Saturday, August 30, 2008

More Circles

As promised, I dyed a shirt today using the can lids and spring clamps as I did with the fabric in my last post. I am pleased with the results so far, and plan to do more of the same. I like the halo effect I get with a darker ring around the circle, as well as the slight bleeding into the circle that occured. I also think it helps that I am layering several colors over the shirt, with yellow and orange coming last to create warmth... a slight glow. What a great way to use up leftover dyes!

I am also altering the way I create novas by using sinew instead of rubber bands, and so far I like the difference. I have seen novas that look this way, but wasn't sure how they were achieved... now I know!

Friday, August 29, 2008


I continue to be fascinated and enamored with the results I get when I use can lids and spring clamps to resist dye. I have quite a collection of tin can lids now, and decided to use fabric from my scrap bin and left over dyes to create a piece today. I used colors from the cool spectrum, then drizzled yellow and orange over them. I really like how the dyes seeped under the lids ever so slightly, creating interesting designs but leaving much of the circles undyed:
Tomorrow, I am going to try the technique on a shirt to see if it translates as well on clothing... stay tuned!

It's Out of the Bag!

Awhile back, I posted about a quilting challenge I was participating in through our local Quilters' Guild. I couldn't post the picture for fear the owner of the fabric might see, but last night at our monthly meeting, we all 'outed' ourselves, and presented the completed pieces. We started with a gallon-sized ziplock bag filled with fabric, threads, and other embellishments. We were challenged to come up with a quilt that was no larger than 24" by 24", and had to use at least 30% of what was in the bag. Here's my finished piece:

I confess that when I opened the bag of fabric for the first time, I was not prepared for Christmas fabric! It took awhile for me to determine what I could do with it, but I finally opted to do a Crazy Quilt, which is one of my favorite quilting styles.
Last night we all got up and presented our quilts to the person who put the fabrics together:

I wish I had taken pictures of all the presenters... there were some fabulous creations! I'm looking forward to future challenges... it was really a fun project!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Spray dyeing

I just tried spraying dye on fabric with leaves pinned on top. Unfortunately, the leaves were some I got a few years ago at Michaels... fall foliage... and they had dried out considerably. So I pre-soaked in water, then took a sprig and placed it on the fabric, then pinned the leaves to hold them in place. Of course, there were places where the edges pulled away from the fabric, allowing some of the spray to go under the leaves. So the image isn't as clear as I wanted, but I will be trying this technique again with better leaves. I set up a protected area in my studio, but I think future efforts will be done in the garage, just to avoid mishaps. Here is a picture of the
fabric, just after I completed spraying:

I used 3 colors over a pink/peach/mauve fabric - rust orange, dark green, and 'mystery brown', so-called because it was a mixture I made to try and mimic true rust color, as in rust-dyeing rust, but it didn't come out close enough. But it still works here!

Gone over the edge...

Yesterday, I was cutting up vegetables for dinner, and cut the top off a red bell pepper. I turned over the top, and immediately saw a stamp! Yikes! I've crossed the line!
Well, today, I just had to try it out, and here's a picture with the stamp:

Then I added some other stamps, sprinkled with rock salt, spritzed with water, covered and put it on the deck to batch in the sun:

I'm sure I will want to add more to this piece before I pronounce it 'done', but I'm going to wash it out and study it some before I decide what to do next. Great fun!

Friday, August 22, 2008

New tools

On impulse yesterday, I stopped in at the Savers store just to see if I could find anything to use as tools for my surface design projects. Well, as luck would have it, I managed to find 3 items I hope will be useful:
I'm hoping to be able to use the spatula as a stencil or batik tool, and the masher should be great for batiking. The mat on the bottom was a tray, but I removed the bamboo handle to leave the mat, which has great texture for putting under fabric and rolling dye over. I spent a whopping $2.35 for them, and if I only could have found 2 more items I would have saved even more! Oh well... next time!

