A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Monday, January 26, 2015

stringing you along

Diane here.  I spent a year recently making quilted birthday hotpads for friends and family. Here's one of my best....the free motion quilting follows the lines of dye.

When Beth asked me to be a resident artist, I thought it sounded like a great idea; I started packing my suitcases and checking flight schedules ... and then she mentioned posting photos and writing blog posts... well, okay, I'm all over that.  Blogging in my jammies and posting photos about stuff I love to do?  Count me in.  I've been a follower of the Fire blog for a while now.  Just between you and me, I think I'm on the list of contributors so I don't post so many questions.  :)

My plan for this week is to string you along with a simple, easy as buying a slice of pie, dyeing tutorial.  Show you the good stuff, briefly point to what can go wrong, and then inform you that I have no idea where you can buy the stuff you need.  But wait... I will give you an opportunity over on my blog this week to win your own little bundle of "secret string," so don't go away mad.

A few years ago, my daughter and I began playing around experimenting with eco-dyeing, contact printing - whatever you want to call it - when you roll up fabric with leaves, wrap it tightly with string, then boil it for hours, wait weeks before opening the roll and hope you get an image of the leaves.  Well, in the beginning we didn't!  But boy oh boy, did we get marks from that string!  One thing led to another and I found a few tubes of cotton string (in my vast stash of yarn and with a little help from my friends) that dye cloth when you simply boil it.

Ignore the fabric in the photo above - that was a sample of contact printed poinsettia leaves and it washed out completely.  Just toss out those holiday plants and move on.

One last photos of a project I've done with the string-that-dyes.  Bookmarks with a kite image made from weaving the yarn on a 2" square Weave-it loom.  The background is a photo of a watercolor of mine that I printed on the cloth after boiling the fabric with the string.

Come back Wednesday and Friday for some process photos and lots more samples.  Go to my blog for a chance to receive several yards of the string so you can try it at home.  Then you'll be on the lookout for more string that might bleed onto your cloth! This is weaving yarn with a bad rep.  No one wants to weave a plaid fabric only to have the dark yarn bleed onto the lights. And did you know there is artists tissue paper that is made to bleed onto fabric? The quilt forums are full of discussions about how do you remove dye that has bled from one fabric to the others.  Maybe we should try marking fabric with some of that bleeding fabric.

What if ...


  1. I love this idea. Instead of cursing the string that bleeds, embrace it!!

  2. I love your attitude, toss what doesn't work, embrace what does :)

  3. Great! Now I'm looking for fugitive string! LOL

  4. Yes, ele, please do! Over on my personal blog, I giving away eight bundles of bleeding string. Maybe you'll be one of the lucky ones.

  5. I have some cheap plastic ribbon stuff that I might just have to experiment with. Oh the ideas you inspire...

  6. Dharma used to have some tie-dye string...wonder if I still have some buried in the studio...

  7. Kathy,
    Thanks for that! I found a link for them. Great minds, huh?


    Didn't even imagine someone had made a commercial success of yarn that bleeds... now everyone can buy the supplies even if they don't win one of my string bundles. That makes me feel like this tutorial is not in vain!


  8. I just discovered your blog. How fun! Loved your vacation pics, too.

  9. Thanks, Diane!
    from another Diane... :)

  10. Such a lovely colour and nice to be able to make use of bleeding.


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