It’s back to school time! And that means dyeing thread for all my fall classes. The threads you see above are destined for my students as part of their class kits. Whether taking a quilting class or hand embroidery class, everybody gets some colorful thread. Ooooooh! Aren’t they pretty!
These threads are dyed using the “random acts of dyeing” method. I don’t following the repeatable color formulas for Artfabrik threads. Instead, I use up all my left over dye stock to dye threads in random colorways. It’s a great way to discover new color combinations and prepare for my classes at the same time. See you in the classroom!
Mixing the blues!
It’s been a long two weeks of dyeing. Each day, I dye pearl cotton thread in my basement studio, hand wash it out, and hang it up to air dry. It’s colorful but messy work.
What a relief to escape the dye studio and enjoy the colors of my garden. Early summer truly is the best time of year for a stroll through the foliage. Flowers like poppies are in full bloom. Our new crop of zinnias cheerfully fill the world with color. And the mosquitoes greet me gleefully. How does your garden grow?
My heart goes out to those who must give names to every paint swatch in Home Depot. Thinking up color names for the fabric and threads I dye is so very taxing. Ah, the drudgery of it all!
Thankfully I have friends and family with imaginations. They have helped me name most of the colorways dyed for Artfabrik. Can you guess what this colorway is called?
Rhubarb! Yes, you are correct! Today I picked my rhubarb, gave it a bath, and froze it for future rhubarb goodies that, with any luck, someone else will make.
On occasion I like to look organized. This doesn’t happen often, so I’d like to share this rare moment with you. Here you see my hand dyed pearl cotton threads neatly stored in drawers. They are sorted by size (3, 5, 8, 12) and colorway. Organized, right?
And then there’s this. Never wash your skeins of hand-dyed thread in the washing machine or people will think your are disorganized. How do you keep your threads organized?
Windy City #6 (9″ x 12″) by Laura Wasilowski
A few days ago I asked if you could estimate how many hours it took me to make this small quilt, Windy City #6. And, as an experiment, I tried to keep track of the time to complete it. But honestly, my skills at time keeping stink! It seems I go into a zone when making a quilt and lose track of time.
Below are the stages of creating the art work and an estimate of the number of hours to complete each stage. Let’s see how close you were in guessing the total time.
- Hand-dyeing the fabrics- .5 hours
- Fusing the fabrics- .5 hours
- Designing the quilt- 1 hour
- Adding hand embroidery- 6.5 hours
- Machine quilting and binding- 1 hour
- Photographing and documenting the quilt- .5 hours
Windy City #6 (detail) by Laura Wasilowski
The total is about 10 hours from start to finish with most of time spent on hand embroidery. Now, what you don’t see in this list is the hours of enjoyment I got from making the art work. That’s really hard to measure.
Happy Earth Day! In celebration I’d like to show you three ways to reuse all those plastic containers we encounter every day and how to use them in your studio. My geraniums came in these cute little baskets (above) from a gardening store. Perfect for thread storage, fat quarters, or sewing tools.
The flowers from this plastic planter are long gone but I’ve been using a set of these for dyeing for years.
And here is why drinking orange juice can pay off. Not only do you get lots of vitamin C but a container for your dyes as well. Any other ideas? I’d love to hear them.
And just so you know. This post was also recycled from years ago.