hot pad as well. Our guild used the same steps to cover Styrofoam balls for ornaments.

hot-pad-web

Padded points

Another Ornament Idea

ornament-web

Ornamental points

So many ideas and so little time so use the following links to find the:

Complete pdf

Formula

Video of continuous points

The point is….go out and enjoy the prairie!

 

Advertisements
Categories: PS Projects, Tutorial Tuesdays | Tags: | Leave a comment

Hanky Folding – Origami Fabric

Tutorial Tuesdays header

“No! Stop! Wait!” When Sister uses that expression I know it is time to put down the scissors and listen.  I heard it when I was going through a pile of vintage handkerchiefs.  Not her cigar box treasures but very similar. I also heard, “DON’T use them for their intended purpose; launder gently; practice your pressing; and make them pretty.”  So I did my research and went to folding origami-style dresses.

dresses-web

Origami dresses

 

These are photos of my “in process” work but the best tutorial I found was here. She has full photos and good tips.

 

2-web

The folds and creases will guide you as you make each dress.

1-web

Take it step by step – side creases and center creases coming together – the dress takes shaper easier than you might think.

I did use spray starch before I began and it helped the pressing a lot.  So now what do you do with a dozen of these darling wardrobe items?  I began putting them into a birthday quilt for a precious princess who turns one this month.

layout-web

Layout

To applique, I sprayed with quilt basting spray and then used invisible thread and a straight stitch along the edge and across the middle.  I liked the “dimensional” part of the skirt and bodice; had this quilt been for anyone but a baby, I would have embellished with ribbon, pearls, buttons, etc.  Best tip: use handkerchiefs all the same size.

The background block was an 8 1/2″ x 10 1/2″ rectangle.

Sashing was a 2 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ (10 1/2″) strip with a snowball type corner.

Setting stones were 2 1/2″ squares to form a Friendship Star.

Baby’s mama wanted white in the border for birthday guests to sign each year so I extended the sashing and stars out to the edge.  It is lightly quilted with an echo around each dress and diagonal lines to mimic the angle of the star arms.

hanky-quilt-back-web

Quilting

 

Done and Done!  (even before the birthday!)

hankie quilt sm

Which one is your favorite?

God Bless you, and please pass a tissue.

 

Categories: Tutorial Tuesdays, Uncategorized | Tags: | Leave a comment

Singer Featherweight Class

Tutorial Tuesdays header

 

Learn to fix a featherweight? Well ….

ad3

Featherweights have an interesting history and have not diminished in popularity.

I freely confess that I am not the mechanically inclined sister. Matter of fact I’m not sure either of us would be classified as a master mechanic. But we both do have a very robust “Can Do!” gene that sits alongside a hearty “Why Not Try It!” gene. So, when I heard that Nancy Troyer of Long Arm Machine Quilting was coming to Pensacola to teach a class on maintaining your Singer featherweight machine, I thought that even if I didn’t master the process I would at least be better off than if I didn’t even go. (low expectations for myself)

 

Nancy is a wonderful teacher – she goes step by step and gives clear instructions so that everyone in the class feels like conquering  the challenge is possible. Even her class supply list is eye opening:

  • A towel – spreading it under the machine while you work means that if you drop a screw or other small piece it won’t go bouncing along the floor.
  • A magnetic pin holder – a great place to stash screws or bolts or other small pieces so they don’t get misplaced.
  • Paper towels – these are a must have since the gunk that accumulates inside a machine is surprising.
  • Old toothbrush – for cleaning gears with kerosene
  • Tweezers – for reaching small pieces of lint and grime
  • Screwdriver – for removing various plates and covers
  • etc.
lint brush - straw and pipecleaner sm

Hot tip for making a lint brush: straw and pipe cleaner

We started the cleaning and rejuvenating process by removing the bottom panel, cleaning the inside and replacing the pad. Then we opened every nook and cranny, cleaning and lubricating as we went. Nancy stressed the difference between oils and lubricants – lubricate gears and put oil in the oil ports.

hook assembly

The hook assembly – especially the tiny, minute screw – is to be treated with care. Expensive to replace and absolutely vital!

Next we took off the throat plate to clean by the hook assembly. Special care has to be given to the hook assembly which houses the bobbin case. It’s better to use a wooden cuticle stick instead of a screwdriver if you need to remove it. Even the smallest scratch can cause the thread to snag and break when the machine begins to stitch. The vital piece of information about cleaning this part of the machine is that the positioning finger must be in place before you replace and tighten the throat plate. The timing of the machine will be fine as long as the hook assembly and positioning finger is placed correctly.

