Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Experimentation as Procrastination

Instead of, oh, say, finishing something, yesterday I did some found object printing. Fabric paint, since my earlier experiments with acrylic paint yielded acrylic paint crumbs in my sewing machine. Most objects failed, including styrofoam packing peanuts. Maybe if I had glued them onto a base...but that would have required planning ahead, so the glue could dry.

Successful objects include a Leinie's bottle:
Leinie's bottle print on fabric
There's usually one of these around somewhere. Very subtle markings, once I figured out how not to glob the paint onto the glass.

And a rotting onion half I found in the bottom of the fridge:
Onion prints on fabric
Very cool, although future onions will produce (hee!) slightly different patterns. The fabric smells slightly of onion; I will have to rinse it after I heat-set the paint (does that take a hyphen? "heat" modifies "set"....).

And now, if you are my mother, you want to know what I will do with these. As always, the answer is "store them somewhere until I think of something." Except the styrofoam packing peanut piece--that'll be a back or base of something, where it can never be seen by human eyes.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Clowder of FUZZ

So, I had this picture of my cat FUZZ, and I ran it through Photoshop (Version 5.5, I bought it in 2000). Next, I printed him out on white cotton fabric and painted over the faces with translucent fabric paint.

A Clowder of FUZZ

I appliqued one head to the fabric before doing the background stitching, but it was a pain in the butt to stitch around the head, so for the rest I did the background stitching first.

These pieces are about 4" square, and need to be finished along the edges (also need beads or sequins or more stitching or all of the above). My plan is to let them ripen for a few days while I work with other images printed on fabric, most likely fabric postcards.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Snow Dyeing

I rejoined Quiltart as a lurker, and many of them are doing some snow dyeing this winter. I feel like a sheeple, but I have a little fresh snow this week. :-|

Snow Dyeing

I used two colors of dye, "Royal Blue" and "Raspberry". The latter separated into component colors very quickly:


The concept is that as the snow melts, the dye will seep onto the fabric, creating interesting patterns--especially if, as I have done, you have used a dye mixed from two or more separate colors.

My results? I don't have them yet. After four hours only half the snow has melted. :-\ Stay tuned.

Try it for yourself: Snow dyeing instructions (pdf)

Monday, January 31, 2011

I should probably post once a year, or something

Does anyone still read this? It's been literally years.

I never actually finished anything 2010. Since my last post, I have:

  • dyed about 40 yards of fabric (not all shown here)
  • taken several thousand photographs of New York, Germany, Südtirol, and a bunch of other places
  • plugged away at some tedious and long-term traditional projects
  • bought a bunch of paint and fabric
  • thrown out a bunch of paint and fabric
  • made more aliens (but I've stopped scanning and uploading them)
  • collected more beer bottle caps than I have ideas for using them
I'm back in Milwaukee, anyway, and procrastinating on making some curtains. Over the weekend I fiddled around with some scraps:

Regurgitated Red

I don't know what I'm going to do with them, either. At least they're not aliens.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Data Matrices in Progress

I don't have a set-up out here to photograph sequins (the flash reflects...), but as long as they're less than 9" wide, I can scan them...

Is it boring? Am I too blinded by my own cleverness?

A little darker:

In progress:

They're all technically "in-progress" since the edges aren't finished (they're just cropped). I got a walking foot last week, so this week I may attempt a facing. I say "may" because I've been working late a lot.

Meanwhile, I've got some fabric dyeing...

Saturday, February 06, 2010

There is work in progress

Pastel Grid in Progress
When I was quilting the grid on this piece of fabric I dyed in 2004, I felt a need to scan it to preserve the subtle patterning before I covered it all up with sequins.

A few weeks ago I was doing some research into information encoding at work and came across the Data Matrix. And I thought, what an excellent way to put messages into quilts (especially subversive words/sentiments...). Up to 3115 ASCII characters--doesn't have to be alphanumeric--can be put into the matrix, and of course a quilt can string matrices together. I could encode ASCII art for the ultimate geekery.

I'm still playing around with instantiation. I haven't completely rejected piecework, but I don't enjoy matching corners so it's low on the list. Fused squares are in progress but the quilting is going slowly. Square sequins have an interesting look, but the process of applying them to a pre-quilted grid feels a bit like counted cross-stitch, which I have always hated. This weekend I will investigate stamping the squares. Screen-printing is also on my mind...when I come up with messages I can wear on T-shirts, I can commission some Thermofax screens.

I don't really feel like sharing my samples (or messages) at this time; just felt like I was neglecting the blog.

What I probably need is a critique group to tell me I'm being a bit too precious with the intellectual crap and not at all visually interesting, like my fiber class did with my logic diagrams ten years ago.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fabric Dyeing, Jan 17

Sunday did two sets of 9-step gradations (that's still the only way I can make the math work!), seven FQs, and a really awesome wingspan of "pre-soaked, then batched with leftover dye." Not bad for the first time I've dyed fabric in about over 18 months.

I measured the dye powder and kept scrupulous notes. I also saved snippets in a three-ring binder with the measurements I used, in case I want to reproduce the colors. I don't think I've done that in ten years (I first learned to dye in the fall of 1999)...

I'm using mixed colors from Dharma, and I didn't stir much, so the color is not consistant. Which doesn't really bother me because I don't have any end project in mind.

The orange and yellow fabrics are to keep my camera's color correction from freaking out at the lack of red...

Blue Green to Navy:
Blue Green to Navy

Blue Green to Royal Blue:
Blue Green to Royal Blue

Fat Quarters:
Assorted FQs
Not in order, but there's Navy with Pure Yellow, Navy with Golden Yellow, Royal with each yellow, Blue Green with Azure Blue, Blue Green with Pure Yellow, and Royal with Navy. The Golden Yellow was much browner than previously; I wonder if it settled during shipping (I do not recall stirring the powder in the jar).

Yesterday I bought a 25-lb bag of food-grade salt at the grocery store, to see if the colors become brighter next time (I felt bad-ass driving my cart around with that much salt...like I was stocking up before it becomes illegal in New York).

I used Kona muslin; it's about 200-count so very smooth, and very sharp visual resist effects from crinkles in the fabric. I would use it again for shibori, but not for a project where I wanted uniform color. And I guess I won't be hand-stitching anything made from these.

Finally, my wingspan of leftovers, hanging on my bedroom wall for inspiration:

It is a lot lighter now that it's dry, but I'm still very impressed with myself.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Is this thing on?

I am still in New York. 6-month contract turned into 8 turned into 14. I took over seven thousand digital photographs of the lake, the Thousand Islands, the Adirondacks, etc. Some of the ones that didn't suck can be seen on Flickr.

Now it is winter, and I am bored to tears, so I bought a cheap sewing machine at WalMart and ordered some fabric dyes. We'll see what happens.

Monday, April 13, 2009

In New York with no sewing machine

Cooling Tower II

Yesterday I inspected Lake Ontario and found it acceptable.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Almost there...

In Pennsylvania for the night, after driving up from visiting Grandpa in SW Ohio. I-80 through western/central PA is probably very beautiful when it's not fogged over, and when there are leaves.

I can't take pictures of myself, so I brought a stand-in:

Bratwurst mit Schild

That's Bratwurst, one of the Famous Klement's Racing Sausages. I was unable to hear the Opening Day game since I was on the road...fairly crankified. It appears to have been awesome.