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The Mystique of Batik

Posted by Michelle on 4/25/2012 to Quilting
Some of you may be wondering what a website that specialized in western fabrics, is doing by selling batiks? Batiks have such wonderful color variation, that they blend well with almost any style of quilting. Over the years we have found that batiks make a quilt come alive, including western theme quilts. Batiks have been one of our mainstays when putting together June Jaeger’s Prairie Girls’ Quilt Shop and Log Cabin Quiltworks patterns. Artist Lynn Brown’s cowgirls and cowboys are taken from her watercolors and transferred to fabric. The color variations in the batiks are a perfect choice when making quilts with her panels. Over the years I have found batiks to be one of the most versatile fabrics, with all their breath taking colors and patterns. As with the new AvLyn line “It’s About To Get Western,” we are now seeing more western designs being produced on batik fabrics. 

Cowboy Quilt Made 100% With Batiks

So just what is ”batik” anyway? The art of batik making is centuries old. It began in Indonesia and was often used by royalty and wealthy individuals. Each part of Indonesia has its own style, motif and color patterns. Nowadays Batiks are made of a tightly woven cotton fabric. A combination of beeswax and paraffin wax is applied to the fabric before it is placed into the color bath. Beeswax seeps through the fabric to prevent the dye from taking hold. The paraffin makes the crackling design. Often several steps of dyeing with different colors and re-waxing are needed to get the effect desired. A tool with a wooden handle and a tiny metal cap is used to make the small designs, but it is very labor intensive. When industrialization came to the island of Indonesia a copper block cap was invented to make it easier to mass produce the batik fabrics. Dyes vary with the vegetation of each of the different regions. 

Batik Block used for Hand Making Batik Fabric

There are many patterns available that use batiks, but you will find that you can use batiks with most any pattern. They work great with fused applique patterns (like June Jaegers) since the fabric is tightly woven the edges do not fray as much. Not only do batiks work well with quilts, they are fun to use in purses, clothing and home decor projects. All you need to do is think outside the box. For some fun batik projects, check out Indigo Junctions blog on Fabric Friday- Batiks:  We will soon be carrying some of the new releases of Indigo Junction patterns that will not only work with batiks, but our western fabrics as well. Remember if you need some help picking out a pattern or fabric, we are always available.

Example of Batiks with Lynn Brown Cowboys

Quilt Made with Batiks

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