And here’s a hot tip about vintage bobbin cases: they are stamped with SIMANCO. New replacement bobbin cases often do not fit well so guard your vintage case as if it were gold.

When we got to the place that the motor needed to be cared for, we learned that carbon brushes are what makes the motor run. There needs to be at least ¼” of carbon on the brush or the machine motor will not work.

checking motor carbon2 sm

In fact running it without adequate carbon can ruin the motor. Checking the carbon brushes should be done with great caution and care. Success depends on the pressure you use to remove the screw as the carbon brush is on a spring. And the screw is brittle, aged plastic which can break easily.

checking motor carbon3 sm

Remove the screw carefully as it is under pressure from the attached screw.

We did not open the housing around the motor but we did lubricate it using the techniques she taught us.

motor lub sm

 

A belt in good condition makes a difference in the efficiency of the machine. We learned some great tricks including the use of vinyl tubing over screwdrivers when changing the belt to allow for leverage without scratching the machine. The motor can be raised a bit if the belt needs to be loosened.

checking belt3 sm

Note the vinyl around the screwdriver!

 

Last but not least, the front panel needs to be removed so that the parts there can be cleaned and oiled.

front panel sm

Singer machine manuals are a great resource.

 

The five hour class was filled with valuable information and expertise. So, this is just a summary to let you know that it can be done. Remember Singer originally advertised that the machine was constructed so that “the average housewife” would be capable of caring for it and maintaining it.

If a class is offered close to where you are, I recommend that you take advantage of it. Or contact Nancy and see if she is available to travel to your area to give the class. It is worth every penny!

 

Nancy Troyer sm

For class information, you can get in touch with Nancy HERE.

PS – Just a couple of weeks after the class Dietz and I were on a vacation/business trip in Tennessee and we stopped at Pickers Paradise where I saw a small black case stashed under a table behind some other things. I knew without looking inside that it was going home with me when I saw the price tag. When I opened the lid the first thing I saw was a tray holding a box of attachments! And the 1934 featherweight will give me a great chance to practice all I’ve learned.  

new case sm

Now I need to apply what I learned from Nancy to this little prize!

Come on, Sister, we can do this!

(NOTE: This is not a comprehensive guide to maintaining your machine, but rather a summary. Contact Nancy for expert advice or research the process via YouTube videos.)

Categories: Tutorial Tuesdays | Tags: , | Leave a comment

The Language of Quilts

Tutorial Tuesdays header

Cecilia is continuing the business her mother started, Pat’s Sacks.  Her booth is filled with vintage fabric, sugar sacks, and all things 30’s – including great music playing.   I enjoyed time in her booth very much and loved this handwritten memo she had hanging.

cajun quilt language

Cajun Quilt Language

 

Cecilia’s memo reads:

Before telephones, Cajuns spread news by hanging quilts over the balustrades of their houses.

Each quilt had a special meaning.

 

A red quilt – political victory

A yellow quilt – quarantine

A blue quilt with a big white star – wedding in the making

A patchwork quilt – a big celebration – Mardi Gras, New Years, July 4th

One quilt hung out with the wash – a child has eaten too much watermelon.

 

It reminded me of the book I enjoyed reading a few years ago —  Hidden in Plain View, written in 1999 by Raymond Dobard, Jr., an art historian, and Jacqueline Tobin, a college instructor in Colorado. I found their assertion fascinating that quilts may have been used to send coded messages to run away slaves.

Reading that book, and again when I saw Cecilia’s memo, I stopped to ponder – if I used quilts to send messages, which quilts would I use on different occasions?

During the NCAA basketball tournament –

KansasTrouble

Kansas Troubles

When I just happen to look at the calendar and remember a commitment at the last minute –

MyLuckyStars

My Lucky Stars

When I back the van out of the garage and forget the Jeep is parked in the driveway. (#fenderbendermyself)

PatienceBlock

Patience

When I get to the end of back to back traveling commitments –

NoPlaceLikeHome

No Place Like Home

When I proudly make a grocery list – and stick to it –

TheFrugalPatch

Frugal Patch

 

When The Sister and I pass our 5th year in business Anniversary mark-

Memory

Memory

When something gets checked off the UFO list.

ShiningHour

Shining Hour

What quilt message would you use most often?

