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Hand Dyeing Fabrics At Home For Quilting and Quilters

Hand dyeing fabrics at home is a fairly simple and straight forward process. It takes a few minutes and a bit of patience to do. All you need is a small space with a sink, a measuring jug, spoon (dedicated to dyeing, not for food use), some recycled containers, and a way to protect your surface against spills. Dyes of course, you also need some soda ash. To ensure you love the end result, it also takes some knowledge of colour mixing.

hand dyeing fabrics
two mixed greens

Procion Dyes

Hand dyeing my fabrics for a new quilt, I am going for a colour combination that I have not used before – greens and pinks. My design is computer generated, so I have to generate a design from it that I am happy I can replicate. I could print from the computer, but I want to make my own fabrics and use the design as inspiration. Greens can be tricky to mix in art, and I ordered up some new Procion dyes. These are cold water dyes. The process is included for this type of hand dyeing and many more in my design ecourse.

hand dyeing fabrics
hand dyeing fabrics for quilting

Colour Mixing

What I want to discuss here is the single greens you can purchase against mixing your own. There is a rule in art that you never use a bought green, but you mix your own. I was not dissatisfied with the results of the bought greens, but still I used my signature method for mixing the two, so they are not ‘out of pot’. However I was unconvinced that I had quite the right green I was looking for.

mixing colours
mixing colours to make green

I went back to my dyes and mixed more and was rather annoyed to find that the dyes I already had made a more suitable green for my project. I also made a more suitable pink with the dyes I already had than the ones I had purchased.

 
mixing pinks
mixing pinks

Alchemy

Mixing dyes is fun and if you measure dyes, you can replicate results exactly. I now have the 6 fabric colours I was hoping for to start my project. You do need a little colour knowledge though not to end up with something sludgy. Colour mixing is part of my online ecourse Colour for Quilters.

hand dyeing fabrics
the pinks and greens I hand dyed

Hand Dyed Fabrics

My hand dyed fabrics, are available to purchase exclusively here

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Best of 2018 Review

Best of 2018 Review. Yes there were good things about 2018 but it was more of a year that did not go according to plan.

What was the plan? With the ugly three-headed monster known as Brexit looming, I planned to travel. Big time. Travel like I had never travelled before. See as many places as I could. Workwise I had travel plans – travel means inspiration.

What went wrong? Through no fault of my own, I had next to no travel money, so I made it to the one place I had pre-booked – Lisbon. I for one am sincerely hoping that Brexit can still be blown away and I retain my freedom of movement.

I introduced so many new ecourses, tutorials and even quilt patterns that I began to feel like a one-woman factory churning out inspiration by the bucket load to an audience that is increasing day by day. I am feeling a positive flow of energy to my work.

My new website launched this year and an Instagram account. Both looking good and receptive people building daily. Phew – but this is like a job within a job. I want to design and I find myself wrapped up in social media. It’s tricky.

So let’s look at a few highlights. The current New In page of the website is looking fantastic with my new range of quilting fabrics. There are now seven inspirations ebooks. There are now several quilts and patterns for sale. I have just launched the Colour For Quilters ecourse. This extends my work done between 1996 – 2018 on colour in gardening. Colour is my thing. I am still dyeing and now printing my own fabrics.

Do I have plans for 2019? It’s more work for little miss workaholic and I aim to build that audience and get positive vibes and sales with new products. There’s everything to play for. See you on the other side. Stay tuned for more exciting textiles and quilts.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018 (just!)

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Exclusive – Beginners’ Quilting 10 Top Tips For Quilt Making

hand dyed quilting fabric

Beginners’ quilting? Where do you start? What basic equipment do you need?Quilting is an ancient craft that can be created by hand or machine. With hand sewing it can be as simple as fabric, needle and thread.

Here is my top ten of what you need:

1. Fabric anything from plain calico cotton to hand dyed fabrics or commercial fabrics. I would choose cotton over polyester or mixes every time, however I do like to experiment with other fabrics. Check out our exclusive hand dyed fabrics

2. Whether hand or machine, choose good sewing needles appropriate to your fabric. Hand quilting needles are tiny and take some getting used to.

3. I would choose cotton thread over polyester in a suitable weight for your project. Opt for hand quilting thread if you are hand quilting. For embellishing your quilt, we have a range of undyed threads in cotton, wool, linen and silk.

4. Wadding – small projects can use felt but it is usual to choose a special batting or wadding. I do like the cotton wadding. There is a wide range of natural and synthetic wadding available. It is mainly a matter of choice. For bed quilts, choose the best you can afford. For wall hangings, many people opt for polyester.

5. Scissors – the best you can afford that are kept ONLY for cutting fabric.

6. Pins – you will most likely need more than one type. Long straight pins are useful for piecing. Curved safety pins are useful for basting the quilt layers.

7. Cutting requires either good scissors, but to be more accurate (and you know that is the byword of all quilting) you will need a rotary cutter. Feeling flush? Invest in an Accuquilt cutter or similar.

8. Cutting also requires rulers. Use a quilt ruler to cut accurately along with a cutting board.

9. Markers – I use a Hera marker.

10. Templates – make your own or buy. Mylar sheets are a good choice.

Check out the guide for types of quilting.