Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Postcards, books and printing on felt

Completed Apache top
It has been an interesting week. For once I have quite a number of completed, or nearly completed items to share. 
Firstly, a photo of the completed knitted top which I talked about last time. As you can see it has a really interesting closure in that there is a knitted tab which is pushed through a buttonhole in the right front of the waistcoat. This should be handed back tomorrow.

Printing on felt
On Friday I went along to a workshop at Friday Felters. This was with Val Hughes, a very talented textile artist. This was a really interesting session, although I must admit to not liking the block printing medium which I used for my sample. The felt is still sticky today. I shall have another go and print using my usual fabric paints. The blocks shown above were made at the workshop using foam board as a backing with thin foam. As you can see, I cut the foam so that I could use a positive and negative of the same design. I haven't used the second block yet, I found the idea of printing on felt had a lot of possibilities and will definitely be doing it again.
Completed book cover
 You may recall this post, where I showed an earlier stage of working to put this book together. Since March, I have been steadily adding bits and pieces to my book, deciding yesterday that it really now needed to have a cover. So, here it is. I still haven't filled all the pages, but will continue to add bits and pieces during the rest of the year. Tomorrow, it will be travelling along with me to the NWCQ meeting where other members will be showing their altered books. I didn't join in with that topic, preferring to make my own book rather than use a printed book. I really don't know what they will make of my version.
The cover is part of the old sheeting on my small printboard which I replaced earlier. Shocking to think it has languished in my fabric stash for so long before being used. However, it was perfect for this book cover. Just the right size too. It won't be too long before I need to replace the current printboard cover on that same small board......
The cover is stretched over a piece of foamboard which was left over from making some exhibition notices last year. Useful stuff. It is quite sturdy and stops the book becoming too heavy.
A few of the pages
 The next two photos show some printed bits and pieces which may well end up inside the book once they are completely dry.
Some material to be added to the book
 The lettering was printed using a set of children's wooden letters which I have had since my teaching days. Rather nice to be able to use them. The block pattern at the top of the above photo is another of my home made blocks made using foam board, double sided tape and thin foam. Like the earlier blocks, this also has a negative block which I haven't yet used for printing.
A sample to try out the lettering
This scrap of fabric is all that remains of the printboard cover which I used for the book cover. So useful to have a piece like this to use to try out different things.
My postcard - "Wish you were here"
Last week, I went along to a Pinfold meeting where the challenge was to complete a fabric postcard on the topic, "Wish you were here." I decided to revisit the design I used for my Horizons quilt, "Caribbean Memories". The original design was 0.5m wide and 1.5m long (19.75" x 39.5"). You can see it here. This piece still needs to be trimmed. It uses scraps of sheer and satin fabrics with some woven silk over a backing of calico. The detail of the leaves has been free machined with a small amount of paint used for the coconuts. The size of this piece will be 87mm x 139mm (3.5" x 5.5"). I will be taking this to the beading group in the morning since they are considering this as a challenge.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Printed fabric and introducing Humphrey.

Newly printed fabric drying
More fabric drying
These are the fabrics I printed using some of the fabric I showed last time - I have used fabric paints to print these. I wanted to collect together some samples using different types of print media ready for a print workshop I am giving later in the year.

My print board
 I just love the patterns collecting on my large print board. It gets more interesting each time I use it. The small board wasn't required this time since I was working outside. However, that is collecting some interesting patterns too.
Printed dyecatcher which had been used to clean up after another dyeing workshop.

Another printed dyecatcher. Having a paperlike texture, they print really well.
This piece had been printed before being dyed.
I have added the same design over the top using a thermofax.
I really enjoyed the session and managed to print quite a few pieces, The last one shown above is one of my favourites since it is going to be such a useful background for something one day.

I need to introduce Humphrey, a small dog made during a short workshop with Alsager Creative Stitchers. Such fun. Rosemary, who lead the session made a small butterfly for each of us to attach to our little figures. You can see the other creatures here.

That butterfly. So sweet.
Humphrey is barely 2.75inches tall (7.5cm) and the butterfly is just one inch (3cm) wingtip to wingtip.

Rowan Apache
At the meeting I was asked if I could complete this project - the design is called Apache and is by Sarah Hatton for Rowan. The yarn is Summer Tweed. Since the back had been completed and the two fronts only needed a little alteration before completion, it really didn't take long to complete. The top is now finished and ready to be returned. Hopefully, I should be able to hand it over next week.

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