Blended Cultures

IMG_3900Of the four quilts that I entered this year in the Minnesota State Fair, I have described three of them previously.  Now that the busy summer schedule has settled down, it’s time I describe the fourth quilt I entered.

This quilt was made a the request of someone I know.  He asked if I could make a quilt for his new grandson. My response was “sure – what kind of quilt was he thinking of”.  Further conversations helped focus my design ideas.  He said he wanted the quilt to be twin sized and to incorporate the cultures of his son, who is Swedish, and his daughter-in-law, who was adopted as an infant from India.  This sounded like a fun quilt to work on.

design

First, I needed to figure out the main piecing theme of the quilt.  After sending several ideas to him, he selected a large eight pointed star pattern.  My design incorporated blue and yellow points for the Swedish half of the star and red, orange and green points for the India half of the star. At the top of the quilt, one of the blue points was adjacent to a red point to bring the two cultures together in an American section of the quilt.

IMG_3103After selecting several batik fabrics, I started piecing the quilt.  While piecing, I was drawing out ideas for the quilting.  I wanted to incorporate, with just thread, some images that reflected the heritage of the child.  By using thread and not applique, the main design of the quilt would not overwhelmed by too much going on with the fabric. For inspiration, I sought some advise from several friends who are from India and Sweden.

For the Swedish heritage, I stitched out a moose, a fox and some rosemaling. For the India heritage, I stitched out an elephant, a peacock and some paisley patterns. For the American heritage, an eagle was stitched. Each of these designs were stitched out in the background sections between each point of the star with a thread color slightly darker than the fabric. In the other three sections, I put the child’s birth month, date and year.  The designs were surrounded by a diagonal hatch fill in the same color as the fabric to help the images show better.

 

Around the star, several circles was sewn.  Between the lines of the outer circles, I thought it would be nice to include the child’s name – so that was sewn in the bottom section of the circles.  To fill the rest of the circle, I once again consulted my friends.  I thought perhaps there would be a phase that was specific to each culture that I could stitch out.  I asked my friends if they could give me a list of three phrases that might be said of or to a young child, or more specifically a young boy.  When I compared the lists, I was surprised to find one of the phrases was on both the Swedish list and the India list.  That phrase “May you live long, my son” was included in  the quilting.  The phrase, in English, was stitched at the top of the circles on the quilt.  Then, on the Swedish side of the quilt, it was stitched in Swedish.  And, on the India side of the quilt, it was stitched in Hindi. To fill in the space between the name and phrases, paisley patterns were stitched.

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The rest of the background was filled with some stitching to replicate Scandinavian rosemaling. This was then highlighted with some straight hatch fill.

I had not intended to enter this quilt in the fair.  However, while working on it, the design was coming together so nicely that I asked permission to enter it. My quilt entry was named “Blended Cultures – Swedish and Hindi heritage in an American Boy” and was enter in the Commemorative Quilt Category.  The blue ribbon the quilt was given was a nice surprise for a “last minute” entry.  This was such a last minute entry that I forgot to take some close up pictures of the finished quilt before dropping it off at the fair.  And, the day I picked it up from the fair, I had promised to deliver it to the family that it was made for.  So, some of my photos were taken rather poorly while in my car.  But, alas it’s still a really fun quilt and I am glad I had a chance to make it.

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Nui Shibori Table Quilt

Fabric Dyeing has been a fun, creative way to make unique fabrics for my quilting.  This spring, I spent some time playing around with stitched shibori.  I wanted to figure out how to create drawings in the dye.  I also wanted to try hand painting before and after dyeing the fabric.

So, I set out to do a few experiments.

Experiment #1. Nui Shibori flower and over-dyeing painted fabric

  • Draw pattern on the fabric with a water soluble fabric marker
  • Stitch the drawn lines  with polyester thread
  • Dissolve Dye in 1 ml Urea Water, Add 2 T Print Paste, 14 ml Urea Water, 1/8 tsp Mixed Alkali, Mix well
  1.               Dark Pink = ¼ tsp Mixing Red
  2.               Light Pink = 1/16 tsp Mixing Red
  3.               Dark Blue = ¼ tsp Mixing Blue
  4.               Light Blue = 1/16 tsp Mixing Blue
  5.               Green = 1/8 tsp Evergreen
  • Paint dye on fabric areas within the shibori stitching

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  • Paint dye in sections for over-dyeing

Dye Paint

 

  • Allow to dry for 4 hours
  • Pull center threads and tie off

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  • Place in 1000 ml of 0.15 mg/ml Mixing Blue Dye (with Soda Ash)
  • Batch for 5 hours
  • Wash with Blue Dawn, Dry and Iron

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Dye Paint Overdye

Lessons Learned:

  • Shibori pattern turned out well
  • Dye painting turned out well, but the the color edges were too crisp – use less Print Paste next time
  • Over-dyeing does not change the underlying painted color very much

Experiment #2.  Whole Cloth Pattern:

  • Design quilting using QuiltCAD program

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  • Stitch section outlines on long arm with polyester thread for pattern placement when quilting
  • Draw shibori pattern by holding water soluble marker in the needle position and running pattern on trace

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  • Hand stitch shibori sections

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  • Dye Paint:
  1. Mixed Alkali: ½ tsp mixed with 8 ml Urea water
  2. Yellow: 1/8 tsp Golden Yellow in 10 ml Urea water; Combine 1 ml concentrate with 6 ml Print Paste, 3 ml Urea water and 0.6 ml Mixed Alkali
  3. Green: 1/8 tsp Evergreen in 15 ml Urea Water. Combine 7.5 ml concentrate with 15 ml PP and 1.5 ml MA
  4. Dark Pink: 1/8 tsp MR in 15 ml Urea water.  Combine 7.5 ml concentrate with 15 ml PP and 1.5 ml MA
  5. Light Pink: Combine 3 ml MR concentrate with 15 ml PP and 1.5 ml MA
  • Paint on Fabric sections of shibori stitching

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  • Allow to dry for 4 hours
  • Pull center threads and tie off
  • Stitch Floss “Ties” to center of fabric to help with lifting in/out of water
  • Make Dye Concentrate: Mixing Blue 10 gm in 100 ml Urea Water (100 mg/ml)
  • Place in 4000 ml Soda Ash solution in bucket
  • Add dye concentrate at 5 minute intervals (10 ml, 10 ml, 10 ml, 10ml, 40 ml) = 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, 1.0, 2.0 mg/ml to create an ombre effect
  • Lift fabric a small amount after each dye increment
  • Prop fabric up on support dripping into empty bucket, cover with plastic bag

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  • Batch for 4 hours

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  • Clip and remove all sewing lines
  • Wash with Blue Dawn, Dry and Iron

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  • Quilt as planned

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Lessons Learned:

  • Paint center dye before pulling tight the outer threads – easier than having to paint on a bubble
  • If you forget the first step – sealed air packs work well to fill the bubble for painting

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  • Fabric will trap air, creating a bubble, in the middle – easy to keep the center section out of the dye bath.
  • Use a color of thread different from the color of dye – makes it easier to remove the threads.
  • The fabric dye paint did not turn out as well as I had hoped.  So, after quilting, I repainted the fabric dye without Print Paste for a smoother look

 

I entered this quilt in the Minnesota State Fair on a whim to see what the judges comments would be regarding the shibori  and hand painting technique.  Boy was I surprised that it was awarding a blue ribbon!