Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Never What I Expect To Get

This is the current stage of Tapestry.  I am not used to seeing it this way, as I am not working down, but have flipped it 180 degrees to work up, which is really down...
Nothing says you can't do a pattern upside down.  Matter of fact, at times, it's easier. The stitches still cross the same way.

Oh, and see the lovely two background fabrics....????
This was the latest dying attempt.  I was bored with brown, time to try Charcoal Grey Rit Liquid Dye.
Sure, Grey looks brown...   Have you noticed that nothing is quite normal in my world?
Well, here is a photo of that disaster...
There is the package of what this crap fabric looks like in the package, just so you again know what to AVOID BUYING.  Really.  Okay, I did the water heated to boiling thing again with the color called Charcoal Grey from Rit in liquid form.  The top piece was first, it is that fabric, but in the antique white version.  It almost dyed to a tweed effect.  Again, the warp and weft fibers are NOT the same, so they take dye slightly different.  Much closer to each other than the last time.  It is much more subtle this time.  If it was a skirt or slacks, it would be a beautiful fabric.  For stitching???  Not sure yet.  It has a slight spot effect of my attempting to mottle it a bit.  It worked, barely.  But it is sort of nice.  It won't get tossed.  The middle attempt - same dye bath as the top, but it is the white fabric like the in the package.  It is different fabric again.  It took the dye differently too.  I tried to mottle it with a finger blotting of a only slightly watered down dye from the bottle.  It's okay.
Then I had the one remaining piece of Antique White - same fabric as the top one again.  I wanted to start clean, and try for a much lighter piece, so a quick dip in a really diluted mix, and then a medium mottled mix.  But oh, this one has racing stripes again.  They are NOT as obvious as the last time in a brown dye version, but they are there.  So this one will be tossed.  I had recently ordered two of these from Amazon in the Antique White version in the last month.  I had an old one in my stash, also antique white that I used to get that top dyed fabric.   The stripes would be the reason to avoid the antique white versions.  And the fact that it might MELT would be the reason to avoid the new white version of this fabric.
And BONUS - my iron bit the dust while trying to iron these.  It was working fine, I was ironing them while they were still damp.  Then the iron just stopped heating.  I gave up.  Today I wanted to test the iron knowing it probably was not going to work - but I could have popped a breaker, a different outlet maybe?  I plugged it in and it was ice cold... and I just held the bottom, moved the slide to make sure it was not just the temp setting....  and it never heated.  Tried a different outlet.  Nothing.  Tried something else in that outlet to make sure the outlet was working, and it worked...  So now I need a new iron, and I even waited a few hours and tried it again - nothing.  So it went into the trash for tomorrow, along with that racing stripe fabric.  I have one more left obviously.  But I can't come close to the color I was hoping the grey dye might be.  So not today anyway.  But it was interesting to play knowing it was crap fabric.
Oh, and bonus number two.  I turned on the disposal, and it choked.  Turned out a cheap kitchen washcloth had fallen into the disposal, and it made it a couple turns before creating a knot it could not turn, and I had it off in seconds... and I could grab a corner to pull the fabric washcloth out - and I knew being cheap it would tear if it needed to.  But it had clearly been in there when I dumped that last pot of dye down the drain, it looked like it had been used to scrub a dirt floor.  But a vat of dye dumped over me would do the same for me.  The disposal survived and still works....  but I thought that about the iron after it melted that fabric...  so time will tell.
I said I had to order small hoops, and I tossed a few fabrics in the cart with them.  That came.  The hoops are 3.5 inches and I will need them to do the Erica Michaels designs on gauze.  A 5 inch hoop would only catch the corners of the gauze that comes with some of her designs.
Ordered the black for that Linen and Things monthly SAL - I needed 19 stitched inches on 25 count - this got me 27 in one direction.  Then while looking in my stash for something else, I found I had already kitted the black fabric for that pattern with the floss - and it's longer.  So probably did not need to order this black fabric. 
The middle is Stormy Night 25 count lugana $13 a fat quarter.   It is a nice mottled neutral light gray, without going into crazy hand dyed fabric prices. 
Then I got another piece of the Victorian red.  A plan to stitch a Christmas mono on it.   
And the other is sage/khaki and it is the called out color for the Lizzie Kate Halloween ABC kit.  I looked at the pattern on 123 Stitch, and it said - calls for something linen.  So I look up that linen.  It says - dmc color whatever number.  But I don't stitch on linen.  So I did have the dmc number of the fabric color... and I go thru the jobelans and the luganas till I find that same dmc number associated with a fabric I do stitch on and prefer to stitch on.  So that is the Lizzie Kate, it's pretty close to the right color, fabric.  It is Sage/Khaki jobelan in 28 count.  But doing it that way beats just wildly guessing.  Is it close?  When we order the called out stuff we don't get what we think it will be.
I have one more order still out there.  That Halloween ABC kit, and two of the Plum Street patterns and all the called for flosses, and I tossed in one clearance pattern. And I should be getting the fabric of the month from Colour and Cotton soon. After my dyeing fabric adventures, I'm willing to pay somebody else to dye and get me a nice color on some decent fabric. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Result

