Review & Giveaway: Color Your Cloth – A Quilter’s Guide to Dyeing and Patterning Fabric by Malka Dubrawsky

on Nov 7, 2009 in Books, Quilting, Sewing | 285 comments

Color Your Cloth by Malka Dubrawsky

The first time I saw a quilt by Malka Dubrawsky featured on a blog I was floored. Fresh, beautiful, unique, I was in love with this talented woman’s work. Her blog, A Stitch in Dye, has become one of my favorites. I was extremely excited when she first announced she was writing a book.

Well it’s here and it’s spectacular! Color Your Cloth: A Quilter’s Guide to Dyeing and Patterning Fabric, is an opportunity to understand the nuts and bolts of how Malka creates her hand dyes and also a delightful window into her muse and creative viewpoint.

Color Your Cloth is both a technical how-to for the wax-resist process (batiking) and a project workbook.

Malka shares with us how to create a workspace, techniques for adding pattern to fabric, basic dyeing, and aftercare for waxed and dyed fabric. The techniques section includes stamping with found objects, how to use traditional wax-resist tools, patterning with brushes, and a section on discharging and overdyeing.

The book concludes with 12 projects including coasters, table ware, a reversible tote, a camera strap, pillow covers, and six quilts.

Each of the technical sections includes detailed, step-by-step instructions along with samples and pictures. Malka’s approach is very budget accessible. She delights in using supplies that can be found in thrift stores and around the home. Her studio garage features a cardboard box and push pins as the frame for stretching fabric for patterning. The book includes extensive pictures of her space and tools. It lends a feel to the book that you’ve shown up in her home for a day of learning.

Now back to Malka’s creative viewpoint. Here is one passage in her introduction that I have to share:

“For several years, I used those fabrics to make art quilts, but after a while, I came to feel that once again something was missing. As much as I enjoyed the “in-my-head” interaction that making these quilts brought me, I craved a more tangible connection. I couldn’t help but think back to the times I had made a gift for someone from my own hand-dyed fabrics. The recipient was always so touched by the extra effort and thought that went into crafting something for them from “start to finish”. I’d liken the experience to knitting a pair of mittens with your own handspun yarn; I knew that making items from my own fabrics that were both useful and beautiful would bring me that kind of connection.”

This is where the bells in my head went ding, ding, ding! In the past I’ve purchased and used quite a few hand dyed fabrics, all in traditional “art quilt” projects. At some point I hit a wall in wanting to create that type of project. Malka has taken hand dyes and shared her way to use those fabrics in new and innovative projects from everyday bed quilts to pillow covers and tote bags.

The book marries the patterning techniques with the projects. It demonstrates Malka’s clear mastery of pattern, color AND project design. I’m in awe of artists that can so clearly translate their expertise into terms understandable by those of us wanting to learn. Color Your Cloth left me feeling as though I can actually give this a try and be successful.

I received some of Malka’s beautiful fabrics along with the book. I created these simple housewarming coasters for a friend. It was a joy to be able to see the patterns demonstrated in the book and understand how they were created.


A giveaway! Malka has generously contributed a copy of Color Your Cloth for one lucky winner. Leave a comment, I’ll draw a winner next Wednesday, November 11. Congratulations to Kathi D !

pink chalk fabrics ~*~ new arrivals ~*~ free patterns ~*~ on sale