Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Enjoying this year so far

As you know, this is the year that I hope to be able to forget the shows and commitments and producing for sales. I plan to play. I borrowed the book "Stitching to Dye" from the library and have been slowly working my way through the exercises. It's also been a good chance to put the new sewing machine through its paces. The concept behind the book is that you can produce/finish everything in neutral colours, and then apply dye to the finished project. I produced three pieces.
The first was whole cloth cotton, heavily free motion quilted. I then tried to apply the dye to various parts of the pattern, and was moderately successful. I had put the piece on a piece of construction plastic to protect the table while I worked. I hadn't thought about the dye moving between the plastic and the fabric and then seeping up through the fabric in places I didn't want it. I had used three colours of dye--yellow, green and blue. Well, the blue got into the yellow, and the green got overpowered by the blue. The finished piece looked fine, but the yellow had a green tinge and the green just appeared to be a blending of the two other colours--sort of what I was looking for, but not really.
The second piece was entirely silk, except for the batting. Again it was heavily FMQ'd. I used a much more subtle colour of dye this time and only two shades--spring green and aqua marine. I applied them with a funnel spouted plastic bottle so that I had more control over where the dye went. This worked well. Each of the 5 types of silk took the dye differently, but the differences were very subtle. This project had the best result--imho.
The third project was a combination of silk, acetate and cotton within the piecing. I FMQ'd with a more planned design that had minor variations in the density of the quilting. I pre-soaked the bound piece in soda ash, and discovered that this helped immensley in controlling the spread of the dye. I used four different dyes and their spread was quite controlled. I used very dilute dye, hoping for very pale subtle colouring. Boy, was I ever fooled. The silk noile took up the dye and became quite dark, the acetate barely took the dye ( I didn't really expect it to). The piece is much darker than had wanted. If it had been important --and it could have been--I would have thrown it out and started again. But I think I'm going to keep working and use it as a practise piece/bad example.
My next project is to start working through the book "Inspired to Quilt: Creative Experiments in Art quilt Imagery" by Melanie Testa. This one has several printing methods including the use of soy wax, as a resist. Guess I'll have to wait until I can afford the soy wax.