Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Dyeing to print

The first of my dyed pieces. I have shown the tied piece and then when I unwrapped each piece, taking the photo before rinsing. Disappointingly all my fabrics became very pale after rinsing them out...... Not sure why.

It is really interesting to see the befores and afters. These will all be used for overprinting. Hopefully I shall be able to spend some time outside later today with my printing boards.

This piece of cotton start life as a muslin for a costume, hence the drawn lines.

This piece was calico and the dye just didn't penetrate as well as I'd hoped. Still, the fabric is interesting.

This was another thin strip of cotton. Rather pretty, I thought.

An interesting piece of shibori.

This probably didn't work so well since it was another piece of that calico.

I was rather pleased with this piece. A strange shape as most of my bits seem to be.....

This looks quite faint even here, but an interesting piece which should print beautifully.
These were all dyed using Procian dyes during a day spent with the MEG group at Brenda's house. I must be feeling braver since I really feel keen to have a day spent trying the dyes for myself here at home. Thanks Brenda, I've only ever tried dyeing as a member of a group before......
Ah well, off to get set up outside and get some printing done. These are going to be samples for a workshop I am leading later this year.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Meet Frankie the felted fish

I finally got round to finishing Frankie my felt fish. You can read all about the making of the fish here.
Showing how much the felting process has shrunk Frankie
I looked out the original paper shape which was used as a pattern for the resist inside Frankie - you can see it underneath the fish. The resist was made from a plastic tablecloth. The pattern here doesn't include the fins or tail since they were added later in the process. Frankie is hollow with aluminium disks for eyes.
Free machine stitching on my August journal quilt
I finally started work on stitching my next four journal quilts this week. The flower patterns were drawn onto water soluble fabric which was then stitched over. I'd started work on these some weeks back. You can see the work starting here.

Seven journal quilts showing the sequence
You get an idea of how the journal quilts will look when they are all completed in the photograph. I now have to start work on the last four of the sequence. The ones seen above still have to be cut to size, labels added and an edging stitched in place. I'm really enjoying working on these.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Dyed fabrics, bought fabrics

The folded fabric - 1
You may remember the collection of freshly dyed fabric which I mentioned in the last post? Well here they all are, taken out of their plastic bags and about to be washed. For each of these I have posted a photo of the bundle itself and then the freshly unwrapped bundle before washing.

1 - the unwrapped fabric
The bulldog clips have added some marks of their own here, so I have now thrown them out. They are rather too rusty to use any more which is a little sad since I rather liked the added marks.

Folded fabric - 2

2 - the unwrapped fabric

Folded fabric - 3

3 - the unwrapped fabric

Folded fabric - 4

4 - unwrapped fabric
 The fabrics are all rather gorgeous. It was a really interesting way of dyeing cloth, brushing the dye on instead of putting the pieces into a dyebath. Definitely an idea to try again. I think next time I might use a different set of colours.
Dyecatchers used to mop up  any spills.
I do like keeping any fabrics used to mop up. They can be really useful to add to a textile piece.

Bought fabric- freshly washed
These wonderful fabrics were bought from The African Fabric Shop. These are Kola and Indigo fabrics and I really love them. Do visit the site to read more about these fascinating fabrics. If you are in the area, there is a World Textile Day coming to various parts of the UK. These should be really interesting events.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Making a fish, dyeing and the next stage

Side view, showing the washers acting as a resist, held in place by bulldog clips.
It has been a rather fascinating week since last posting here. Today, as you can see, I have been dyeing. This was a rather interesting workshop lead by Meryl for the Pinfold group. This invited us to paint dye rather than inserting the fabric into a dye bath. This allows the dye to find it's own path through the fabric and around any resists left in the way. I now have to wait for a few days until I can remove the clips and wash out the excess dye. 

Using bulldog clips and plastic washers as a resist.
 This is why the fabric is currently residing in a series of plastic bags. The kitchen roll used to clean the plastic surface protecting the table beneath also waits in a plastic bag. I will now have to be rather patient........
Dyed cloth samples waiting in plastic bags.
I've also been to a felt making workshop organised by the International Feltmaking Association as part of their AGM and Conference. This was one with the talented felter, Mandy Nash. My fish, still without a name, sits waiting for the final stages. A final shaping too. Nearly there, but not quite. I can recommend a workshop with Mandy Nash. A generous teacher, she is encouraging as well as knowledgeable. The day disappeared far too fast.

fish waiting to be finished
There has also been progress with the journal quilts. They are sitting ready for me to start the free machine stitching. The shiny surface is water soluble fabric. Hence two unfinished projects. I really have to choose which one to complete first.
the next stage of the journal quilts

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Should have used gloves

Block printing over a gelliplate print.
Spent a very enjoyable time using the print blocks I showed in my last post. These will turn into my journal quilts for May, June, July and August. Each fabric piece has first been printed using a gelliplate using red.
Perhaps I should have used gloves
These were my hands after the printing session. Perhaps I should have used gloves, but I really find I need to feel the blocks. The blue will fade, but I must admit it does look a little odd.
More printing 
The first print will become May, while this one will become June. The following block print will be July.

