Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dye-na-flow and Batik-EZ shirt

Following the resist experiment I posted about last week, I decided to try using dye-na-flow and Batik-EZ to create a shirt from a Jacquard Tutorial I found on line.  I didn't follow the instructions to the letter, but did my best to use them as a guideline for my project.  I may go back and add a little after studying the results, but here is what I have so far:

The instructions said to iron on freezer paper to the inside of the shirt, to avoid having the dye-na-flow bleed through.  I tried this, but found the result to be very awkward to work with, so I removed the freezer paper and inserted foam board that I had covered in plastic, then used spring clamps and T-pins to anchor the fabric before I applied the Batik-EZ.  I did one side of the shirt at a time, then allowed the Batik-EZ to dry before I moved to the next side.  Once I had all the stenciling done, I applied the dyes.  The tutorial from Jacquard said to do one color, then do some more stenciling, then apply another color.  I ended up putting all 3 colors - yellow, green, and blue - on at one time.  The front was the first side I applied paints to, and I wasn't quite sure how much water to apply before painting on the dyes... I got a lot of dry brush strokes before I added in some more water.  After that, I brushed on sufficient water before the dye-na-flow to allow it to blend better.  Live & Learn!  The last thing I did was insert smaller pieces of covered foam board to the sides and sleeves in order to apply the dye-na-flow.  I got some overlap, but I think it came out pretty good for a first try.  What I do know is this is something I can't see doing for my shop... way too lengthy a process to make it cost effective.  However, I do think I can add the stenciling to dyed shirts, and plan to try that next.  Stay tuned for more adventures!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Comparing resist mediums

On my 'to-do' list for awhile has been an idea that I wanted to compare different resists to see what their characteristics were, and what kind of results I would get using them side by side.  Yesterday and today, I finally got a few moments, and did this experiment:

From top to bottom, the resists used were: Batik-EZ, Jacquard water-based resist, and soy wax.  Once I applied the resisits and let them dry completely, I brushed a little water over the fabric and immediately followed with dye-na-flow, using a foam brush to apply.  Then I misted a little with water, and allowed the piece to air dry completely.  Once it was dry, I rinsed to remove the Batik-EZ and water-based resist, then dried again.  And finally, I used a hot iron and newspaper to remove the soy wax, then heat set the dy-na-flow.  
Comments about each resist - Batik-Ez was fairly sticky to apply.  I used a stencil and stencil brush, then washed all in hot soapy water.  When the brush was dry, it felt stiff, so I washed again after soaking in water.  
                                               Jacquard water-based resist separates and needed to be stirred a good deal to get it mixed well before I applied it.  The resist felt like it was greasy to the touch, and I had to wash off the brush and stencil quite a bit to remove the residue.  
                                               Soy wax - I am used to using this as a resist, but noticed that the shapes I got were less sharp than with the other 2 resists.  And of course, there was the issue of having to iron it out in order to avoid washing away some of the dy-na-flow.  My main purpose for this test was to see if i could achieve comparable results with Batik-EZ and/or Jacquard water-based resist to what I am used to getting with soy wax, and I am happy to announce that the results were good from all 3.  Ranking by ease of use, I think Batik-EZ was slightly easier to use than the Jacquard, and more convenient than the soy wax.  But in a pinch, I think any of the 3 would get the job done.  A bonus of the first 2 is that they are easier to remove than the soy wax.
I plan to do more testing using different application methods, and will post results as I get them.       

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Laptop Cover

First off, I need to give full credit to Beth Berman for what you are about to see... check out her wonderful post here.  You will find a great post describing an ipad cover she made for a friend!  I fell in love with it, and decided to try my hand at making something similar for my new laptop.  I dove into the fabric stash, and came up with a combination of hand dyed fabric and commercially dyed/printed fabrics, then I set out to make the quilted piece for the cover.  I spent several visits reviewing Beth's work and analyzing the process she used to construct her cover.  Finally, this morning I was ready to assemble my cover.  I hemmed the top edges of the cover.  The straps were made and attached to the cover, then I stitched up the sides.  I then discovered that I had not made the cover wide enough to allow the laptop to be placed inside... oh, no!  I quickly e-mailed Beth for ideas, and she came up with the perfect solution!  I quilted 2 strips - one to be added to each side of the cover.  I ripped out the seams on the sides and part of the hems on the top edges. Then I aligned  the strips of quilted fabric with the sides, edge to edge.  I used my zigzag stitch to attach the strips, then I covered the zigzags with a strip of fabric with raw edges folded under.  I re-measured the width, trimmed off the excess fabric, re-hemmed the top edges, then  seamed the sides.  Aah... now it fits!  Here are pix of the front and back:

