Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Distortion & Shrinkage

In her book Stitching to Dye in Quilt Art, C. June Barnes has some really intriguing techniques. You basically start with a white or light colored background, some wool felt, and some white cotton thread. I made this sample over the weekend to see how complicated the process was, and it was actually pretty easy.

I started with a piece of grey fabric I had, and a piece of wool/rayon blend felt (bought at Joann Fabrics). Since I wanted to create a pop-up, dimensional thing like in the book, I took some interfacing and made a circle, then sewed "channels" into it with dissolving thread (thanks, Jenny!) in the top and regular thread in the bottom. When my channels were sewed, I inserted a piece of strapping (the kind like a package gets wrapped in--very hard and stiff)--you could also use plastic coffee stirrers or pieces of craft foam.

I also cut out a circle of craft foam for the middles, and sewed around them, forgot to mention that earlier!

All you do is put the wool felt underneath, and that acts as your batting. Here is are the wheelie-things with some free motion quilting started.

Once you get it all quilted, you have to wash it in your washing machine in hot water. I chickened out, though, and put it in my bathtub and ran hot water over it and let it soak for a while. It really shrank up quite a bit, but I think the agitation of the washer would have been better. After shrinking, you direct dye it with Procion MX dyes--again, I did this in my bathtub because it was "cold" outside. The dye doesn't migrate at all because the felting underneath absorbs so much of it, which was VERY different than other dyeing I've done.
This technique was so cool to try, and now that I've done it once, I'm braver, and think I will try it again this weekend! Link to her book on amazon: