Sunday, August 24, 2014

A House. Finally.

We have been a wandering family since May 3rd, but finally tomorrow we get to start moving into a new house in TX! As you can understand it's something to celebrate. Can't wait to have a sense of normalcy in our lives again. The house we got is pretty dark in color scheme, so I spent wednesday painting two rooms and have one more to go on monday before our belongings get moved in on Wednesday.
This is my new studio that will house both sewing and printmaking equipment. It'll be interesting to see how I can keep them both on their own sides of the room. The good thing is that the room is at the opposite side of the house than the bedrooms, so I can even finish up projects at night without waking the kids. In our last house my sewing and printmaking was in the next room over. So nothing could happen at night.

Here is the room before. It was a deep red color, that made the room dark. It needed to be changed to something more cheerful, since red also makes me feel anxious.

I wasn't very prepared when going to Home Depot to pick colors, but after some minutes trying to figure out what I liked, this is the color I came home with. I should have gotten something a little warmer, since the tiles are yellow/brown. But its too late now. Anyways, its a pretty colors, and once all my equipment is in, you won't notice the tile any more.

The lady at the paint section recommended a Glidden two in one paint, which enabled me to cover all that red in one swell coat. Saved me a ton of time! You could see some little pit marks after the paint had dried, so I went over a thin second quick coat to cover those up. 

The other two bedrooms are dark brown, even the ceilings, so something had to be done about those too. I don't think a cave is a fun play place for little kids. There was almost a gallon left over from this, and since there was some time left that day, I painted one of the bedrooms with this color too. Yesterday I went to Home Depot and got one more gallon of a light yellow color, that will go up in the other little bedroom tomorrow.  

On a crafty note, this is also sitting on my sewing table. Ready to be chopped into a ring sling and a shorty. Good times! I can't wait to get my proper sewing room set up. There are so many awesome things ready to be put together. Can't wait to share them with you. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Green Shibori Ring Sling

I love the way my first trial in Sekka Shibori turned out and wanted to post just a short story of the second one I made the following day. I had a 2.5 yd piece of Osnaburg cotton that was the perfect candidate to retry folding and dyeing. This time instead of the hexagon pattern I thought it would be fun to fold it slightly differently to get a square/diamond pattern. To get the hexagons, you fold the fabric in a triangle that has three equal sides and to get the squares, you fold the fabric so that there is a 90degree angle and two short sides and one long. See my image below. For the start of the folding you can see my first shibori tutorial here 

Below is the first fabric I dyed in the hex pattern that was made into a wrap. 

To start with this one I did an accordion fold just like with the previous fabric, which I then folded into triangles like in my illustration above. After soaking it in soda ash for 45 min or so, I took the same pieces of wood from the first dye job and clamped them around this fabric. They were not the same size as this stack obviously, but I figured that would work in my advantage letting more dye penetrate my folds.  

The first time around I would have wanted a little more dye to seep through, so this time the wood pieces were smaller than my fabric so I could squeeze and massage the dye more heavy handedly into the folds as I was painting it on with a paintbrush. When you do this just be sure to keep an eye on the clamp so that it does not pop off your folded fabric as you manipulate your folds. Below is the painted stack. I used Dylon Tropical and Dark Green shades to get a kind of a halo effect which I thought would look nice on the raw Osnaburg.  

The stack was then bagged for 24hrs and opened the next day. Below is an image of the stack unclamped and being unraveled. It is always like Christmas at this point! I rinsed the fabric several times and washed in hot to get the rest of the dye out. The greens came out more fadd than I had imagined, but I still liked the pattern and thought it just needed a little sprucing up. I thought the natural color of the osna was too brown, so into a yellow bath it went. After this round of dyeing, rinsing and washing the fabric was finally done. 

I hemmed and converted it into a ring sling with silver rings. I like the colors now much better. It reminds me of a retro kitchen tile pattern or something similar, which I anticipated and like. It looks cute when wrapped. :)  

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Linen Baby Wrap Sekka Shibori Dye: Part 2

This is the second half of my Sekka Shibori experiment. The first half, which covers the basics and folding can be read here.
This is where we left off: a stack of folded linen.

Trying to figure out dyeing was challenging since I could not find a tutorial. In my last post I showed how I figured how to apply the dye to get the pattern you want. Here is that picture again:

And based on that, this was what I thought I'd try to attempt. I figured why not toss two colors in there just to see what happens.

At the very end, I found this blogpost that was the most helpful on how to tie this beast off. The below image is from there. The post also shows how the old lady is folding the folded up fabric in triangles and a whole bunch of (AH-mazing!) Shibori dyed fabrics and kimonos.

Back to boring old TX. After a couple trips to Home Depot, Joanns and HEB (I mean who can remember all the things to buy at once, even if you have a shopping list!), I had all the materials to dye. I chose Dylon's Navy and China blues, because that's what was quickly available to me at the moment.

