A not-so-funny thing happened when I started with some hand-dyed fabric from my stash for the background of this quilt–my choice for July's Lovely Finish in #aLYoF...
I thought I'd have enough for a 40 by 60-inch crib-size quilt. The fabric closely resembles the real-life summer skies in New Mexico and I really wanted to use it. I chose yellow-orange and red-orange fabrics for the bird blocks because I've never met a split-compliment color-way that I didn't like. I put a handful of bird blocks together and started designing on the wall ...
and then, I ran out of background fabric.
I was reminded of why I like scrap quilts. If the background had been made from a bunch of turquoise fabrics, it would have been easy to add one (or a bunch) more to finish the design ... but since I had used a single fabric for the background, I was stuck.
I considered filling in the background with turquoise and white 4-patches, but just couldn't quite get on board with the idea. I started to thinking about dyeing more fabric and wondering if there was any chance I could create a good enough match to the color and texture. This morning I decided I had nothing to lose by trying.
I pulled out some old dyes and my dyeing supplies. I dyed four fat quarters in a subtle gradation to attempt to match the color and one yard, tightly packed in the yogurt contained on the left to attempt to match the cloud texture in the original.
For me, it wasn't exactly like riding a bike–probably because there isn't a lot of muscle memory involved. Frieda Anderson's book, Fabric to Dye For, provided the basic measurements.
I confess that my goal wasn't just to create some matching fabric ... I also wanted to replace some of the turquoise fabrics I'd stolen from another work in progress for the bird quilt. The value gradation of fat quarters I created will be perfect for that other project.
The one yard piece of tightly scrunched fabric didn't match the original texture ... but I think it's going to be good enough.
Below the quilt-in-progress is laid over the new yard of fabric. Even though the dye was VERY old, the color match is great ... and once the new fabric is chopped up and sewn, I hope it won't be that discernibly different than the original.
Opening up my dyeing supplies has been a bit like opening Pandora's box ... dyeing is so satisfying, I'm already planning what I want to dye next. It's no coincidence, I think, that this quilt has me thinking about creating a set of fabrics with colors gradating from turquoise to orange.