More Fun With Hyperquilting, Quilting Out Loud, and a Sale!

June 29th, 2009

I had made up some placemats with different hyperquilting designs on them for Quilt Market in May but I got so behind in everything that I never posted them here. I still don’t have pictures of all of them, but here are a few that are fun to play with:

Now the photo above is the baseline design that will be over-quilted or hyperquilted with a decorative thread in a secondary design. Here’s the first option for hyperquilting:

…and here’s another option to use for hyperquilting:

Remember that when you’re hyperquilting a loop-d-loop design, you don’t want to stitch right on top of the loop-d-loop part. Instead, stitch alongside it, and deliberately cross over it many times, because that will give you a cool ribbon-like effect! Ok, here’s another baseline design for hyperquilting:

Now here’s one option for hyperquilting that one:

but I like this second hyperquilting design better:

More on hyperquilting designs later! Now I’ve got to tell you some really exciting news! Have you heard about a new internet-based quilting show called “Quilt Out Loud?” This show will debut on Qnntv in late July and it is the brainchild of none other than Jodie Davis and Mark Lipinski. You probably know Jodie because she is the host on QNN and she’s written about a bazillion books and she designs patterns! You probably know Mark because he is the editor of Quilters’ Home Magazine, designs fabrics for Northcott, and he is about the funniest person you’ll ever meet. (I’m not exaggerating about that! I got to hear him speak at Quilters Unlimited last month, and it was literally 2 solid hours of hard belly laughs! If you ever have the opportunity to hear him speak, do it!) If you’ve read his magazine, then you know that it’s different than other quilting magazines-it respects that quilters do other things than just quilt, and the show will have this same angle. Because of that, the show will touch on other parts of quilters lives, like cooking, gardening, etc. Anyway, I got to be part of a segment about creating your own quilting business, and it was really fun! Also in this segment were Linda Lum deBono, (don’t you just love her name!) and she has written lots of books and currently designs fabrics, and Debbie Kalenty, who began Quilter’s Obsession, an online quilt store! (By the way, Linda is hosting a fabric giveaway on her blog right now, so make sure you get over there and get yourself into the drawing!) The segments were all shot in the beautiful home of Sherry and Tim Cowley. Here’s a shot of Linda, Sherry and me waiting in a sitting room:

and here’s a shot of us all getting ready to start shooting:

I think this show will be lots of fun! If you’re interested in subscribing to QNN, go here, and if you sign up soon, you can use discount code QH-75VEH to reduce the price! One of the things they are going to do is hit the road and just show up at quilter’s homes and catch them by surprise!

And last but not least, we’re having a fourth of July sale in the online store! The items on sale below will be on sale through midnight next Sunday, July 5. Check out these incredible deals on threads!

1. Rain Forest Thread Pack (12 spools of beautiful trilobal polyester threads) normally $70.00, on sale for $59.00.
2. Flower Garden Thread Pack (12 spools of beautiful trilobal polyester threads) normally $70.00, on sale for $59.00.
3. Super Brights Thread Pack (12 spools of trilobal polyester threads, great for hyperquilting and adding highlights to your work) normally $70.00, on sale for $59.00.
4. Free Motion Fun Thread Pack (5 mini-cone spools of YLI subtly variegated threads plus one spool of solid gold Rayon thread by Robison-Anton) normally $50.50 on sale for $42.00.
5. Bendable Bright Light, normally $49.95, sale price $39.95.
6. 40 inch Flexible Curve Ruler, normally $19.50, sale price $15.95.
7. Texture Magicâ„¢, normally $11.99, sale price $10.95.

Happy 4th of July!

