Batik Quilts

The making of batik quilts has grown in popularity in recent years. Batik fabrics have vibrant colours, outstanding designs and are available in high thread counts which reduces fraying and creasing. This is very important for quilters who love appliqué and also when used to make batik quilts where there will be areas where the raw edges can be exposed.

The designs on batik fabrics range from simple patterns to intricate designs and even illustrations of people and animals. Because the fabrics are hand dyed, each piece is different making them unique.

Batik dates back almost 1500 years in Egypt and the Middle East. Batik fabrics are much more than simply tie-dying a piece of material. The art of batik is a specialized craft using bees wax and paraffin wax when dying quality fabric with intricate patterns and illustrations.

Specialized tools are used to apply wax in sections of the material to make the pattern. The wax prevents the dye from penetrating the fabric. Many batik fabrics are waxed and dyed several times to create the gorgeous color combinations and patterns. Once the dying process is complete, the wax is melted, and the fabric is washed to reveal the final product.

This is a video of batik artists at work. Showing the process of painting or making batik traditionally.

Sherry Feder, has created a method you can use at home to make your own batik fabric. I have added her instructions below.

Making Your Own Batik Fabric

Things You'll Need:

* Cardboard box * Quilt * Thumbtacks * Beeswax flakes * Paraffin flakes * Saucepan * Cookie cutters * Paintbrush * Cold water dye * Boiling water

1. Push the flap of the box inside so the box stays open. Stand the box up so the opening is facing up.

2. Drape the quilt over the box so the area you want to batik is centered over the opening. Use thumbtacks to secure the quilt to the vertical sides of the box.

3. Melt the beeswax and the paraffin together in saucepan until they are liquid and combined. Use a ratio of 6 parts beeswax to 4 parts paraffin.

4. Dip the first cutter you want to use into the wax and let the excess wax run off. Move the cutter quickly onto the quilt and press it down hard to transfer the shape.

5. Lift the cutter away to reveal the outline of wax. Fill the outline in with a paintbrush and wax if you want a solid shape on the quilt; leave it empty for just an outline.

6. Let the wax harden and dip the quilt into a cool water dye in the lightest shade you are using. Ring the quilt out after dyeing to remove excess dye water.

7. Soak the dyed quilt in boiling water for 3 minutes and quickly submerge it in cold water. This will cause the wax to roll off the quilt.

8. Repeat the hot water bath and cold water dunking as many times as you have to until all of the wax is removed. Let the quilt dry completely.

9. Replace the quilt on the box and repeat the cookie cutter process with each shape. Dye after each waxing, and then soak the wax off before applying the next shape.

Following are some fabulous websites for buying batik fabric for your batik quilt:

* http://www.hancocks-paducah.com/SubCategory--Batik-Quilting-Fabrics--m-722

* http://www.grandmothersgarden.co.nz

* http://www.cushlasvillagefabrics.co.nz/nz/batiks.htm

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