The Day My Quilt Bled and Almost Dyed

We’ve had this quilt on our bed for about 5 years.  I think it’s the third quilt I ever made, done all in my hand-dyed fabrics, and I’m quite attached to it.  I’m still amazed that I took on this project when I had minimal sewing/quilting skills and was sewing on a cheap Singer sewing machine.
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Creating Moonstruck — Initial Design

My quilt Moonstruck recently returned home after a long trip with the Rust-Tex Collection, including its debut at the Spring International Quilt Festival in Chicago (2010) and a visit to England for the Festival of Quilts (photo from the show below, Moonstruck is the blue and green one).


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Mississippi Delta — Evolution of a Quilt

I began working on this small quilt a few years ago, and it took me well over a year to get it to the point it’s at now.

I started with a bunch of small pieces of leftover fabric–some were from other quilts but most were from experiments playing with dye stenciling, monoprinting and discharging.  I cut the fabric into 4 inch squares and started arranging them on my design wall.

Here’s one arrangement of the squares.

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Snow Dyeing

Dyeing fabric using snow as a resist has become popular the last couple of winters, no doubt helped along by the crazy snows some areas are experiencing.  I’ve done it a couple times, but it doesn’t seem to work as well for me as it does for others.  I seem to get a lot of white areas in the fabric even though I’m using quite a bit of dye (at least it’s a lot of dye compared to the amount needed for low water immersion dyeing).  For complete directions on snow dyeing, the ProChem web site has a really good set of instructions (along with loads of other directions and safety information).

Here’s a look at my process in pictures.  First is the large under-bed-size plastic tub I used, with pieces of wire closet shelf material to keep the fabric out of the water as the snow melted.

I soaked the fabric in a soda ash solution for about 30 minutes and then I put the crumpled fabric in the plastic containers and let them sit out overnight.  By morning they were frozen with a bit of new snow on them.

I put on more snow (roughly 3-4 inches) and then squired on dyes.  The dyes I used were all pure colors of Procion MX dyes and I didn’t mix them before squirting on the snow.

I brought the tubs inside to let the snow melt.  The picture below is about 3 hours into the melting process.

The last four pictures are of some of the fabric.

There are some nice portions of the fabric that I’ll be able to use, but there is also a lot of white space.  I may end up over-dyeing most of these pieces.  In the end, doing this snow dyeing reinforces that low water immersion dyeing works better for my purposes, and, for me, LWI is actually easier and uses less dye.

A lot of people like snow.  I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.  ~Carl Reiner
There’s one good thing about snow, it makes your lawn look as nice as your neighbor’s.  ~Clyde Moore