March 4, 2017

Mustard Stain Goes to QuiltCon

When Mustard Stain was started on November 18th, I didn't know if I would have time to complete it by the November 30th deadline or if my idea would even work since I had very little batiking experience.

But here it is...I did finish it by the QuiltCon entry deadline AND it was juried in the the show AND it even won a 3rd place ribbon in the APQ Nine-Patch Challenge.  I was thrilled!

Our MQG's vice president, Faye, asked the board members over to her studio for a day of surface design and play.  Since we had batiked silk scarves with soy wax resist in her studio before, I was familiar with that process and thought I might could some how incorporate that technique into my nine patch challenge.  The scarf dyeing post is here.

Faye had some square cookie cutters in graduating sizes and I thought they would be perfect for my idea of stamping some nine-patches.  I started with 1 1/2 yards of Hoffman You + Me solid batik in zinc which was really white and I stamped away with the soy wax.

Faye sent me home with some Procion dyes in turquoise and chartreuse.  I got home and researched the basics on how to use the dye and started right away.  It was tricky because the soy wax melts at a much lower temperature than other wax.  I think that's the reason the turquoise stamps are not at clear.  This is what the fabric looked like once it was dyed and the wax was removed.  

Batiked fabric using soy wax resist and Procion dyes

I sketched out a design idea and realized I needed to add some turquoise lines between my 'nine' patches to define the bigger nine-patch.  This is my 4" x 4" sketch which was drawn on the back of the Procion dye instructions I had just printed out.  Don't you love my labeling...rather than large, I labeled the stamped nine patches small, medium and BIG.  I think C stands for chartreuse.  

Mustard Stain design sketch

I started cutting and piecing, without much planning, added an asymmetrical border and before too long I had a finished quilt top.  This picture was taken on November 20th around noon, so I didn't waste any time.  Maybe improv is easier when you don't have time to think about it. I guess this is planned improv when I had a sketch from which to work.  It was still all cut with a rotary ruler and cuter, no free hand for me.

Mustard Stain finished top 

Now, how was I to quilt this, my biggest dilemma with every quilt.  I guess I thought about for awhile because this picture was taken on November 21st at 10 am.  And for me, the safest bet is straight line quilting with the walking foot.  I had the idea of quilting it in the chartreuse color and forming one more nine-patch with turquoise thread.  Here I'm auditioning placement of the turquoise lines.

Auditioning quilting path
I thought about the binding before I quilted it and knew I would be cutting it close on fabric.  I had the idea of adding a bit of the turquoise in the binding along the right side where the large or BIG nine patch was.  Can you see I had to piece it?

Auditioning turquoise in the binding

Here's a picture taken after the quilting was completed on November 23rd late in the afternoon.  I quilted the four turquoise lines in each direction and then drew a line diagonally to give me a guide as to where to stop and pivot 90 degrees to echo quilt to the edge.  The lines are 1/2" apart and I used the edge of the walking foot as a guide.

Mustard Stain after quilting

I almost always block my quilts and needed to remove the blue marking lines so I dunked it in the washer spun it out.  I fluffed it in the dryer for just a bit and proceeded with blocking.  I did it the same afternoon so it could dry over night and be ready to bind soon after.

Here's were disaster almost struck.  I walked back in the room after 30 minutes or so and the turquoise had bled all into the chartreuse.  I was sick, especially after coming this far.  I had no choice but wash it and try to remove the dye.  I washed it a couple times in very hot water with synthrapol (designed to take our excess dye in the wash) and blocked it second time.  Thank goodness, no bleeding this time.

I was running very short on fabric. Improv is just seems wasteful to me, maybe that's another reason it's hard for me to do.  When I pieced the binding, it ended up with 15 joins with the grainline going crosswise and lengthwise.  This is detail shot that I inclued with the QuiltCon submission.  I decided on this shot because you can see the nine patch formed by the turquoise thread and the binding detail.

Mustard Stain detail

Here's the full shot.  You can barely see where I included the fabric which had been stamped along the bottom and left side of the quilt.

Mustard Stain by Paige Alexander

And you can see the Kaffe Fassett print for the backing and a partial shot of the label.

From all the creative nine-patch quilts in the category, I was excited that Mustard Stain placed 3rd in the APQ Nine-Patch Challenge.  The ribbon matches quite well.  I didn't hear who made the ribbons, but thank you!

American Patchwork & Quilting Nine-Patch Challenge 3rd place ribbon 

American Patchwork & Quilting generously sent the finalists a bundle of their latest publications.  Thanks APQ!

QuitCon was a blast and I hope to share more soon!  You can see all the 2017 QuiltCon winners here.

