summer indigo

indigo brushed and dipped with sugar syrup resist

When I started this post I was going to link back to the tote I made with cotton I dyed last year with indigo.  Then I realized I never shared it here, only on instagram.

Luxe Tote in indigo and buckskin

It’s the Luxe Tote pattern.  The handles and corners are buckskin.  The tote went together quickly and I will be making another one at some point, I’m sure.

I also wanted to take another try at indigo dying.  I love the shibori technique of long running stitches pulled tight and knotted.  That was how I created the fabric that was used for the tote.  I did a couple of pieces like that again.

indigo string shibori

I love the random shapes created by the tightening of the stitches.

I used some wooden drawer knobs and rubber bands for these.

indigo round drawer knobs as resist

I can’t decide if I like the front or the back better with this pattern.   I also did a slow dip on a skein of wool.

indigo dyed yarn

I’m anxious to start knitting with this.

I won a copy of Visual Texture on Fabric a couple of years ago.  It’s filled with great DIY ways to create texture on fabrics, many with things you probably already have on hand.

indigo brushed with sugar syrup resist

I used the sugar syrup method for these.  I scattered a lot of syrup at first in an attempt to create layers of color.  The longer the syrup sets, the more it will resist in the dying process.  My syrup was also thin, so it spread a bit leaving shadow lines around the white patterns.  I let the syrup set on the fabric for about an hour the first round and then used an old paint brush to apply the indigo.  Once the indigo oxidized, I rinsed it and scattered more syrup, waited, and rinsed.  I kept going with this process until I was happy with the color.  It was difficult to get that true indigo with the brush application, so I did a quick dip in the vat on a couple of yards.

indigo brush and dip with sugar syrup resist

I love the richness of color that appears after the dip.  I’m looking forward to cutting into these for more totes and maybe even a quilt.

indigo with string shibori resist

the black and color quilt

I started writing this post in my head this morning while I was taking these pictures in the back yard.  It was sort of a sad post, dwelling on how disappointed I was with how the color transferred in the dryer.  I’m still bummed about it, but in between then and now, I had a visit with my new massage therapist.  When she heard I did a lot of sewing she did some extra work on my arms.  As someone who spends a lot of time holding projects and stitching with my hands, I shouldn’t be surprised to feel how much tension she worked out of my forearms, but I was.  Turns out I don’t just hold my tension in my neck and upper back.  Needless to say, I’m feeling relaxed and much more at peace with this project.

black and color block of the month quilt

It’s the Craftsy Block of the Month from 2012.  YES, 2012.  I started working on Amy‘s class in January of 2012 and just finished it this week.  More proof of how far behind I am on my works in progress list.
I used Gee’s Bend Solids for the entire quilt top. It’s a group of cottons with the softest hand.  They are hand dyed solids, which, while it creates a gorgeous variation in color, also creates a less stable one. I treated a stack of the fabrics with Retayne and Synthrapol to help them hold their color. Unfortunately, because I took so long to finish the blocks some untreated black ended up in a couple of the blocks. (note to self…treat fabric as soon as it enters the house)

I was nervous to wash it knowing there were some rogue untreated pieces of the black fabric in the mix so I threw in 3 color catchers and crossed my fingers. I ran down to the washer when I heard the end of cycle buzz and was thrilled to see all the bright colors were still holding their own. Woohoo! I tossed it in the dryer and away I went.  Then the dryer buzzed and I ran down.  I was crushed.  When I pulled it out of the dryer I found the yellows and pinks where now smudged with black. As the quilt tumbled, the black spread itself all over. I had this happen with another quilt, and with washings it diminished, so I tossed this one in with 3 three more color catchers and here’s where it stands.

dresden plate on black and color quilt

Still smudged.

From a distance it looks great. It’s like a fellow student once said of my work during a critique in a university drawing class, “if you step back and half close your eyes, it is perfect”. (I wasn’t insulted, he was British so his accent allowed him to get away with even the most thinly veiled insults.  Plus, he said it was “perfect”, right?!)

So it is our new family quilt. You know the one that gets thrown in the back of the car and used to for anything and everything.   And it will be the coolest car quilt around!  I love the feel of the fabric, so soft and smooth.  Plus aside from the smudges, it’s a pretty awesome set of blocks!  It’s backed with a black and blue print so grass stains won’t  a problem.

back of black and color quilt
Bring on the picnics!  We are ready!

summer tablecloth

You may not know this about me, but years ago (actually decades now), I was a collector of all things mid-century modern.  Starburst clocks, a ridiculous amount of anodized aluminum everything, a sleek vintage black sofa, at one point we even had 4 six-feet tall aluminum Christmas trees.

Now we live in a 1920’s Tudor cottage so I find myself drawn to older designs when decorating.  That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of bits of Fire King and Pyrex around the kitchen.

Some stuff you just can’t let go of.

dining room with new tablecloth
I think that’s why Jeni’s Color Me Retro line pulled at my heart.  It’s filled with all those vibrant colors that are all over my dishes so I wanted to come up with a project that I could use in the dining room to really play off my collections.

bottom corner of tablecloth

My second inspiration came from this versionKaty made from her Spring Carnival pattern.  I love the pieces that are floating away or maybe back into their proper place.

center of spring carnival tablecloth on table copy

I used Katy’s templates for all the cutting and along with paper shapes from Paper Pieces.  I appliqued the pieces by hand to a couple of yards of linen.

To help the corners to look pretty and polished, I did a 1″ hem on opposite sides and then added a second row of top stitching 1/8″ away from the first.  Then I turned up the corner 1 1/2″ before I hemmed the remaining two sides.

turn up corner one half inch

Once hemmed, I added the second row of top stitching just 1/8″ away and I was left with a great looking hem.

hem and add top stitch

(this shot was before I trimmed up the strings – after I did that, trust me it’s a great looking hem)

top corner of tablecloth

I love having these bursts of color at the table everyday.  To me it’s the perfect way to bring a little mid-century fun into my Tudor cottage world.