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Archive for September, 2009

Cyndi Souder, Lynda Prioleau, Kathy Lincoln

Cyndi Souder, Lynda Prioleau, Kathy Lincoln

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could combine the activities we love and then spend time sharing them with friends?

I’m a big fan of tea. No, not drowning a teabag in a mug of hot water; I mean tea in a china cup with delicate munchies and wonderful friends with whom to share it all.

I’m also a big fan of special clothes. I love clothes, but I have a hard time finding things that I think look good on me while being appropriate. I think Stacy and Clinton (You know who I mean!) would have a field day in my closet.

When my friend Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts started talking about offering clothing patterns in her shop, I was very interested. I started sewing a very, very, very long time ago by making a pink short sleeved dress with a stand up collar embellished with a floral ribbon. Honestly! I continued to sew until I realized that I liked quiltmaking more. Flat is easier to sew, believe me. Now I think it’s time to revisit that decision and try to find time to make some of my own pieces.

Judy rolled out her new program, which she calls Artistic Couture, a little while ago with a tea and pattern party. Many of us made garments for the occasion and I managed to create a top. The pants and jacket are off the rack, and the top represents more un-sewing than I’ve done on one project for a long time.

TeacupThe pattern is the Mimosa Top from The Sewing Workshop Collection. It’s sleeveless and comfortable. It should have been really easy to make, but I’m clearly out of practice.  Okay, details. The fabric is a lightweight rayon from Britex in San Francisco, purchased ages ago. Great drape, nice hand. The band that forms the neckline is made from ombre silk (brown to black), pintucked and topstitched — and bought that way from Bohemian Elements last year at the Houston show. The silk wasn’t wide enough, of course, so I had to figure out how to piece it while maintaining the little rows of tucks. Sigh. More ripping commenced. I added length to the front and back and will probably sew the fronts together (eliminating potential gaps and slippage) before I wear it again. All in all, I like it and I’ll use it. And I’ll probably go on to make something else. It was fun.

And, yes, I know that’s the face my grandmother warned against making, lest it freeze that way. Sorry, Nana!

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A Project to Dye For

Dye Pots all in a Row

Dye Pots all in a Row

This is the first installment of  a little project I’m working on. I’m not going to give it all away here, but I wanted to share the first few steps.  

To start, I paid a visit to Dharma Trading’s online store and had a wonderful time looking at all of the shirt blanks they offer. I have a tee shirt project idea (more on that in future posts) and I wanted to add my own colors.

If you know me, you’ve probably heard me say that I patronize fabric dyers because it’s a messy job and I don’t feel compelled to dye my own stuff. The pros do a great job and I’m happy to support them. That said, I was feeling particularly DIY and wanted to dye these shirts myself. I called Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts, who is a good friend and lives right around the corner. She had some dyes mixed and I got to play with them! By the way, if you’re interested in learning to dye your own stuff, Judy teaches this at her shop (Artistic Artifacts Annex) in Alexandria, Virginia. It’s worth the trip!

DyePots225wMy husband says I put the A.R. in Art Quilting and I think he’s probably right. And so how does a person with my control-freak, keep-it-organized tendencies dye successfully? Here are a few tips: 

  • Plan ahead. Take everything you’ll need. Then pack extra.
  • Know what you’re going to put in those dye pots. I wanted to dye lots and lots of stuff, but my time was limited and I remember how grueling it seems to rinse everything once the process is done. I dyed a total of nine shirts and two aprons.
  • Collect dye pots with big openings and lids. I hit the Dollar Store a few years ago for these. It’s a motley mix and they take up a lot of precious storage, but it’s worth it on dye days. The open containers are on loan from Judy. Clearly, I need to go shopping for more pots with lids.
  • Take tubs or bins to put the dye pots in for your drive home.
  • Dye with a friend. It’s more fun and it is the best multi-tasking combination.
  • Take rubber gloves. Yes, I know there’s stuff out there that will clean off the dye, but I think prevention is the prudent course here. Oh, make sure you have that dye-removing cleaner for the unexpected splashes.
  • Wear clothes you don’t care about. I had to laugh this morning when I opened Robbi Joy Eklow’s book Goddess of the Last Minute to her essay “A Quilter’s Wardrobe.” You must have dye clothes, or what you wear will suffer the consequences.

When I take the shirts out, I’ll post photos and say a little about the process. For now, let me say that I wanted to play with value rather than throwing in a lot of different colors at once. (What? Is that a hint about what I have planned for these shirts?) Check back. I’ll post the next step soon.

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