Yes to Yarn Dyes

design, fabric, quilting, sewing

We get lots of questions about our Warp + Weft Premium Yarn Dyes from quilters who haven’t ever quilted with yarn dyes before so we thought it might be helpful to share some tips here.

What are yarn dyes? Are they different from shot cottons? How are they different from prints?

Prints are produced by laying a series of screens and inks on undyed cotton. The screens are applied to only one side so there’s a back and from to prints. Yarn dye refers to a category of fabric in which the patterns are woven, as opposed to printed. Each yarn is dyed a different color before the fabric is woven. The pattern is produced by weaving so the front and back of the fabric are identical unless one side has been brushed to create a flannel. Shot cottons are often a bit more coarse and nubby but are a category of yarn dyes.

Do you have to cut them perfectly straight and match the plaids over every seam?

This is a personal choice. In our Warp + Weft publication, we designed a series of patterns that allow the plaids, ginghams, and stripes to be used in ways that don’t require matching plaids or cutting the fabric totally straight. In addition, you’ll notice that the smaller the scale of the plaid the less noticeable it will be anyway. However, if you include yarn dyes in some patterns, you’ll have to decide how important it is to cut according to the weaving pattern. Our preference is to cut mostly straight but not worry if it’s 5% off. Some people love wonky angles in plaids and others will prefer to match plaids across seams. You be you!

Are they the same weight as shot cottons which are too thin for me?

Some of the yarn dyes on the market are thinner than quilting cottons and don’t hold their shape well when quilting. Warp + Weft Premium Yarn Dyes are the same weight as standard quilting cotton and slightly heavier with a tighter weave than other yarn dyes on the market. In prewashing, they shrink the same amount as standard prints. We recommend prewashing all fabric with Ivory Ultra dishwashing liquid and drying as you will the final quilt.

How can I mix them with other fabrics I own?

We designed this collection as we do all of our collections — to play well with others. Although the yarn dyes are multicolored, think of them as you would a print of the same hue. Focus on the color and mix them with abandon with batiks, prints, solids, chambrays, in every genre of fabric. These fabrics are chameleons. The magenta will look edgy with modern prints. The red will mix beautifully with feedsack or reproduction prints. Focus on color and mix it up! The more the merrier!

Please tag us on Instagram and Facebook and show us how you’re including Warp + Weft Premium Yarn Dyes in your projects!

20 Years and Counting

design, fabric, general crafts, inspiration, just a thought, needlework, quilting, sewing

Happy New Year friends. It’s going to be a big year for us as we celebrate our 20th anniversary in May. There will be special events, new products, new online tutorials, new classes, new publications and lots of new fabric throughout the year as we mark this important milestone. Many of you have cheered us on since the beginning and we’d love to hear what’s of interest to you.

Mostly we want to help you find time and space in your life to make things that bring joy to you and your loved ones. It doesn’t matter to us if it’s modern. It doesn’t matter if it’s made with our patterns. It doesn’t matter if it wins ribbons or gets accepted to prestigious shows. What we know for certain is that the art of making things is an inherently optimistic pursuit. Who couldn’t use a little optimism at the start of a new year? Regardless of how the rest of your day or year has gone, there’s a wonder in our eyes and minds when we’re making things. We need more of that.

So as we start this first day of 2019, join us in committing to a year of great making. Let’s clear space in our homes, our minds and our days to make whatever brings you joy for even 30 minutes per week. Even daydreaming about projects counts! Let’s make 2019 the year we take a cold, hard look at the barriers that get in our way of making and commit to removing those obstacles. We’ll do our best to share our tips throughout the year for everything from taming your stash to helping you figure out what to do with all of those UFOs. Let us know on our Instagram and Facebook pages as well as in the comments below, how we can help you to have a great year of sewing, quilting and making. Fresh starts. New possibilities. Ready, set, go!

 

Overdye Success!

design, eco-craft, fabric, general crafts, inspiration

We love the very sturdy oak chairs that we bought from Ikea for our dining table in 1999. One of the chairs appeared on the cover of Quilts Made Modern in fact. The have arms, fit our bodies well, allow us to have Settlers of Catan marathons and invite guests to linger comfortably for conversation after meals. They are cushioned and they have slipcovers that wash when there’s a spill. They are small enough to fit 8 at our table but large enough for a person and a small dog to curl up and for me to sit “criss-cross-applesauce” during said game marathons.

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However, over the years the avocado-green covers had become stained and faded by sunlight. We looked for years for replacement covers and couldn’t find any. We also tried a variety of other chairs but none were as comfortable as these. They are also much sturdier than many chairs owing to their oak frame. The slipcovers are complex and would be very time-consuming to reproduce. So we decided to overdye them with an indigo dye. We calculated all of the chemicals needed and purchased the dye and chemicals from Dharma Trading. Taking advantage of the heat and the day off, we spent much of July 4 stirring and washing the slipcovers. We are delighted with the results. They feel and look like dark-wash indigo linen that has a really nice patina. We knew they wouldn’t look brand new but would have a soft wabi-sabi look that fits with our casual home. The color is crisp and perfect for us. Most of all we’re thrilled to be able to extend the life of the chairs and not add anything to a landfill.

If you are interested in doing something similar, read up on the many online tutorials first. If there’s top-stitching on your piece, assume that it’s polyester and will not take the dye. Our covers are top-stitched with a green thread so we planned the overdye color to work with the green topstitching and it does. Also stick to an analogous color in a dark value if possible; indigo over avocado green yields a deep dark blue that’s slightly greener than the original dye. A deep red would likely have yielded an earthy brown. Natural fibers take overdye the best so our 100% cotton slipcovers were the perfect candidate for this project. We did our dyeing in our garage for easy stirring, rinsing and cleanup. At some point, we’ll sew new slipcovers but for the interim, this was a great solution for us.