Thursday, September 26, 2013

... instant vintage

Okay... there really are some photos. . . but first this story of how it all came about. . .

About a week ago, while my Dad was out of town, I decided to do a thorough clean-out of the guest room. (Which, had in all honesty become a bit of a 'dumping' room for quilts, patterns, books, kits... etc.) Once or twice a year I usually get a 'spring cleaning' bug, & I weed through things to do a good cleaning & sorting, but late this summer I have felt the need to go much deeper. Even though I've done the weeding through for the past few years. . . I still found that I had items (craft items, books, fabrics, clothes, etc...) that after a year or so I still wasn't using... & honestly didn't know if I really ever would. It struck me that keeping all of it was really weighing me down. Then the thought came to me that if ever something would happen to me, that someone would have to deal with all that 'stuff' (yikes!!!).

So, my first step was to empty everything out of the room (into the breakfast area & the end of the studio). . . every shelf, every drawer, every box, & everything in the closet. As I pulled everything out, I sorted through things & put a lot in boxes to donate. But there was still soooo much stacked up. As I was wondering how much more I could 'delete'... I took a break for a day. (This is why I waited until my Dad was out of town.) I would walk by the clean & empty room, & I soooo loved how it looked! (It's across from my bedroom... so I look into this room numerous times during the day.) What happened next, I wasn't expecting... Where just 24 hours before, I was wondering how I could whittle down the piles of things that came out of the room, perfectly good things..., I found that when it came to putting things back into the room, I was able to make what were such tough decisions just the day before, so much easier. I was able to discern what was something that I would need & actually use, & not just keep something (that I hadn't used for years ... or was something I had but had never used) just because it was nice or cute or pretty. Even if it were (nice, cute, pretty...), but would just be stored away & never enjoyed suddenly made it so easy for me to only put back what I knew I would use. 

What I now have is a three drawer dresser that had two of it's drawers emptied... five+ shelves emptied, not one pile on the floor, & a bunch of room in the closet. (Insert happy dance here!)

One of the things that I had to really think about was the amount of quilts that I (still) had. I had to make some tough choices & put a couple more sample quilts for sale on the website. (I will try to get some better photos of a couple of them...) Then, while sorting through the quilts, I found one that really has never been used, except for display in my booth at quilt market three years ago. I loved making the quilt (the smaller version of Opie's Home), but I knew that the colors were just a little bright for me to use in my home. I had thought it might become a gift, but I really do love this design, & I thought that if maybe it was a little more 'vintage' looking, it would work for my own home.

I remembered a process that I had read about in a book (Home Sweet Home) by Barb & Alma of Blackbird Designs, where they used a two step process to age fabrics. First, you wash the fabrics with a package of Rit Color Remover.... (I know, a little scary sounding!), & then put them through a dye bath (in the washer) using Rit tan dye.  I had played around with the process a few years ago (lightening a quilt - that was way to bright), but then couldn't find the Rit Color Remover until a couple of weeks a go. Now please know, that in the book, Barb & Alma use this process on fabrics before they are used to make a quilt, as you don't always know how a color might react in the color removal process, ... but I took the chance & tried it on my finished quilt. (... & to be honest it was a little scary & fun all at the same time!)

Here is the quilt before I started. Cute fabric, 1930's style, but a little too bright for me to use...


...then came the wash cycle with one package of the color remover...


I forgot to get a photo of the quilt when it came out of the first wash. (oops.) I liked it, but a couple of the colors were still a little too bright. And, when I saw the progress, I could tell that adding the tan dye bath would make this a great autumn colored quilt... (Which I have very few of.)  

When I took it out of the washer, after the tan dye bath (& then a full wash), I couldn't wait to  put it in the dryer... I could see that all of the colors were more subtle, & I knew that when dry, they would be even lighter... I loved the results!


All the blues, & greens turned to shades of aqua... The lavender/purple turned a wonderful pebble-y grey... The reds turned to browns, & the yellows kept their yellow hue, but it was a more buttery version. (I was a little fearful that the yellow might disappear.) ... & the pinks softened up I am smitten with them! (So much so, I'm thinking of making a quilt using pink & white fabrics, and then using this process...!)



I know it might not be everyone's favorite, but I love it. It looks like it's been around for years & years & I can hardly wait to decorate with it now that autumn is here. My plan is to use it on the dining room table & group together some of my vintage aqua Bell canning jars filled with some mums & daisies ... & a couple of white/creamy pumpkins too!
(Time to go to Trader Joe's!)

Until then, I've got some patterns to finish writing... 
Hope you have a great weekend!

xo, Bren

9 comments:

karen said...

I love both the before and after versions of your quilt. And any quilt that incorporates log cabins and pinwheels is perfect in my book. :) Is the pattern available?

little acorns said...

Hi Karen. . . (Your comment came as a 'no reply' address, so I'm hoping you'll see the answer here.
You can find the pattern on the website (in the 'shop') where the 'Opie's Home' pattern is available as a regular pattern, or as a PDF downloadable one. Thanks!

sunny said...

I love the before AND the after! I made a quilt that is way to bright, so perhaps I'll try this technique myself.

Darlene D said...

I think it's great! Much better this way. It looks very well loved!

Ginny Worden said...

I've tried the color remover and tan dye trick on a finished quilt that ended up being a little to "loud". It worked and I was delighted with the end result. Sometimes quirky remedies are the best.

Ginny Worden said...

I have used the colour remover and tan dye trick on a finished quilt that was a little to "loud".I was pleasantly surprised with the finished product.Sometimes quirky ideas are the best.

Vicky said...

I've done the tan dye but never the color remover. Will definitely try this technique on a couple of way-too-bright quilts! Thanks!

Dawn said...

Love both versions.
You are brave.
:)

Sewn With Grace said...

Wow! I have not heard of doing this before. It came out great! Would love to see a photo of the fall display. You are a brave one, and it really paid off! :)

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