Quilt Stats:
  • Finished size: 33" x 33" 
  • Pattern: Original design with one pieced and hand stamped nine-patches forming one large nine-patch with an asymmetrical border
  • Fabrics: Hand batiked and dyed fabrics using fiber reactive Procion dyes
  • Thread: Quilting - Aurifil 5022 Mustard and 2810 Turquoise
  • Quilting design: Echoing straight line with walking foot
  • Batting: 100% Cotton Warm & White by the Warm Company
  • Completed: November 2016


  1. I loved the quilting detail on this, Paige, and thank you so much for sharing the process on how you created the batiked fabric for the quilt top (I was curious where you found the fabric - I love that it was handmade)! I am sure that finding the bleeding of the turquoise was a heart stopping moment, and I am glad additional washing and the synthrapol did the trick. Congratulations, this was a fantastic quilt and you and Cheryl really rocked this category!

  2. Congratulations again! This is lovely. Thanks for sharing your process and the details. It is so much fun to learn about how an amazing quilt is made start to finish. No magic wand, just hard work and loads of talent! :)

  3. Bleeding, that would be heart breaking and so scary at that late time. And to read how you did the design, the rows of quilting, makes this a very special quilt, Again, Many Congratulations, a ribbon to match.

  4. Congratulations Paige on a well deserved ribbon. This quilt is gorgeous!

    1. Thanks Deb, I appreciate your kind words!

  5. Great quilt. I love the printed nine patches ...makes for an interesting layered look for your quilt.

  6. Oh my clever friend, I am so proud of you. I loved reading about your process in making it but what a heart stopping moment when the dye ran, I'm so glad you managed to rescue it. You have set yourself quite a high bar Paige, I'm looking forward to your next challenge.

  7. Congratulations, Paige. What a worthy win!!!

  8. Congratulations on your win! This is a great post, thank you for sharing your creative process. I love the quilting on this one, it really goes well with the challenge.

  9. Congratulations on winning Paige! And thank you for sharing so much of your process. I really love this one - the printed 9 patches are just so interesting! :-)

  10. Congrats on the win! I enjoyed reading about your process. Improv is hard I think, LOL

  11. Congratulations on your win. It's a great piece. I find improv difficult.

  12. Congrats on your ribbon! Thank you for showing your process for making your quilt--so interesting! Although it's improv, I can see a lot of thought went into Mustard Stain.

  13. I enjoyed reading about your process Paige. So interesting and even a bit suspenseful with the dye problem! Congrats on your well-deserved ribbon.

  14. I love the spare design with just two colors (well 3, with the white resist), and really enjoyed reading, and seeing, your process. Congratulations on the finish and win!

  15. I love seeing the details of how you dyed the fabric and came up with the design. Thanks for sharing your process! And congratulations on the ribbon! I saw it at QuiltCon and it looks great in person!

  16. Hi Paige: I was hoping to see you at Quilt Con but I don't think I did. Thanks for sharing your process with the nine patch here. I was blown away by all the variations in nine patches at the show. It makes me think I need to expand my horizons and think outside the nine patch. Congratulations on your well deserved ribbon.

  17. I very much enjoyed reading about your process! Whew! This was quite the process from beginning to end! Well worth it though I would say! Congratulations on this great recognition!

  18. This is such a unique quilt and it was enjoyable to read about your process. Congrats on the QuiltCon ribbon. So exciting!

  19. Congratulations again ! Fortunately, it all worked out in the end with your dye problem. Such a stressful moment ...

  20. Paige, thanks for giving us the back story on your wonderful quilt. It was so interesting to hear about your process and your design decisions. I especially enjoyed your surface design experiments. Congratulations again on winning that pretty ribbon.

  21. Woohoo! I loved seeing the quilt during the creation process and then seeing it hang (with a ribbon!) at QuiltCon. It is a beautiful quilt.

  22. Excellent! Your posts explain so well your thoughts and decisions. This is interesting and beautiful. Congratulations!

  23. Oh Paige - congratulations!!! I loved this quilt when you were making it and so it is great to revisit and read more about your process. It really was a speedy finish - and wonderful to boot!

  24. Loved reading about your design process with this quilt! And love the quilt and being able to see it in person at QuiltCon. =)

  25. What an interesting overview of your quiltmaking process! I had no idea you'd dyed fabrics included in the quilt. I too quilted a basic nine-patch on my entry, but then put different quilting designs in each square. Seems I wasted my time though as my piece wasn't juried into the show. I read a statistic in QuiltCon magazine that only 23 percent of all entries were accepted, so you REALLY outdid everyone! Congratulations on this fantastic quilt. Though you say you're a traditional quilter, you've nailed modern in every way! Keep up the great work!

  26. I adore your quilt! SO much to love about it, from the dyed fabric to the colors, to those special touches in the binding. Just really all around lovely. And btw, Nicole of Modern Handcraft made all the ribbons again this year. Cool, huh?