Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mid-Week Fun

Guess what I did today? No, go ahead, betcha can't! NOPE! I beaded. No, really, I did. But before I show you where all these lovely doo-dads went, let me show you where I started at the beginning of the week.

Still utterly captivated by the texture I'm getting when I stitch a quilt with strips of torn fabric and then dye it, I have also been experimenting with using one or two larger pieces of plain white fabric and stitching them in very tight pleats across the top of a quilt sandwich. The idea is that when the piece is complete, I will rip open the pleats, dye the quilt as usual, and let the dyeing/washing process create my beloved thread schmutz.

That's been working well and has produced this mini-quilt, which I showed you in a previous post.

But I got tired of just stitching from one side of the quilt to the other. I wanted to keep things linear- as per the client's instructions- but I also itched to liven things up a little bit. Recently when stitching a sampler quilt I began free-motion quilting a square spiral and was fascinated with the texture it gave the quilt when squares were placed side-by-side in a row. Wanting to explore this shape more, I created three more test quilts.

As usual, (except where noted) I began with a fully finished, pillowtop-turned quilt sandwich consisting of all white cotton fabric, batting and thread.

The first quilt was tiny, only about 5" x 5", and actually incorporated red rayon thread rather than white to prevent it from changing color. I laid a solid piece of white fabric onto the quilt top and sewed my spiral. I wanted to give Dye-Na_Flow a chance in these experiments, so once the piece was stitched, I painted it in three colors.

Once the paint dried, I heat set it with an iron (a necessary step with Dye-Na-Flow if you're going to launder it!), used sharp little embroidery scissors to cut between the stitch lines, and washed it out just as if I had dyed it- in hot water with a little Synthrapol. Then I tossed it into the dryer and let it run for about 30 minutes.

As you can see, the fraying effect was greatly reduced by the acrylic in the Dye-Na-Flow, but I kind of liked it despite the way it wants to give you a migraine if you study it for more than 60 seconds. Or less.

Still I wasn't ready to give up on the Zen feelings I was grooving on while stitching a square spiral, so I stitched two more little pieces. These I constructed like the one above except that I used white thread and Procion MX dyes to colorize them.

I am severely underwhelmed. However, since I had the dyes out, anyway, and since I had some lovely amethyst left over from my last gradation, I thought I'd give this little orphan, (remember him?)...

... another spin in the dye baths. And holy cow. I fell in love with it when it came out of the dryer this morning. So it got beaded (click to see a larger view, it's better up close)!

This piece has now been dyed twice and laundered three separate times, which has forced the development of intensely tangled and complex thread schmutz. Most of the beads I added were my own dyed and painted fabric, Tyvek, and paper beads, but some of them are commercial beads, too.

Like I said a few posts ago- this is how a series starts!

Happy Creating!
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