Another print
The last piece will be August. I intend to free machine a pattern of flowers over the top of these. I shall need to add green squares too. The challenge this year is to add only one to each piece, but since I started off by adding three to each of my completed journal quilts, I think I'd best continue the same way.
It will be interesting to play around with different shades of green and finding suitable threads for the stitching.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Busy not sewing

Pattern of frost on the conservatory roof
We woke this morning to a frost which quickly disappeared as soon as the sun came up. These photos record the patterns on the roof panels of my conservatory. Really pretty.
Pattern of frost this morning
No sewing in the past few days, although there has been some preparation. Firstly, the book has started to take shape. The first few pages have been linked together with ribbon. The ribbon will eventually be hidden away inside the front and back covers of the book.

Book pages - showing the brown paper backings

I described putting the individual pages together here. The pages have all been trimmed ready for this stage. As you can see, the bright colours alternate with the brown paper backings.

Book - showing the coloured pages, each is different.
The first page - it still needs some lettering and some actual pattern.
The theme of the book is "Pattern". This is the theme this year for the NWCQ group, so it seemed rather appropriate. I sat steadily working on this book at a meeting when most people were working on altered books. It was an interesting meeting to attend, but I really have a problem with altering any book. In my mind I see it a defacing the book rather than enhancing it. Hence my making a book out of what might be termed rubbish.

I also worked on some designs based on flowers for print blocks. These will be used for the next four of my journal quilts for this year. I just need to find a little space to get on with some printing. The print blocks have been made from foam sheets stuck onto foam board using double sided tape. The centre block used part of the foam backing from a ready made pizza, backed onto foam board to give it more strength, My last four journal quilts can be seen here.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Felt making and dyeing.

The past two weekends have seen me taking part in very different workshops.

The first of these was a workshop with Edwina MacKinnon. Here we dyed with indigo and also Potassium Permanganate. This gives a delightful brown shade which goes well with indigo.

Dyeing samples drying on the grass.
We had to leave the samples to dry for a week before rinsing out. As you can see, my samples were wrapped around sticks, clamped with bulldog clips and rubber bands. I tried some Shibori too (the 
fabric is stitched and the fabric gathered firmly before dyeing.) All this was great fun.
Dyeing samples after being unwrapped and rinsed.
The fabric was eventually washed out yesterday and hung out to dry on my washing line. I have still to iron it and put it all away. I think my favourite has to be the blue and white piece to the left of this photo. This was the cotton piece which  I have bound up with bulldog clips. You may see some brown marks on the cloth. These occurred because a couple of the bulldog clips decided to start rusting. Really interesting results.

Turkish felt.
I had some fun during the week playing around trying to make another piece of Turkish felt. This was the result. The fibres used for the back are all orangey brown and yellow. The fabric was first rust dyed before being used for the felt. It really wasn't a very good piece of rust dyeing, so I was quite happy to use it here. It hasn't felted quite as well as my first attempt, but I am quite pleased with it.

broken crockery and tiles
Taking Ella for a walk, I found some really lovely pieces of broken crockery. I couldn't resist picking these up since I could see some possibilities for their use.

the reverse of the same tiles and crockery pieces.
I found the reverse sides just as interesting as the coloured tops, especially those printed marks. These may well reappear at some time in the future. I haven't quite decided how to use them yet.

Felt made using bits and pieces of discarded samples.
Last Friday, I went along to Friday Felters where we made felt to make into twiddlemuffs for alzheimers patients. I am not sure that my piece is going to be good enough since it would need rather more elements to fiddle with. I will need to play with this piece rather more.

Following Friday's felt making session, I returned to Frodsham, once again for another feltmaking workshop. This time it was with the International Feltmakers Association. We were making felt using prefelts, pieces of partially felted fabric. The pattern was based on a skyscraper scene which we were given to use. Pieces of prefelt were cut to shape before the whole piece was felted onto a background of wool tops. 
My skyscraper scene
As you can see, I had a lot of fun playing around with colours. It still needs a little bit of finishing off, but I am really quite pleased with this.