Since you saw the dark wet piece of fabric  in the photo yesterday.  This is the result of that after ironing.  Not nearly as dark, and I put it on the same footstool so you can judge it against a brown suede.  And that is the dmc 3371 on it.  The mottling is about what it shows in the photo, it is mottled like suede is.  Which I consider to be a miracle that I did get that part right.  Done with just scrunching the fabric up like the videos show and then I dripped dye off my fingers to make sure most of the top I could see had dye drips, and then I flipped it over and touched drops of dye there too with it still scrunched up, hoping that the no dyed parts would be in the middle parts of the loosely scrunched.  And because it was literally just drips and touches of the darker dye, and sloppily I might add, we are not trying to get polka dots, it worked.  But the first dye sure had to be with boiling water to get even close to dark. 
And you can see that all the threads are the same, the raveled edges are the same color, unlike the last photo where you see the warp and weft threads are not taking the dye the same - because the threads are not the same. 
Yeah, I would say this company somehow does cheat the stitcher.  I have been able to show that in just grabbing random packages off the shelf at Joann's and from my stash just not realizing this and trying to dye it.
I still have more of this in my stash, and I might as well know.  But I am bored with brown, let's see what I can get with a different color...  and spending just $2.50 more with my coupon should keep us entertained for a few more tries to see what happens or what I can learn.  

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Dying Fabric, Round 3

Okay, took a piece of the same crap material, and I heated the water to boil, and removed it from the heat, added the dye, and stirred it in, added the fabric.  It was way dark, way fast.  So I did like last time, tried to rinse it out, tried the soap, not much happened.  So if that was dark, to mottle it, gonna have to go darker.  So tried lots of things, ended up taking just about a cup of the dye mix and added more dye to make it almost black and dipped my fingers, I got a glove this time, and spattered it.  It is hanging to dry in that first photo.  It will dry to be lighter, but I can work with it being that dark.  I will simply stitch it with a cream floss, it will be lovely.

So it worked, try a second piece...  grabbed an antique white in the same stuff.  That is what is in the second photo...  But it is obviously NOT the same stuff...  See the racing stripes in the right and left sides???  WTF?  Now if you look, the threads used are not the same, the edge ravel on the top, the pile of threads on it, they dye DARK brown...  but see the salvage edge and the right side, it dyes light....  meaning this is gonna dye with a weird plaid effect, which you can already see even while it is still wet.  I just tossed this one directly into the trash.  It is NEVER going to be an effect I am trying to get, and I don't need the racing stripes... 

I have learned - this brand is clearly all over the place as far as the manufacturing goes.  Plastic - sometimes, cotton sometimes, racing stripes show the thread used is not all the same...
I can feel secure that I can tell what it is after dying it and ironing it.  But normally I would never do this...  And I buy it because it is a bigger cut at 20 x 27 - but it's proving to be a fabric I can't trust.  So I might play with dying it to find out the good and the bad few packages I have left.  I have gotten two pieces that are good, and I think that one on the shower is good, but till I hit it with an iron...  how would I really know.
But the ONLY way to get that brown to be a brown, boiling the water, then remove it from the heat, then add the dye, stir.  It doesn't have to be in there for long - a few minutes.  You don't have to cook it - it's not tea or coffee.  It's dye.  It is interesting though that just one bottle of dye will get you results all over the map.   

