In Search of Purple

purpledyeI dye fabric with Procion MX fiber reactive dyes and rely upon consistent dye formulas made by the manufacturers. But if they no longer make a certain dye color or change the formula, then my colorways must change too.

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The famous Spice Road.

That is what happened with a purple dye that I used for years dyeing such wonderful colorways as Avocado Squash, Black Orchid, and the famous Spice Road. The search for a replacement purple is on meaning that my threads and fabric colorways will change slightly. Stay tuned. I’ll try to update the colorways in the Artfabrik Store as soon as I can.

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Just Can’t Get Anything Done

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It’s the dog days of summer and I just can’t get anything done. Maybe it’s the  heat or the humidity or …..here’s an idea….. babysitting two young rascals who are quite charming but need lots of attention.

My productivity level is at an all time low. About all I can get done is twisting and labeling thread. (Thread that was dyed well over a month ago.) Do you every find yourself with zero ambition? Is it a bad thing?

Woolly Bird Tutorial #10

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The head of my bird stitched on wool needed a little more emphasis so I added another row of Outline Stitches around the edges with a light green thread. We’ll use that same stitch to make a triangle for the beak and fill it in with rows of the Outline Stitch. This is a fancy bird so you may want to add three Bullion Knots with French Knots at the tip to make the bird’s crest.

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Fill in the wool background fabric with easy stitchery like swirls of the Running Stitch. This give it that Starry Night kind of look. (Thank you Vincent Van Gogh!)

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To complete your woolly bird, finish the fabric edges with a Blanket Stitch. Thank you for joining me during this tutorial and please send me images of what you’ve made. (laura@artfabrik.com) Now sing a little birdsong of happiness!

A Guess on Thread Sizes

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Size 8 Pearl Cotton Thread (left) with 6 Stranded Floss (right)

Here’s a question: how many strands of floss thread would equal a specific size of pearl cotton thread? Floss thread comes with 6 strands of threads bundled together. You can separate the bundle and stitch with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or all 6 threads together. Pearl cotton thread is not divisible. You use it as a “single”. 

I don’t dye floss anymore but I’ve tried to compare my hand-dyed pearl cotton thread sizes with strands of floss. Following is a chart to help you compare the two types of threads. (This is just a guess, I have no real way of measuring the diameters of the threads.)

Cactus Stitching #3

cactus7There are few ways to use a Size 3 pearl cotton thread, it being too bulky to draw through batting and fused fabrics. But Couch it down and distinct shapes like this spiraling sun appear in a desert scene.

cactus6A few last stitches complete my cactus landscape including this stretch of light purple desert land. The Lazy Daisy stitch topped with a French Knot allude to a scruffy plant holding out against that blasting sun. Hope to show you the final quilt soon.

Dyeing Buckets

dyeing9Ah, I live such a glamorous life! Here you see my buckets all lined up to catch the water exiting my washing machine. As I do the laundry, I collect the run-off water for rinsing my hand dyed threads.

threadwashoutThread rinsing must be done by hand. I know this because I once accidentally dropped a bundle of thread skeins into the washer and washed them. What a tangle mess that was! I’ll be lifting lots of heavy buckets to rinse the dyes from the threads in the next few days. But here’s the good news: it’s good exercise!