An Experiment is Afoot!

I needed to test how a variety of fabrics would respond to discharge spray.
Naturally I thought, "why not make more work for myself by piecing them together first." ;-)

Anything can happen!

Actually, I was interested in how the process would work across seams, so this really was a sensible course of action.

Have you seen discharge spray in action? It's pretty cool.
Spray. Let dry. Iron to activate the magic!
It smells like ass. But it works!

Here is a section that needed one more bit of branch on the right. It's been sprayed and has had time to dry completely. The next few photos will show how the image appears when hit with the iron.

Discharge spray becomes practically undetectable when dry.

Barely touched, and the image is starting to show.

A hint of things to come.

A little more heat . . . it could be left like this if desired, but I kept going.

Image becomes more definite as heat is applied.

Lots of heat and steam gave the effect I wanted.

The final result.

See? Cool!

My experiment is shaping up - more to come!

Experimenting is a must when heading into a larger project, and I'm not done with this yet. I'd like to test paint colours for stamping, thread colours and types, and quilting motifs to see what I like.

The imagery will be different on the actual project - it's the techniques and colours that matter here.

Oh, but before I stamp and stitch, I plan to test bleach as a discharge agent on the same group of fabrics. Bleach reacts immediately, and there is wayyyy less control than with the decolourant spray. It's going to be exciting!

Ready for the next experiment!

I'm going to test each fabric separately - I'm hoping to accidentally-on-purpose (serendipitously) create images that can be worked into my actual project. If a fabric responds extremely well, I'll be able to discharge more on the spot. (Let's hope for the best, right?)

Fresh off the Frame

Quilts that come to me with no particular deadline may wait a bit as I work to meet hard deadlines in quilting and in life.

The biggest lesson I have learned is to not rush a quilt. If I do, the quilt suffers. I suffer. The owner doesn't get my very best work.

If you are waiting for a quilt, please know that it is best for it to go on the frame when I can give it my full, loving attention. The design will be better. The flow will happen. And I won't want to burn your quilt. (ha!)

If it's waiting it's because I'm not ready. I'm still thinking of how to do the quilting. Obsessing, really! Drawing, scheming, visualizing, hunting for ideas in my class notes and online. Sometimes a quilt has to marinate, even after it is on the frame. So I try to wait until I'm ready.

So . . . if you are waiting, thank you so much for your patience with my process!!! Yours is probably next!!!
(Seriously, it is! I'll bet you know who you are!)

Now, how 'bout some quilts that have made it through the studio in time for Christmas!

A cheerful red, black & white features the Hearts in Bloom pantograph.

Hearts in Bloom pantograph

Feathers are set off by straight lines in the table topper, below.

Custom quilting.

A lacy feather fills the black/silver areas, and a swirly feather adds interest to the red areas. Both wrap in a clockwise direction around the quilt, appearing to weave themselves together.

Quilting close up!

I knew ahead of time that the red minky on the back of the next quilt would be trimmed, tucked and wrapped to the front as binding. I trimmed the batting to the edge of the top after quilting, and the rest will happen in the hands of its maker.

Flannel with a minky back - cozy!!

Speaking of Life . . .

It wouldn't be Christmas without traditions, and in our family that includes a day of tart baking. We missed it last year and none of us wanted to miss it again, so we coordinated our schedules (a herculean effort!) and had (almost) a whole day together! By the end of the day we had produced hundreds of delicious butter and jam tarts - all from scratch. Yumm!

Good thing these freeze well!

House update

It's not finished. (Captain Obvious here. ha!)
But it is insulated and has a temporary furnace warming things up for the workers. Yay for progress!

Try, Learn, & Grow!
P.S. Find me on Instagram under my blog name, Fresh off the Frame.
I'm a bit weird about not sharing the same thing in two places, so photos that appear there will not typically appear here, and vice versa. Keepin' things fresh, all around!


  1. I like your idea of not rushing because that is when we do our best work. My quilting often occurs that way. So you got me really curious about the discharge spray, looks fun! Where do you get the spray and those stencils, especially the fern and the one that looks like a spiral tie die effect.

  2. Will discharge spray go away if washed? Clearly the bleach is a different story...

    I like your method of waiting until you are ready to work on a quilt, and my guess is that your clients appreciate your detail and loving attention, too. That 8 pointed table topper is really a neat quilt!

    The tarts look wonderful and it's great you were able to continue the tradition this year. Next year it will be in the new house - how fun will that be?! :)

  3. I was just thinking about what you've been up to! Thanks for the update. ENJOY those treats!!!

  4. I've never heard of discharge spray before. Looks neat.

    Quilts are all beautiful, but I am truly impressed with ALL those tarts!!! Yum!

  5. Interesting experiment and beautiful quilting !

  6. You crack me up Carole! Discharge spray is a completely new idea to me. I was wondering, would you have more control over the bleach spray if you protected the surrounding area with a wax line? (sort of like in Ukranian egg decorating)
    The experiment is so cool and Your results will make stunning art pieces.
    Such beautiful quilting - and well worth the wait!
    Yum - all the tarts look wonderful. We make something that looks a bit like these, called a pecan tassie.
    In case our posts don't cross again soon enough, have a very Merry Christmas Carole!

  7. I love it when you experiment!! It's so fun to observe (and learn) but not have to deal with any of the mess that experimenting inevitably creates :-) So - the more heat you apply, the more color is removed? Is there a way to 'set' it when you have colors (and the lack of them) how you went them?? Oh my ~ yes! Discharging with bleach will be quite unpredictable, I'd think. Will you dilute your bleach? what about the weakening effect of bleach on the fabric - is there a trick to keep that to a minimum??
    The quilts are all great! I especially like the quilting on the table topper! (did you have another 'I have definitely arrived!' moment with that one?? :-) I'm trying to follow your stitching on those curly feathers but no such luck - I guess I'll have to look at the pic on my phone and see if I can track it....
    Oh YUM!! The tarts look scrumptious!! So glad you were able to make a special tradition happen this year (goodness - with building, it's fabulous you can fit anything in!!)

  8. I think you've clearly hit upon something new for most of us with that discharge spray sucking the color right out of the fabric. Does this work only on batiks? Guess I'll need to Google it. I'm glad you mentioned the fact about waiting for quilting inspiration to strike for starting customer's quilts. I do the same thing, but thought it was just me, and then felt bad for it somehow. Sounds like I'm not alone! Glad you got to get those traditions back with your family - that's a LOT of tarts! And last comment, I really enjoy your quilting in those projects.

  9. Hear that knock on the door?? I'ts me coming over for some tarts. They look incredible. The discharge spray fascinates me and I love the results. I'm looking forward to seeing where all this experimenting leads you. As always, it's a joy to see your client's quilts.

  10. So much fun seeing your experiment and projects. The feathers with the straight lines are so pretty!

  11. Your projects are all delightful, and those tarts look so yummy, but I'm very intrigued with the discharge spray project. Where can I go to learn more?~karen

  12. Carole, you are so right about no rushing the quilting process. I like to finish projects as I go but there are some that need to percolate until inspiration arrives.

    Love your discharge experiments!!!


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