Tuesday, September 25, 2012

'Little chair in Aix" revisited

I am working on a new piece but I am revisiting one of my watercolours from my time in Aix-en-Provence this past spring.  This is a little chair that was in the gite that we stayed in and I loved it so much that I just had to paint it.  So much so, that I am painting it again, this time on fabric, to use in one of my stitched pieces.  I have painted it onto mercerized cotton using old (very old!) fabric paints by Jacquard.  The paint sort of 'glooped' out of the container instead of 'flowing' out, but that's all right.  I  mixed them with some of the Jacquard Colorless Extender and that seemed to help.  The paints performed well on the fabric and that's all I ask! 

So I'll heat set this and then apply some fusible web to the back and then I'll carry on stitching. 

I'll be back to show you the next step.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Wool yarns or silk yarns

I have been busy finishing up this piece, putting on a backing, inserting a zipper (not my forte, alas).  But I haven't been sitting around just reading or enjoying the last of the summer or babysitting...oh no wait, yes I have!!  We've been having the most glorious weather.  And in between all of that, I've been stitching.

In this portion of the pillow (yes, it has been determined by the future recipients that this is to be a pillow) I have used a silk thread (golden yellow) at the top of this pic for the hand stitching and in the bottom portion I have used a wool/poly thread.  I am trying to decide which I prefer.  I think at this point I favour the wool mix.  Perhaps it's because the silk seems to be sitting on top of the fabric (no doubt because of the way I've stitched it) whereas the wool seems to meld a bit more into the fabric, as it might do when it is felted. But I won't decide definitively based on this small sampling.....I'd best get busy and work up a few more designs to practice with. I have lots of ideas so I have to get going.....

I'll be back.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fabric paints and washing out.

I painted with fabric paints the other day onto mercerized cotton and then heat set the resulting image.  I am wondering about the feasibility of washing the fabric since I'm not sure yet if I'm making a pillow or a wall hanging.  I know it's good to have some sort of direction when one sets off, but at this point I'm just not sure.  Such is life!

Anyway, I digress.  This morning I took a small sample of the fabric painting....the section where I was trying out my mixed colours, actually, so it's a very small sample.  Nonetheless, I wanted to give it a try.  I was also a bit concerned that, since I hadn't prewashed the mercerized cotton, there might be some sizing left on it that might prevent the paints from totally bonding with the fabric.  No worries.  I took off a small piece (these pieces are getting smaller and smaller) and kept it to one side when I did the washing.  I'm very pleased with the results.
You'll have to look carefully...I'm sorry the bits are so small.  The piece on the left was washed and then re-ironed and the piece on the right was left untouched, just heat set.  I really don't think there was any change at all.  Success!!!
But as an aside, I must mention that the fabric paint definitely changed the hand of the fabric.  The pears almost feel as if they are on paper, which isn't a very nice feature.  And with the fusible webbing underneath it as well, it really has quite a papery feel, but in all fairness, the mercerized cotton has a very crisp feel to it to start off with.  I'm really not sure I would want a heavily painted section on anything I was going to wear although I haven't tried any other fabrics yet.  And I'm a bit reluctant to stitch too heavily into it either.  Perhaps it might be a nice feature to add after all the quilting is done.  Just thinking.....

On to the next stage: I have stitched the pears on to the piece and have started to do a wee bit of hand stitching.  Now I have to convince the cat that I don't have room for both her and the stitching on my knee at the same time.  And she usually wins.  She is such a little pal, how can I say no!

I'll be back...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Jacquard fabric paints versus Inktense pencils

I am working on an image to affix to the fabric that I dyed the other day (the big reveal, CC.  They're pears!!!).  The image on the left was painted with the inktense pencils.  I like it, but it doesn't have the vibrancy that the right hand image has, in my opinion.  (I think for my current project the painted version is better.  But in all fairness, I do love the pencils, and where I was starting to apply several layers of the pencils I think the colours were getting richer and richer....)  For the fabric paints I used just orange, blue, black and yellow to mix the various colours and I was quite pleased with the different colours and values I managed to get.  I was doubly pleased because the paints themselves are about 5 years old!!  I still have to iron them to heat-set them, iron on some wonder-under and then cut them out.  Miles to go before I stitch, as it were!

I shall plod on, so  I'll be back.....

Monday, September 10, 2012

Soy wax and procion MX dyes

I'm starting a new project. 

I did some dyeing yesterday using procion MX dyes thickened with dye paste.  It was some of the ready-mixed thickener (in powder form)  from Pro-Chem (so convenient!) but it was a bit old and I found that I needed to up the quantity I added to the water in order to get the thickness of paste that I was after.  But that's all right, I just whisked some more of the mix into the paste and it thickened up in about an hour.  The paste wasn't too thin initially by any means, but once I had added the dye concentrate (that was mixed with the urea water) I felt the paste was a little too runny for screen printing.  But once I got it right I was good to go.  I stamped on the wax first and let that set.  Then I ran the thickened dyes through the screen I had prepared.  I think I was a little over zealous in covering up the white areas left by the screen and so I lost some of the definition of the design (learning, learning).  The white parts that show here are from the stamping I did with the soy wax onto the white fabric.....there was no way the dye was getting under that application!
I rinsed it out this morning.  I started with cold water and synthrapol and gave it a couple of rinses in cold water.  The water was running pretty clear but I could see the wax was starting to float on the water.  Warm rinses and then hot rinses (plus synthrapol) and a lot of the wax was coming out.  Enough that, I must confess, I am not really happy with the idea of putting the cloth into the washing machine.  There was quite a build-up of wax in the washing-out bucket and also in the sink... oh that's right, it was my kitchen sink.....does that mean I can never use my kitchen to prepare food in ever again???....that I may have to eat out for the rest of my life??? No, I just poured some boiling water into the sink (and the bucket) and I think I should be all right.  (Do you think??)  I don't have laundry tubs so there really isn't another alternative.....but I really don't want to put it into my washing machine.  I'm not about to pour boiling water into that!  I hung the fabric on the line outside to dry, gave it a really good shake before I brought it inside, and then ironed it between several pieces of brown paper.  (I do have a spare iron, just not a spare washing machine!)

I'd love to know if you've had any similar experiences with the soy wax and what you're doing with the washing out.   Is there really no wax residue in the machine??

On with the project.  I'll be back.....

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Slow going.

Working away but not much to show you.  I'm working on another image to use with the soy wax and so I have prepared another screen using some of my photos.  I have prepared a couple of stencils to use as well in addition to some freezer paper images.  So lots of busy work but not much to show for it so far.  I've soda soaked some fabric and this morning I prepared another batch of print paste.  Now I am going to mess about with some dyes to choose some colours. Hopefully I'll have some more colourful images than this one to show you next time!
I'll be back.