Our quilt guild was recently blessed by a presentation followed by a two-day workshop from Ana Buzzalino of Calgary.
We pieced directly onto a quilt sandwich (backing, batting and muslin foundation) using cotton, poly cotton, and other fabrics that take fiber-reactive dye. I.e. no wool and no pure polyester.
Ana is an absolutely inspirational teacher and although my machine was not behaving terribly well I felt brave enough to attempt free motion quilting and curved piecing.
In fact, as often happens in life, the challenge with the machine led to a serendipitous find. I left the workshop to drive straight to Sawyers where Denise identified and fixed no less than three issues, so no wonder I was frustrated! Anyhoo, they had a table full of polyester serger thread in all colours. The polyester doesn’t reach with the Procion dye so you can choose the best colour for each project. Before the workshop I had been somewhat challenged to find even white polyester thread.
Having finished a piece in the course of the workshop I left buzzing with ideas of other things to try. Ana’s supply list was to bring suitable mixed fabrics in light and neutral colours, all of which pick up the dye a little differently.
For the second project which we began as our quilted projects were steeping in the dye bath, Ana gave us some pure polyester turquoise fabric (think bridesmaid dress!) and some lilac poly cotton. I’m still working on that, because I added in a bunch of black and white prints and it’s grown and grown.
I decided to make a small experimental piece and ice dye it so instead of it being one colour all over you would get a marbled/mottled effect. So I used some of the turquoise and lilac, plus other black and white fabric, and an upholstery sample which I prewashed with Synthrapol to remove the Scotchguard treatment. Ana is big on using fabric with writing on it, which is another thing I enjoy working with, so I used two fabrics with Chinese script on it. The dark purple one in the photo started out neutral; the lighter one with the larger characters started out hot pink. I think this must have made the fabric less able to pick up other dyes.
So the front is the last photo, quilted with fuchsia polyester which stayed the same colour.
And the back was a cool bicycle print!
At the workshop Ana reminded up to throw some plain muslin into our dye bath so we’d have the exact right shade of binding. I placed a piece under the quilted piece, covered everything with ice, and sprinkled the powdered procion dye over the top of everything (navy, fuchsia and grape).
However much as I love what happened with the intended binding piece it’s too light to work as binding. (see photo, which is navy and white basically).
Fortunately I have a dark purple fabric with YET MORE Chinese script! Which will be the binding. Lesson learned, next time I’ll put the binding over the top of the quilted piece so it’ll hopefully be nice and dark yet the piece will still look good.