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What I did on my . . . sabbatical(?)

Is it a sabbatical if you don’t work in academia? Well, I spent three weeks away from home focusing on surface design, and I got to sell some fabric too. That seems to parallel the idea of a break from the normal routine to take time to study. I’ve taken single week classes before, but never longer. I wish I could say it was an instant-gratification, earth-shattering, life-changing experience, but life doesn’t work that way. This was certainly gratifying, but any change will have to come from within, which, like thinking, is hard. Whaaaa. 🙂
Using this sticky keyboard is a pain, too, so let me see what pictures I can find.

Twenty-four monoprints in one day!!

Critique of ‘Impaired’

Lovely fungus – need to make printed fabric in these colors

First stage of a monoprint, worth repeating

View from the B&B where we spent three nights. At dawn. I don’t do dawn.
This is where we spent the remaining eighteen nights. Much more affordable. Plus we visited my sister on the way out and back. Great way to break up the trip – thanks!
Very grateful to have the opportunity to attend, to be able to sell fabric and dye tools & toys to be able to afford to attend, and support from family to encourage me to attend!

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Back from the Barn!

Last week I was privileged to attend Carol Soderlund’s  Neutral Territory class at Nancy Crow’s Art Barn retreats. With the work of our fabulous group of 15 artists choreographed by Carol, we came home with hundreds of samples of ways to mix three (or four) colors together. The results include a great palette of blacks, browns, greens, blues, greys, purples, umbers, ochers and reds. And we did one bright and sassy 12-step color wheel and shaded it with black. Altogether over 600 new samples – with no duplicates! In addition, Carol taught us a new sampling technique and provided great tools for doing the sampling.
Now I’m home and I’m still trying to get the right colors for a client. Great time to use what I’ve learned! Above is a picture of the washout step of a yellow shaded with two different amounts of black, and each color is done in six values. Two down – 94 cups to go! And as much fun as I find that, there’s still business chores and household chores to be done. Rather than whine about that, I will sign off and go ‘Git’r’Done.’

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Working and loving it!

Yesterday I spent a lot of time in the studio. I’m dyeing the fabric for a whole-cloth quilt that will go into the teacher’s row at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival next month. It’s inspired by the work of Alma Thomas, and you can see a study for it in the Painterly Class sample picture below.
I finally got it rolled up in plastic to batch at about 6 PM yesterday, and now I’m doing everything I can to force myself to wait until 24 hours have elapsed before I start washing it out.
I also did some deconstructed screen printing – not a technique I’ve used a lot, but I loaded the screens with dye after the Oaks class in September. I finally released the dye; they are waiting to be washed as well. And since there’s no way I’m waiting until 10 PM tonight to start the washing out, they’re going to be stuck with only 20 hours of batching.
At right you can see two of the screens that are not yet fully released. Now I need more soda-soaked fabric!
Another way to fill my time will be dye a batch of solids – some fat quarters and a tee-shirt or two. They have homes already – more on that later! Thanks for looking!

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New this week

Got the other halves of these two samples in the mail yesterday. They’re for a wedding dress, or gown may be a better term. The upper set is screened, painted and stamped paint, the lower set is dye with the same techniques. In this case wash-fast acid dye; both samples are on silk organza. I love the creative ideas Kathryn and her brides come up with!

The second picture shows some of the blocks for a quilt I’m working on. Started working on these 10 years+ ago, and they finally are all done – 257 of them. I did a test drive of the layout a few months or more ago, so when I did the layout this week, it only took a couple hours to fiddle with it. You can see some paper ID tags sticking off the corners. So now I’m assembling the top – four blocks in all 16 rows are joined. And I’m chaining the whole thing, unless it gets massively unwieldy, but I know that all the blocks, rows and columns are in the correct position that way. And I’m going to quilt it on the household machine, so I’d better get used to unwieldy!
The third picture shows the detail of another piece dyed with vat dyes – first in a purple bath, then printed with thickened grey dye. You need to enlarge it to see the coppery halo around the grey printing. I like it!
Now I had another idea to try . . . once I finish housework, anyway.
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Illumination! Colored Discharge Printing with vat dyes and Formosul

2014-07-01 18.15.08
The nice weather has allowed some outside discharge work. I pulled some existing fabrics out of the van to work with; I think they have been improved. All three pieces utilized screens made with house paint.
First is a piece of muslin that was dyed with turquoise, fuchsia and I think, navy, then stenciled with fabric paints. I used a screen painted on the lightest weight (25 gm) Lutradur. The design is inspired by “Big Iris, by Philip Taaffe, 1985”. If you look at the picture enlarged, you’ll see the random non-woven fibrous structure of the Lutradur.
2014-07-01 18.13.24Second is a piece of snow- dyed fabric that I printed with a screen created with bubble wrap.  Easier and more predictable than printing with the wrap itself, as well as tidier.
Third is a piece of Radiance cotton-silk sateen, dyed blue with acid dyes. The first picture shows2014-07-01 18.14.31 a major learning experience. Just above and to the left of center is a dark slit that shows how silk isn’t happy with prolonged periods of high pH and high temperature, especially when followed by a normal cycle machine wash. When I do this again with silk, I will only process the fabric one time!! This one had two cycles through the pressure cooker. The last picture shows a larger view of the fabric. The blue-violet areas were screened while the black circles were directly applied. Because of the density of the circles, you can see the halo really well.
2014-07-01 18.14.56The directions from Pro Chemical that I followed are found here. They advise that it is an intermediate to advanced technique. For a simpler approximation, try deColourant. I cleaned a screen with water squeegeed through onto a floor mop-up towel. It discharged by just hanging in the sun, the way deColourant does.
As always, thanks for looking. These fabrics will be on the website soon!

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Sampling PFDs


Thursday, January 2, I got samples of 15 fabrics from Robert Kaufman. I added some other white/PFD fabrics I had on hand and dyed all of them in a single 10% OWG dye bath. the results are above, sorted with the darkest results at the bottom left and worst on the upper right. I have added the Kaufman white fabrics to my website, plus color choices of Kona®, Radiance and Utra Sateen if you want to order a bolt.

The left column starts with 400M and 419M from Testfabrics at the top. I scoured samples of everything, including those two, and they are on the left of each pair. These came pretty dark, but weren’t the darkest. Hampton Twill is next, then Essex (55% Linen/45% Cotton), then Organic Wide (57”-58”), then Ibiza Stretch Twill. The latter came out the darkest, and contains 3% spandex. It’s basically stretch denim and weighs 7.3 oz/sq yd.

The middle column starts with Ultra Sateen, which is not PFD, but dyes beautifully. Not a big winner in this experiment, but is great for other uses, like LWI and dye painting. And it comes in 11 other colors, too! Next is Organic Voile – 100% cotton and great for shibori and vat dyeing, as it’s very sheer. There’s only one sample here – I left the scoured one in the washer. Brussels Washer is  55% Linen, 45% Rayon and looks like linen; I thought the color shifted a little towards the red in this sample.  Pimatex and Patina are the next two, and Kona is at the bottom of the column. It also comes in another 270 colors!

The right column includes Organic Poplin, Pure Threads Dyer’s Cloth from James Thompson Co, Cambridge Lawn, 21-Wale Corduroy, which is from an old lot but is still available. Then there’s Laguna Jersey, Kona 60 and ‘Cherrywood’ muslin. The muslin samples were both prewashed; the one on the left also went through the scour cycle with the others. The muslin is on the website too, by the yard.

The far right are some miscellaneous fabrics, as follows:
Radiance – the silk side is showing. All the dye sites were filled with red first so that’s why there’s such a color shift.
Breezy Wide and the Seersucker are both polyester-cotton blends – Breezy is 65% polyester, the Seersucker is 45% polyester. It does give a nice light color, and it’s a fabric I love in warm weather. (What’s that?) The Stretch PIn-wale Pique is 96% cotton, but it’s no longer available. Oh – the seersucker is back in stock at Kaufman since I added text to the photo – just ignore the ‘NA’.  

As of this writing, 2/9, the Laguna Jersey is no longer on the Kaufman site. One fabric that I didn’t test is a bleached white muslin from Robert Kaufman, and there are dozens more – for next time! I hope you’ll see something you’d like to try – just click on the links to shop.