I’m the opposite of that well known animal the pack rat! I love taking a carload of stuff to the thrift store or dump and coming back clean, fresh and empty!! So I decided it was finally time to go through all my fabric and Get Rid of pieces I hadn’t even contemplated using in the last ten years…or longer. I’ve been dyeing fabric since before I was even making art quilts so there was a Lot of it. All those scraps we save because they “might come in” have now gone out!!
Several giant bags of useable stuff are headed to the thrift store. That’s me in my blue hat, so you can see just how much there was!! A 25 year accumulation!
And, all the muslin (why oh why did we like that stuff?) is stacked to use for quilt backs. It looks awful mixed in with other fabrics on the front, so dead and dull. It’s wonderful for a backing because it needles so easily, plus that means I only need keep the big bits so there’s enough for back/interfacing and sleeves that all blend together.
The rest I organized by colour and type of fabric. The muslin is gone as I said, and much of the kona, I was never very keen on the way kona cotton took the dye – it always looked a bit muddy to me. I know other people swear by it, but there are so many variables with dyeing and maybe their variables came together more positively than mine when it came to kona.
(you always have to take your shoes off to sort fabric, havn’t you noticed?)
I like Testfabric 419 – it’s a high thread count that’s perfect for screen printing, you get nice crisp prints whether you use dye or pigment to print. It’s great for any kind of shibori – again because the high thread count prevents so much bleeding and spreading of the dye. The downside of 419 is that it’s hard to needle, impossible to hand stitch for arthritic old dudes like me, and even my sewing machine sounds more like a traction engine than a purring cat when it’s going through it.
The fabric I prefer for straight forward immersion dyeing, and definitely if I want to hand stitch the piece, is cotton sateen. I just love the soft glow it gives to the colours.
Of course by the time I’d chucked out about 2/3 of my stash and sorted out the rest I realised I needed to head down to the dye studio as I was missing all kinds of colours!! Thank goodness the “global warming hoax” has lead to temperatures well over 90 during the day and over 70 at night here in Georgia – perfect dyeing weather!!
So this morning I enjoyed petting my newly dyed sateen, picked out colours for the next quilt and organized them by value. I don’t like to choose fabrics by colour when I’m blocking out a piece, but rather by value. I find I can make the composition much stronger by following values…and it’s fun to see which fabrics turn up where when I randomly piece a piece from the particular value pile!
Ah…space lovely space!
If you have been, thanks for reading!!! All comments so very gratefully received, otherwise I won’t know there’s anybody out there!! Elizabeth