Playing Around With Texture Magic

June 13th, 2009

Have you seen this new product by Superior Threads? It’s called Texture Magic and it will cause ANY fabric to shrink in all directions by 30%! When you open it up, it looks like a large piece of unassuming synthetic fiber of some sort:

Attach it to the wrong side of whatever fabric you’re trying to shrink (either pin baste or spray baste):

and then do some type of stitching-free motion or straight line or whatever the heck you feel like doing! Once you’re done with the stitching, apply steam to the Texture Magic side. You don’t place the iron directly onto the Texture Magic, just hold the steam iron close to it, and that’s when the fun begins! You’ll see it really shrink, right in front of your eyes, and this creates all kinds of interesting textures! This is a piece of an avocado colored piece of silk that had been loosely stippled before the Texture Magic technique was applied. Now it’s a really interesting 3-dimensional fabric:

I fused this to some warm colored silks to make this large flower. The Texture Magic treated part is in the center:

Here’s after some additional stitching had been done around the center:

The flower is trapuntoed so I did a bit of stitching inside the petals to add some more texture:

This is still just part of the quilt top, so I have a long way to go on this, but I’m really enjoying this Texture Magic stuff…more to follow!

And, at the risk of sounding like a tape recording, don’t forget that there’s only a little over 1 week left to get yourself registered in the National Marrow Registry for free! To apply, go here and use the promo code “quiltersdonate” when prompted to enter a promo code. This will allow you to have the tissue typing kit sent directly to your own home. Thanks!

Join the Bone Marrow Registry for FREE!!!

June 8th, 2009

If you read my post from last month about being a bone marrow donor, then you have a sense of just what a wonderful, life-altering opportunity this is to really help out someone who really needs your help!
If you haven’t read this post, please scroll backwards and read the 5/12/09 post so you can have a sense of just what a meaningful experience this can be!
Right now, for a limited time, (6/8/09-6/22/09), you may join the bone marrow registry for free, if you follow the instructions below and use the promotion code below!

Joining the registry involves giving a sample of your DNA (this is obtained by swabbing the inside of your cheek and sending this sample into the registry, so no pain!), and this DNA kit will be shipped to your home so you will collect this sample without ever even leaving your house! This sample will be tissue typed, and then your tissue typed profile will be on record in the national marrow registry. From that point on, every time the registry is scanned to match the tissue typing of a person in need of a bone marrow transplant, your profile will also be scanned and you just might be able to save someone’s life!

If you live within the United States or Puerto Rico and are interested in this, go here to register. You must be between the ages of 18-60, and please read the medical guidelines to see if you might have a condition that might disqualify you. Note that most routine medical problems that are well controlled will not disqualify you! To join and apply for the free testing, click on “join now” and fill out the short questionnaire. When you arrive at the spot to enter a promo code, enter the following:
This special opportunity to join the registry is time limited, so if you are interested, be sure to sign up and complete the application before 6/22/09! If you have questions, please call Barbara Nolan at the National Marrow Registry at 1-888-862-7769, ext 105. And remember, you just might help save someone’s life!

Color, Glorious Color!

June 3rd, 2009

Aren’t these just gorgeous? These are all 1-2 yards lengths of hand dyed cotton sateens, dyed last weekend in the driveway. People always ask me how I get these blending colors, and it is SO easy it should be illegal! If you enjoyed finger painting at an earlier time in your life, you will LOVE doing this! You can just about drive yourself nuts reading about how to dye fabric and frankly, if I had allowed myself to get too caught up in the directions, I’d never be doing this. I cut many corners and don’t measure out anything exactly, and yet I’ve been able to consistently get really beautiful saturated colors that are colorfast. Here’s how!

I begin with cotton sateen (from either Hancock Fabrics, the chain or Joann Fabrics; Egyptian cotton from Joann Fabrics, or silk charmeuse from Exotic Silks) and each is soaked in a tub of soda ash/water for a minimum of 10 minutes. What kind of a ratio of water/soda ash? I’m not sure…I don’t measure it out, but I’m guessing that it’s in the range of 1/2 cup soda ash to 3-5 gallons of water. Stir it so the soda ash is completely dissolved and then add your fabrics. When you’re ready to dye, wring the fabrics out really well so they’re barely damp. (BTW, save this soda ash/water solution and keep re-using it. The solution I used last weekend is now 4 months old and still going strong)! Once you’ve wrung out those fabrics, place them in the washing machine on the spin cycle. DON’T LEAVE THIS STEP OUT, because this step will hep ensure that your colors are very vivid. You are now ready to begin dyeing these fabrics!