I really like how this came out!  I used 'flip and sew' to attach the fabric to batting and backing.  Then I used free-motion quilting to enhance each piece.  I still need to attach a tab with velcro, but I think I'll leave that for tomorrow... thanks again to Beth for all her help and inspiration!  She's a very lovely and talented lady I met on  "...And  Then We Set it on Fire".   If you haven't visited yet, you should check it out!  Lots of inspiration to be found there! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Great day!

Ever have one of those days when you were "in the zone"?  Well, that's what it's felt like for me today.  I have been trying some new techniques, and working on some products for a potential sale to a gift shop, and it just seems like things were falling right into place today.  First off, I have to thank Beth from Maine for her post here about a playdate she had with a friend... they used textile paints on scarves that they had batiked with soy wax.  I have had some problems with trying to overdye silk scarves after dyeing and using soy wax... the next dye bath didn't take, and I have been told that it is very difficult to overdye silk... something about not as many places in silk for the dye to bind to compared to cotton.  Very frustrating!  But today, I tryed Dy-Na-Flow fabric paint for the first time, and I'm overjoyed at my results!
The scarf was dyed first, using Procion MX dyes.  Then I applied soy wax to resist the next layer of color.  I used a pattern similar to one Beth mentioned in her post, only I applied the wax with a foam brush in a basket weave pattern... Beth used an antique potato masher on her scarf.  The photo above shows the scarf laid out on my work table with plastic and newspaper underneath.

Here is the scarf after I applied the Dy-Na-Flow.  I used black, and applied it with a car-wash sponge that I cut down to fit into a margerine tub.  I used my rubber gloves, thank goodness, because paint is just as hard to get out as dye, and I definitely would have had black hands if I hadn't worn the gloves!
I let the paint dry, then I used a hot iron and pressed it between sheets of newspaper to remove the wax and heat-set the paint.  Then I washed and dried again.

Here it is!  I'm so happy with how it came out, and can't wait to do more projects with Dy-Na-Flow!  Thanks, Beth!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Autumn Leaves batik - final dyeing

After I took the picture I posted yesterday, I left the piece to batch overnight.  Early this morning, I decided I wanted to add some more layers of color to the background to add to the visual interest, so before I laundered the piece, I used a sea sponge and added some Palomino Gold, Copper (my mixture), and a little more Dark Brown.  Then I batched for several more hours before I rinsed and laundered the piece.  Here it is now:
The piece was still wet yesterday when I took the picture I posted then, so it appeared that the background around the leaves was darker.  Once it dried, it became lighter.  Today, after adding the additional colors, I see a little shading and more of a variegated background, which I like much better.  So now, I think I'll keep it up on the design board for a little while to decide what I will do next: finish as an Art Quilt?  Stretch, mount and frame?  I have finished similar pieces using traditional quilted and free-motion stitched methods, but I think studying it for awhile will help me to see where it takes me.  One thing I'm glad of is that I tried using batik to block out the leaves before dyeing the background.  It's nice to have a more muted background than I get if I pre-dye the piece with the autumn leaf colors, then cover the leaves, then overdye the background.  I'll post more when I have taken the next step on this piece.      