Just Silly...

 Above is where I am at today.  Tapestry by Ink Circles last was around early October.
Below is a photo from where I was at that point.  Just starting down with a few stitches I needed to pick up on the top half yet...  and I am still working at picking those stitches.  But I am down to the bottom point now in the middle.  It just seems to take forever, but it is getting there.

 Okay, let's see if I can explain these two photos.  The upper on is the one I showed about the melting bad fabric.  But I said I was happy with the color.  Now the key to showing it again, is that it is on a foot stool that is brown suede.  And although you can just see the corners, you can get an idea that if I am dying with a dark brown, I am indeed getting a brown, but not nearly as dark.  But I was happy with the color, but dying fabric that has plastic in it tells me nothing, other than it melted.  But that day, before I knew it was going to melt, I wanted to buy floss to stitch a mono pattern on it, and I looked at the color card and said - oh, 3371 would be perfect.  Not quite a black, but that really dark brown that is so dark, but still a brown.  So I got as many as they had in the same dyelot.  And while there, I picked another random color, something dark, that they also had a lot of the same dyelot.  I randomly got dmc 154.  Means nothing to me - something to stitch in a mono color pattern, it's sort of a purple / deep red - I would call it a wine color.
So I had several packages of the actual cotton version of that fabric, and I still had Rit Dye in the bottle.  So time to try again to get that brown fabric.
Ha ha ha ha....   Now to be fair, I wrote about how I heated water, got some mottled effect by trying to wash out some of the dye with hand soap...  dyed and re-dyed...  I had no plan the first time.  But I got a nice color.  This time I watched Farm Girls example again, just to get ideas.  But I am gonna wing it.  Dark Brown dye will dye it brown after all.  I can control how much dye I add to get light and dark.  So I try this and it goes dark the first time, I rinse, I try to add darker splotches, just like the video.  Next round - new fabric, gonna try lighter this time.  To I dye the piece a lighter mix, then I make a darker mix, I scrunch it in the sink bottom, my sink is stainless steel.  I make a very dark mix of dye, and I dip my fingers in it and let it drip onto the fabric.
Yep, I dyed my fingers....  all around the nails...  But I really liked the results, this time.  And I rinse both till the water runs clear.  And I hang them in the shower to dry overnight.  Knowing they will be lighter when dry.
But I did not get brown...  I got something I would almost call a dusty pink.  I am old enough my room was a darker version of this that we called dusty pink.  It's way lighter than that - but I tried to match it on the dmc card - it's a purple, not a brown at all..  And even if it's not a great photo, you can see the edges of that brown suede footstool, and it's not even close to brown.
BUT - I laid the two floss colors I got - and now that random 154 - the one I had no clue what I would use it with.... it's matches THIS fabric wonderfully.  But the brown is a mess and not good for this at all.  So heating the water on the stove got me a darker brown, doing it with warm water got me a whole different dusty dirty odd purple.  And I am just using one bottle of dye.  The same bottle of dye.  I still have another piece of this I can heat water and try again to see if I get that first color again.  My camera is not great at taking photos like this - but you can get an idea, that just how you dye - holy crap, that alone changes the results.  And yep, I ironed it, it did NOT melt.   It is just playing, but I would not want to be trying to get a specific color - I'd clearly have no chance at getting that to work.  It is much prettier than this photo shows, the flash sort of blows out the color and the mottling that is there.  But you can see that dark brown floss, 3371, now scroll up and picture that on that first dyed fabric - it's perfect for that - I just did not get that this time.  So there will be a round three of try to get a brown mottled fabric...

