Exciting things going on in so many directions I have trouble finding time to share about them! It seems as though everything I have made since returning to Florida has been a secret for one reason or another–either because it was a gift or because it was part of a challenge that couldn’t be revealed in advance, but I am finally free to share. The challenge for Martin County Quilters was half square triangles, and I was honored to receive the Judge’s Choice award for my Bali Birds, made from batiks I picked up on my Bali shopping trip.
Today I handed in the challenge for Gone to Pieces, which was a fabric challenge in which we all used a fabric called “Effervescence.” The 25 quilts were all fabulous and diverse interpretations of this great fabric. My quilt is called “Butterfly Release.” I found photographs and images of butterflies and traced them onto Wonder Under which I fused to the focal fabric, then layered that on top of fabric that I hand dyed various colors experimenting with different dyeing techniques. The piano key border is also fabric that I hand dyed. The quilts will be hanging at the Cummings library during the month of March.
My experiments with dyeing with chemically reactive dyes made me want to better understand the chemistry behind them, which led to a literature search and the development of a lab experiment for the IB chemistry students at South Fork High School. I have found so much variation in recipes that I needed to understand the chemistry better to be able to adjust the recipe and technique to get the effects I wanted. Why do some recipes add the soda ash as a presoak, some with the dye, and some after dyeing? Why do some use salt and others don’t? I also wanted to get back into indigo dyeing, which I did with the Chem Club students years ago. And I wanted to try Shibori dyeing techniques.
The experiments went very well, and as the students changed different variables, we definitely saw effects in the end products. As I was substitute teaching in the art department, I shared with the IB art teacher about what I was doing with the chemistry kids, and it turned out she had just attended a Shibori workshop with the teacher from Martin County High School, who had written a grant to do Shibori with her students to dye sarongs for a project in Madagascar. So on Saturday I joined them to share about the chemistry, practice folding techniques, and show them how to do ice dyeing. It was great fun, and I was invited back to help out on Wednesday afternoons, and to sub for the art class the next time she needs to take off.
All this fun with dyeing makes me want to keep playing, and several of my quilting friends have asked me to teach them Shibori and ice dyeing. I plan to offer “open patio” classes in my home in late March for not much more than the price of supplies. Participants will dye a sarong, a scarf, or cotton fabric that can later be used in a quilt. Please comment or message me if you are interested.
Another project I have been enjoying is making samples for Red Thread Studios as part of Jen Kingwell’s Delilah Template of the Month program. I loved the Jen Kingwell workshop I attended in 2015 and the Circle Game quilt I made in it, so I jumped on the opportunity to make samples and receive the templates for two of these blocks.
I hope to get back to several of the projects I have had on the back burner while I had other things to do with deadlines, and to post more frequently here. I am also looking forward to going to Paducah for Quilt Week in April and getting more inspiration.