June 11, 2014

Gelatin Plate Printing . . . The Results

This shows most of the pieces I printed on my first day with my permanent gelatin plate. None of these pieces were plain white fabric when I started. All of them had some sort of surface design and I didn't like the way any of them looked. The gelatin printing has improved all of them.

The blue trees and frame used to be beige and the mottled green was a solid bright apple green.
It used to be really ugly, now it looks kinda aged.

I ripped three sections of this fabric apart to print it on the gelatin plate. It has had everything you can imagine done to it. It was rusted. stamped, printed, rubbed with oil stick. screen printed, painted and now printed using the gelatin plate. 

I don't love it, but I l do like the light in this piece.

I like this piece but I think it needs more. The bottom layer is dyed but it isn't very interesting. The gelatin print helped it tremendously but it needs at least one more layer and more color.

I love this one. The bottom fabric was painted with Setacolor.

I love this one too. The bottom fabric was painted with Setacolor.

I've tried a few different types of textile paints and so far I like thin, transparent paint best. Please leave comments and let me know what has worked for you. We learn from each other!

June 8, 2014

Permanent Gelatin Printing Plate

I've used gelatin plates for printing in the past but I haven't had a lot of luck with them. It seems like they get warm really fast and needed to be refrigerated often. I didn't even get the process fully figured out before the plate fell apart. I read about somebody (sorry, can't remember who) that used glycerin as a preservative in a gelatin plate and it worked well. The printing plate did not need refrigeration and it did not mold. I saved the information - just in case.

Fast forward . . . Gelli Plates became popular and I became tempted to buy a large one, but then I remembered that I had a recipe for a permanent gelatin plate and I decide to give it a try. I ordered the glycerin from Amazon and searched for the perfect cookie pan. Once the glycerin arrived, it was really fast and easy to make.

Small Gelatin Plate Recipe:
2 TBS Gelatin
1/2 cup Glycerin
1/2 cup Boiling Water

Large Gelatin Plate Recipe:
12 TBS Gelatin
3 cups Glycerin
3 cups Boiling water

1) Mix the gelatin into the glycerin
2) Add the boiling water. Stir until dissolved
3) Pour into the pan and level
4) Let harden at room temperature

Gelatin from grocery store and vegetable glycerin from Amazon

Small Plate: Use a shallow container. Once gelatin is set, flip it over and remove the gelatin. Keep it stored, upside down on the lid so it can be used easily.

Large Plate: Use the Large Recipe or calculate how much gelatin your container needs to fill to the brim. I leave the gelatin in the pan even while printing. Make a cover for the pan to protect the gelatin. If the plate gets damaged, cut it up and put it in a microwavable container, melt it, then pour it back into the pan.

10" x 15" shallow cookie pan, filled to brim with gelatin

DO NOT clean up in your sink or you will clog your pipes. Wipe up the gelatin with paper towels and throw away. Rinse with hot water outside.

I've tested my plate already and it works great. I'll post photos in a couple of days.

June 3, 2014

Taming of the Threads

I'm happy to report that I was able to tame all the threads and managed to turn the fabric into a functional book cover. Much better than the store bought purple plastic binder, don't you think?

 Here's the front. It's really reversible, but I like this side best.

 I folded the flap fabric and stitched the raw edges into the outer edge. The binder slips right in.

Here's the back of the binder.

I went around the outside edge with two rounds of satin stitch. The first time was the middle setting on my machine and the second time was the widest setting. It turned out slightly wonky which feels just right.

June 1, 2014

Thread Fabric for a Guest Book

Fibervision just switched its guest book to a 3-ring binder format and I decided to make a book cover to jazz it up. To make the fabric, I'm using all the bits and scraps that "normal" people throw away. It has the thread tails, thread snots as I like to call them (knotted threads from fabric ends after washing), bits of fabric scraps and left over yarn. I arrange the bits on a fabric background until I like the arrangement, cover it will Solvy and stitch like crazy.

I've used this technique before but I've always mounted the finished pieces onto canvas or postcards. This will be the first time that I've created something functional with it. The fabric was wet and in the process of being blocked when I shot this photo. I underestimated how much shrinkage would occur and I have just enough fabric to cover the 3-ring binder.

Now I need to cut it to size and figure out a good way to secure all the loose threads. I think I'm going to go around with a couple rows of straight stitch, then do a wide satin stitch. Somehow, I'll have to attach pockets to each end too. Hopefully, it all works out because I don't have any time left for a redo.

May 27, 2014

The Final Layer of Paint!

I'm finally happy with the results of painting experiment. I would do this again, but I would skip the  pounding and go straight to the painting. I definitely prefer knowing that my fabric has paint on it. Just so you know, this method produces a fairly stiff fabric that feels a bit like paper, but you would still be able to stitch through it.

Keep in mind that that the beauty of the iridescent paint is very difficult to capture.

Fabric 1

Fabric 2

Fabric 3

Fabric 4

The back side of Fabric 4 stayed the same.

