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My Cat loves my new Jelly Roll Rug

I love fabric, and so does my cat.  She will crawl under, lie on top of, and occupy any surface that has fabric on it.

Whether it’s a pile of quilts…img_2289

A quilt on my sewing room sofa…img_2256-1

My footstool…

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A drawer of fabric that I am trying to find something in… img_5257

A quilt on my sewing frame…IMG_2723

Or just a basket of scraps.img_5260

She pretty much spends her entire day in my sewing room, sleeping on one soft surface or another. This weekend was no exception. She was my constant companion (for good and bad).

Having ended a long week at work, this weekend I really wanted a “mindless” project that didn’t require much thought but would make me feel like I had accomplished something.  A Jelly Roll Rug seemed like the perfect project to work on.  For a nice tutorial on making a rug, see Erica Arndt’s video.  I had never made one before and surprisingly, it was a rather quick project and perfect for my weekend.

I’ve seen Jelly Roll Rugs in the past and have thought that I would like to make one.  In fact, nearly two years ago, I sorted through some of my scrap batik fabrics thinking that they would make a lovely rug for my sewing room.  The fabrics were stacked in my closet, and promptly ignored because of other projects that I wanted to make.

IMG_5244Taking this pile of fabric out of the closet and placing it on my sewing desk was “heaven” to my cat.  She kept wanting to lay down on top of the fabrics. To make the rug, instead of using a Jelly Roll, I sorted my fabrics into a rainbow gradient and cut my own 2.5″ strips.   I used a total of 22 different fabrics.  Rather than doing a standard jelly roll rug pattern, I wanted each fabric to make one complete circle around the quilt.  This meant I needed to complete each round before added the fabric for the next round to the  project.  I also pieced my fabric with straight seams rather than cutting at an angle (I hate to waste fabric).

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Starting with one strip of the first fabric, each round increased in size.  The last round used 3 strips of the darkest fabric.  Thus, I used anywhere from 2.5 inches to a maximum of a quarter yard of fabric.

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For the batting, I cut 2″ strips from scrap batting until all of my leftovers were used up (Yeah – I emptied an entire storage container of odd sized pieces of batting!).  When I ran out of leftover batting, I decided to try using a precut batting spool.  This was an easier and quicker way to work on the rug. To manage the roll, I clamped a wooden rod to my sewing desk.  With the roll on the rod, the batting came off  without twisting. This also kept the roll off the floor where my cat would try to play with it.

IMG_5247I found a handy folding tool that I used to make the project go faster.

All in all, this was a fun project that I was able to complete in one weekend.  If I had used a precut jelly roll and precut batting, I could have easily completed it in a day.

 

I now have a colorful rug on my sewing room floor.IMG_3378

And, my cat seems to enjoy it as well.  Luckily she has no claws!

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Child and Doll Visors.

One of the joys of working with children is when they express their joy in seeing you.  That has been especially true this summer.  For many children, a visit to the dentist has been the first trip away from home and family this summer.  For that reason, some are really excited when they come to our office.

I recently saw one of my favorite patients.  While only eight years old, she has already expressed interest in being a dentist when she grows up.  She is always excited when she comes to the office.

That was no exception this summer.  Even with all of our extra protective equipment on, she was still excited for her visit.  In fact, she was so excited, that she went home and made personal protective equipment for her doll. So sweet.

Her imagination gave me the idea to make child and doll sized face shields like the ones I was making for my office.

Since I didn’t have any young children, I used the average size head for an eight year old and adjusted my STL file.  The shield I made was 6″ in diameter and fits a head 16-20″ in circumference.

Not having any dolls around the house (the result of raising four boys), I went on Amazon and purchase a doll for myself.  Perhaps I just want something to play with.  Or, perhaps I am planning for future grandchildren.  In either case, I now have a Journey Girl doll that graces my sewing room.  Measuring the size of the head, I adjusted the STL file to make a shield that is 4″ in diameter and will fit the head of an 18-20″ doll (American Girl, Journey Girl, etc).

To complete the  PPE ensemble, I also printed appropriate sized ear savers.

After printing a Doll set and a Child set, I gifted these to my patient.  She loved them.  Her mom sent me numerous photos of her pretending to be a dentist, complete with her doll as her assistant.

Given how much she enjoyed the face shields, I thought maybe other children would enjoy being like their mom or dad, or the favorite health care worker.  Thus, I have posted these on Etsy.  If you have someone who might like a set, you can purchase at the link.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/851392013/child-sized-or-doll-sized-face-shield?ga_order=date_desc&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=child+face+shield&ref=sr_gallery-2-22&organic_search_click=1&col=1

 

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Experimenting with Sun Resist Dyeing

When writing about my latest Shibori project, I alluded to some sun dyeing I had attempted.  After that first attempt, I decided to do some experimenting to determine the best protocol to use for sun resist dyeing.

