Sunday, April 19, 2009

Embroidered Band Samplers and Coffee-Dyeing

Inspired by the band samplers I found online yesterday, I decided to cut some strips for my own sampler. I had bought a fat quarter pack of pink fabric back in January in when I was in NH, and also some fabric with music notes and some with playing cards, for a yo-yo quilt project I thought I might someday make (hahaha), and I figured it would be better used for this. I also had bleached and unbleached muslin. I'm not sure what the exact width of my sampler will be, but I cut the strips all to 9" wide, then cut them in varying lengths so I can piece it together as I go, like this one by Sharon B of the blog pintangle.

That link takes you to a series of posts about the sampler, but the whole thing can be seen here.

Hers is 44 feet long! Wouldn't that just be amazing? Like a stitched journal. My paper journals are already feeling unloved thanks to Facebook. :-) I don't have any of the nicer linens made for embroidery right now (well, I do have some blue that I got in Texas a couple of years ago and just haven't used - it's not the right size for this, but I suppose I could piece it...), so the muslin and quilting cotton will do.

I have some embroidery patterns that I bought (and some were free) from Urban Threads back in January that I am going to use on the sampler, as well as using it as a stitch sampler. Right now the free pattern is the gorgeous Green Man, for Earth Day - I can't wait to start working on that! I wish I had all my floss with me. At one point I had "All the Floss" from Victoria Clayton but now she has almost 700 colors, and I think has retired some... she has a monthly floss club, and it would take five years of subscribing to get all the colors now!

I love Urban Threads. They have patterns from the "gorgeous" range to the "cool" to the "kewl" to some that I'm not sure how to categorize. Two that I have are coffee-related (here and here). I'm going to use them in a wall-hanging that I have planned, and also in a set of four coasters, made from this cork-backed coaster tutorial on Urban Threads. Since they are coffee related, I decided to coffee-dye them with the dregs of this morning's coffee pot. Well, since I was dyeing THOSE, I figured I might as well dye some more for my band sampler as well.

These are the undyed squares and rectangles I used. Towards the back are the seven inch and five inch squares for the wallhanging and coasters, in the middle are the white (bleached muslin) pieces for my band sampler, and on top are the strips of unbleached muslin that I used.

Since I wanted a mottled look on the fabric, I scrunched the pieces up and wrapped them with rubber bands before I plopped them into the coffee, which I heated up in a measuring cup first.

I did some playing around with the "auction mode" on my camera - I love it! Here are some shots of the fabric while it is dyeing.

And here (right) are the fabric "balls" after I took them out of the coffee. I put down waxed paper to help with clean-up. :-)

Here (left and below) are the first batch of fabric while it was still wet and laid out to dry. I didn't think I liked it at that point. I'm glad I reserved judgement until I ironed them - with every batch, I felt the same way, so if you coffee or tea dye fabric, don't toss it or redye it until you see it completely dry and ironed! :-) Unfortunately, the pictures don't do any of them justice.

Below is the first batch, ironed. I left them in the coffee for half an hour, and I scrunched them very loosely and did not wrap them rubber bands very tightly.

And here (again, below) is the second batch. I left these in for half an hour again, scrunched much more tightly. I didn't like the effect quite as much, but once they were ironed I was okay with them.

And here is the third batch, ironed. I left them in for an hour, and did not scrunch them as tightly as I did the second batch.

More coffee-dyeing to come... next post, the pink fabrics and the prints. :-)

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