Over the years I've learned several surface design techniques
for creating unique fabrics. Dyeing, fabric painting, discharge dyeing,
stamping, and screen printing--they all make me feel like a kid again,
getting creatively messy with color and pattern
Usually when hand-dyeing fabric
you're trying to put color in. With discharge dyeing, your objective is
to remove color in an artistic way. You can create patterns on fabrics
using many of the same methods you would use for other surface design
processes, including painting and shibori techniques.
A few years ago I visited Old Sturbridge Village (a living history museum in Massachusetts) with the kids and was fascinated by the costumed interpreters demonstrating how to hand dye fabric with horse chestnut hulls. I tried it myself at home, but limited success--probably because I tried to speed up the process and didn't follow the instructions I found on the Internet.
If you've never hand-dyed fabric before, the process can seem intimidating. Yet learning how to dye fabric is not that different from learning how to cook. If you follow the recipe and take simple safety precautions, you will almost always end up with a feast of delicious color.
Last year about this time, I was inspired by a group dyeing adventure at the Interweave offices to host my own dyeing party at home.
I'm an equal-opportunity fabric monger: I drool just as much over hand surface-designed fabrics. I gobble up every new technique and have even tried some fabric stamping, ice dyeing, resist dyeing, and fabric painting. I love it.
Last year when Pantone announced its Color of the Year—Tangerine Tango—I was a fan. I like cheerful, sunny colors, and this one hit the spot for me. I could see using it in different modes, from fabric to embroidery, to surface design techniques.
Usually when we hear the word shibori, we think of dyeing. Shibori dyeing come from the Japanese term for several methods of resist dyeing using binding or tying, stitching, folding, twisting, compressing it, or capping to create patterns.
I returned to New England from QuiltCon in Austin, Texas, this week, I
couldn't help but notice: it snowed again while I was gone. Yes, while I
was in the climate-controlled comfort of the exhibit halls surrounded
by colorful quilts--and quilters--Mother Nature had thrown another heavy
blanket of snow over my region.
Last week I shared a pillow project by Candy Glendening, noting how the simplicity of the design allowed her hand-dyed fabrics to take center stage. Today I thought give you some insight into Candy's fabric dyeing process.
Recently, I shared Marcia Derse's tips for making your own fabric stamps for resist dyeing. The way that Marcia came to surface design and incorporates fabric painting and dyeing techniques into her quilt art fascinates me so much, I thought I'd give you some insight into her thought process.
Art quilting can be an expensive hobby. A good-quality sewing machine, specialty threads, and stacks and stacks of fat quarters, are just the beginning. It always seems like there's some new gadget, tool, or surface-design supply I absolutely must have.
I have to say that the most fun I've had at Quilting Arts so far--and I've had a lot of fun--is the parfait ice fabric dyeing party the QA team organized for everyone in our Sudbury office. Not only was it exciting to watch the ice-dyed fabrics blossom into spectacular, colorful surface design, but I enjoyed the reaction of my colleagues who've never dyed before when they saw the results
Now that I'm all moved in down here in Houston, I'm ready to get cooking on some fabric dyeing and other surface design techniques.
On this Thanksgiving Day I am in transition. I'm settling into my new Houston digs in preparation for my fresh adventure with Quilts Inc. while still consulting for Quilting Arts and preparing for the next season of "Quilting Arts TV."