Sunday, September 27, 2015

International Fairy Tale Challenge

My finished project for the International Fairy Tales Challenge, is titled "Social Climbing." 30 artists from the USA, France and Japan participated. One artists from each country were assigned a Fairy Tale, so there would be 3 versions of each tale. The quilts are all going to International Quilt Show in Tokyo in November, and then Quilt Week Yokohama. After being in Japan for a while, they will go to France for a year, then return to the US, for shows here. Our last challenge, "International Painters" has returned to the US and will be in all AQS shows in 2016.
I was rather uninspired for a long time. The tale is from Iceland "A Cottager and His Cat," the cottager's father dies and leaves him a lot of ill gotten money, a spirit tells him to throw all the money into the river, and take what he finds there. He throws it a way and finds 6 gold shillings. He buys a cat, rather unique to Iceland I gather. He takes the cat to the castle and it kills all the rats. The king is so happy, he lets the cottager marry his daughter. That is why it is titled "Social Climbing." See no trolls, fairies, dragons or anything special, just a man and his cat. I finally researched traditional Iceland costumes on Google. The women's outfits are elaborately embroidered, but the men's rather plain.
So I sketched out an Iceland winter scene, with the cottager and his cat going to the castle. I began with a printed sky fabric and a plain white on white hill of snow. I have lots of birch tree fabric from my time spent making landscapes. This style is right up my alley.
Traditional men's costumes are dark blue, black or green vests over a white shirts, with beautiful embroidery, but I kept my embroidery simple. I began by making the vest out of a heavy blue fabric that I had, maybe it is linen? I textured the sleeves with folds of muslin, and made a simple stand up collar.
The snow scene started to take shape, as I added the road in shades of gray, darker at the bottom. The birch trees on either side have snowy branched trees in the background, and snow filled pine trees scattered on the hill side. I had just bought the pine trees fabric from this years Christmas line, it has beautiful woodland animals on it, deer, fox, rabbits, birds and other. It was a shame to just cut it up for the pine trees.
I found the cat pattern that I wanted in a stained glass book. It is walking forward, but looking up at the castle.
The castle is finished in a brown stone blocks print. It looks like it is leaning, I fixed that before I quilted it.
All the elements are in place and ready for quilting. I used a flat cotton batting, I use so much thread painting/quilting that I did not need the puff of a polyester batting. I do a raw edge applique to quilt it all together, the pieces are in place with Avery glue stick. I tried the Elmers school glue stick that everyone had this "back to school" season and did not like it. For one it was purple and the color showed through on light colored fabrics, and it was too dry and stiff.
I use matching rayon thread for the outlining of each piece, going back and forth, so each edge has three layers of thread. One line of thread can miss the edge too often or get to far inside the edge, this gives a good solid line and keeps the eyelash fringe to a minimum. The hat was made from a knitted sweater sleeve from Goodwill. I used the ribbing first and then tucked in a long triangle for the hat. Traditionally they are long tailed and tipped with a gold or silver tube and a tassel. I used the silver tip from a bolo tie. I still have to make the tassel for the end of the hat.
It was an enjoyable process, once I had the idea in my head, and knew what I wanted to do. Having a deadline helped, I thought I had to have it for the beginning of October, but when I looked up the info it said Oct, 1. All this was done starting last Saturday through this Saturday. Then I read the info again, it said finish by the first and deliver by the 10th, whew, but I am glad I got it done. One of the other participants, will deliver it to the US coordinator in Eugene, Oregon this week, so I don't have to worry about that. I was going to go up today, but I still need to put on the tassel. I unraveled a bunch of yarn from the sweater but it is kinked from the knitting. I think I'll get it wet and see if it will relax a bit. Thank you for following along as I make haste for another deadline. I am very happy with the way it turned out and hope you like it too.

I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click on the badge in the right hand column to see what other talented textile artists are doing this week.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Dyeing Revealed

The dyeing project from last weekend is finished, with a wash in Synthrapol and dried and ironed. See last weeks post on the dyeing process. The first piece was ice dyed, wonderful colors and texture, the fabric is folded in half for the picture, so it is a larger yard and a half of fabric. The second piece is the one that was scrunched up on the wire rack. Rainbow color spots and lots of blending. This is a 2 yard piece.
The second piece of ice dyed fabric, shows the "Flower bloom" of the pattern as the fabric was pushed through the grid of the plastic basket. Crimson red, burgundy and purple dyes were added to the turquoise, navy, royal blue combo that was used in the first one.
Here are the results of the tub dyed "Parfait" layers. A different color dye was poured on top as each layer of fabric was put in the tub. The effect and cross color mixing was the result of scrunching the fabric and adding dye on top of dye.
Each of these pieces is a 1/3 yard strip, folded up to take the picture, there is a lot of patterning as the length unfolds. I still have some dyes left over, and got 8 more yards of white fabric at Joann Fabrics sale yesterday, as long as the weather holds nice and warm, I'll do a little bit more.

