Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Sneak Peek

I am getting ready to host my first retreat at my mountain house. It is a trial run to see if it’s a good thing, as Martha would say.   My guests are arriving tonight.  They are a group of 6 friends that I met when I visited their quilt guild in Maryland.  They know they are guinea pigs. 
We will be spending 2 ½ days dyeing fabric and creating polymer clay embellishments.  Although I have done a lot of fabric dyeing , I have never done it with a group in a workshop type setting.  So yesterday, I experimented to decide how to break it down for a group.
There will be 3 types of dyeing:  Immersion, Gradation and Direct Application. Most of them will be done in zipper top baggies. If there is time we’ll also dye some decorative thread.  After spending 5 days learning how to dye fabric using a very scientific and technical method with a gram scale and graduated cylinders, I have decided to return to my old ways and dye with teaspoons and measuring cups. It is not as easy to get reproducible results, but the surprise factor is what makes fabric dyeing so exciting for me.
This is the result of my gradation dyeing experiment using 2 colors:

The results are often a surprise, sometimes pleasant - sometimes not.   I just love these colors.  I started with Bright Yellow and Royal Blue MX fiber reactive dyes. The funny thing is that I love dyeing fabric, which may be because I was a chemist, but I don't really use them.   After the retreat I will share my method as well as tons of photos of our retreat.
 And there was another surprise when I arrived in the mountains.  A robin had made her nest in our Rhododendron right off of our sun room.  The eggs had hatched.  She is a wonderful Mama and I have been enjoying watching her come and go.  The babies are not recognizable as birds yet.


  1. Gorgeous shades and I love the teal ones. I have been collecting batiks when I find colors I like, now I need to come up with some art ideas to use them in. I received my package today, so many wonderful goodies. I will take a photo and post tonight.


  2. We had baby birds just outside my son's window and watched them everyday as they grew and it was lots of fun. We took photos too. I hope you can get one of the babies soon. Then one day they were all gone and they never returned. Enjoy watching them grow!

    Your fabrics came out really beautiful!!!! Your ladies will learn so much from you and will have a great time too! Have fun!

  3. Sounds like lots of fun! Enjoy!

  4. I think you will have a very fun weekend. I really love those dyed fabrics too!

  5. Cheryl - Thanks you for a fabulous weekend! You treated us like princesses... The instruction on dyeing, polymer clay and pin making embellishment were fantastic! You and Don made our meals an event... We count you as a wonderful friend :) - Signed, The Dwarfs


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