This blog is a bit of a ramble through my life. There's a lot about quilting and textile arts, a sprinkle of my family life and some of my thoughts and ponderings. We currently live aboard an old wooden 1945 Navy boat, called MV Cerego, so you'll find me writing about that too. Welcome aboard!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Podcast - Interview with Sonya Prchal, Textile Artist

2017 sees the biennial New Zealand National Symposium happening October 5 - 10th in Christchurch.  I'm using that as a theme for my quilting podcast and inviting as many of the tutors onto my show as possible.

This week my guest in Sonya Prchal, a talented textile artist from Whangarei.  Sonya works with paint, photographs, thread painting and sometimes appliqué to achieve fantastic realism in her work.

Sonya's website:
Sonya's facebook:

Sonya is offering three classes at Symposium: Manuka Flowers, Thread Painted Moth and Thread Painted Wildlife.

In the interview you'll hear about how her father's love of nature inspires Sonya to find beauty in the details.  Get more information about how she works, her favourite, can't-live-without sewing tool and hear about her upcoming solo exhibition.

Above is Sonya's Green Gecko quilt, a stunning example of her attention to detail and beautiful quilting.

Thanks for chatting to me Sonya, it was lovely to get to know you better!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Why it pays to test your dyes.

I received some old procion fabric dyes from a textile artist who longer needed them.  Unsure of their age or how they've been stored, I'm using them hesitantly and if it's for something important, I'm testing them first.

Here is a really good example why.

I made this blue dye up as per my usual recipe and added it to soda ash soaked cotton fabric as per

The top photo is the dye solution squeezed through the fabric.  I left it to batch for over 24 hours and then took the bottom photo after it was rinsed.  You always get some washout and lightening but the amount that I got is nowhere near acceptable and shows me that this particular dye has well and truly lost its potency.

I searched for Multicraft Manufacturing Ltd online and I found that it was dissolved as a company in 2009, so that gives me a hint as to just how old that dye might be!

The reason I was testing this particular dye was because I had been mucking about doing random serendipitous work with the gifted dyes and noticed that none of my pieces had turned out as blue as I expected after the rinse.  However, I also had a few pieces of silk organza in the mix and they are quite blue.  I've read somewhere that you can use old procion dyes on silk with vinegar (protein fibres work best with acid as a fixative whereas cellulose fibres need a base) and get good results.  So before I biff this jar of dye powder I'm going to run one more test on silk with vinegar.

Watch this space.