Saturday, May 29, 2010

Violets in the lawn

are one of my spring time favorites! Alas, there isn't much 'spring' in Montana--it is snowing at the moment!

The Schoolhouse I did at Quilt Market was fun. My friends, Lois and Peg, helped with a Vanna White presentation of Bette's wonderful quilt while I talked about Double Pinks! The line, Little Pink Stars, was well received and we are eagerly looking forward to their late Aug/early September arrival!

While double pinks require two different strengths of an alum mordant, Tonne de noir is achieved with a different mordant. Iron acetate is made by dissolving rusty iron pieces in vinegar, acetic acid. This iron mordant can be thickened with gum and printed onto the fabric. Mordants are often colorless and a 'sighting' (fireplace ash) is added to help the block printer align the next impression or the application of a second strength of the iron mordant.

The fabric is then processed in a madder dye bath producing a printed fabric in a weak black, a purple or a lilac.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Quilt Market

 was great! I found many great historic prints and other items: books, patterns, notions. They will be arriving over the next 4/5 months.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Brown and Blue

I am working with the strike offs for my new fabric line, Little Pink Stars, sewing a project for my Schoolhouse presentation at Quilt Market this coming week.

In previous blogs, I have shown you my favorite pattern, the rose/brown mill engraving, and a classic double pink (there are 18 pink reproductions in the line). When Bette started to put all those little pinks stars into a quilt---it was too pink, even for Bette. She went back to her vintage stash and made a few more stars. Some were taupe or brown, a few others were Indigo. Here are 2 more prints from the line in document colors.

A brown/ pink design was easy to create with madder dye by using 2 different mordants. In this case alum was used for the pink and a mixture of alum and iron for the shades of brown.








19th century Indigo prints were done with a different method. Indigo does have a natural affinity for cotton and so does not require a mordant. This design was probably done with the discharge method. A length of cloth is dyed with indigo and then 'printed' with a discharge paste. This removes the indigo dye and gives a white design on a deep blue background.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Cover and Pad

Double pinks, a print with assorted shades and tints of pink and red often with a touch of white, were a perennial favorite for much of the 19th century. An alum mordant is needed to 'bond' the pink/red dye to cotton cloth.  A fabric 'printed' with two different strengths of an alum mordant and then processed in a madder dye bath will show a design in two shades of pink/red. You could also print 'three reds' as well as double purples and browns.

Mid to late 19th century double pinks were often printed with the 'cover and pad' style. First an acid resist of white dots was printed on the fabric. The dot area would resist the subsequent printed mordant and thus the madder dye. A cover cylinder printed a strong mordant which would produce a dark pink/red design. Next a padding roller with finely engraved lines or dots applied a weak mordant to the fabric. The result would produce a even-colored pale to medium pink background. Once dyed in a madder dye bath the fabric would have white dots on a pale to medium pink background and a stronger pink/red pattern--a double pink.

Here is an example of a 'cover and pad' double pink from my new line, 'Little Pink Stars'. This is 'strike off' fabric I received on Friday.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Little Pink Stars

This quilt was made by my friend Bette Faries. It contains a plethora of  19th century double pinks as well as a sprinkling of tan/taupes and a few indigos. It was made in the 1970s with vintage prints and contemporary muslin.  I recently received the croquis for my new reproduction fabric line, Little Pink Stars.
This is my favorite piece in the collection--a little mill engraving. These designs have finely engraved details. Early 19th century printers manipulated 2 different metals to produce these fabrics. Motifs etched into 'soft' copper rollers quickly worn down and lost the shading produced from finely etched lines and dots. To preserve these details, designers engraved a soft-steel roller and then used it to transfer the pattern to another steel roller of the same size --producing a pattern in relief. This second steel roller was then 'hardened' and used to transfer the pattern to the copper roller. When those printing rollers wore thin, they could easily be reengraved from the steel mill and continue to print designs with very fine detail.