Monday, November 13, 2017

Lovely Little Pattern

A finish!  Earthly Treasures from Plum Street Samplers.  Stitched on a scrap of Wichelt Jobelan 28 count antique white, one over one, using the suggested Weeks Dye Works flosses. 
Finished size is 4 x 4 5/8 inches.  
I did the face twice.  It is stitched over one on the pattern, and I stitched the whole thing over one, meaning I was gonna have to wing it on the face.  I did split threads to get the lips right.  I did adjust a few things to please my eye, but nothing huge.  It's a lovely little pattern that stitches up quickly with a nice result.  It feels and looks balanced to my eye, yet it is not symmetrical.  Which is everything I like in a pattern.  And I liked the verse.
This is my first Plum Street pattern finish, but I do have several kitted up.  And I liked it enough to order a couple more with the suggested floss.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Not a Clue Why...

Okay, I don't have a clue why this happened.
I got several of these for $3 each with the hopes of doing exactly this, trying to dye fabric.  But I don't drink coffee or tea, so I got a bottle of Rit dye, dark brown.  And I cooked water to boiling, I took it off the heat, put in the dye, added the fabric..  I let it cool in the dye - I checked the color, I thought it might already be too dark.  I decided to rinse it - I even grabbed some liquid hand soap.  It's an experiment - you never know.  The hand soap actually mottled it.  And then I had light and dark spots.  But slightly too light in area - so I try putting just putting it back into the cooled down dye solution.  Didn't really take the dye into those soaped spots.  Like once they were soaped, it was not gonna take dye again.  Okay, again, it is an experiment, so I reheat clean water again from scratch, to near boil, then I remove from heat, and I add dye, add the fabric again.  Then I got sit and stitch for an hour maybe.  It's not cooking - but it's got a chance to get into the fibers.  And then I go rinse it in clear water in the sink.  And I let it hang dry in the shower.  Now to me - I was fine with the result - I'd seen fabric called milk chocolate - this seemed close to that - and not a bad first try.
So I picked out a floss color to use against it - and went and got some sale floss.  All happy, all good.  But then I decided to iron it - and post a blog photo.  Heated the iron, put it on the fabric, and the fabric MELTED - you can see that in the bottom right hand corner.
Now this could have been bad - I have not put a stitch in yet.  Imagine doing this on a just finished big project.  But it says it's 100% combed cotton on the label  - and I rinse this till the water ran clear - so it's not the dye - or the soap.  But I have never had a piece just melt.

I googled combed cotton - just on the off chance it would say - contains something that melts.  Nope.  I asked the woman that owned a quilt shop - what could have made this melt - the heating of the fibers?   I rinsed till the water ran clear.  Did she know of anything I'd done wrong?  Something obvious to her?  Nope.

So I can cut off that corner, and still have a very large piece to stitch on.  I have stitched on this same fabric and brand before many times.  But certainly trying to iron it and having it melt - quite literally - and pull up like it was heated plastic shrinking - makes me wonder what is the deal?

I cut away the burnt corner, but if you click on it - you can see - it's melted not burnt.  The hard plastic edges of melted plastic.  Not burnt ashes of cotton - but hard plastic. I suppose if you wanted to know what you had for sure, you could pull off a strand from the edge, and test it to see if it burns or melts - but PLEASE do that in a safe way. 

I was just trying to learn a bit about dying fabrics - with some cheap $3 fabrics that I got with a sale coupon.  What I learned was - somebody is lying about what that fabric really is.  And it might not ALL be that - who knows.  I got 6 packages of this same thing - but some of it was really stiff, and some was much more bending, so I would not even bet that all mine are all the same thing.
I just learned more than I expected - and I thought - crap, I'm going to have to just clean my iron... but it melts and I unplugged it, and then as it started to cool, just ironed the cover with nothing on it, and the stuff balled up and rolled right off leaving my iron clean again.  But it was a slightly exciting moment to have.  Let's not do that again.  But if you are gonna do it - do it before you put the first stitch in the fabric.  Find out now, not later.  But why am I the only person these goofy things happen to?  I was able to try to iron the rest of the fabric on a much lower setting.  But with people saying - just burn the edges of a design for effect - that might work if it's cotton - but oh, this melts - this might get you a way more exciting moment of panic. I put this into near boiling water temps - twice.
All the dying fabric people say - just put it into an oven - which works - if it's cotton - this is more like milk jugs...  But it says cotton - 100% combed cotton - right there on the label...
Somebody is lying.  And you can see that in a photo of something melted.

