A couple of Christmasses ago I made a doona (continental quilt) cover for a young friend. The front was pieced with several coordinating fabrics and the back was hand dyed to match. It was a hit and we spent some fun time making matching cushion covers. A couple of months ago, this treasured piece suffered a sad fate. It was in the wash-basket and caught the attention of a young cattle dog. The dog dragged it out into the yard and tackled it with his teeth and paws. You can imagine how unhappy J was when she found it some time later. Then came the inevitable, hard question: can it be fixed? The front had several small holes, which can probably be mended, but the back was the worst area of injury, with a huge gaping hole.
Just to complicate matters, the friend and her doona cover are in South East Queensland and I'm in Melbourne. After several phone consultations with her Mum, we decided to replace the whole back. That means dyeing a piece to match. It was so badly torn that ripping out a piece to send me as a sample was easy. It arrived in the mail yesterday. Meanwhile, I'd been searching for a suitable piece of cotton fabric. The store where I bought the original piece no longer stocks sheeting width cotton in the dress department where craft fabrics are kept. The assistants there suggested I try furnishings. They have sheeting fabric, but it's poly-cotton, not what I want for dyeing. "What about homewares? They might have a large cotton sheet you could use". No, homewares don't have 100% cotton sheets other than in a top-of-the-range sheet set which was beyond my budget.
I tried my dye suppliers, who sent me a lovely sample of sheeting width cotton, but then went off the air for several days last week. I have procion dyes mixed up right now ready to use, so the delay was just frustrating. In desperation yesterday I tried one of my favourite quilting stores. They had a bleached calico which looks ok. I brought it home last night and put it straight into the washing machine to wash out the sizing. This morning it's in the dye bath. I added the colour in several batches to give the interesting texture I'm after. The timer's just gone off to remind me to add the soda ash solution which will help to set the dye. By this evening I should have the job done. It will take quite a bit of rinsing, since it's such a large piece. Then it will go into the mail, back to Queensland to be stitched into the back of the restored doona cover. Woah, I bet that dog has no idea how much trouble he caused!