Monday, July 18, 2005

About that tie dye thing.....

Several of you asked about my tie dye t shirt orders and whether or not I'm in business. The answer is yes, I try to make a little $ doing what I love and t-shirts are part of that. My business is called 'Harmony Fibers' and has been a base for everything from alterations to vending at quiltshows to producing commissioned art quilts. I don't have a website yet, but am headed in that direction.

So, here's a few pics from a recent dye session. This is a small order--16 shirts for a family vacation. I use 100% cotton t shirts and mx dyes. The customer wanted a basic spiral variation that I love to do (though haven't quite perfected).

Here, the shirts are prepped, tied and have their first layer of dye.

The rainbow of colors are squirted into the wedges made by the rubberbands. Blue is eliminated because I will use it in the next step.

Then, the shirts are flipped:

Now, for a typical spiral shirt, the same pattern of colors would be repeated on this side. Instead, I'm going to soak this side with solid blue.

The shirts are allowed to batch anywhere from 4 hours to 24 hours, depending on how tightly I've pushed the deadline. These shirts got a generous 24 hour batch. My tables are covered with plastic, then a layer of newspaper. The plastic protects the tables, and the newspaper absorbs excess dye.

To finish, I fill the washer with cold water and a bit of Synthropol (a detergent designed to soap out mx dyes). I take the rubberbands off each shirt just before it's added to the agitating water. The shirts are allowed to agitate for 15 minutes, then spin out. The cold rinse removes soda ash from the shirts and stops the dye's chemical reaction. I choose cold water because I believe it keeps dyes from migrating to where they shouldn't be.

This step is followed by a long soak in hot (140 degrees or hotter) water--at least an hour, preferably longer. The hot soak allows any unused dye molecules to hydrolize, or react with water. The shirts are then put through a full wash cycle with hot water and warm rinse. If the rinse water is tinged with color, I repeat this step, though rarely do I have to.

And that's it.

You can see the spiral of color behind the blue. Groovy! Here's another version I made last summer. The model is *moi*, of course, striking a pose at the end of last week's beach camping extravaganza.

Peace Out.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Fabrications Retreat

I, along with a few other fiber art friends, will be running away this fall. Just for a weekend-nothing too serious. But! We want everyone to come play with us! So, bearing that in mind, I officially invite ALL OF YOU to:

Fabrications Fall Retreat
An art quilt retreat in Northern Lower Michigan
October 15th & 16th, 2005

Fiber Auction Extravaganza: Saturday, October 15th, 7 p.m.

Laura Cater-Woods
Ellen Anne Eddy
Vikki Pignatelli

All the information can be found at:

I have been pouring my heart and soul into planning this event, right down to the last little bit of html. And I (standing on toes, bragging loudly) did the graphics, too:

Those keeping score will recognize the quilt as my own heart quilt. Nothing like getting bonus mileage out of one piece of art. I'm so proud of the site because I, a little scrap o' cow crud, learned all html and did the site without a WYSIWYG editor such as Frontpage. Maybe doing things the hard way is part of my Evil Plan to Rule the World. Maybe I'm so proud because it's something I never thought I could do. Isn't it funny what we tell ourselves and what we can overcome?

And 'lest I sound like a complete credit-grabber, friends are helping with the event's details and taking turns holding my hand. I'd be drowning if they weren't.

Anyway, I hope you'll go to the site and let me know what you think. And I'd be thrilled down to my toes if ya'll showed up!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Air Dad

My Dad is an air junkie. Ever since I've known him, which would be......yeah.....all my life, he's tried to hurl either his own body or some poor inanimate object into the air. For him, it's all flying, all the time. He goes to airshows, he subscribes to specialty flying magazines, he teaches others the joy of flight, he talks about the flying royalty. Heck, he's become flying royalty (Frank Beagle, The Voice of OshKosh).

Now substitute words like 'quilt', 'fabric', 'sewing' into the above paragraph. Gee! Looks a little familiar! Except the quilt royalty part---not quite there yet.

So here's what Dad looks like today. Yes the airplane is part of what he looks like. I can promise that when they're not actually joined hip to frame, they are connected through mind link.

And it's not technically an aaairplaaaane, it's an ultralight. Though the line between the two is becoming blury. This is dad's 5th or 6th ultralight--can't quite keep track there. His current model is a two-seater:

That's my kid, getting ready to have his stomach flopped for the first time. My dad, who lectures and advises (whether you want it or not) on ultralight safety, is probably the only person I'd ever let fly my child in an experimental aircraft.

And although I've flown in small planes because of my dad, this is the first time I've actually been flown by my dad:

I believe I used descriptive language like, 'Yeeeeee HAAAW!' and 'holy s#^%!' It's amazing how a girl who's nervous about heights and gets twitchy in anything Boeing can be so comfortable flying in a lawnchair with wings and a chainsaw engine. No offense, Dad....and thanks for the great ride!
Holy Hill