I set up the first set of samples about a month ago. Two weeks ago I finished the first trial and started the second set.  This past weekend, with beautiful weather, I was able to complete these trials.

In order to created colorful fabric, something is needed that combines with dye to fix or bind it to the fabric. In low immersion dyeing, the mordant most commonly used is soda ash (sodium carbonate). When silk dyeing, the mordant I used was vinegar. For natural dyeing processes, soymilk is commonly used with plant extracts. While not actually a mordant, the soy act as a binding agent between the fabric and dye.

The idea behind sun resist dyeing is that objects placed on the wet soy-treated fabric will block the suns rays from activating the soy binding of the dye to the fabric.

Having read several different articles about dyeing with soymilk, I first wanted to compare the different ways of prepping the fabric and dyeing the fabric. Some textile artists use just soy milk, some use powder from soybeans and other use soda ash as a pretreatment. So I set up to test several different combinations of pretreatment and dyeing.

For pretreatment, I used used three old pieces of partially dyed fabric (browns and khaki dyes). Each piece was pretreated with either soy milk (1 cup diluted with 3 cups water), soy powder (1/4 cup powder diluted with 4 cups hot water), or soda ash (4 tsp each of soda ash and salt, diluted in 4 cups hot water).

After pretreatment, the fabrics were allowed to dry completely.

Mixing Blue dye (1/4 tsp) was then mixed with soy milk, soy powder or soda ash (similar dilutions as above) and painted on one-third of each piece of fabric. The fabrics were placed in the sun with various shaped buttons set on top. After the fabrics dried, they were washed with Retayne and dried in the dryer.

Fabric was pretreated with soymilk.
Fabric was pretreated with soda ash.
Fabric was pretreated with soy powder.

Based upon these test samples, pretreatment of the fabric with soy powder did not result in very strong binding of the blue dye to the fabric. Furthermore, mixing the dye with soy powder did not result in any binding of the blue dye to the fabric. Pretreatment with either soy milk or soda ash was successful in dye binding. However, only the mixing the dye with soy milk cause the sun resist to be visible.

I did a second round of experimenting to verify my findings. In this experiment, the fabric was pretreated with soy milk (left side) or soda ash (right side) and dyed with three different colors of dye (Golden Yellow, Fuschia and Mixing Red) mixed with soymilk.

Wet dye painted, leaves placed to block sun.
Samples after drying in sun
Samples after washing with Retayne.

I love the results! I can’t wait to do more sun resist dyeing.

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Busy Summer – Yes Indeed!

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Prior to March 13th, my schedule was very predictable.  I had come to expect my week to flow from a day of work, to a day off, to a few more days of work.  This routine schedule allowed for me to focus on some crafts when home, and to focus on patient care when at work.

After a few months off, I am now back at work.  My routine has changed.  I rarely have a weekday off now – I really do miss my free Tuesdays!  Normally, I wake naturally a few minutes before my alarm goes off.  This is really a nice, peaceful way to wake up, without the alarm beeping at me.  However, my body still has not gotten used to having to get up early on Tuesdays. So, every Tuesday, that beep (or on my phone it’s more of a fog-horn sound) startles me awake.

Our summer patient schedule is completely booked.  Several times a day, I am having to figure out how to fit some necessary patient treatment into an already busy schedule, all the while keeping to our office social distancing guidelines and avoiding overworking my awesome staff. At times I feel I am being pulled in all directions.  And, I know my staff feel that way too!  I think the entire office is looking forward to a slightly slower schedule once school resumes.

With the summer rush, I find this song “Breathe” really does describe the craziness of life right now. The chorus of the song goes through my head often each day and helps to calm my mind and remind me to “just breathe”.

Alarm clock screaming bare feet hit the floor
It’s off to the races everybody out the door
I’m feeling like I’m falling behind, it’s a crazy life
Ninety miles an hour going fast as I can
Trying to push a little harder trying to get the upper hand
So much to do in so little time, it’s a crazy life
It’s ready, set, go it’s another wild day
When the stress is on the rise in my heart I feel You say just

(chorus)
Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at My feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe

Third cup of joe just to get me through the day
Wanna make the most of time but I feel it slip away
I wonder if there’s something more to this crazy life
I’m busy, busy, busy, and it’s no surprise to see
That I only have time for me, me, me
There’s gotta be something more to this crazy life
I’m hanging on tight to another wild day
When it starts to fall apart in my heart I hear You say just

(chorus)
Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at My feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need

Is to take it in fill your lungs
The Peace of God that overcomes
Just breathe
Let your weary spirit rest
Lay down what’s good and find what’s best
Just breathe

(chorus)
Just breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at My feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe
Just breathe

Writer(s): Words and Music by Jonny Diaz, Jonathan Smith and Tony Wood