Monday, August 18, 2008

August in Flagstaff

It's August, and with August comes the Brown-eyed Susan, a medium-sized sunflower that grows wild here. Our whole valley turns a bright, sunny yellow. The plants grow to at least 6 feet in most cases, so when you drive or walk down the road towards the highway, you are surrounded by them! It's really incredible. I love that they sprout up without any urging on my part. Oh, and this year, we got a lovely shrub that I haven't seen before, with yellow daisy-like flowers.
Here's what it looks like in front of our storage shed looking southeast:

And here is the 'mystery shrub':

And of course, we have the perennial crows hanging around the bird feeder:

My poor bird feeder... it's warped on the bottom, the lid has to be weighted down to keep the wind from blowing it off, the birds have figured out how to remove the plexiglass to get at the seed. I think it's time to replace it!

Friday, August 15, 2008


I know... I know! I'm on a tangent with the rust-dyeing, but I loooooooooove the color of rust! And I needed to figure out why I wasn't getting good impressions with some methods, but was getting them with others. I finally figured out that the cloth and metal items didn't need to swim in a vinegar bath! Yesterday I soaked a cloth in vinegar, wrapped several bolts with metal wire, and left it in a margerine tub, occasionally spritzing with water. Today it spent the day on the deck, and when I unwrapped and washed, I got the results I had hoped for! Here it is:

The bolts and wire I used had been gathering rust for a couple of weeks now, what with my failed attempts and all. So the secret here is 'less is better' on the vinegar front!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ooh! I like it!

Yesterday I started rust-dyeing 2 new pieces: the first, I wrapped around the rebar again, and wrapped metal wire around the top and bottom to hold the fabric, and wrapped my piece of chicken wire around the middle. The second, I wrapped around a metal 'c' bracket, and wrapped the chain around the fabric. The latter hardly registered any rust, even though the metal pieces have been rusting nicely. I put that piece in a margerine tub, doused with vinegar, and put in a plastic bag out on the deck to heat today. The rebar piece stayed in the laundry room, propped up in the rinse sink all day. Here's the rebar piece:

The markings on the left are from the rebar. The right and bottom staining came from the rebar but in the form of runoff I think. It's like the vinegar washed the rust onto the fabric from the rebar itself. Also, on the lower right are some 'resist' marks which may have come from the wire wrapping. I'm really encouraged by this piece. Oh, and the fabric is a different weave than my previous attempts. I dug it out of the stash, and think it might be kona cloth. I may jump in and try this on cotton jersey next, just to see how it would take the rust. Too many ideas, not nearly enough time! Oh, and the second piece has been sent back to the tub with bolts banded into it, and washers too... tomorrow, the unwrap!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Leaf Stamping

While the rust and mud pieces were 'batching' this weekend, I did some printing with leaves. A couple of things I discovered... it's really hard to get all the leaves to behave and lay nice while you put the dye on them! They want to twist and flop around... had to really work hard to get them to stay put! I tried rolling the dye over the leaves onto the fabric, then took a piece of fabric and laid on top of the dye covered leaves and gently pressed to transfer the dye. A couple of the images -- the spirea branch and the poplar -- really transferred well. Not so with the red-twig dogwood, and the sunflower simply wilted before I could try it... maybe next time!

Here are the results:

Below is the Spirea

I really like it, and the Poplar... lots of good detail

The one below didn't get a real good print of the leaves, but the rolled on dye kind of looks like a tree trunk to me! And if you're wondering about the white dots at the bottom, I have a roller pan with raised dots that leave an imprint on the roller, which transfers nicely to whatever I'm dyeing!

This last one is a kick! It is actually the backside of a piece where I was heavy-handed with the brown dye. It looks quite muddy from the front, but on the back, the branch structure came out nicely, and the faded colors look a little like mist or fog to me.

I can't wait to work these into a composition! More to come...

Rust and mud dyeing pieces

Well, I wrapped up my 2 experiments today. The mud-dye piece didn't come out the way I thought it would, but I'm not totally disappointed... it has interest, and I may do some more experimenting in that direction. What I had hoped for was more of the 'red-rock' color, but I guess our soil isn't red enough.

Here's the final on the rust-dye experiment:

This is the complete piece

The 2 pictures above are closeups of the rust marks of the top picture. The best marks came from the rebar and the chain, but a subsequent session with metal washers did not make any marks that I can see.
What is interesting is that the pieces of metal had no rust on them when I started last weekend. But now they are rusting nicely. I just need to work on getting a good contact between the fabric and the metal. Also, I have been using muslin, and I think I want to try a fabric that is a little more absorbent, mabe a looser weave. I can see more rust play-dates in my future!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Rebar's the ticket!

