Hosting a Crafternoon get-together can be ridiculously easy. You put out some drinks and snacks and invite like-minded people to bring their favorite projects to work on. For a little over a year, I’ve hosted a Crafternoon every couple of months. (One of these days, I’d like to try Crafterdinner Drinks.) Sometimes only a couple of people can attend; other days it gets quite crowded. I even invite people who don’t quilt or knit or scrapbook, and they bring coloring books. Some days we don’t do much but play board games. It’s pretty relaxed, and relaxing (I always specify “no kids, unless they have a crafty project” and no one ever brings kids).

This month, I decided to host a different sort of Crafternoon. Several people had expressed interest in learning about dyeing fabrics, so I planned a dyeing party. My mother also graciously agreed to teach a class on making cathedral window blocks since some other friends asked for that, too.

The Preparation

This took a little more planning than usual. Guests were asked to bring snacks, since I had lots of preparation to do. I put out ginger lemonade and unsweetened iced tea. I inventoried my supplies and decided I had enough tubs and utensils for everyone, but I needed to think about how to rinse our fabric outside. So I picked up an assortment of beverage tubs on clearance to fill that gap, and asked everyone to bring freezer bags for carrying their fabric home as well.

dye concentrate
The day before the Crafternoon, I prepared seven bottles of dye concentrate from Procion MX and cut a stack of Kona white PFD (prepared for dye) fat quarters, plus some smaller pieces so we could play with Shiva PaintStiks while our fabric was in the dyeing tubs.
Classroom in the studio
For the cathedral window workshop, I set up a classroom of sorts in the studio with a portable design wall, an assortment of chairs from around the house, and TV trays as makeshift side tables for everyone to keep their supplies on.
Dyeing party setup
The morning of Crafternoon started off rainy, but once the weather cleared, my husband pitched in to help set up our two canopies and our small collection of folding tables. We weighted the canopy legs and covered two long tables with a big sheet of plastic. All of the dyeing supplies fit on those tables. Two side tables held a bucket of fresh water and a bucket of clearly labeled soda ash solution. For rinsing, I put two large bins on side tables near a hose and filled the bins with water. I also set three bins on the ground with about a half yard of fabric in each.

The Party

bins of fabric soaking in dye
After we talked a bit about safety and the procedures for dyeing, we dove right in.
scrap of fabric with random dyes
We used scraps of fabric to mop up the spills and splatters on the plastic sheeting. I loved the little dot pattern from someone’s gloves!
cathedral window in progress
While the first batch of fabrics were soaking, I peeked in on the cathedral windows workshop. It looked like a lot of work…and there was a lot of fun conversation going on.
cathedral windows quilt
There was a little show and tell going on, too. My friend Deb didn’t need a workshop. She brought along her own cathedral windows project to work on. Isn’t it gorgeous?
shiva paintstiks on rubbing plates
Meanwhile, back outside, there was a lot of playing with Shiva PaintStiks. There were stencils, there were rubbing plates….
mint julep with stencils
…and there were mint juleps! Another friend, Jayne, mixes a mean drink. And by mean, I mean GOOD.
leaf rubbing on fabric
The only frustrating thing about Shiva PaintStiks is that you have to wait for DAYS for the paint to cure before you can heat set it. Argh!
tubs with fabric dye
When it was time to remove the fat quarters from their dye baths, I asked each guest to pour the remaining dye solution from the tubs onto any of the fabric I had set out near the rinse station. Some poured carefully, others poured with FLAIR.
feet splashed with dye
It didn’t get messy until after the party, when I started bringing in the tray with the bottles of dye concentrate and the handles broke. Thank goodness I wasn’t inside when that happened! (Most of the dye came right out of my pants, because it wasn’t mixed with the soda ash solution it requires as a fixative.)

The Results

PaintStik projects hung up out of the way
PaintStik projects hung up out of the way
One of the pieces randomly dyed with leftover solution
One of the pieces randomly dyed with leftover solution
pile of dyed fabric
My pile of fabric, including the rags we wiped up the table with and the pieces we dyed with leftover solution. I’d say the party was a success!

Resources

One of the many conversations I overheard was about potentially having a bargello party. What kind of a Crafternoon would you like to attend (or even throw!)?

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4 Replies to “Hosting a Crafternoon

  1. Had a blast Becca! How did I manage not to get a drop of dye on myself??? Thanks for the hospitality and the inspiration

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