fabric printing

Feb 132018
 

On Friday night, as I was laying in bed and NOT falling asleep, I was thinking about singing wineglasses and crystal bowls – that particular sweet sound their resonance makes when played. At the same time, I was remembering the cold outside that I’d spent an unusual amount of time in, earlier in the day. (At one point I realized I was thinking poetry about the cold and had to grab a notebook and catch the words, but I diverge – the poetry is not part of this.) That night was a foggy, wet cold we don’t often get in dry Wyoming, with the temperature at 7F (-14C) at that time. Those two things blended together with the mental inventory I had of the excessive fabric scraps in my workshop. I’d spent the previous evening at the sewing machine mending (blech) some clothes and had to keep clearing spaces. So, as I finally drifted off on those Alpha waves towards sleep, I had the visual and texture of my too many blue and violet fabric scraps laying around, the feel of that clingy, damp cold against my face from earlier (alongside the even-colder, black, night a few feet away), the sound of singing crystal resonance, and an ardent desire to sew for pleasure.

This is how quilt inspiration works for me – I tend to think in concepts. Ymabean and Christina have both mentioned to me that the explanation of my inspiration enhances their experience of my work and they’d like more of that. I’m trying it out here and plan on making small zines exploring the inspirations for the quilts, or other items. Although, background inspiration for smaller items like paintings or pouches won’t fill a zine – those will probably be a postcard size.

Cut to Saturday, fresh baked goods are done and I’m in my workshop. I love Saturday mornings in the workshop; it’s the best feeling. Quilt “planning” based on the inspiration that gelled the night before. Some friends gave us a HUGE crystal bowl as a wedding gift – it has an incredible sound – and YouTube has a variety of pieces played on glass harps by hard-working musicians around the world. Bach’s toccata and fugue in D minor by Robert Tiso got played many times.

Music-inspired sketched flower and stamp.
While high on coffee and music, I was compelled to draw and the lines were all very long and swoopy. I ended up with a simple flower in my nearest sketchbook and turned it into a small carving. There’s also a separate leaf I shaped from the off-cuts to go with it.
I threw some almost indigo colored procion powder into the dye pot. I’d thought to stamp it after dying, but I found a small pot of Jacquard Color Magnet which is a dye attractant. It is meant for silk screening, not stamping, and I can understand why; this stuff has the viscosity of ectoplasm from the movies. Slimer-type stuff right out of Ghostbusters. A bit of water and I mostly got it onto the stamp and partly onto the fabric before being dried thoroughly, then going into the dye pot. It worked well, considering my inability to get it onto the fabric neatly. Gloopy! The pic below is post-dye-processing.
Dyed fabric with dye attractant stamping.

You can see the Dye Magnet worked as titled. Everywhere I did manage to glob this stuff on pulled more intense dye concentration than surrounding areas. I’ll use this stuff again, but will have to put some more thought into the handling and thinning of it. Then I used a mix of black and violet fabric paint to stamp on top of the same spots as if it was a surround glow background.
Dyed fabric with stamping.
A closer look at a single stamping. Looks okay, especially for something I’m planning on cutting up and adding to a small-scraps quilt.

Dyed fabric with stamping.
I did another piece of fabric in a more blue-gray shade and without the dye attractant, only with fabric paint stamping on top of the dry, dyed fabric. I like this better – the look is cleaner. The lines in the fabric are because I did a gentle accordion fold on the prepped fabric before putting it in the pot and then didn’t stir it around at all, just let it sit in the dye pot for 10 or 20 minutes. A sublte, resonance line echo.

Thus, without purchasing any new supplies, I was able to have brand new, custom, inspired fabric to use in this quilt. This quilt will look similar to Tintamarre with its small-scrap base, although this will be more harmonious in the color palette. Progress to come!

Jan 262018
 

After the speeding roller coaster that was my December, I completely missed getting my niece a present for the wretched winter holiday. Upon offer, she suggested I make her something, so I did. After much brain-poking, I settled on a small bag which I’ve seen referred to as a lunch bag. Can’t just make a bag though, I had to put my own stamp on it, literally.

Carving cat head stamps.
Carved a few, small cat head stamps for the project. Might make a couple more yet, for my own fabric printing.
Printing a strip of cat head fabric.
Printing onto the darkest pink fabric I had left, using black fabric paint and a wedge sponge. Worked pretty well. The most issues I had were with my own fingertips getting messy. I only printed enough fabric for this project on this piece.

Bag, side view
The finished bag. Not sure about the exterior fabric choice matching her tastes, but that is a problem I always have when making for someone I don’t know well and don’t interact with often. This size is a little larger than the one I made before and I prefer the slightly smaller (couple inches, here and there) size better.

Bag, cover inside.
The printed fabric as the cinchable cover. I like it, although future prints of this will be on a different color background. So bright.

Bag, cover closed.
The cover, closed by drawstring. Honestly, one of the reasons this project took me so long is because I cannot find the damn string spring closures. Finally, I found one that was keeping a spool of elastic cord closed and stole it. Hope I find them this year.

Bag, interior.
The usually hidden interior lining. Niece is a cat fiend, after all.

Did new stuff, learned better methods, fulfilled a gift need, and all is well.

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