Friday, June 26, 2009

Work started on new QU class-Painting with Dyes

Yesterday I started work on the next Quilt University class that involves using Sodium Alginate as a thickening agent.

Thank you to everyone who responded in classes and on this blog. There has been a resounding "yes!" throughout the land so let the good times roll. This class should be ready early in 2010. Yes, it takes a long time to write and edit and then test and retest the information.




Mixing Procion MX dyes with the standard chemicals and the sea weed extract, we can turn the often fickle and stubborn dyes into paints. The colors remain brilliant and bold and best of all- they do not bleed or run (much).

If you have ever taken any of my classes you know that often we start out by making a sampler. For these classes, we will make two so that we can see what happens when we add more dye to a stable base and then more base to the stable amount of dye powder.



Look at all those yumm-o colors. Three primaries and black are all we will use.

These samplers have not been rinsed yet and are still damp but the cool thing about painting with thickeners is that when rinsed the color is very close to what it looks like wet. None of this "three shades lighter" stuff.


Here is a tablecloth I am making with the left over dye paints. I just made up a random design and painted the stuff as I made up the colors....way fun to do.

Close up. This piece is 43"x 47".



By the way, the shower curtain is heaped in the corner and pouting. Maybe Monday. Maybe. Don't you just hate it when something that should be so simple becomes this monster that runs after you with teeth barred?


Arrrrrgggggg...the shower curtain....

I promised I would show you the dastardly shower curtain. I had to walk away from it three times yesterday. First of all the silk kept jamming in the bobbin shuttle which would make me scream and break needles and then I found a gigantic ball of fuzz that was fudging up the works so I pulled that out...it was purple velvet left over from that sound barrier project. Once that was out of there, it went a lot more smoothly but I would loose my concentration and let the tiny seams slip and in they would go again. I mean, Michael Jackson died yesterday so the radio news kept taking me back in time to less stellar days and my mind was not on the project. FOCUS!

So the silk got chewed up a few times but the seams are finished and today- the button holes for the curtain rings. Glad this is a gift of love and not a contract deal.

I might have a picture to post today. For sure I will have some of the test lessons I am doing for the Alginate class.

I say "for sure" never knowing what the day will bring.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Using Sodium Alginate-new class??

I'm taking a survey since there is a momentary lull in the fabric dyeing business-is anyone interested in me writing a new QU class on how to use Sodium Alginate as a thickener with Procion MX dyes? They can be used as paints; to do stencil work, and other fun things. Let me know if there is interest before I start testing and photographing and writing.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tomorrow, I promise...

Life got in the way today. Tomorrow I will finish the shower curtain and show you how it looks. I may not get a final picture in the actual bathroom until later in the week. No other pending projects on the horizon so sorry to be so boring at the moment.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Shower Curtain- getting it done

Started the silk shower curtain today. The final size will be 70x70. I made it out of two 45" wide panels that were cut down to 36" each and then sewn together in the center using a French seam.

Rather than special ordering extra wide habotai silk, I am taking the liberty of using the 2 panels which will be fine for this project.

What you see here is the silk being dyed after it was sewn together. I want the spray of dye colors to not be broken up with a tacky seam so sewing first was in order.

Monday I will finish the side hems, bottom and top hem and make the button holes for the curtain rings.

I'll take a picture when I hang it in the customer's bathroom. It's a tiny space but I think I can get creative and get a shot for you to see.

I'll also show you next week my results from the full immersion soy wax experiments I did recently.

Hope you had a good week.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Mundane- Vacuuming fun

After a brief discussion about whether or not to show my "other life" on this blog, I decided that it might actually be interesting after all. Most people, I think, do not wait this long to do house cleaning. Am I wrong about this?

Above you can see how hairy the carpet is when I don't vacuum for 3 weeks. 3 dogs, 3 weeks, 3 times the allergy symptoms. Cough. Wheeze.


Now this is an interesting picture. When I bought my vacuum cleaner, I did a bit of research that simply involved trying the one my friend Karen owns that gets HER dog hair up REALLY well.... Plus...Martha Stewart owns one. When I bought it, the guy at the store who always has a toothpick clenched between his teeth said, "Be sure to keep the brush part clean. I had a woman come in saying her machine didn't work so I turned it over and the rod was absolutely jammed with thread and yarn! Can you imagine that??!!" Har. Well actually, yes, I could and here it is. I've never let it get this bad but the last time I used the vacuum was before the Critique Group came over (June 3rd) and I had to make the Dye Studio presentable. (See photos below).

