Sunday, June 15, 2014

Batik workshop

Batik using red tissue paper
I was really lucky yesterday to take part in a batik workshop with the Textile without Limits group. This was a technique which I had always wanted to try, but never had the chance to do so. Our tutor was Nawal Gebreel. She was lovely, encouraging and also good with advice at each stage. We started off learning the basic techniques on tissue paper and also some thin white drawing paper.
Batik on paper
It was really interesting scribbling using a tjanting. Some tools were really good, with a manageable flow. Others just let the hot wax through rather too quickly for my novice attempts. It was such fun, using dyes and bleach as a resist. You can see the effect of the bleach on the red tissue paper - the bleach caused the pale patches with the wax resisting the bleach and leaving the red lines.
Batik - three colours
Lastly, in the afternoon we were allowed to use fabric. Nawaal had brought the fabric along for us to use. It had been previously treated with soda so that the dye will be permanent. We were using procian dyes. The fabric was stretched onto a frame, and pinned ready to use. I started off with the tjanting, drawing poppy seed head shapes which I had originally drawn when I took part in the Shelley Rhodes workshop in March.

Batik - closeup.
In searching my blog posts I see that I never got around to writing about the Shelley Rhodes workshop. Oops! Now that workshop was really interesting. Basically a drawing exercise, we got to use a wide range of materials, drawing on fabric and also paper. Stitching paper and fabric together, cutting and piecing the drawings we made too. It was completely out of my personal comfort zone, but I learnt such a lot about using different media when drawing and to not be afraid of rearranging a drawing which I am not totally happy with. The piece of work from this first workshop is shown below. It is still unfinished and I do pick it up from time to time to look at and consider working on. However, the drawings were perfect for using in the batik workshop. I had also brought along one of the dried poppy seed heads which I had used back in March, which allowed me to draw the full seed head as well as the details.
The work in progress from the Shelley Rhodes workshop/

A close up.
I shall be removing the wax from my batik later today. It will be really interesting to see how the piece looks once the wax has been removed. I used three colours in all. The first was a pale yellow, I then added more wax once the yellow dye had dried, adding more details and some poppy seeds. This was covered with the same yellow dye to which I had added a small amount of red to make orange. After the orange dye had dried, I added a lot of wax to cover some areas I wished to keep free of the final colour. With some advice from Nawaal, I added a bright red as the final colour. I decided part way through adding the dye, not to colour in the two circles which is why they look slightly odd at the moment.
I really enjoyed my day yesterday, and was so pleased to have been able to use elements of the work done in the previous workshop. Thanks Shelley and Nawaal.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Textile finds in charity shops.

Wooden buttons - so useful being in sets of ten.
I was extremely lucky to find some really interesting bits and pieces in charity shops today. A really pretty dress pattern, some nice buttons and a few wooden hearts.

More wooden buttons and hearts.
The dress pattern - a simple design just right for the summer.
Alongside that there was also a kit for a ribbon weave card. Now, I must admit that the design is rather dull although the ribbon pieces are quite pretty. I shall not be using the card frame for a ribbon weave, but will use it for something else at some stage. The ribbons will go into my stash of ribbons, as will the small piece of iron-on interfacing. Interestingly, one of the textile groups I go to will be having a ribbon weaving session next time. I have already done some ribbon weaving on my journal quilts a couple of years ago. I'm still not sure if I did it right, but had a lot of fun putting those pieces together. At that time I was using threads as well as ribbon and some lace.

The ribbon weave pack.
The last item I found was a package holding a variety of Vilene samples, leaflets, and a small booklet showing the different types and their corresponding numbers. I shall find this extremely useful when it comes to ordering new interfacing since I can now assess which type I shall need. There was also a large sheet of sew-in interfacing printed with a grid pattern. This will become useful when I do any patchwork blocks. I don't often do these, but there are times when I really feel the need to do something simple and straightforward.

The pack of Vilene bits and pieces.
Now to get back to some sewing once more. However, I have also started knitting again. This time a waistcoat in a rather interesting recycled cotton/acrylic mix. I can't usually knit with cotton, finding it too hard on my wrists and fingers. However, this yarn is soft and a pleasure to knit. It does tend to split, but not too badly to irritate.
A new project - knitting this time.
Whenever I really can't get myself started with a sewing project I always seem to start yet another knitting project. I really must stop prevaricating and make friends with my sewing machine again.

In case you are interested, this new project can also be found in the same book as my last knitted project.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Knitting and stitching.

Completed cardigan
 The cardigan has now been finished and put away ready for wearing at some stage. It was really quite a fast knit, only taking ten days to complete.
Journal Quilt for May
Other items completed this week include the May journal quilt for the CQ challenge. I have also started the June quilt, but will post that when it is complete. This still continues the theme of journeys. This time showing an aircraft flying over a map of Prague. The map has been printed onto a sheet of silk. The purple band is the one I had to wear when attending the 8th Patchwork Meeting in Prague some weeks ago.

The Sky's the Limit challenge for May also got completed, but missed the deadline by a couple of days since I just couldn't complete the stitching in time. The back is still just pinned......

Sky's the limit quilt - Filling in the Blancs.
Just to share the appalling joke - the background shows Mont Blanc with a blancmange to teh left, a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc to the centre and the French entrance to the Mont Blanc tunnel on the right with a line of cars entering and leaving. The theme this time was "Filling in the Blancs". You can see other quilts on this theme on the website.