Thanks to the Quilter’s Cache for their line drawings.

Categories: Inspire Me!, Tutorial Tuesdays | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Old Hankies and Rocking Babies

Tutorial Tuesdays header

OK so it isn’t Tuesday, but we were too busy celebrating birthdays and recovering so here it is a few days later. 🙂

I know that tutorials are supposed to be crisp and factual and all business. The other sister reminds me that “Quilts are supposed to be warm and fuzzy. Instructions? Not so much.”

But this idea for old hankies can’t be written that way. It would just be — wrong. So I’ll tell you that this comes with a Warm, Fuzzy Alert!

She entered our quilt show booth with slow purposeful steps. When she saw our basket of hankies I could tell by her face and the soft touch she gave them that they had evoked some very sweet memories. Then because her voice was soft we all came closer to hear the story she offered to us.

One of the best parts of my childhood was that my grandmother would take me to church with her. I loved having her all to myself as I leaned up against her.  Because I was little, it was hard for me to sit still for very long so she taught me how to use one of her hankies to make two rocking babies in a cradle. 

hankie 1

She handed each of us a hankie so we could echo the steps she showed us.

hankie 2

Fold the points in almost to meet in the middle. Roll each end toward the middle.

hankie 3

Roll each end tightly or the “babies” will fall out.

hankie 4

Hold on to the “babies’ heads” while you separate the remaining corner of the hankie and pull the bottom layer up under the babies.

hankie 5

If you have made the first fold carefully you will end up with the pretty corner of the hankie showing.

I’m afraid it’s a lost art so I’m passing it on to you so that it won’t be forgotten.

I’m telling you, it was about more than hankies. She shared her nurturing grandmother with us in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a quilt show.

And it was a sight to see a group of grown women leave the booth with folded hankies, holding the two points trying to make them rock without dropping our “babies!”

What are you doing with your old hankies?

Categories: Tutorial Tuesdays, Uncategorized | Tags: | Leave a comment

Lace Languages

Tutorial Tuesdays header

From the royal halls of castles to the humble cottage abode, lace adornments always were and always will be a favorite decor item.  It may adorn a collar or cuff of clothing,

collar-web

Lace Collar

or grace an arm or back of the chair ,

chair web

Antimacassar Set

possibly a cushion, pillow or curtain

curtain web

Machine made curtain

window-web

Hand crocheted portiere

but most certainly it is cherished wherever displayed.

The term “lace” is used to cover a broad spectrum of textures so let’s break it down into a more definable art form.

 

Tatting: knotted lace made by hand with a shuttle of linen or cotton thread

tatting web

Made by a fellow needle-worker

Crochet: needlework lace done with a needle having a small hook at one end for drawing the thread or yarn through intertwined loops; varied sizes of hooks or thread will alter the appearance greatly

name-web

Personalized gift from my nursing home friend. She uses NO patterns.

Irish lace or Irish crochet: very fine steel crochet hook and fine crochet cotton or linen thread. Uses an outline of the pattern on a piece of cloth. The cotton cord is for volume and shaping. The finished motifs are then basted onto a cloth in the shape of the pattern. Is is a raised dimensional design.

Irish web

“Bumpy” doily

Machined lace: mimics several styles of lace but all reproduced by machine; early ones looked like this

machine-web

machine-1-web

 

Bobbin lace:  lace made by hand with bobbins of thread, the thread being twisted around pins stuck into a pattern placed on a pillow or pad; usually with an elevated pad

bobbin-web

Bobbin Lace

Another type of handwork that some refer to as “lace” is actually drawn work; threads of the linen are pulled together to develop a pattern

Drawn-Work-Photo-web

Mexican Drawnwork

Cut work: cotton or linen, are cut away and the resulting “hole” is reinforced and filled with embroidery or needle lace.

cut-work-web

Vintage cut-work set

So whatever you decide to embellish or adorn you can use the term “lace” with confidence. But you should also know that you can never have too much of it.

rows-web

 

Categories: Tutorial Tuesdays, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

New Tips for Old Linens

Tutorial Tuesdays header

The monthly Sister’s Challenge this year is featuring patterns from our Linens and Old Lace Collection.  If you want to follow along each month you can check out the previous posts here and here.  Or watch for upcoming challenges on our blog the last Tuesday of each month. But as it says in the previous blog, first things first.