It took me a good 15 minutes to cut off all the crap that had wrapped itself around the brush. Check it out! Gad ZOOKS! Some stuff I recognized but most of it looked like it came from outer space. Space Crap. Ozone Ooze.


So here's what the rug looks like after being vacuumed. I turned on the AC/Heat fan and ran it for a good 2 hours while I cleaned and wonder of wonders- my nose is clear and I can breathe and the coughing has stopped.
I moved Dog #3's bed from our bedroom into our son's room which is at the other end of the house. I mean if my sinus problem is dog related, as I strongly suspect, why keep her in the room I sleep in? Seems obvious, right? My sinuses are the worst at night.
I must say I am glad I didn't go to the doc or the allergy guy ("Boogie Doc") because this was a lot cheaper although it did take me the better part of the day to clean this mess.
Moral of the story-gotta get back into a house cleaning routine. But then again, I could have been down in the Dye Studio....tomorrow I will make the silk shower curtain. Wanna come down with me and watch? Okay. Way better than house cleaning.
I am amazed that I can breathe like a normal person. Tomorrow I will convince someone else that doggie baths are in order.
I hang my head in shame at this self disclosure.
You know the movie, "Finding Nemo" and the little shrimp Jacques gets caught cleaning the side of the tank and he says, "I am ashamed". That's one of my favorite lines and it cracks me up every time I see it. Unfortunately, it's the opposite situation but the shame is the same.



Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Back at it

I took a vacation from blogging. Did you notice? I had high and lofty intentions of posting my mundane life for awhile but it was boring even to me so I skipped it. You don't want to see me vacuuming the house and doing laundry. Do you?

I have a scattering of projects that are coming my way that you may be interested in watching. The first one is a silk shower curtain. Some people live the luxury life, eh? I will start that today.

The other projects involve two chuppot (wedding coverings) that will be made and also photographed in my back yard before being offered on Etsy for sale. The fabric for both involve large cotton runs that went bad for various embarrassing reasons I will discuss later. Even after 40 years of dyeing "stuff happens".

One more large silk sale is pending which is wonderful but will be monotonous to do. I'll tell you about that when and if it happens. Too much pre-talk about a project is anxiety producing.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Felting in the Dye Studio!

Wednesday the "Critique Group" composed largely of members of the California Fiber Artists group I belong to invaded the Dye Studio and proceeded to tear and twist and rub and mangle wool into submission. Here is Peig and Pam showing off Peig's newly acquired jacket courtesy of Louise. I got about 10 jackets myself out of the deal. You will see them soon as I figure out what to do with them. Awesome deal of the day.


Louise and Pam discuss bowling techniques. I don't know....you tell ME what they are talking about! Marcail and Marjan start digging through the supplies...Notice the opossum fur on the design wall?
Deb begins the demonstration of how to felt wool. First you lay it out, crossing the fibers.


After adding some dyed wool, you sprinkle HOT, soapy water on the wool.



Then cover it and press firmly...








Next, roll up the bamboo mat...



And then start rubbing it back and forth. This is the secret to success- friction and heat!


Then roll it the other way and repeat the rubbing and rolling process.





Next step- shock it with cold water rinse.

Cool! The colored wool has joined forces with the undyed wool and the piece is ...well...felted!


The next project was brought to us by Marjan. She likes to make felted balls so you start with the base which can be Styrofoam or a whiffle ball.


Wrap the felt around the base.
Once it is completely covered, carefully slide it into a knee high. Tie a knot. (Notice how enthralled we all are??)
You can put many balls into one knee high or thigh high. Aren't they cute?


Into the washer they go. HOT water. Then cold rinse. Synthrapol was added.



Fun and messy!


Some end results. I learned a lot about how to not do it. The key factor in my failures was not enough friction so now I know.



The large piece I made on a silk scarf has fabulous parts and still some loose parts I may redo. I combined 2 different qualities of wool and it's true- the better the wool, the better the felting. I am thinking I will do some machine stitching over the wool to secure it better and to add some interest. It will make a great winter scarf. Or a Santa beard.

It was a fun day playing with my fiber friends. We packed the house and are looking forward to next month when we play with silk shredding for paper making!
Visit the CFA web site: www.cafiberartists.com
Thanks for looking!

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Woodland, California, United States
I am a fiber artist. I am a teacher. I am a Reverend. I teach, I create, I counsel, I listen.

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