Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Shibori Paper

The night before the college dyeing day I did a little experimentation for some itajime shibori papers. I dug out my old school protractor and folded some sumi-e ink paper into equilateral triangles so that I could produce stars. Sumi-e ink paper is great for absorbing paper, unfortunately its very delicate whilst wet. This was my first attempt I just dipped two of the corners into brusho watercolour paint.

Shibori Paper 1

This is my second attempt, this time I brushed the paint along the edges

Shibori Paper 2

My third paper I was a lot happier with - totally saturating the paper with 3 different colours of brusho.
Shibori Paper 3
Thats a lot more of the kind of thing I was after.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Current status of my drying rack

I dyed 40 pieces of fabric and 12 skeins of thread yesterday at a college dyeing workshop. I did some basic dyeing first and got stuck in straight away with some space dyeing and immersion dyeing. My tutor also kicked of some acid dyeing but activities had to be curtailed due to one of the legs of the mini cooker melting and nearly causing a fire. There is a nice burnt patch on the table top to mark this occasion.

Amongst some of the pieces were some batik I prepared in Thursday's class and some shibori pieces that I prepared the night before. One thing I tried was this little dye parfait which my friend C was encouraging me to do:
I started off with a small piece of fabric in the bottom and some green dye, a skein of thread and some turquoise dye and then another skein of thread and some yellow dye. The results are a beautiful mottling and gradation of colours and I will put a picture up as soon as they come off the drying rack.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Inspiration for the week

I am now back at college and this week it will get busier as we will also have an additional Saturday workshop. The workshop is going to be a dyeing day. If it is anything like the last one (over 2 years ago now) it will be exhausting. No doubt need to rub in a vat load of hand cream into my inevitably sludge purple hands. One thing that we will be covering in the workshop will be shibori. I have found some interesting posts from a professional shibori artist who blogs about her work and other issues relating to being a professional craftsman. Highlights include a tutorial for a fabulous t-shirt which uses a simple but very effective technique. She has recently posted a series of articles about itajime &2. Two succeeding posts start to whet my appetite for Saturday as she covers folding including how to achieve a snowflake effect, as a keen origami folder and recent kirigami convert it will be interesting to try out my newly learnt skills. Further inspiration can be seen in this flickr pool.

Note to self - pop into B&Q and pick up a packet of those handy looking mini clamps.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Going to the Tate Britain

View from Lambeth Bridge

I took a day off on Friday to go to visit a few last minute exhibitions at the Tate Britain - Holbein in England and the Turner Prize 2006.

The train journey up to London was peaceful and went without a hitch, unfortunately as soon as I got to Waterloo I started getting the visual disturbance that is the first symptom of a migraine. Luckily there was a pharmacy nearby which was able to dispense (usually prescription only) my migraine medication. So I carried on and decided to walk from Waterloo to the gallery to get a bit of fresh air. This was probably the best bit of my whole trip.... I walked out of the west entrance of Waterloo station towards the London eye and then past county hall and carried along the Jubilee walk and over Lambeth Bridge from where this photo was snapped using my dog-eared mobile phone.

I then got to the Tate Britain and then proceeded to have the most uncomfortable 3 hours of my recent life. Huge queue just to pick up tickets I had already ordered, the worst selfish & pretentious cross section of the population of London/England that made the TOBOWs of Hampshire seem like decent folk, and a lot of them. The only relief was the nice American lady next to me in the ticket collection queue (the only lady I met that day). Next time I have a choice of where to go I will avoid the Tate and make straight for the V&A. If I was in charge of Tate Britain for a day I would scrub the prentious tosh that serves as restaurant (if I wanted fine dining I would go to the Savoy or similar and not go to an art gallery), only allow those who have purchased food to sit at tables and ban mobile phones. The two gentlemen I met that day were the guard on the train home and the hero who served me camomile tea on the train (decent train journey, in the UK - now there's a surprise). Okay so I am a leeetle cranky when I have a migraine (as comfortable as having chilled knitting needles driven through my temples), but honestly, happy to avoid the Tate for another decade.

The art? Well fine enough if only I would have had an opportunity to see through the crowds and my eyes working properly. From the perspective of a stitcher I would have liked to have spent more time looking at the oil portraits detailing the costume of the times. If there had been more time and space I would have whipped out my sketch book. I was most fascinated by the portrait of Jane Seymour with her silver leaf "undersleeves". I also found some of the gold borders on red velvet(?) of some of the robes of Henry VIII potentially interesting for further study in goldwork.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Couldn't really show this fabric until now as it was shrouded in soluble fabric, which I have now dissolved. I used a small skein of Colinette and wove it in two directions between two layers of soluble fabric - soluble film wasn't used as this is too slippery. After stitching vertically and diagonally I added an array of hand stitches to strengthen the fabric further. Once this was completed I procrastinated for a few months before dissolving away the soluble fabric. This was done very carefully as the yarn used is wool and as I didn't want it to felt, so no hot water, soap or too much agitation. The fabric is still a little stiff but I quite like it like that.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Making a silk purse out of (almost) a sow's ear

Okay it was still silk, but I used dress offcuts and a half finished bag, which itself was made up from a project sample. At the last minute I decided to make my mother a jewellery roll. I did not have the time to dye the fabrics necessary for the project and I also wanted to incorporate a little bit of stitching. Luckily I had the perfect colours of silk fabrics suitable for the project left over from my shoe sampling and matching dress making. The outside is silk satin and the inner lining and pockets are a silk cotton mix. As I know my mum likes the finish of piping I decided to use it here and combine it with covered cord to create loop and chinese buttons. I also used a loop and chinese button to fasten the ring holder. This and plenty of zippered pockets should give plenty of room for various trinkets.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

As my "Christmas" cards are usually sent with a non-Christian message wishing people a peaceful and happy yule and new year, I thought it appropriate to share my seasonal greetings today. Taking inspiration from these ideas in blogland (& here), and an idea my college friend (& partner in crime) C mentioned once seeing in Stitch magazine. I made a batch of these cards in my favourite colours (pink and green) from scraps extracted from my fabric "compost". I bonded these to a background and then experimented with my metallic machine thread stash and programmed stitches on my plastic fantastic sewing machine.
Scraps and stitches

This an early protoype but prefered the vertical positioning of the fabric sample. I machine stitched the pieces onto the card with more metallic thread. I ensured that the needle I used for this task was discarded when I was finished (well I think I did - I have a fab collection of defunct machine needles).


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