You can still see a hint of some of the underlying images but I covered them up pretty well. Right now they still have quite a few wrinkles. I'll let the paint set for a full two weeks, then give them a good steaming to remove the rest of the wrinkles. I'm planning to store these pieces rolled instead of folded.

May 26, 2014

Exhibit at Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center

Fibervision is having an exhibit at the Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center in Santa Barbara from May 28- June 22, 2014. The opening reception will be on Wednesday, June 4th from 5:30 - 7:30 pm. If you're in town, please stop in for a visit. See the flyer below for all the details.

Here's a couple of close up shots of the quilting on one of my new pieces. It showcases the same "skylight" fabric that is used in the piece on the flyer above. Photos were manipulated, then printed on fabric. I also have a third design in progress that uses the same fabric.

I used plastic circle templates to help me quilt five sets of gradated circles, then I stippled around the outside to flatten the background.

Once the CPAC exhibit opens, I'll show you the entire quilt.

May 18, 2014

More Pounded Fabric

Here are the final two pieces from the Pounded Fabric experiment. Sometimes the best lessons are learned from your failures. This experiment is one of those lessons!

Fabric 3
 This is a fat quarter that somebody else dyed as part of an exchange. Not my style.

Not much better after the Setacolor and Lumier layer.

Front side. Another layer of Neopaque and Lumier. You can still see the stamped designs.

Back side looks a lot better than the front.

Fabric 4
I'm responsible for this piece. It has layers of rubbings with paint sticks. It's pretty bad.

 A layer of Setacolor and Lumier help, but it's still ugly.

Front side after another pounding with Neopaque and Lumier.

 The back side of this piece is probably the most interesting of all.

I like the combination of Neopaque and Lumier paint, however, I don't like this pounding technique. If I were to do this again, I would paint the damp fabric, then scrunch it into a bag to dry. At least I would know beforehand that all the areas that needed paint received it.

I'm not quite ready to give up yet and will do one final coat to all the pieces using my technique. I want majority of the underlying designs to disappear. Before I do the final layer, I need to finish the quilting on a piece that will go on exhibit at the end of May. 

May 16, 2014

Pounded Fabric Experiment

I read a blog post about Pounded Fabric and decided to give it a try. Of course, I didn't follow all of their directions. Silly me . . . will I ever learn? Probably not.

If I had started with a solid color of fabric like they suggested and didn't use transparent paint for the first layer, I would probably be done already. But no, I had to use some really UGLY fabric that I've been saving for some odd reason. Usually, layering makes the fabric more interesting. At this point, I'm not convinced that I should have wasted my time.

There are a lot of step by step photos so I'll only show 2 pieces of fabric today.

Fabric 1
 Hand dyed fat quarter. Not sure who made this, but it's not my style.
Squished fabric into a bag and added transparent Setacolor and Lumier paint. Still ugly
Squished fabric into a bag and added Neopaque and Lumier paint.
I still see the stamped design on the front side of fabric.
Back side of fabric . . . much better, but not great.

Fabric 2
All the steps are the same as Fabric 1.
I made this ugly fabric a long time ago using Soft Scrub with bleach.
 Setacolor made it worse.
 Front of fabric is still ugly.
Back of fabric is still ugly.

Am I completely wasting my time? Should I throw it away OR add one more layer?

May 7, 2014

Hand Dyed Fabric

The weather has been warm here which is perfect for dyeing. I like to dye outside on my patio. I get to play with color and enjoy nature. It doesn't get much better than that!

The top four pieces are fat quarters of Sateen.

The three pieces below are fat quarters of Broadcloth.

 If you love hand dyed fabric, take a look at my Etsy site to see what I have available.

May 2, 2014

Ready for Quilting

I tested my flower pin and foam basting creation on three 8 x 8" quilts and they worked well. I was pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy it was to pin the layers together.

So now I pin basted a small and medium sized piece and will quilt them to see if the pins actually stay pinned for the duration of quilting. That seems like an important feature, don't you think?
Here's the first piece that I'll quilt. It's around 16 x 20".

If the smaller piece goes well, this one will follow. It's around 35 x 40".

I have about 200 of the foam pieces cut, but only had 95 pins in my stash. If the pins hold well through the next test, I'll have to buy more pins. Even though the pile looks large, they are extremely lightweight, lighter than the safety pins I use now.

April 25, 2014

Carpinteria Flower Farms

Each year, the flower farms in Carpinteria open their doors to the public for one day. The article in the newspaper made it sound worthwhile, so I grabbed my camera and headed south.

The exterior of the greenhouses were unimpressive . . . grey, cheap plastic.

It was a different story when they opened the doors though; it was beautiful, colorful and alive.

We  visited 4 different nurseries, two orchids, one rose and one gerber daisy. All of them are completely computer controlled. If it gets too hot, the roof opens, too cold and the heaters come on, sensors control the water and any excess that drips out get recycled. It's pretty amazing.

And look at the flowers!

Look close at the top of the photo. See all the hand cutters hanging from the overhead pipe. Apparently, orchids get a disease that spreads through infected hand cutters. They learned (the hard way) that it's cheaper to buy thousands of hand-cutters than to loose an entire nursery of orchids.