Last Saturday, I began an online quilt class called “Dyeing to Design”. It is on the Academy of Quilting website, and taught by Elizabeth Barton, whom I have taken classes with twice before. I can’t recommend her highly enough…. and on her blog she has a lot of good technical information for the art quilter.
The class is all about hand-dyeing fabric, and then using it to design quilts. Now, I have done some dyeing, and also bough quite a lot of hand-dyed fabrics, especially in Kuwait, but use it??????? well, that is another matter altogether. This luscious fabric has languished on my shelves, awaiting the day when it would be used. I thought that this sounded like the perfect class for me. And I already had the basic colours of dye, right? Well, as you know, that one fell off the shelf when I discovered that I only had black and fuchsia red. Still, my main intention is to learn how to actually use the fabrics I already have, so what additional dyeing techniques I learn will just have to wait.
Lucky for me, the dyeing technique in the first lesson needs only black dye….. yipee, I am IN! Yesterday, I finally did my 8 stage gradation, and washed and ironed it this morning. Elizabeth’s instructions are very clear, and she not only explains WHY she does everything, but you can ask additional question on the class forum. I am very, very happy with the outcome of this experiment. The undyed white is included here.
Step 2 – design a small quilt using these fabrics. If you want to do a landscape, which I do, you begin from a photograph, turn it from colour to black and white, and reduce it to three main values……. three, light, medium and dark.
choosing a photograph was a long process for me….. I take so many. I went through some of my folders, changing them to B&W to see the effect. Picassa has a “posterize” setting, where it divides out the colours to give you a glimpse of what the value spread is…… I found that really helpful.
Now, I need to put pencil to paper, sketch it out, and decide how I want to arrange the darks and lights…… I don’t have to follow the photo on this – who knows what it would look like if it was taken in the dark with lights, for example…..until I give it a try.
Lesson 2 opens today – in the western US, which means very late here…… I won’t be done my little quilt by then, but will have a good go at it.
Stay tuned as I let you taste a bit of what happens next.