Category Archives: fabric dyeing

Cactus Basket Quilt

Finally the quilt that I’ve been working on for my mother-in-law is finished. The quilt was a kit featuring fabrics from Darlene Zimmerman’s Clothesline Club. I got the kit on sale from the Fat Quarter Shop several years ago. The fabrics used in the kit were reproduction 30’s prints, which I love. I saw the kit and thought of my mother-in-law. This January was her 95th birthday and she’s doing well and still living in her own apartment although she does have the VON nurses come in twice a day to check up on her and make sure everything is alright. I thought she might like the fabrics since she’s lived through that era so we’ll see if she remembers the colours when I give her the quilt at a birthday party get-together this April.

Laundry basket quilt kit - cactus flower
Laundry Basket Quilt – fabric and design by Darlene Zimmerman, Kaufman fabrics.

close-up cactus flower
Close-up of the block, which is known as Cactus Basket. I’m sure there is probably some other name for it as well.

dyed sapphire blue backing for laundry basket quilt
Shot of the backing I dyed using ProChem’s Sapphire Blue. The dilution was a weak one but turned out perfect for the quilt. There is a bit of mottling in there but you really have to look to see it.

Well another project done for now. Next up is the dinosaur quilt for Carter’s birthday in May. I have the top sewn together so I just need to sew the backing and then layer and quilt everything together.


Little Knitted Pouch and Lavender Socks.

Here are a couple of little projects that I’ve finished in the last week. The first are a pair of socks I made for my daughter but turns out she’s allergic to wool, oops.

lavender socks
Basic sock by Ann Budd knit in Paton’s Kroy socks – Lavender Jaquard.

The other project is a small bag made from a pattern I found on Ravelry but the instructions are here: Knitted Creations. The yarn was spun from the roving shown in my previous post.

shetland white corridale purple green yellow pink
White Shetland and coloured Corridale.



Hand-dyed fabric I had sitting around from a previous fabric swap.


inside bag
Final measurements for the bag were 6.5″ by 6″ with the flap closed. You can of course make the bag any size you want just adjust the repeats of the pattern. It’s a very easy knit.

And lastly I pin-basted the small basket quilt together using a piece of backing that I dyed a light blue to match. I was pleased with how the backing turned out considering I just tossed in some dye and threw it on the fabric. It’s a bit mottled but it’s hard to tell in the photo.



Projects galore…

I’ve done a lot of work since Christmas but I haven’t blogged it. I’d thought I’d only done a few things but went back to check the photos and surprised even myself so here goes…

First up is a headband that I knit using Kate Davies pattern WWWW #1. This is a free pattern that can be found on Ravelry so if you aren’t a member I can highly recommend joining as it’s one of the best databases out there with tons of patterns, yarns, forums, etc.

The thing that is special about this headband is that it’s the second finished project that I’ve knit using yarn that I’ve handspun myself. The headband is a bit tall in these photos but that’s my own fault because I thought I was off gauge so tossed in extra rows, I should have left the pattern alone. This is the first time I’ve knit a lining into anything and picked up a provisional cast-on. The white lining was alpaca for softness.

WWWW #1 with lining showing

The next project I worked on was a cowl I started while on vacation in Florida. We went down at the beginning of January and I took the headband pictured above to work on along with a spindle. I also took a lot of books but ended up knitting and watching reno shows inbetween walking the beaches. Well I finished off the headband and then had to go out and find something else to knit so I picked up a ball of Berroco lace and started in on this cowl. It’s a nice drapey cowl and while it took a lot of effort to finish it I really like how it drapes and folds in on itself. The cowl will go to Dan’s girlfriend so I hope she likes it. The cowl is called Willow Cowl by Amelia Lyon and is another free Ravelry pattern.
Willow cowl head shot

willow cowl

I belong to the Bliss Spinning Wheel forum on Ravelry and the girls decided that this year will be one for the beginning spinners (there are a lot of us) so each month of 2014 will feature a different type of fibre or method of spinning. For the month of January the featured fibre was BFL – Blue-faced Leicester. I have some superwash BFL so decided to try my hand at dyeing again only this time using the Jaquard acid dyes I bought for Christmas. Unfortunately I’m not sure where the photos of the dyepot are, maybe I forgot to take them, oh well the pot was half blue and half yellow but mostly green by the time it was done.
sky blue sun yellow superwash bfl
Fingering weight yarn in BFL superwash.


sky blue and yellow sun braid bfl superwash

Well before we left for Florida my chiropractor of eight years informed me that he and his girlfriend were expecting a baby in February so while I’m congratulating him I’m thinking that doesn’t leave me much time to get a baby gift ready. I see my chiropractor each week so he’s like family to me so I had to make something. Well we got back home and a week later I’m getting ready for my appointment when the office phoned to cancel as he was in the delivery room – three weeks early awk! Anyhow after thinking about it and going to my stash I settled on a very simple quilt with lots of colour and this is what I came up with – hand-dyed backing of course.
Finished bright colours baby quilt

Front and back view bright colours baby quilt
Backing dyed with Procion MX dyes in Lemon Yellow and Turquoise.