Friday, November 30, 2012

Dye painting the Autumn Leaves

Today, I painted dye on the leaves of the piece I posted about yesterday.  I was going to use thickener to restrict the flow of the dye, but decided against it.  I really wanted a watercolor effect, and that requires the dyes to flow freely.  So they did flow into the background some, but I'm not worried about that.  All the colors I used are lighter than the background, so they should not create a problem.  Here is how it looks now, with the dyes still wet:

I used a couple of small artist's straight-edge brushes and applied first the lemon yellow, then golden yellow, soft orange and scarlet to the leaves in a random fashion.  I got a lot of nice crackling from the wax that created good visual interest on the leaves.  After the dyes have 'batched', I will wash the piece out.  Then I may wax over the leaves and add some more browns to the background to enhance it.  I'll post again when I have more progress to report.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Autumn Leaves batik... the next step

After I posted the picture yesterday of the leaves I traced on fabric, I coated them with melted soy wax to act as a resist to the dye I then applied to the background.  Here's how it looked after I applied the dye:

So the next step was to be painting the leaves with thickened dyes, which I began a little while ago.  Oops!  I goofed!  I'm doing this in a different sequence than normal - I usually pre-dye the item before tracing the leaves on, then wax, then overdye.  For some reason, reversing the process made me forget I need to pre-soak the fabric in a soda ash solution and allow to dry before I add the dyes to the leaves.  Sigh... guess it will sit overnight, then I can wash out the small amount of dye I already applied, soak, dry and start over.  Good thing I didn't have anything planned for tomorrow!
On another note, I ordered a new product today called Batik-EZ by Crafter's Pick.  Can't find it locally, so I found an on-line source.  It is supposed to be another way to resist dyes and paints without having to deal with melting and applying wax.  I'll let you know how it works when I have a chance to give it a try!  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lots of things in the works

Quite often, I tend to work on one project at a time... seems like it's more efficient and allows me to crank out things at a faster pace.  However, once I have done my last show for the year, with no shows coming up until the middle of next year, I like to spend time experimenting with new techniques, or trying new twists on old favorites.  So here are some shots of a few things I'm working on right now:
This is a lousy photo, but the best I could get... I have traced leaf shapes onto muslin in preparation for batiking them, then I will overdye with background colors.  After I batch the piece, I will wash out and hand paint the leaf shapes with dyes.  This is a variation on the normal method I use, and I decided it would be fun to see how it turns out this way.  I'll post more as I progress with this piece.

This is a 1/2 yard piece of muslin that I decided to try dyeing a little differently than I usually do.  I would normally pre-soda soak the fabric, scrunch it up and pour the dyes over, letting it batch for an hour before the rinse/launder step.  Today, I wanted to see what would happen if I put ice cubes over the scrunched and dyed piece, thinking that the ice cubes would serve to dilute the dyes as they slowly melted.  I see a little difference between this and regular scrunch dyeing, but not a whole lot.  No fear... I have several other ideas in mind that I plan to try over the coming months.  And in February, I plan to publish them on a blog where I am a Resident Artist... keep a look out!   

Here, I have created a basket weave on a dyed scarf using soy wax, and when my order comes, I plan to use Dy-Na-Flo to overdye the unwaxed area.  I have discovered that multiple dye baths don't work on silk like they do on cotton, so I am playing with fabric paints to see if I can get a good result without leaving the fabric stiff... more on this soon!
As you may have seen in recent posts, I'm also doing a lot of stamping with fabric paints and rubber stamps, and plan to do a lot more of that as soon as the Dy-Na-Flo arrives.  I'm probably going to need to order a lot more of that... poor planning on my part, but I didn't realize that the fabric paints available in today's market are far superior to any I tried 15-20 years ago!  Progress... anyway, I'll keep you posted on my progress!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

More Stamp experiments

After playing with my French cursive stamp and fabric paint yesterday, I decided to take a trip to Michael's today to see if I could find a few more, plus some other supplies.  There are still good deals to be had out there at Michaels!  They were having a BOGOF sale on stamps, and I scored 4 really nice wood block stamps for a very reasonable price!  Also found a stencil to use on the t-shirt I referred to yesterday, although I'm having some difficulty finding Batik-EZ by Crafter's Pick.  It's supposed to be available at Michael's, but we have a small store, and they didn't have it.  So I got on the e-mail to Michael's and Crafter's Pick to see where I can get it.  Meanwhile, I decided to audition my new stamps, using some of the fabric paints I have on hand:
The picture above shows a Clock face and a fern... I have learned that not all stamps do well with fabric paint... it floods too easily, as the Clock face stamp did.  I think I will also need to get some metallic inks!  But I love the fern, both in metallic as well as regular fabric paints!