I just unwrapped my fabric from the rebar and got good results so far! I decided to re-wrap and add to it, but here's a picture of the progress from this morning:
Meanwhile, I checked on my mud-dyeing experiment, but it didn't come out very well... either I don't have enough minerals to change the color or it hasn't stayed in the slurry long enough... anyway, I put it back in to 'batch' some more... will check back later on that.
While I was at it, I did some experiments with using leaves and thickened dyes to make impressions on fabric. Some worked well, others didn't, but then I rolled out another color over the fabrics, and that enhanced the images considerably. They are 'batching' now, so I will post pictures when they are rinsed out.

Rust-dyeing experiments

Last weekend, I tried my first experiment with rust-dyeing, but the results were disappointing -- hardly any rust! So I washed the fabric and put aside the metal objects. I looked at the metal on Friday and realized it had grown some rust! So I put everything together again - dampened fabric, metal objects, salt, vinegar... even put a heavy object on top to increase contact between the metal and the fabric. About 18 hours later, here is what I have so far:

As you can see from the second shot, the chain wins the rust award! Everything else is just incidental, but I have put the objects in a container with water, vinegar and salt in the hope they will grow even rustier. I was really hoping for more from the chicken wire, and may try wrapping fabric around a pvc pipe and wrapping the chicken wire around that. Meanwhile, the fabric has been wrapped shibori-style around a rusty piece of rebar in the hopes I can do even more! Stay tuned for updates.

Meanwhile, I went on a leaf-hunt in the yard, and came up with several specimens I plan to use for screening on fabric later:
Some of these are from cultivated plants, but several are wild. I can't wait to see how they screen!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Rainy day session

Today was another one of those 'putter' days... a little of this, a little of that. No pictures to show for it, but I got several little things completed or on their way. I re-dyed a tank that didn't come out right the first time... it's 'batching' until tomorrow; tie-dyed a 'do-rag' for a friend who is losing his hair due to chemo, even though he doesn't have cancer. Tomorrow I will dye a watch-cap for him as well; made a pillowcase as part of a community project for the Quilters' Guild (1 down, 2 to go); then I tackled a stack of unfinished grocery totes so I can have them ready for a craft show over Labor Day weekend. Oh, yes... I caught up with 4 months of paperwork for my biz! That was the biggie of the day. I used to be so anal about posting to the spreadsheet regularly, but this past year I have really slacked off.... time to get rid of that bad habit!
One nice thing about this kind of day is it allows my mind to meander. I am mentally working out some issues for a commissioned baby quilt that I NEED to get started on soon. I am also kicking around some ideas for designs to put on Grocery Totes to sell at our arboretum. Then there's the mental list I'm building of items I still want to complete for the upcoming Mountain Holiday Craft show in November. I also need to decide PDQ if I am going to sign up for 2 other smaller craft shows. One I have sold at for 5 years, and up until last year I did really well. Last year was a financial bust, so now I'm a little gun-shy. Especially after posting my revenue/expense for the year and realizing how much more money has gone out than come in! Yeesh! So I'll sleep on the 2 craft shows and decide tomorrow whether to go or not... now I think I'll take a break and enjoy the rain!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

47 Days and counting...

Well, I got my 'last date' to work on Monday. As of Thursday, September 18, I will be retired... again! And of course that means more time to submerge myself in my creative interests, at last! Maybe even clean house, work more in the garden, resume some kind of exercise regime, gee... maybe even have time to read a book! Speaking of which, I got my copy of Rayna Gillman's book 'Create your own hand-printed cloth' and it's great! I'm about half-way through, and I can tell that her instructions and ideas are going to really help me to loosen up and really enjoy myself in the studio! You can get more info on her book here if you are interested.
Meanwhile, I finished several more Journal covers today, took pix and posted to my website, along with my Grocery totes.
I used some hand-dyed fabric as well as some commercially dyed fabric on these... great way to use up some of the stash!
Now I'm enjoying a lovely afternoon rain shower, which is doing a nice job of watering the new trees I put in 2 weeks ago, as well as refilling the rain barrel.