How to Care For and Prepare Linens

  • Hand wash, using a GENTLE quilting soap (Orvus -8 oz. for $10 or Retro Wash – 1 lb. for $14)
  • Treat stains with mild additives (no bleach) We like lemon juice or the above Retro Wash
  • Use a “color catcher” if washing old reds
  • Line dry (or if it is larger-upside down on CLEAN green grass)
  • Use spray starch and steam as you press and re-square; prevents “waves” on the bias
  • For quilt blocks that will be inserted into a project or have applique applied, it is helpful to iron a lightweight interfacing to the back for stability
  • Use cotton or silk thread to stitch or applique as they won’t break the more fragile fibers of vintage pieces (polyester is OK for quilting, but it isn’t the best choice)
  • Best to have crocheted lace encased in a seam before cutting
  • Fussy cut frames are helpful for a perfectly centered cut (available from Sisters by email request)

    frames-web

    Squares, hexes and triangles

  • Use a basting stitch around edge or diagonal cuts to hold the bias

    scarf

    Baste before bias cutting.

Truthfully, the linens or laces do NOT have to be in perfect condition to incorporate in a new project.  This bright, happy pillowcase is making a comeback from spotted, dirty linens.  It was seamed and embellished for best use of the embroidery.

pillow-web

Bright & beautiful!

 

Large tears or stains can be cut around, patched over, or embellished on top of.  You can use only the portion that fits your project.sewing basket s

Once washed and pressed you can store in acid free tissue or rolled on a cloth covered tube.  This antique linen roller was for storing STARCHED laces and linens. If you don’t have an antique tube, think about keeping your starched pieces wrinkle free by using a wrapping paper tube.

roll-web

Tassles! on your storage items that were hidden in the closet!

Plastic bags, cedar chests, or vacuum sealed storage systems are not recommended as fibers need to breathe.

These special holders were for the ironed hankies awaiting their owner.

hanky-web

Textile fibers that breathe.

 

Ok, here it is…

Are you ready for our most important, best-ever, wisdom-filled, need-to-know tip for vintage linens and laces?  ENJOY THEM!use-web

 

Categories: Tutorial Tuesdays | Tags: | Leave a comment

Tutorial Tuesday: Don’t make it hard

Tutorial Tuesdays header

Don’t make it hard: Elmer’s Glue Basting

When I cook I want to make something that looks hard but is really easy.

easy cooking

Don’t make it hard!

That reflects one of my most used mantras: Don’t make it hard.

That advice works just as well at the sewing machine as it does at the oven. Which is why I was anxious to try a “make it easy” way to baste that I picked up from my friend Tish, a Red Hen Quilting Bee friend.

I was a little nervous to start because I wasn’t trying it first on a practice piece. See how much I trust Tish? It needed to work – I was on a past due deadline with the Winter Table Mat for the Seasons at my Window collection.

close up sm

a sneak peek of the Seasons at my Window table mat

And I am happy to report that I LOVE basting this way!  (insert angel choir music here.)!!!

There is no pinning or poking or extra stitching.  There is no puckering, no folding over, no stretching to get things where they need to be. Everything is where you want it to be before you start stitching! So I’m excited to share it in hopes that you’ll love it, too.

 

You will need Elmer’s School Glue – the washable kind with the chalk board on the jar.

And you will need to dilute it – 2 parts glue and 1 part water. I just squeezed out 1/3 of the glue and filled up the bottle with water. Shake it really, really good.

glue sm

I labeled the bottle so I’ll know which one is already diluted.

 

Gather your usual quilt sandwich ingredients: backing, batting, pieced top.

Lay the backing on a flat surface. I put a plastic table cloth on my kitchen island before I laid out the backing so that if any glue soaked through cleanup would be easier.

backingsm

The back was always harder for me before because I couldn’t see what I was doing.

 

Squeeze out the glue in S curves – thin lines about 2-3” apart. Sometimes it will lay out in beads rather than a solid line and that’s okay, too.

 

Place your batting on top of that and smooth it down. Make sure to measure fabric and batting so that  they are several inches bigger than the pieced top. Flip both pieces over and make sure the backing is smoothed out well. Don’t stretch the batting or the backing, though. Flip both pieces (now stuck together) back over so that the batting is on top.

Center your pieced top over the batting. Fold the top back to expose ¼ to ½ of the batting.

Squeeze out the glue in S curves – thin lines about 2-3” apart. Remember, little beads will work fine, too.

s curves

I’ll admit I was still doubting myself at this point.

