Thursday, August 30, 2018

Ice Dying

I started seeing ice dying a couple years ago on different blogs and thought "that looked cool". I never got around to trying it till recently when Anna Joyce talked at my quilting guild. She had some lovely pieces that amazed me and when she talked about the simple process, I was hooked. I had to try it as soon as possible.

So I soaked a couple of cotton t-shirts in 1 cup of soda ash and about 2 gallons of warm water for about 20 minutes. I also soaked a small piece of heavy canvas. I like to use extra pieces of fabric to test processes when I'm working with dye. Anna Joyce had also done a really pretty piece of fabric that she sprinkled some dye on the fabric and achieved a kind of confetti effect.

I used two different dyes. One was Dharma Trading fiber reactive dye and the other was Precion Fiber Reactive dye. Both are almost the same but since results can depend on the supplies you use I wanted to use these dyes separately so I could better judge the results.  I scrunched my shirts on wire racks & covered them with ice. I have seen other people use large Tupperware containers and I think that will work better next time as you need a way to hold all the ice on top of the fabric. Mine kept falling off the sides and so there seemed to me a lot of white showing around the edges of my fabric.

I used Dharma Trading Caribbean Blue #132 & Baby Pink #12A on the t-shirt.
I sprinkled about 1/2 teaspoon of each color sort of randomly on top of the ice, some of the dye went directly on the shirt. 

I used Procion Pale Aqua #210 Peach #180 & Aqua Marina #069 on the v neck t-shirt..about 1/4 teaspoon of each color.
The Peach looked a lot more orange than I wanted, and the Pale Aqua looked lot lighter that I expected when I sprinkled the dye on top of the ice. But since dyed items always change color a after the process is complete I waited and hoped that I would get something that I liked.

I used Dharma Trading Baby Pink #12A & Wedgewood Blue #76 as a sprinkle on the fabric
I put a 1/4 teaspoon of each color in a spice jar with lid that would sprinkle the dye sparely. I used less than a 1/8 a teaspoon of each color.
One thing that was interesting that Anna Joyce mentioned was that the dyes will separate in ice and when you sprinkle the powder because of the chemistry. You can see in the photo below that there are some yellow spots that appeared when sprinkled the Baby Pink color.

There was also talk of using different types of ice, grated ice would melt faster meaning that the dye would soak into the material a little sooner than the large pieces of ice. I also read that grated ice would leave a little different design. So I grated some of the ice that I put on for the v-neck shirt & used the Procion dye with the grated ice. But on the day I did my dying it was about 70 degrees and it rained ever so slightly. So the ice did not seem to melt any faster on the day I tried this process. I think a warmer day will produce a little different result but I can not be sure till I test it again.

Pieces after about 10 hours of sitting outside.  On the left are the larger pieces of ice, they are not completely melted.  On the right is the shirt that I used mostly grated ice and you can see all the ice has melted. You can also barely see the pale aqua on the fabric, it's below the orange and right of the aqua marina...where the large white spot is located. I love to test processes and sample patterns but the hardest part of this process was leaving the dye on the shirts for 24 hours. I get impatient waiting and really wanted to see how these shirts would dye. I left the pieces in place overnight and checked them at 10am the next morning.
You can see that the colors did lighten up a little over night so there was hope that the colors would mellow after a wash. I really was not looking forward to a patch of bright orange, I wanted a soft peach color. 

Once washed and dried the shirts came out nice, the peach was more of a peach and not so orange. On a scale of 1-10..I would give these a 7, as I think I learned a couple of things that I should do different next time. I do want to try it with all one color and maybe do a shobori design on the material. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

Dying scrap fabric and making small zipper bags

Over Memorial Day weekend I decided to dye some scrap canvas that I had sitting in my studio. The canvas was from some heavy canvas totes that were defective and the company sent me replacements. They did not want me to send back the defective tote bags. I kept thinking that I would make something with the fabric but I was not sure what to make. So I started by doing some Shobori wrapping designs. I'm kind of infatuated with indigo but since I did not have indigo I used some nice deep blue fabric dye that I had bought last year. We started by wrapping the 14x15 pieces of fabric in different ways to create various patterns on the fabric. We soaked about half the pieces of fabric in water before putting them in the dye as that is what the directions suggested. 

We found the fabric soaked in water took the dye more in the areas where we had expected the fabric to stay white in keeping with the Shibori patterns that we were making. You can see the pieces above the pieces on the left were not soaked in water, the pieces on the right were.

I liked the fabric that was not soaked in water before going into the dye as the contrast is stronger and I believe there is a clear design in the patterns. 
Our quilting guild is making small toiletry bags for a couple of charities and so I decided to make some from the heavy canvas. With the canvas you do not have to use a heavy interfacing to make the bags stiff. 
These other dopp bags needed some stiff interfacing to make them form a box like bag. I like making these bags as they are simple and cute, take less then 1/2 a yard of fabric and a zipper. So far I have about 6 bags to give to the quilting guild. The patterns are free on line. The large dopp bag is on Craftsy, the other zipper bag is free on Noodlehead.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Our short VW ownership adventure

We bought a 1985 VW Vanagon from a friend. He originally told us he wanted to sell it for $2100...which I understand is a good price. But we really didn't need the van so paying that much for something we didn't need was not going to happen. Than 6 months later he offered us the van again for $1000, then it went down to $500. He didn't want to sell it on Craigslist and have a ton of people come over to his house to dicker with him. It was in some disrepair and  he knew that people would give him a hard time and try to get him to lower the price. So we ended up buying the van.

Once we got it home we needed to get a new battery, it was still having some starting issues so we had a new starter put in...that cost was $575. We knew we needed to put some money into the van so that cost was not out of the question. After the first repair I decided that it was time to commit to this vehicle and redo the it was really rough.

Since the van was blue I decided that jean material was the way to go. Used Jeans are easy to locate (I already had a large bin of used jeans) and the material will stand up as upholstery. We started by pulling out the seats. The seat part of the back seat was shot so we ordered a new piece of foam. I started on the large piece of foam that was part of the bed in the very back. The cover was a zippered slip case and the foam was still in good condition. I decided to reuse some of the least the zipper part of the slip case (I really don't like to install zippers and this was a 6 ft zipper).
The cover came out a little wonky but still worked. I pieced together used jeans for the top of the slipcase, trying to use some of my more interesting old jeans. For the back of the pad I used one large piece of jean material because I had a large bolt of jean material that a friend gave us about 5 years ago. Once the back pad was done I started on seats. I patched together some jean material to and stitched the material to the slipcase for the back seat. The layers of material were quite thick but I was able to make it work.

Then the foam for the seat part of the back seat came in and it was just a matter of stapling the material to the seat.

Now with all the seats and pads covered we turned our focus to the ugly side panels. I started to pull the panels off and discovered that they were made of actual paneling. I patched together some jean material on some of the panels and used large piece of material from the bolt of jean material on others. I spray mounted the panels and then stuck the jean material to the panels. I used metal binding clips to hold the material on as I turned and glued the material on the panels. I really wanted to use some of the more interesting pieces of used jean to show off that I used recycled jeans. I kept a pocket on a a couple of pairs of jeans that can be useful on one of the panels and on one of the pads. I used some jeans that someone did a really nice piece of embroidery on the leg and I used some jeans that were covered in embroidery stars.

After we got it all recovered we took it for a run. Now another problem arose...the clutch was going out and we were not able to get the van up to 50 mph on the freeway. So back to the repair shop for a new clutch...and a couple other minor items like belts and such..that cost $650.

So now we are out about $1700 for the van, less that the $2100 our friend origionally wanted for the van and it's in better shape.

The best out come of this story is we sold the VW for a lot more than we paid, we were done with trips to the mechanic, and it was getting expensive. We decide that we could cut our loses on this one. Oh well there will be other vans for us to fix up and go camping . 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Puerto Vallarta Mexico


Back in November we took a 2 week trip to Puerto Vallarta. My husband had lost a tooth and we had planned on taking a medical vacation. We found out about 3 days before we left that he was not going to be able to get the tooth easily replaced. So facing 12 days in the sun we brought books to read, crafts to make and an appetite for good Mexican food. We like to stay in the older part of Puerto Vallarta called "Zona Romantica", it's easy to walk around the almost all the hotels have roof top pools. As always we brought our blender and bought some rum & juice at the corner market. Puerto Vallarta still had a lot of Day of the Dead sculptures and trinkets up around the city there were some really colorful displays. We would wake up late in the day, drink coffee, go up to the roof and swim till mid afternoon and have a blended drink. Dinner out and back to the pool. We did this for 4 days then we went to my favorite place Mismaloya about 12 miles south of Puerto Vallarta. We stay at a place called Casa Iguana. It's a really pretty hotel, about 50 rooms and a wonderful pool. The rooms have 2 bedrooms and a small kitchenette. There is a grocery store near the check in of the hotel. The breakfast in the morning is a wonderful buffet with fresh orange juice. The best part was the breakfast lasted till about 11am. So even waking up at 10am we were able to get some coffee and breakfast before it was closed. We also found a lovely place to eat called "My Tony", it was on the expensive side for Mexico but the food was fresh and the view was magnificent. We also met a cat that we had spent time with on our last visit about 6 years ago. She was a pretty calico cat that was very friendly. we we first met her she had a front tooth sticking out and drooled a lot. It looks like the tooth was pulled and she is being well cared for at the hotel. While were were in Mismaloya I painted some post cards to send back home to friends. But locating stamps turned into an epic adventure. I got on a bus to go to the only post office in Puerto Vallarta but ended up passing the place. I got off and asked several people how to get the to Post Office but was met with blank looks. I guess no one uses the mail in Mexico, we were told that it takes about 3 weeks to get across town. On our last day in town we finally saw a mail box, but we didn't have any stamps. This vacation we relaxed and read next to a was a great way spend a couple of weeks in November.