Monday, May 17, 2010

Dyeing Fabric for a Sky

I brought out a picture that I'm making into a large wall quilt and pinned it to my design wall. (YAY, design wall!) I received permission from the artist years ago to make a quilt using his image, and I took it to Kinko's to have it enlarged. The enlarged picture has been rolled in a tube since then.

Well, with my new design wall (YAY, design wall!), I am inspired to get going on this sure-to-be masterpiece. Part of the image is a summer sky, and I didn't have an appropriate fabric in my considerable stash, so I decided to dye a yard myself.

I buy Kona cotton in white, black, and ecru by the bolt because I use it for so many projects, and it's really versatile. So I tore a yard of the ecru and washed it to remove any sizing, and then I used four colors of non-traditional dyes (Tsukineko all-purpose ink, which is colorfast) to make large blotches all over it, then squished the ink into the fabric. Then I laid the fabric on the lawn and sprinkled sea salt all over it (which creates a lovely blotchy effect). After rinsing the fabric several times, first in white vinegar and then in cold water, and then drying it in a hot dryer, I ironed it with a hot iron.

Here is the result, and it's just perfect for my quilt. I'm going to cut it into circles and do traditional English paper piecing for the sky areas of the quilt.



  1. Wonderful fabric Ruthann. Relistened to your podcast today. YOU are the reniassance woman! Cooking, paper crafts, fiber crafts, music ... is there anything you don't do?!

    Can't wait to hear about your design wall. I have been wanting to make one I found online, but I haven't went and bought the materials for, and if your design wall is cheaper than the one I saw on sale at the quilt showcase, I am going to try to set aside time this summer to work on making one.