Lay the top back over the glued batting and smooth into place. Be careful not to stretch the top. On the other hand, the moisture from the glue will allow you to ease into place anything that is not quite flat.

 

Repeat with the other quadrants of the pieced top until it is all glue basted in place. Remember, you are not trying to have a solid surface of glue.

sandwich sm

Is it dry yet?

Place on a flat surface and allow to dry overnight. Of course, if you live in a high dry climate like some sisters, it may only take until lunch time. If the glue is completely dried it won’t gum up your needle when you quilt.

I have to tell you that my first thought as I started to quilt was, “Why make it hard?!?” This is going to happen often for me and I’m getting ready to call my sister to let her know I’ve found a way to make her life easier.

 

Let us know how it works for you.

Categories: Tutorial Tuesdays | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Tutorial Tuesday: “As You Wish” Wool

Tutorial Tuesdays header

Of all the things that drew us to wool – The feel of the wool. The vibrant colors. The projects – most of all, we loved the “as you wish” possibilities we kept reading in the instructions. And we were pleasantly surprised at the not-too-steep learning curve – because we thought we had LOTS to learn as we ventured into the new (to us) territory of wool … angora wool, merino wool, worsted wool, over-dyed wool, boiled wool, felted wool.

THE FELTED WOOL

The felted or not felted quality of wool is a major consideration since the felting process eliminates fraying – which means you will have clean-cut edges to work with.  Maybe the most surprising factoid for us was learning that some felt comes from this

water bottle

Yes that really is a plastic bottle. Recycled it can become (not so soft) felt!

and some comes from this.

sheep

You can feel the difference immediately if a real, live sheep once worn the wool!

That would explain why you can pay $3 per yard or you can pay $30 per yard – if you so wish.

That price mark may cause you to felt your own wool. And you can – if you so wish.

Before you try to felt wool, it will help to know if the piece is in fact 100% wool. We discovered that you can find this out if you put a small piece of the fabric in 100% bleach overnight. If it’s pure wool, the bleach will eat it. It will be gone in the morning. If something remains in the bleach then you know that your felting process may not be as successful with that piece of fabric.

The other thing that may cause a felting fail is if the fibers of the wool have been pre-shrunk before they are woven into the fabric. They won’t shrink again. I’m going to find out soon if this piece will felt up nicely or if it is destined to stay in this loose weave forever.

loose weave wool

Something about the subtle teal in this really appeals to me.

Felting isn’t difficult. [You can read a more detailed account HERE.]

Three components of felting:

  1. hot soapy water – just a tiny, little bit of blue Dawn may be your best bet
  2. agitation – the less water, the more agitation
  3. hot drying – watch your dryer filter due to the amazing amount of lint produced
boiled orange wool

You might try boiling the wool which will give you a more bumpy texture like this.

Fortunately, some things are very familiar in this wonderful world of all things wool. Many of the tools are familiar, many of the stitching techniques are familiar and when we do encounter new things, we also encounter the phrase “as you wish” rather than hard and fast rules.

THE TOOLS

greezer paper

freezer paper from that exclusive shop where you buy groceries

pen

for marking the placement of multiple layers – and it will come off

glue

to hold the pieces in place while you stitch and to stop the fraying in loosely woven or non-felted wool

needles

sharp end and big holes

needle threaders

Threaders have been our stitching helpers a long time.

thread conditioner

Thread conditioner eliminates knotting and twisting. Smooooooth stitching indeed!

thread

So many textures and weights of thread to choose from!

THE PROCESS

  1. Transfer the pattern onto freezer paper
  2. Rough cut the pattern out
  3. Iron to the wool – waxy side down
  4. Cut on pattern line & remove the freezer paper pattern
  5. Attach to the background fabric – small amount of glue
  6. Choose your thread: embroidery, Perle cotton, wool, silk – 1-3 strands as you wish. Contrasting thread or same color as wool as you wish. The smaller the pattern piece, the lighter weight the thread.
  7. Stitch in place as you wish: blanket / buttonhole stitch (not too tight), whip stitch (use regular thread if you want to have it disappear into the fabric), running stitch, cross stitch, French knots.

THE PROJECTS

… are endless. Almost any of our applique projects can be made with wool – on a wool background or on flannel or on cotton. But we are really happy to show you our Seasons at My Window Autumn Post Cards.