Finally, another handspun project for February’s challenge for the spinning group. This time the lesson was to try and create a big and lofty type of yarn, which usually means spinning woollen. I carded up some of the Shetland fleece that I had washed a couple of months ago into four big batts and then spun it up woollen. I didn’t fuss about what happened so the resulting yarn is quite rough but I wanted that look. I’m hoping to knit it into a hat for my husband John, something simple and guy-like that he’ll want to wear. I’ve decided to keep it natural for now and I can always dye it later if need be.
carded shetland fleece

Shetland bulky 104 yards

shetland bulky

Well that’s all for now. I have another baby quilt to finish by February 22 and I haven’t started but I have an idea for it so that’s half the battle. I also have the hat to knit and then I should be free of projects for the next little while. I bought a new pressure canner while down south on vacation, saved myself about $200 so I was pleased and I’ve been reading up on pressure canning soups and meats so we’ll see how that turns out.


Almost Christmas

Well Christmas is almost upon us and I really haven’t gotten much done to show for it. I found out that I have the beginning stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis so have been mired in the Internet for the last three weeks trying to figure out what happens with this disease. I did start some knitting today but I have to admit that as far as getting homemade gifts ready for Christmas this year was so-so.

I did make some more oven towels.
christmas towels
The tutorial for these towels is over at the right-hand side of this blog.

I also spun up a little hank of the wool I had dyed (shown in previous posts).
black boysenberry tangerine starfire
Shetland black, dyed shetland boysenberry and tangerine.

I also managed to do a low-water immersion shirt for my son.
Jaquard Jet Black, ProChem Intense Blue. The grey/brown was the jet black separating in the water.

I also bought some stuff from KnitPicks.
enchanted lake sock yarn
Enchanted Lake sock yarn.

enchanted lake closeup
Close-up of the sock yarn because it’s so pretty.

Jaquard acid dyes to experiment with my wool after Christmas.

Some baby alpaca yarn on sale.

Not much else going on right now. I need to clean the dining room and put up the tree (I hate doing this but the grandkids will be here) so I can’t see blogging again before Christmas so I’m wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year :)


Gelatin Plate Printing With MX Dyes

I have a swap that I participated in that involved the process of gelatin plate printing. Our fabric dyeing group works with MX dyes so that is the medium we use when we do our various swaps each month.

I have to admit that I know nothing about the process of print making but was game to try so after googling various youtube demos I started. I was going to explain the process but after a couple of paragraphs I realized that it’s just easier to google youtube and see what people have done there so if you’re interested I suggest you do that.

Here’s a couple of pictures of the process:

Gelatin plate, it was hard getting the plate out of the container. Even though I was careful it cracked.

Thickened sodium alginate.

Mixing dye into the thickened alginate.

Various coloured dyes.

Prints taken off of the plate. Of course I forgot to take pictures of the process.

Prints drying on table.

Gelatin print 1.

Gelatin print 2.

Gelatin print 3.

Vague outline of purple oak leaf.

What I found was that I couldn’t get the thickened dye to come off of the roller properly. The dye just tends to slide on top of the gelatin. I know from watching the videos that the people demonstrating the process didn’t use thickened dye they used ink dyes so I’m thinking I would have had better success with those.

I did take a couple of prints using leaves. I spread the dye on the gelatin using the back of a spoon but it was patchy at best. The abstracts were made by me getting frustrated so I thinned down the dyes and just dribbled them onto the gelatin and then pressed the fabric over top.

Out of 16 attempts this was the best of the lot. I couldn’t really see the point of using the gelatin as I’m thinking I could have gotten the same results just using a hard surface. Maybe if I had used inks instead I would have gotten a better idea. I don’t see much mentioned on the subject so maybe people don’t  use gelatin printing that often. Maybe it’s a technique that you try but don’t really use.

Anyhow I won’t try this again, I think I’d rather stencil instead. It was fun dabbling sort of like a kid and finger paints. Hmmm….maybe I should have used my fingers.


I’m off…

We’re off tomorrow to go on holiday out to British Columbia to visit my brother and his family in Vancouver and then John and I will be seeing my mom and dad who live on Vancouver Island in the town of Nanaimo.

We will arrive in Vancouver sleep overnight and then drive down with my brother and his wife to Seattle, sleep overnight there and then take a flight down to San Fransico for three days before heading back home to Vancouver. It should be an interesting trip, I’m hoping the knee holds up and I don’t slow people down with the sight-seeing. I bought new shoes so pray they will help.

Meanwhile I finished the quilt for my sister-in-law yesterday and Jen’s hubby Phil took a picture for me. He’s a camera buff and always brings the proper equipment and lighting so these turned out nice.

