Book Review: Beyond Cotton

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Book Review: Beyond Cotton

Beyond Cotton

Making by hand: stamp, print, dye and paint By Krista Fleckenstein We promised you a full book review of Beyond Cotton and here it is! We found Beyond Cotton at Quilt Market - it's published by Lucky Spool which is killing it with great books these days. Think Handmade Style, Savor Each Stitch and Alison Glass Applique to name just a few, not to mention ALL the books we told you about last week. Lucky Spool is THE publisher for the modern sewer. Beyond Cotton walks you through stamping, printing, painting and dying all sorts of fabric and leather all while showing you how to create amazing projects with your newly created fabric! Connie and I barely flipped through the book at Lucky Spool's market booth before we knew it was going to be our new favorite. And we were right. Here's why: 1. While we LOVE the amazing designs of modern fabric, designing our own unique fabric (on a super small scale) has always seemed really appealing. The idea of screen printing, dying and painting on fabric always seems to pop up during brainstorm sessions or as we design new projects. It hasn't worked into the plan at MT just yet, but we've learned not to ignore those ideas that we just can't shake. This book seemed like an awesome way to get our feet wet. 2. The author, Krista Fleckenstein has an amazing philosophy on art and creating. I love this quote from the beginning of the book: 3. The book is filled with amazing projects that you can use as is, or change them up to make them your own. Great inspiration with equally great instructions. The author encourages you to make each idea your own. Connie and I set aside some time this week to try out a project from the book. We actually blocked off time on our calendars and planned ahead to make this happen. We both agree, it's the best thing we did all week for our productivity! If you always feel like you don't have time to be creative I highly recommend actually scheduling it in on your calendar. We both felt more free to experiment without the pressure of results, and much less anxious about our to-do lists because the time was earmarked for this project. Okay, back to the book! The comprehensive list of tried and true products in this book is wonderful. We decided to try Dye-Na-Flow which is a highly-concentrated, free-flowing fabric paint that simulates dye. You can easily mix the colors to create your own, and the book even has a photo with swatches and the "recipe" to create each of the colors shown.

We are messy crafters. We've accepted it.

The day before we worked on this Connie and I each decided what we wanted to make with the fabric. Connie was hoping to make a new tote bag with her fabric and I wanted to make a lap quilt with large colorful squares. We didn't want to get too hopeful since it was our first time experimenting, but we both found it helpful to have some sort of finished product in mind as we were working. I pre-washed and dried Kona Cotton in white to hopefully use for a new quilt. Connie was able to use our white canvas which is already PFD (prepared for dying) so that saved her a step. Even though the author recommends Dye-Na-Flow because of how it doesn't change the hand of the fabric, we were both surprised by how much it really didn't! She was telling the truth I guess! The paint definitely acts similar to a fabric dye, but we both love that watercolor effect that it gave the fabric. It produced much more vibrant colors than I anticipated, which is great, but not what I expected. We enjoyed experimenting with wet and dry fabric and mixing colors. Once the fabric dries you need to heat set it with an iron to make it colorfast. I tested a quilting cotton swatch to see just how colorfast it really was. I rinsed the fabric in the sink with a little soap and hot water. The intensity of the color didn't change at all and I didn't see any of the color wash out. I even pressed the wet fabric onto a paper towel with no bleeding. I feel like the book prepared us just enough - great recommendations on products to use, tips and tricks to help you make the products do what you want them to do, great projects to make if you want to, but also creative license to just experiment and have a good time.

Connie's painted fabric, soon to become a tote bag.

We both had a blast and definitely want to experiment some more with fabric painting. We are both pouring over the screen printing chapters too though, so who knows, maybe we'll try that next!

Roxanne's fabric, soon to be cut up for a quilt.

Roxanne's fabric, slightly brighter and more rainbow-y than anticipated, but fun none the less!

We'll be sure to share our finished projects once we get a chance to make them! In the meantime, make time to play creatively this week...we promise it will be worth your while. Happy Sewing (and painting and dying and printing and whatever fun things you dream up because of Beyond Cotton)! - Roxanne & Connie

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