Above is the silk scrap from before, with fern and clock face added... love the fern!
Here is the fern and a post card stamp, using regular fabric paint which I smeared onto several layers of paper towel.  I ended up patting the paper towel over the post card stamp to get better coverage.

 Here's a closeup shot of the fern with black fabric paint... not too much!
And a closeup of the fern on silk with gold metallic paint.

The fern with gold metallic paint on the cotton sample I was working on yesterday.

Finally, a closeup of the post card stamp with black fabric paint.  Can't wait to get my Dyna-flo paints next week so I can give them a try!

Friday, November 23, 2012

New things to try!

I'm always looking to expand my skill set... there is just so much to try!  Well, today I found a tutorial on the Jacquard Products website for a Collage Batik on a t-shirt, so I printed it out.  I was looking over the materials list and instructions, and placed a couple of orders for products.  Then I realized I had one item in my stock already that might work... a rubber stamp with cursive writing.  I had never tried using it, and I also had some fabric paints I decided I could use to try it out.  Here are a couple of pictures of my experiments... one on cotton that had been stamped with vegetables and thickened dyes, and one on silk that had been dyed with color hue silk dyes after I did some shibori stitching:

Both of  these were scraps that have been languishing in my stash, so what better way to use them than to try another technique on them?  I really love this stamp, and I now have a better idea of how to apply the paint... I poured some on several layers of paper towels, spread it out a bit, pressed the stamp lightly in the paint, then pre-stamped on another paper towel to remove any excess.  I used the stamp a couple of times before applying more paint... that way I had some sharp images and some faint ones.  Oh, and here's the tutorial for the shirt... I will be trying this as soon as I get the rest of the supplies:
That was my whole reason for testing the stamp... I have been wanting to branch out a little to find new ways to decorate clothing, and this tutorial has introduced me to a new (to me) product: Batik-EZ from Crafter's Pick, which I hope to pick up at Michael's tomorrow!  Stay tuned...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mountain Campus Holiday Show - Day 1

The bowls were very popular yesterday at the first day of the Mountain Campus Holiday show... I sent several to new homes with happy buyers!

Here's my booth before the show opened... 
Here I am with my friend Cinde, who does gorgeous beaded jewelry.  She and I set up next to each other so we can chat during lulls between customers.  Today should be a good day... weather is supposed to be nice, and Saturday traditionally brings out a lot of shoppers to get started on their Holiday gift buying.  If you're in the Flagstaff area, try to make this show!  There are over 70 vendors with a huge selection of wonderful hand crafted items to choose from!  It's at Northern Arizona University, de Bois center from 9am-4pm.  I'm at booth 35, so if you attend I hope you'll stop and say 'hi'! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Last show of the year!

I can't believe the last show of the year for me is this coming Friday and Saturday!  I have feverishly been cranking out coiled fiber bowls, have a large stash of hand dyed scarves as well as knit scarves, tie-dye and batik shirts,  Kindle Covers and hand dyed fabrics that will be available.  I will be at booth 35 if anyone plans to attend... hope to see you there!  Next week starts the big cleanup... time to catch up with chores that have been shoved to the back burner for so long!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sign of a REAL dyer!

You have to read this!  Carol Eaton just proved she is a REAL dyer... you'll see what I mean when you read her post... amazing!  As I commented on the post, "when life hands you a lemon, make lemonade"!
You go, girl!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Holiday Marketplace

Yesterday was the annual Artists' Coalition Holiday Marketplace show, and we had a great turnout!  Starting at 10am, we had a steady stream of shoppers, and it only started to slow down around 2:30... my friend Cinde and I set up next to each other, and we both had great sales, along with a number of the other 25 artists/crafters I spoke to... woo-hoo!  Here are a couple of shots I got...
Shot of my booth space

My fabric bowls sold well, as did my note cards

Some hand dyed fabric by my friend Wendy

Cinde and her awesome peote stitch beaded jewelry

Thanks to all who came by yesterday, especially those lovely folk who went home with some of our handmade items!  

