Friday, April 20, 2007

Penny rugs and wool dyeing

I have always been intrigued by Penny rugs, so, while at Joann’s, I bought this booklet.

I don’t know of any local sources here in Sac for small pieces of wool felt. Joann does carry some wool felt blends (35% wool/ 65% rayon) manufactured by National Non-wovens Co. I bought some black and while yardage.

Being familiar with handpainting and hand dyeing wool, I experimented. Here are the results:

I used Rit dye since it colors wool, cotton, rayon and other natural fibers. Not acrylics, though (which of course is not a natural fiber-lol!)

I cut the white wool felt in smaller pieces (fat eight size) and soaked them in warm water.

I heated about a gallon of water and added about ¼ cup of Glauber’s salt (kitchen salt works too). I think the purpose of the salt is for an even absorption of the dye. Simmer.

Then, in about a ¼ cup of warm water, I dissolved 1 tsp of Soda Ash (powdered laundry detergent works as well). BTW, all these ingredients can be purchased at They also have the Procion MX dyes used for cotton and rayon fabrics and yarns. Rit dye , however, is easily available anywhere.

I measured some Rit dye , maybe 1 tsp (depending on how dark you want the color to turn out), and added that to the simmering water/salt solution. Mixed it real well until all powder is dissolved. Then, I added the soda ash mixture. The fabric goes in after that.

At this point , the water should be hot. You can turn off the heat. Leave the fabric for about 30 mins to an hour and watch it absorb the color. My fabric shrank a little bit (that’s the wool!). I rinsed it in warm tap water and hung it outside to dry.

Very important note: The dyeing implements I use, pots, measuring cups, spoons, etc. are separate from my cooking utensils. I purchased a stainless steel pot from Walmart for this purpose. The bigger the better. Thrift stores have lots of them, cheap.

Friday, April 13, 2007

This mini quilt is from a class I took at the Pincushion Boutique in Davis, CA, taught by Lisa Fletcher. Lisa also teaches at the Country Sewing Store in Elk Grove. Her classes fill up fast! This is a lesson in free motion quilting using your darning foot. In May, I'm taking her other class, Walking Foot wonders.

The blue lines are from the Mark-B-Gone pen which will wash away. What an excellent way to learn how to quilt your own creations.

This quilt is a pattern from the Pincushion Boutique called Stairstepper. The center used only 9 fat quarters (FQs). My Emily loves this one because the fabrics have dog designs on them.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

New Stashbuster topic: What kind of quilter am I? I like the traditional machine piecing and applique. I have not tried paper piecing yet. It seems fiddly and requires more work. I like working with scrap quilts and folksy designs. I admire Pat Sloan's and Nancy Halvorsen's patterns. I also like the Australian Country Threads magazine. I wish I can subscribe.

On the knitting front: I finished Angela's lace top. In my excitement, I gave it to her without taking a picture. She's going to wear it in Hawaii.

Here's a picture of a charm quilt I gave my mom, backed with flannel. I used several 5 inch squares. She has been using it since I gave it to her. Music to my ears.

This is the charm quilt I made in class at the Country Sewing Store in Elk Grove. The center of the stars is a collection of 5 inch charm squares, a Valentine collection from Sandy Gervais.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I have decided to shut down my website. It is not generating enough income for me to justify paying Geocities every month. What an experience trying to close the account. Have you heard of people trying to cancel AOL? This is somewhat a similar experience. They give you a link to click on to cancel but this takes you back to the homepage. No instructions, no telephone numbers, no contact persons. I had to do a Yellow pages search for their phone number in San Jose, CA.

Finally, after being forwarded to 2 more numbers, I got a real live person. One good thing though is that I was able to cancel it immediately, no questions asked. They didn't try to sell me anything or persuade me to stay with various offers.

I'm glad that was over.