Seasons PC October Pumpkin Tea Cozy outside front only

Tea Cozy – lined with flannel

 

Table Mat – wool with felted wool acorns

 

fall towel

flannel towel with felt accents

 

as you wish!!!

 

 

Categories: Tutorial Tuesdays | Leave a comment

Adventures in Dying, I mean, Dyeing with Wool

Tutorial Tuesdays header

 

“So what’s your day going to look like, Sister?”

“I’m so excited! I’m going to go die with wool, I mean dye with wool.” I’m not the spelling bee sister.

“D-I-E or D-Y-E? Please spell it out so I know if I need to call your children and send flowers.”

What can I say, she watches out for me.

 

As Sisters at Heart completes designs fueled by our shared love of all things wool, it is inevitable that we would investigate how this

original

becomes this …

original and options

This is what we call a fabric make-over!

So while I went to learn, the Colorado Sister cheered from afar. Ok, that might be a stretch. Let’s say she watched with curiosity from afar. She’s not big about cheering but she is always open to learning new things.

The dyeing process had intrigued me for a while so when I heard my friend Angie Madden say something about over-dying recycled wool, I knew now was the time to learn more. And because Angie is a natural teacher, I knew a learning adventure with her was going to be fun and informative.

pots and microwave

Setting out the tools of the trade.

The world of dyeing fabric is not familiar to me at all, although I have encountered some of the tools of the trade in other contexts – like making jelly.

stirring the pot close

Dyeing pots can’t be used as cooking pots, though.

Here are some of the highlights:

You use different dyes and fixative agents when you are dyeing a plant-based fabric (like cotton or linen) than when you are dyeing a protein based fabric (like wool.) Procion dye and soda ash for cellulose based fabric as opposed to an acid dye and vinegar or citric acid for protein based fabric.

citric acid

I’m just wondering if this is the same concentration as the Fruit Fresh I use for freezing peaches ….

Heat necessary for the wool dyeing can come from a pot of heated water or from the microwave. The microwave takes less time but the color will not be as intense as when the longer time in the pot is used.

stirring the pot

Faster might not always be better.

Prewash fabrics to remove sizing.

Heat water, add wool fabric, mix acid dye in small amount of water and add to pot, gently stir, add citric acid solution (or vinegar) keep water just below a boil for 30 min. Check color of water in 15 min. If  the water in the pot is clear, the fabric has absorbed all it can. If there is still color in the water, you need to add more citric acid or another piece of cloth. When water is clear, remove fabric, cool and dry. (The late addition piece of cloth will not have color as intense as the pieces which have been in the dye the longer length of time. But they are still pretty.)

blue green

first piece in the dye of lots of blue with a little yellow

 

light green

added later to the same dye pot

After it is dry, you are ready to use the wool in a project or you can felt the fabric by washing in small amount of hot water (you want lots of agitation) with Synthrapol or small amount of blue Dawn and drying in hot dryer (dry it with an “agitation item” to encourage the felting process.)

And then the microwave method is also an option.

We learned that working with roving requires a gentle touch. Roving can be needle felted which is another adventure altogether.

roving process

We learned the gentle touch for roving by making this little pin cushion. The wool keeps needles and pins sharp.

Our experimenting with color combinations, different weights of wool, and different methods gave us these:

yellow

sunflower yellow

yellow green

sunflower yellow and a couple of drops of peacock blue

crimson

crimsom – my favorite

When I got home I tried a little tea dyeing for the final touch to a piece of muslin that we can decorated with screen printing ink and some Dye Magnet that dries before you immerse the fabric in the dyeing agent. It reminded me of the “magic writing” with lemon juice we did as kids.

tea dyed

 

There are some warnings: The dye for plant-based fabrics is toxic in it’s powder form. The pots used for dyeing should NEVER be used for cooking. If you wash your wool use cool water and air dry to prevent loss of color as the bond is not as secure as in cellulose-procion dye bonding.

AND … Be warned, the process of taking fabric from dull to dazzling can prove to be addictive.

I’m not qualified to call myself even a novice at this. I’ve passed along only the first layer of details – and I probably won’t become a master dyer. But now I know enough to appreciate the artists who DO know what they are doing so that we all have beautiful wool fabrics to create and stitch with. And you can be sure that Sisters at Heart will be bringing you patterns for wool very soon.

What learning adventure have you had lately?

PS – Angie recommends Dharma Trading as a source for dyeing materials.

Categories: Tutorial Tuesdays | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Powered by WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: