Archive for the ‘Dyeing’ Category

Heat and Shape: Mad Scientist/Artist at Play!

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

cycada song2Somewhere in my family background, there has to be a mad scientist somewhere. Either that or a wild woman who was brewing some very odd teas. 

I’ve been a dyer for over 30 years now. It’s not all of what I do. It’s never really been the focus of what I do. But my work would have been much less rich without it. 

I’m also incapable of measurements. Not in cooking, not in dyeing, not in any way. If you just can’t pour it in and hope for the best it’s probably not going to happen on my watch.  Soups and stews, yes. Much better at bread than cake. It’s all a dyslesics view of the measuring cup. It’s a sugguestion, a guideline. Don’t ask for accuracy.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t love  experiments.So I was delighted when I got a package of Heat and Shape. 

I’ve pasted in the information for you. Of course, it never occurred to me to do trapunto. 

Heat & Shape is a revolutionary heat-activated batting that allows the home crafter to create unique, 
rigid, three-dimensional fabric designs.  There is no need for water or messy chemical additives, Heat & Shape is non-toxic and is activated with only heat and pressure. Heat & Shape can be easily 
cut with scissors or a rotary cutter and, prior to heating, can easily be sewn through using standard
needles and thread.  Due to the nonwoven nature of Heat & Shape it will not fray at the edges like 
Woven stabilizers.  

Ideal as a hidden stiffener to add stability and crispness to handbags, tote bags and
placemats.  Let your imagination run wild with fanciful masks, costumes, millinery, boxes, bowls, flowers 
and ornaments.  Heat & Shape is mold and mildew resistant and is machine washable and dryable.

Quilt Heat & Shape into some of your favorite fabric, lightly steam and you have what we call
“Poor-Man’s Trapunto”; a beautiful stipple  effect as the Heat and Shape crisps and shrinks as you steam!

I found myself thinking, Leaves! So I cut a bunch of leaves and shaped them and veined them with the iron and the heat. As you heat them, they shrink and take on the forms around them. It’s like shrinking felt that can be molded and marked and seamed.

When I got done they were fearfully white. But they were polyester. It’s been a long time since I played with Rit, but Rit is one of the dyes that is formulated for all kinds of fibers. 

crockpot 2It was like my old college days. We used what we had.At that time Rit was it. Rit responds to vinger, salt and heat and I used a lot of both of those. I put it in the Crockpot and left it for two days. It remains to be seen whether the mix of purple and green made that brown or whether I singed them. But theydiyed leaves are very, very fall like.

dyed leaves 2

dyed leaves 3

 

 

They’re currently pinned to the Cidada quilt that is in process on top. I’m excited to see what they’ll look like with veining and stitching all over them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll find Heat and Shape at InnovativeCrafts.Com. Even though it’s polyester, we’ve proved it will dye with heat, salt vineger and Rit. Although, there’s a rumor that it could be made in rayon.  Which would dye with cold water procions. The mad scientist in me is completely overjoyed. cycada song detail

 

Thread MagicSummer School: Color Mixing vs. Color Picking

Friday, August 16th, 2013


672 Willow lEven though we’ve been looking at dyers and painters, we’ve been exploring color combinations. We’ve learned that the most exciting combinations offer us contrasts either in hue, tone, temperature or cast. Those contrasts help define our figure and separate it from the background. That separation gives the mind and the eye a way into a composition, a way to make immediate visual sense of what is going on.

All that falls to the ground when we start mixing colors.

 dye cupswI’ve always let the dye houses mix my colors for me. They do a much better job, and I’m constitutionally the right person to do it. It would assume I could measure something. That hasn’t happened since 1969.

But once you put one dye color on top of another color, you’ve mixed them, planned or not. And that same excitement that happens with contrasts in color combinations is instantly blended into a brown of some sort.

I know a lot of unhappy dyers. Unless you really like brown, this is a downer.

 

color picking

Picking primaries

 

Mixing from Primaries

Mixing from Primaries

 

 

 

Willow is an example of a great deal of purposeful mud. I love the browns in her, and dyed them largely from complements.

 

 

759 Blossoms in Moonlight detailThread Color is about picking rather than mixing. So the color choice rules apply. Brown is enriched in this bunny with greens,burgundies, teals, oranges, purples and olive greens, all complements but separate because each is a separate thread. The eye blends them in your mind, but their separation holds the colors true and bright.

Ellen Anne Eddy's Dye Day Workbook cover front for web tnIf you want more information about color mixing you’ll find it in my book

 

 

 

Dye Day Workbook, available in print on Amazon.com or on my web site.

It’s available as an PDF on my Etsy store Raid My Fabric Stash

 

 joans refrigerator

On our Refrigerator today, we have Joan Davis, an amazing Hawaiian quilter who’s work reflects the beauty of the island. You’ll find more of her amazing work on her facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/joan.davis

 

 

 

 

 

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This is our last day of Thread Magic Summer School. Tomorrow there will be a test. It is only a test.

I do think it’s fun at least to measure what you’ve gotten out of it all.

Sunday I hope to have a little gift for you for coming to summer school and making it fun.

 

 

Dyeing for Threads

Monday, July 8th, 2013

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAYesterday I threw 288 threads into the washer. I had to. I’d dyed them

dyed threadsI’ve never gotten over dyed threads. I started dyeing threads 15 years ago. These are #5 weight pearl Cottons. They work brilliantly in an adjusted bobbin case. And they. dyed like champs. Someone asked how I dye thread, and how it washes out, so here you are.

Of course you have to wash them out. There is no trick at all to dyeing thread. Add color. There you are.

Washing them out. Not so easy.

lumps in the washerEnter the less than lovely lump. These threads have been twisted into lumps and stuffed in black nylon stockings. Once they’re tied, they’re going no where bad. Throw them in the washer with synthropol and softener on the last wash, and you get.

Thread lumps!thread lumps

Once you cut away the stockings, it get’s much more exciting.

 

 

 

thread on shower hook wOnce the thread is out of the stocking, you control it with a shower curtain clip. These are getting hard to find, but they do show up at Lowes. Put them on a hook and hang them up to dry.

Altogether, this is what this batch looked like.

 

 

 

Most of these are for me. But I am putting a small quantity of them on sale at Etsy as kits of three threads in  dark, light and shocker/shader collections.  You’ll find them on my Etsy shop at etsy.com/ellenanneeddy/

Ellen Anne Eddy's Dye Day Workbook cover front for web tnWant more information about dyeing threads? There’s a section on thread dyeing in my book, Dye Day Workbook, available on Etsy as a pdf and available on my web site and on Amazon.com as a paper book. 

Here’s what the threads looked like.

 

 


I put them in packages of threes, perfect for embroidery, bobbin work, couching, crazy quilting and hand stitching.

They come in

  • Stone Grey
  • Growing Greens
  • Blueberry Blue
  • Aqua Waters
  • Ripe Reds
  • Tangerine Dreams
  • Glorious Mud
  • Olives
  • Sunflower Yellows

I’ve dyed for thread. Wouldn’t you?

Zeke Dyes Fabric, Ellen Dyes Bird: Notes from the Dog House

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

I’m Ezekiel, the new studio dog at Thread Magic Studio. I’m learning the fine points of being Ellen’s studio dog. We have three at the studio.I’m here at the studio door. Mom spends a lot of time at the computer in the living room, so I was shocked when we went to the studio.

It appears a studio dog has a lot of things to do.

I didn’t know which way to look.

 

Mom dyed a lot of fabric. I ate a lot of cookies.Then Mom accidently dyed Bird. I guess you should think first before you demand to be petted in the studio.

Pat Winter (The Dye Cup Fairy) came and got Mom to open the cookie jar again.Pat dyes fabulous silk ribbons, and since it takes just a little dye for that, she likes to use the ends of the dye in the cups. Works all around.You can see Pat’s amazing dyed ribbon and the astonishing things she does with it on her blog at Pat Winter Gatherings.

You’ll find more blogs about her on this site at

Technology and the Dye Cup Fairy

And Pat Winter: It’s always the Quiet Ones.

Finnie says the secret is to keep your head down and nap a lot. He seems to have that down to a science.

Here’s what the fabric looked like.

Will I dye more fabric? Well, it’s a big cookie jar out there.

Falling into Fall: In Search of Fall Color

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Last night’s  hard wind and rain brought the cool that’s been promised by the leaves’ turning.  There’s patches of color up and down the highway.  Mostly maples at this point.  The browns will come in later with the oaks, and the elms are in  between wth a fanfare of yellow. All time is spiral in nature. And it’s always announced by the colors. You know what time of year it is without a calendar. Just look up at the trees and the sky.

What makes those fall colors so fabulous? When we get them on the wheel, it’s  pretty clear. If we look at them from a distance we have a split analogous wheel We’ve got the reds and the greens complementing each other. But here nature’s blended them into different browns as well.

Whenever I teach dyeing,  I get someone who says to me “I hate brown. I don’t want to dye any browned out colors.” That’s an aesthetic and it’s a choice. It’s not even a bad choice. Most of us can easily be seduced into clear colors.  But as you dye fabrics and threads, you come to realize that different complementary pairs make different browns an that the shades between them are amazingly rich and moody. The owl was done with around 3o different hand dyed threads shaded with complementary pairs in different combinations to celebrate brown. It’s much sexier that you thought, isn’t it?

In the micro view it’s a little simpler. Were you wondering why there’s pink in that wheel? It’s there in those leaves. But the green and red sizzle against it and it slides in with that soft orange.

Fall into the colors of fall! All those colors against the browns are warmth against the coming cool.

 

 

 

Aging Fabric: A Time Honored Art

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

So many of us have astonishing stashes. My favorite stash story is about a woman who’s husband just built her a sewing room . He said” I bet you have as much as $100 worth of fabric.” God bless the ignorant. And long live her stash.

So we keep fabric we haven’t used. Sometimes for quite some while. I have a 20 year old piece of black wool myself. I just felted it.   I just got a felting machine this year. And I’m delighted I still have it.

So it was with equal delight I saw that Tina Rathbone had blogged on a piece of fabric she dug out that we shopped for over 10 years ago. Tina is a California lunatic who quilts brilliantly, water colors beautifully, and bird watches obsessionally.  

Her discussion of how she makes a pattern work for her in her blog Pattern Abuse is brilliant. And what she came up with for her garment is gorgeous.

It couldn’t have happened if she hadn’t aged her fabric. 

I think the things we love change much more slowly than the technology and abilities that come and go through the sewing world. If you love big bugs and fish, it’s unlikely (and I know this from experience) to completely go away unless you’ve had a truly unfortunate vacation experience. 

The other truth is that fabric is ephemeral. You often really only see it once. Some companies reproduce the same designs over and over. But it’s not the normal practice. Often you have just one chance to buy that silly thing. I still am grieving the robots over Manhattan fabric I gave to someone. I’ve never seen it since and it was fabulous!  

Of course we all cull fabric.There’s never room enough and time. And it’s a great thing to give someone a stack of new possibilities. Although I had one dear friend who would announce the fabric she was bringing over to me with the word, “Incoming!” And it was sort of like that. Fabric Explosion!

Hand dye is especially that way. It only happens once. I tell people if they’re in love they’d best just consummate the relationship because it won’t happen twice.

So age your fabric well. If you love it, you’ll still love it. Toss what you don’t. Keep what you adore. And wait for the moment where it’s right.

You’ll find Tina’s delightful process on pattern making on her blog at Artelicious.blogspot.com

You’ll find amazing fabric everywhere. But most especially, in your stash! It’s material wealth!

Cheesecloth! The Cotton Sheer

Monday, June 18th, 2012

It’s such a good thing people don’t generally look in my washer. They would need medical attention pretty fast, and perhaps that’s just as well. There’s a large quality of the embodied question.”Just what is that?”

This is a cheesecloth lump. As advertised, it’s a lump of cheesecloth, tucked carefully into a nylon stocking so it doesn’t unravel and trap the whole washer in threads. Is this some special fabric we’ve never heard of? No. You probably put it on a turkey breast last Thanksgiving. 

 

 

Even open it’s a bit of a mystery for folk. But you  can see the colors. Cheesecloth is one of the appliquer’s and dyers best kept secret. It’s a cotton sheer that dyes beautifully, can be ironed like cotton ( with a pressing cloth) and is fabulously textured. What it does best is sheer bright color behind stitching.

 

Here it makes the background behind these great mushrooms

 

 

 

 

This great flower is cheesecloth in two shades. All the other coloring is the thread work.

 

These soft leaves are cheesecloth with polyneon thread stitched in different colors on

different sides.

How do you dye cheesecloth? It dyes just like cotton. The trick is not in dyeing it. It’s in washing it out. Like every other bad boy, you can’t let it play with others. Stick it in a nylon stocking, tie it up and your good to go.

I apply cheesecloth with Steam A Seam 2, iron it down thoroughly and stitch it with abandon.

Sheer, bright, lovely,  cotton and  completely addictive, add it to your applique stash.

If you can’t find it, or dye it, I do make it available for folk. Email me and we’ll set up mailing you a box of it. 

Dyeing without the Red Menace

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Piney Dragonfly

 

Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so.

It used to be that I never dyed anything without certain dyes in the house. Clear yellow, turquoise, plum, blue violet, lemon yellow and fuchsia.If I was out of any of those, I ordered dye. Even if I was out of only one.

Did I ever order one color of dye? Don’t be silly. That would be horrific in shipping costs. So the need for one $4 jar of dye would really quickly turn into a $75  exploration of new colors. It was fun. The economy was stronger and I was teaching much more often.

Now that I’m home more in the studio, my dyeing has changed. I dye more just for myself and much less often. And when I found myself out of fuchsia dye last week I rolled my eyes, shook my head and dyed without it.

It’s fascinating how one color changes the whole pallet.

Piney Dragonfly is dyed using fuchsia, along with hot pink, cotton candy, yellow green, forest and dark green.

 

three point landing

Three Point Landing was dyed without fuchsia.The reds here were done with basic red, mixing red, strong orange, raspberry, amethyst and scarlet.

 

  They call fuchsia the red menace for a reason. It bleeds. Not a little. Not sometimes. Stuck pig style. In the most peculiar pink if you have a white spot in your fabric for it to land on. Some people like it. For me, it’s an almost automatic cause for an  overdye.

Leaving out the fuchsia meant that I didn’t have any bleedover. Who knew? Nothing is good or bad less thinking makes it so.

If you want more information about dyeing fabric The Dye Day Workbook will walk you through my sponge painting methods  to wild wonderful fabric, with or without fuchsia.

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