Friday, September 20, 2013

September IHSW Stuff and Future Plans

Yes, third weekend of the month and I'm excited it's here. Currently I'm stitching for the Stitching Pirates Sailing The Fruit Contest which is really fun.  I found a Botanical Fruit Series from the Cross Stitch & Country Crafts September/October 1993, November/December 1993 and January/February 1994 issues.

After giving it some thought I decided I wanted to try and dye some cotton canvas fabric using some old Folgers coffee I had lurking in the back of my cupboards.  I don't drink coffee anymore and when I did, it was usually Raven's Brew, which is definitely far superior to Folgers.  However, Folgers was able to do a wonderful job of dying my fabric, so You go Folgers!! Woo Hoo!!

I began the process by boiling water in the kettle, pulled out my large French Press, dumped the Folgers in and poured the boiling water in.  I took the piece of fabric (which is stiff) and crammed it into the press and plunged the plunger up and down a little to see if that would do any good.  It didn't.  After standing there staring at the press for a few minutes I became frustrated and decided to boil my fabric to see what that would do.

Grabbing a pot, I poured the contents of my French Press into the pot and turned the heat up to high.  Evil laughter bubbled out of me as the concoction began to pretend to boil.  Boiling fabric is not like boiling pasta and finding this out was actually interesting to me.  By changing where the folds, or hills of the fabric lie in the boiling coffee, I was changing the way the fabric took the color.

At this point you may be asking why I didn't just walk away and let it all "steep" for a day or several hours. The answer is very simple:  because I am impatient and wanted to get started right NOW.

After five minutes of boiling, I dumped out the pot and wrung out the fabric, I did not rinse it out because I was afraid to lose more of the color doing that.  One disappointing aspect of this process is that by wringing out the coffee, the color disappeared, or so I thought.  I took the fabric to Nerd Central Command to dry iron the fabric and see what I had.

Coffee Canvas Fabric
Not too shabby if I do say so myself.  I love the "hand dyed" waves throughout and am VERY pleased with what I ended up with. And to show myself that I didn't lose color at all, we have the compare and contrast shot of it all:

Definitely a difference in color.  I love it.  The only downside to this is that I didn't dye a long enough piece for all three of the designs, so I will be repeating this process again very soon for the third pattern.

Once boiled, the fabric does become softer and more pliant instead of stiff and unruly, however, if you are going to use this fabric for stitching please keep in mind that the fabric will shred your floss.

I found out rather quickly that shorter strands keep the integrity of the floss intact and keeping the fabric very taught is a definite bonus.

The Regal Plum aka Prunus domestica

One thing I found after stitching this pattern is that the fabric elongates everything.  Instead of having rounder plums, we have a longer plum, but that, to me just adds to the individuality of the piece.

Note the coffee "veins" in the fabric!  I love it and can't wait to dye another piece.

Once all three pieces are finished, I plan on making a quilted bell pull out of them and hanging it in my kitchen.  Hopefully I will remember to post the "finished" shot of that later on.

So, for the September IHSW, it's all about the fruit.  I'm working on the Pear and then will work on the Apple.

I do hope to have my Hangout open this weekend for stitching and chatting, hope to see you there!

Until next time.....


  1. It looks amazing and if you had not said that the plumbs were elongated I'd never have known that this as the case.

    Yes hangout!! :D

  2. you can also die fabric with tea and depending on the strength of the tea and how long you let it soak will determine the resulting color in your fabric, but I bet you knew that already ;)

    1. I did and have done that before with a biscornu :D