Chinese coin quilt.

Hand-dyed backing from 108″ PFD fabric.


Dr Seuss Cat in the Hat Quilt

Well I’ve finally finished the top to the Dr Seuss quilt and I also dyed the backing (plain navy blue) so all that is left is to quilt it and bind the edges, lol, not bad for having been a Christmas quilt.

Quilt on a double bed.

Another view from the foot of the bed, it was really hard to take a picture because there wasn’t room for me to back up as I have a ton of stuff in this room while I’m repainting the next room over.

I also dyed a parfait for a swap with the forum I belong too. It took forever for the dye to wash out as the turquoise in the marine green just ran and ran.

Berry, Eggplant and Marine green. This picture looks nicer than the actual piece. The image on my camera was a bit duller than reality but when I colour corrected the photo the editor put in more contrast so imagine this photo a bit duller and you have the real colours. I guess I should have used a green with more yellow in it and then colours would have looked nicer, live and learn I guess. Probably an olive green would have matched better.


Same Dye Different Effect….Snowdyeing

Well I finally got around to dyeing up a couple of pieces of material using snow. We have a swap coming up in March and since the weather has been all things weird I decided it’d probably be a good time to do it now while we still have some.

The material used was P&B dyer’s cloth and the size of the pieces were 1 yard each. I made up three different dyes using a strength ratio of 1 tablespoon of dye to 1 cup of water.

From Dharma:
1. Navy
2. Butterscotch
3. Burgundy

I used the same method of snow-dyeing that I always use – presoak material in soda ash, wring out and arrange tightly scrunched up on a rack in the sink. Layer about 4 inches of snow over top, apply dye and let melt. After the snow has melted I then put the material into a plastic shoebox container and float it in a sink of hot water for as many hours as I have patience to let it sit until I rinse and wash it out.

Snow-dyed fabric using Navy, Burgundy and Butterscotch from Dharma applied in a blob pattern to cover snow.

Closeup of an area of the above fabric.

I had some left over dye so thought I would try applying it in a spatter pattern over the snow. I didn’t bother taking any photos of this because I’ve already blogged it before but basically for the first piece I squirted out big blobs of dye onto the snow whereas on the second piece I just squirted lines of dye criss-crossing each other back and forth over the snow.

Snowdyed using Navy, Butterscotch and Burgundy in a random line pattern. There was a bit more burgundy left than the navy and butterscotch but this piece is mostly purple probably because the dye blended together better than the bigger blobs of dye in the first piece.

Closeup of one section of above material.

Nice fabric it always looks so good when it’s been snowdyed. It’s always hard to cut one of these pieces up because they look like a painting and it’s always better seeing all the different colours in the one piece. Might be interesting to try and make a Ricky Tims quilt out of one of them and see how it turns out.


Cappuccino Bali Pop Quilt – Done!

Finally, with five days to go until the wedding, I finished the batik quilt I was working on. Brag pictures below, I used a matching dark brown thread and a meandering stitch to quilt it and a plain black homespun to bind the quilt.

Melissa’s wedding quilt. Pattern “Sparkling Gemstones” from the book Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam and Nancy Lintott, made using one Hoffman’s Cappuccino Bali Pop and co-ordinating batiks.

Back of quilt hand-dyed to match.

Front and back, not a bad match.

Meandering stitch, not the best but not bad either.

I’m so glad to get this done and out of the way. The finished quilt is roughly 60 x 80 inches give or take a few (too lazy to do a final measure). It is a nice size to cuddle up in to watch T.V. or it could be used on a twin or as a topper for a larger bed.


Dyeing a Quilt Backing – Part 3 The End.

I finally finished dyeing the quilt backing yesterday and thought I would post some pictures of some of the steps.

Fabric set-up – a clothes rack with a chicken wire frame set on top and ivory backing piece.

Piece of 70″x85″ fabric scrunched down to about a third that size.

Ivory over-dyed in a grid pattern using Black and Bark and dry soda ash applied.

Close-up of the over-dye. I ran out of dye and had to mix up some more brown. I decided to cover up the ivory that was showing so this photo isn’t quite accurate.

Covered in Saran Wrap with some empty flower containers to weigh it down. After a couple of hours I placed the fabric in a very large plastic Rubbermaid container and floated the whole thing in a bathtub of very hot water and left it to batch overnight.

Fabric after the wash-out hanging from the shower curtain rod in the bathroom.

I’m really pleased that this backing worked out so well. It was worth taking the time to do the third trial test piece. After having done the first two pieces I was ready to use a plain black homespun for backing and the only reason I didn’t was because I’d already torn my 108″ pfd white to size plus I would have had to seam the black homespun to fit the quilt and and the black homespun was expensive at $10 a metre.

Now on to quilting and binding.


P.S. Oh and yes I did for a second time…

Whatcha going to do?