You will use Procian MX dyes for the above fabrics; I buy mine at Dharma Trading Company. I mix 1 TBS of dye powder with 2 cups of hot water (out of the tap, not heated on the stove) and stir until it’s all dissolved. I pour each color into a squirt bottle, then rinse out my measuring cup before I begin mixing the next color. Once I’m done, I have MANY squirt bottles filled with luscious colors!

Next, I lay out a piece of fabric on a “dye platter.” This is a piece of hardboard covered w/contact paper. Using one of my squirt bottles, I squirt a color into a few “blobs” of color placed randomly on the fabric:

Using a gloved hand, I squirt another color onto the fabric, and then I start to “blend” these colors with my hand, just like with finger painting:

Can you see how this is creating several colors that just kind of “blend into” one another? So easy, so fun! See all the blotchy areas of color around the periphery? That’s messy and yucky, so I’ll need to clean up all that as I continue to work, but this is quite easy to do. Now, sometimes as you work, you are really blending these colors, and other times, you’ll want to let the colors “bleed” into one another. Here’s an example of natural bleeding that you don’t want to interfere with:

These kinds of bleed lines will look lovely once your fabric is done. Here’s a photo of that exact piece of fabric once it had been washed 3 times, and notice how much the bleed lines add:

Doesn’t that piece of fabric just make your blood boil?! Now here’s one more tip about this direct dye method: sometimes, as you’re working, you’ll develop bubbles like these:

Some dyers “spoon out” those bubbles but I don’t because I love them! Do you see how colors pool around the edges of those bubbles? This will create a really cool effect once the dyeing is done, so think of it as yet another way to make your fabric more interesting!

Now this direct dye method isn’t the only way to dye fabrics; here’s another one I did last weekend. Here, I placed a piece of silk in a tub and started squirting dye onto it:

In this case, I had a couple of yellow/gold colors that I kind of just worked into the fabric while it was in that tub. Sometimes, I will just leave this crumpled up fabric in the tub and then lay it out in the sun. In this case, I left each crumpled up wad of fabric right on the driveway to dry in the sun:

Here’s a shot of all the pieces of silk that I dyed last weekend; these make a big splash as applique figures because of that wonderful sheen of silk charmeuse:

The last method I’ll show you is how I over-dye commercial prints. Here is a 2-yard piece of a blue mottled cotton that I’ve placed in a tub with 4 cups of fuchsia:

Using gloved hands, really work that fabric into the dye, making sure that every inch of that fabric has been immersed in it:

Leave it out in the sun for a few hours and here’s the finished product:

Here are a few things I’ve learned that make the whole process easier and/or cheaper:
1. Don’t wash fabrics out by hand at the end-it’s very messy. Let every piece of fabric dry totally in the sun, then fold them up and throw them into the washing machine-no muss, no fuss! I wash once in HOT water, then 2 more times in cold water. With my particular water, they are colorfast at this point, but check on this wherever you live. You might need to wash less and you might need to wash more!
2. I don’t waste any money on Synthrapol for washing fabric, either before I dye the fabric or after. I use whatever commercial laundry detergent I happen to have on hand (currently “All” or “Tide.”)
3. I don’t cover my fabric in plastic as it’s dyeing-never found that to be necessary and it sure saves a big mess!
4. At times when I’ve run out of soda ash, I’ve just used baking soda. Everything I’ve read says it won’t work, but it’s always worked fine for me.

No more words of wisdom other than if you’ve never tried to dye fabric yet, give it a shot and you’ll be glad you did! And one more thing, here’s the added bonus! These are all “drip rags,” or fat quarters of Egyptian cotton that I used to “mop up” spillage around my dye platters: