Saturday, June 30, 2012

Celebration of Summer Berries

Here is a picture of the final piece.  I know I need to work on my photography and lighting etc. Often I pin my pieces to our Navajo rug hanging in the living room.  The piece is about 50" x 60". 

Here is are some detail shots. I wound up covering some of the inside checkered border with some fusible strips.  It was looking a little too "kitchen tile" for my taste.  It was really a fun and quick project.  I learned this painting technique from Teri Stegmiller at She has many wonderful tutorials.

Too bad these kind of look like grapes. I may touch them up a bit so they look more like raspberries.

Bike Tour and Tour De France

In celebration of the first day of the Tour De France I will share a picture of my son who is traveling across the country on his bike.  Their group started in Santa Cruz, CA and this picture is at the top of Mount Shasta, CA.  Yesterday they traveled to Ashland, Oregon.  It took them 9 days to get out of California, averaging about 85 miles per day.  They will begin crossing the country when they get to Portland, Oregon.  They are going to Portland, Maine, traveling a northern route.  My son (2nd from right) and husband are avid cyclists and we sort of go on "lock down" for the 3 weeks of the Tour De France.

Way to go Ryland and Fabian!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Just To Finish Up Dyeing

These are all the sheets of plastic pulled back and the fabric removed.  I just pull each plastic layer back and pull out the fabric until all of it has been removed.  Later I will wash the plastic in an outdoor sink that I have in the backyard.  I will hang them up to dry on a clothesline.

 Here are the fabrics waiting to be washed.  I have rinsed them very briefly in a bucket of water outside.

Here is something I've been working on this week. I used some hand dyes and some commercial fabrics to piece this top.I am using it as background to paint with neocolor watercolor crayons.

Because it is time to celebrate summer berries!

It may need a little more paint, a few touch ups here and there, but it is almost finished.  You outline your design with black quilting, then you color inside the lines with the watercolor crayons, and brush over it with gel medium, in this case matt medium.  It blends the crayons so they look like water colors and makes it a more permanent finish. It is also semi transparent so you can see the printed fabrics underneath.

This was a little experiment and an attempt to use up some of my vast fabric collection, but I barely made a dent in my stash.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Here is a shot of my trusty dye bottles. I have had them for at least 2 years. It is probably time to get another set, but they seem to be holding up okay.  I always try to put my dye bottles on top of the dye container so I know what color they are, but much to my surprise the print on the labels has disappeared! Many of the containers are a mystery to me.  Note to self: use permanent marker to label containers, and keep marking them each time I use them.

Below you can see all the colors of dye oozing out the sides underneath the plastic. It always looks really cool to me.

I always use more yellow than any other color.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

More Dyeing

After you put the dye on you can manipulate the dye with your hand or any other tool you may have.  You can add water to help spread the dye or lighten the color.  You may have to cover a misplaced spot as well (see below).

You can fold the fabric if you want that pleated dyed look.  Just pleat it up, squeeze it a few times, then smooth it flat again.  You can see the layer of fabric underneath protected by the plastic sheet.

If you find that you have a lot of dye  puddling in your fabric, and you want to duplicate it, you can just layer another bit of fabric on top.  It looks like this before you put plastic on and squeegee it.

Believe me, when the plastic goes on, and you rub it with the roller brush it looks exactly like the one underneath.  See that green spot in the yellow? You can conceal that too!

When you place the plastic on top, simply manipulate the green up into the yellow to conceal your sloppiness! 

Here is a shot of all the dye dripping down the backside of the dye table.

These techniques, and my style, isn't to aim for total accuracy in order to duplicate fabrics exactly.  I like to just have fun with it, and now after a couple of years, I kind of know which colors I like and what textures I prefer.  When I do solid colors I like the imperfections that occur.  I also really like ombre and water colory looks.  Another inspirational dyer on line is Melody Johnson at  She is the queen of beautiful watercolor-like dyed fabric. Check her out!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Dyeing

Here are some pictures of my first dyeing session of the summer. I use the very low immersion technique of layering fabric between sheets of plastic and basically squeezing out most of the excess dye using a paint roller brush. I first learned this from Robin Ferrier at a few years ago. She has also shared this idea in Quilting Arts Magazine. It is an easy and efficient technique.

First you lay the fabric out and add the dye.

Then you put a sheet of plastic on top.

You can manipulate the dye with the paint roller brush, blending more or less, to get a cool ombre effect.

Here is the finished fabric, under the plastic, heating up in the summer sun.
Colors; lemon yellow, deep yellow, amythest

Now that this layer is protected with plastic, you simply lay another piece of fabric on top and keep going.  You can pile layer after layer using this method.  I've had maybe 30+ layers in the past.

Since you are squeezing out dye around the edges of the table you have to watch your feet!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Here is a picture of my red orange wolf.  His name is Otis.  Red orange is my favorite color and my name is Deborah Wolff (Wolff with two F's).  Today is the first day of my blog, which will feature the stuff I make, like quilts, art quilts, fiber art, knits, and whatever crafty project I am working on at the moment. Bear with me while I learn the ins and outs of blogging.