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

More fabric bowls

I have just begun!  But I wanted to share more... here are the 3 I have completed so far:

 I love the shape of this one... it's a wider diameter at the bottom, and I made it taller as well.

I'm almost done with this one using Christmas fabric, but I'm about out of clothesline, so it will need to wait until I get home from the store later today.  I learned yesterday that it is possible to splice the clothesline... I trimmed the frayed ends, then using a heavy duty cotton thread and needle, I stitched and wound to anchor both ends together before wrapping with the fabric.  Another thing I have learned... DON'T FORGET TO PUT THE CAP BACK ON THE GLUESTICK, SILLY!  They do tend to dry out if you leave them open... duh!
I must admit that I am totally smitten with making these, and my brain is working overtime to come up with other color combinations I would like to use.  If you are wondering why I suddenly veered off into making fabric bowls from my multitude of other projects, maybe this will help you to understand:

This is just part of my accumulation of fabric that is threatening to take over my studio and the guest room next door!  I have to do something with it, so why not these wonderful bowls?  More to come...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fabric Bowl

Thanks to Sherrie Spangler's blog post, I tried my hand today for the first time at making a fabric bowl:

I really love how this came out, and it was not too difficult!  I had one or two things I had to overcome, but Sherrie's tutorial was very clear and easy to follow.  This one is 8" across and about 2 1/2" high... not huge, but a nice table piece, and it was just right to help me learn the process.  I will definitely be making more of these, especially since I have an ever-growing stash of fabric that I really must find a way to use up!  I have loved fabric bowls for years, and just never found good instructions for making them.  I can see making a lot of these in the coming months... especially during the winter, when my studio calls to me!  Thanks, Sherrie!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Artists' Holiday Marketplace

My next show is Saturday, November 3rd... can't believe it's almost here!

If you're in the Flagstaff area, I hope you will stop by and say hello!  It will be at the Elks' Club on North San Francisco Street...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Nook Cover

After my post here about my new Kindle Covers, I got an inquiry from someone about a Nook cover... naturally, I had to give one a try!  I had to adjust some of the dimensions as the Nook is longer than the Kindle, and I think a little thicker.  I made a prototype, and got over to Barnes & Noble with it yesterday. I was allowed to try a real nook in it to see how it fits, and I think it will work!
I made a little gusset on the top holder to allow for the Nook to slide in a little easier, but I actually don't think it's necessary.  The facsimile I made up of foam board was squared on the corners, and the Nook's corners are rounded, making it easier to slide in top and bottom.  At any rate, I think I'm ready to make up a few more of these, hopefully in time for the Artists' Marketplace coming up on November 3rd!
Here's a shot of it closed:
I put 2 sets of Velcro dots on this one to ensure it would stay closed, and also widened the spaces between the covers and the middle to accommodate the additional thickness of the reader.  So glad I got a chance to try it on a real reader!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A little Fall Foliage

This time of year, I really crave fall foliage!  Considering that I spent most of my life in Southern California, where we all know the sun shines 360+ days of the year, I can only blame my early childhood for this phenomenon... I lived in Northern California for the first 10 years, mostly in the far north of the state where we did have changing seasons.  Here in Northern Arizona, we do get the Aspens turning, and several other native or compatible species that turn colors, but in our yard, we don't have that many trees that do.  I have several small Gambel Oaks, a Poplar that is just my height, and a couple of Amur Maples that really don't scream 'AUTUMN!!!' the way I would like!  So here is an art quilt I made several years ago... it will just have to do to satisfy my craving for Autumn Leaves!

And here is a batik 'Autumn Leaves' I did a couple of years ago:

Okay, now I feel better.... 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tie dye project pictures

Back in April, I posted this about a special order I was working on: 80 dyed drawstring bags, 80 golf towels, and fabric to be made up into 80 golf cart seat covers.  The order went out the door sometime in late May, and I didn't give it much thought until I got a picture from the customer the other day... I had not seen the seat cover installed on a golf cart, and she sent me this:

My friend Joyce made the covers out of fabric I dyed... aren't they great?  About half of them were dyed as a single swirl, the other half were doubles.  I can only imagine how colorful the golf course was on the day they had their Ladies' tournament back in June!