In that photo above - is the other thing I am stitching - on a scrap of Wichelt jobelan.  I can pull a strand off the side of that - put an end of that single fabric strand in each hand and pull, and I can break the strand - but if I pull a single strand from the edge of that material in the photo above - it will cut thru my fingers, and I can NOT pull it enough to break it at all.  Maybe that is a clue it's not cotton.  I don't know what it is - and I suppose just a thicker strand I might not be able to break.  But if there is plastic added - also not gonna be able to break that.

Additional....  I actually had 6 pieces of this - 6 packages I got from the same Joann's locally.  Now I randomly picked that one to open and dye.  But I looked at all the packages again - and I had three that I would call stiff in the package - like it had some sizing or starch.  And three that felt like material.  Wiggly in the package, bendable like fabric.  So I could see a loose thread near the corners of the packages, and I could put a loose strand from the edge.  On the stiff ones, I can NOT break the strand - and on the wiggly packages, I can break those strands. So I had 3 packages of something with plastic, and three without.  And I had dyed one of the ones with the plastic as part of it.  And I only could tell the moment I put a hot iron on it to press it and it MELTED.   But it shows that Joann's has a mix of this product all packaged exactly the same.  But it's not the same.  And Hobby Lobby has gone to that brand - and it's in a tube.  I don't have a clue what it really it.  So for me - from this point forward - I'm gonna avoid the brand.  I took the two that I know are bad and returned them to Joann's, where I am sure they will be sold to the next stitcher who will find out it's not right when she or he goes to press with an iron that final thing they have hours and months into making.  I am gonna toss the piece that I dyed into the trash and consider it a heck of a $3 - I am so glad I did not stitch a huge project on that 20 x 27 fabric and THEN find this out - lesson.  I had order 2 more pieces of this from Amazon last month - it was cheap - but now I'm gonna have to find a thread on each of those and test it.  But it IS clearly in the system, and out there.  And it's randomly mixed in here and there to where I get six packages and end up with half of it being bad.  And I guess it's fine if you NEVER have to press or iron the thing you stitch.  But I don't want it to be possible for me to put something I have stitched under my iron and have it MELT.  I've been stitching more than 45 years - and this is the first thing I have melted.  You never know - which is exactly why we need to talk about and blog about stuff exactly like this.  It's not the girl at the counter at the store, she is not in charge of getting this product.  And I HAVE stitched with this stuff for years - and been fine with the results.  If it was not exactly evenweave, I didn't really mind or care.  But if it MELTS - I CARE.  So I will used up the ones I have in my stash, and make sure nothing melts before stitching on it, and just not buy it anymore.  But if you get a cut of fabric in the order -  most times we just trust it's nothing that we would expect to melt.  Knowing the dyers dye the fabric and press it makes me feel better suddenly.  But that first photo clearly shows what I started with.  So just be aware.  You know I am still going to have to try to melt the ones I think are actually cotton - cause the first one DID melt.  I could still find out - all of them are gonna melt.  I am still guessing the others are good.  I don't know that yet.  And the only reason I found out - cause I wanted to play with dying fabric - otherwise the cheap sale fabric just gets put into my stash and I never notice till I finish at Long Dog design, and I go to iron it.  And it melts.  But you KNOW - it's gonna happen to one of us.  I was just LUCKY it was not me.  And nothing says that I don't have something started on a piece of this somewhere - it's possible.
So the melting dyed fabric I made will go into the trash, so I will not be the person showing the melted large thing later.  But people get fabrics from everywhere, so be aware.  Pull a strand from the edge, try to break it. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

A Quick Small Project

Plum Street Samplers - Earthly Treasures. 
On a scrap of 28 count Antique White jobelan using the suggested Weeks Dye Works floss.
The hoop is a 5 inch hoop.  
I was busy stitching between the first photo clicking publish, so I took a second photo. 
I needed a 3.5 inch hoop for another project, and ended up placing an order for hoops and fabrics.  But I tried to keep it reasonable.  It's still early in the month.  I'm trying to do better.  Better would be defined as spending less.