I am linking this up with Nina-Marie's "off the Wall Friday" click on the badge in the right hand column to see what other Very talented textile artists are doing.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Dyeing Hot

Since yesterday was 100 degrees out, and Saturday was going to be 95', I got an early start to my dyeing project. I had a bunch of liquid dyes leftover from the Fyber Cafe Dyeing workshop that I wanted to use up. My friend Peggy could not make it over, but I had already set up and had 3 yards of raw silk noil soaking in soda ash. It was in two 1 1/2 yard pieces, a soft beige color and a very nubby texture. I wanted to ice dye these pieces. Two plastic baskets from the dollar store with large open grids, were perfect to tuck the fabric into. Pushing the fabric into the grid gives a pucker where the dye drips down, creating a flower burst of colored texture. I used turquoise, navy, royal blue and black on both pieces, sprinkling the dry dye powder over the piled on ice. One piece I added bright green and just a little burgundy. The second basket I added burgundy, violet and some crimson sunset, all Procion MX dyes from Dharma. I clipped plastic bags over them to sit in the heat and batch.
My next project was to dye 5 yards of "Sew Essentials" white cotton from JoAnn's Fabrics. Cutting them into strips about 13" wide, would give me a 12 1/2" background block for applique, instead of just long quarter yards. Each large butter tub has scrunched up, soda soaked fabric. I put about a 1/8 cup of a dye we mixed for the workshop, I am not sure of the dye percentage to water, I think she said 12% for her wool dyeing. The 1/8 cup was not quiet enough to soak all the way through the fabric, and I added about a 1/4 cup of soda ash solution to it.
When I usually use this method of "Parfait" dyeing, I forget what three colors I used in each layer, so this time I took pictures of each step. First one layer of fabric and dye, then another scrunched fabric layer with dye, then a third layer. One tub had purple, fuchsia, and magenta, the next turquoise, royal blue and navy. The last tub had golden yellow, black, and scarlet. Two more tubs were set up, lemon yellow, magenta and purple, then green, turquoise and navy.
I covered each tub with a gallon zip lock bag to sit and batch over night,
Last was the remaining 2 yards of silk noil, after a soda ash soak, I bunched it up on my big wire rack, giving it a good scrunch.
I began to drip dye from the squeeze bottles onto the fabric, using ALL the colors I had.
More colors, more dye, I did not want any of the plain silk color to show. Because it was damp from the soda ash soak, the colors did run together and soak through.
But the dye did not soak thru enough, so I flipped it over and added more dye. Then a lesson I learned a long time ago, when using all the colors, was I did not like the pure rainbow colors blending to mud brown between the bright colors. So I picked it all up and gave it a good twist and scrunch to mix up the colors more. So there were fewer pure colors and more blending.
The finished bundle of silk, you can see it is not as bright as when I first started dripping on the colors. The day did get HOT, MX dyes only need to reach 70 degrees to heat set, and covered in plastic they were not in direct sun. I left them over night to batch set.
In the morning I brought them all in and rinsed out the excess dye that did not bond with the fibers. My 5 gallon bucket with the rinsed fabrics, the silk was quiet heavy and bulky. I put them all in the washing machine with some laundry soap and a couple of cap fulls of Synthrapol. Next the drier and the reveal.

I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click on the badge in the right hand column to see what other talented textile artist are doing.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Row by Row Continues

My row by row adventure continues, They are something I can do in little bits of time, and don't take much space. They finish quickly, just tracing the fusible, choosing fabric and then ironing it all together. I really like the Think Big one, the little fish with the shark fin on his back. They look like they need fins, I keep wanting to add them, but then I think they are goldfish crackers and the shape is just fine as it is. The sunset is really a beautiful orange at the top, with a deep purple with metallic gold in the center, I tried adjusting the color in Photoshop, but could not get it right. Those three are patterns I got on my trip to Seattle to see my sister. I went specifically at the time I would get past Portland about 10am when the shops were open. I hit Woodland, Kelso, Longview, Castle Rock, Centralia, & Tumwater. The shops were each individual, I liked Castle Rock the best, a cute little town with an old down town area. I had lunch at a little cafe, better than the McDonalds by the freeway exit. By that time I was hitting rush hour traffic in Tacoma/Seattle and did not dare get off the Interstate. I would never have made it back on. Of course I spent money in each shop, planning on sticking with the plan of only getting a few fat quarters, NOT!!! I had to have this and that, more water fabric for the Row by Row, more red fabric, just because, some "Glow-in-the-Dark" white Halloween fabric. If the owner had not mentioned the white fabric was glow in the dark, I would not have looked at it twice, much less bought any. While visiting my sister, we went to Monroe, Snohomish and Everett. I had a wonderful time, just hanging out with her. We went to the local farmers market, and lunch with my niece. I chose to drive home Saturday, less traffic, and instead got a torrential downpour, nasty nerve wracking driving. But the dedicated Quilter that I am, I stopped at two shops in Tacoma, getting lost trying to find the 3rd one, and found the one I missed in Olympia. Also Woodland, 'cause they weren't open when I went up. I braved Vancouver by getting off at the exit with the street name of one of the shops. But... the road went for miles and of course the shop was at the far end. The rain tapered off a bit by the time I hit Portland, so the rest of the drive was ok, but I did not get home til about 8pm. I collected a total of 13 Row by Row patterns. As one of the shop owners told me I was doing "FART" a Fabric Acquisition Road Trip. So now I have seen the East coast, Midwest and the Northwest, all in one summer. With only one day of vacation left to do laundry and get ready for the start of the school year. Back to school bus driving, my 24th year.
I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click on the badge in the right hand column to see what other talented textile artists are doing.