Here is the tub for soda ash soaking and soda ash from the pool department at Home Depot. 

Here's the rest of my supplies:
Salt (which I forgot to use and apparently doesn't really matter in this type of dyeing), glade plastic tubs, gloves, clamp, plastic bag, pieces of wood, paintbrush, plastic table cloth, plastic spoons.

First thing I did was get the soda solution ready and soak my fabric stack. The official ratio is 1 cup soda per 1 gal warm water, but I just filled the bottom up several inches and tossed a plastic cup of soda ash in there. Stirred and tossed in fabric. The tip was out a little, but I just turned it over a couple times.

While that was soaking I worked on how to clamp the wood down, I bought the smallest piece of wood from the store and cut it into the same size as my template except for two corners. I did this thinking that that way the corners would get more ink since they were less compressed. We'll see if it works. 

To make sure the wood doesn't warp while sitting in the dye, I covered it with some plastic from a plastic bag like so:

Then it was about time to mix the dyes and get my fabric out of the SA and clamp and dye it. I am inserting Dylon directions for tie-dye (bottle method) from their webpage here. I specifically was looking for the info on how much dye to mix with water.

1. Wash Fabric and leave damp
2. Prepare fabric as per instructions for the selected Tie-dye method below
3. Using rubber gloves, dissolve dye in 500ml warm water
4. Put dye solution into squeeze bottle
5. Place tied item into the empty bowl and apply the dye to the selected areas straight from the bottle.
6. Once complete, put the item in a plastic bag, seal it and leave overnight
7. Without untying fabric, rinse in cold water until water runs clear, then untie and wash in warm water. Dry away from direct heat & sunlight
8. Wash separately for first few washes to remove any excess dye 

Aaand back to TX, Take the fabric out of the bath and clamp it. I didn't wring or dry the stack before dyeing, figuring clamping the stack would squeeze a lot of the water out, which it did.

I used a chip brush to paint the dye on, because I thought that would give me the best control on where to apply it. Traditionally they often dip the stack, but I did not feel this was clamped tight enough and sturdy to do that. For the solid side, I held the stack upright and painted the whole thing, adding extra dye to the middle and making sure to paint in all the little creases. I dripped quite a lot, so be careful when you do this.

Then I laid it painted side down and did the sides about 2/3 up. Also painting more dye in the middle of that side hoping to bleed more dye in and plump up the marks. Then I rinsed the brush and painted on the China blue in the one corner that was still white. Also trying to sop it on more on the tip of the triangle and trying to keep it from running into the navy.

After painting, I put some more on for good measure, and moved it into a plastic bag. As I was getting it in, the clamp came undone and the fabric fell out. Moment on panic! I gathered everything back in as quickly as I could, but it takes forever to unscrew this to clamp it back up again. Oh well. I'm sure it will give it some character. Thank goodness I had those corners tied, so it didn't lose shape.  Now the whole thing is sitting in the sun and will have to wait until tomorrow for the reveal. I will update the post when that time comes.

The next morning it was time to undo the stitches and unravel the fabric!

It's like Christmas! I had a nightmare just before getting up that I opened this and the dye had only colored a yard of the fabric on one side and otherwise my wrap was white. Good thing it wasn't true! So much fun pulling it open.

Laying it out to see the pattern.

It was pretty much what I expected for my first try. Pretty but not as even and "fat lined" as I had hoped. Some of the lines barely came out, but I like the pattern and color, so will try this again on the other half of the wrap. After this, I rinsed in a plastic tub outside until the water ran clear and then toddies it in a hot wash with extra rinse. I was a little worried because the navy was almost black, but after the hot wash, some more came out and now its just the shade I was hoping for. 

Here are some action shots after wash, dry and hemming. The linen wraps nicely already. Its super sturdy after getting into place. Never tried a pure linen wrap before of store bought fabric, so was happily surprised. Its not super cushy on the shoulder as of yet. But it was very comfy and airy. Which is perfect for the August TX heat. Once we don't need this as a wrap, it will make for awesome towels, pillows or a blanket. Or maybe I'll sell one and keep the other. Will see when the other is done. :)

 Here is a closeup of the after wash and lighter colors.

The whole wrap again.
This was a fun (and back breaking) experiment which I am already building on. I have the next piece of fabric folded and sitting in dye at the moment ready to be washed tomorrow. That will get it's own post when I'm done. It'll be very similar, but I used Osnaburg, the square folding pattern and two shades of green. Notes to self on dyeing, the lines are pretty thin and show areas where I added the extra dye. Next time, fluff the folds a little with dye to get more color in and build the "fat" lines up more gradually.

Linen Baby Wrap Sekka Shibori Dye: Part 1

In the last year I have been learning about fabric dyeing and recently have been drooling over shibori dyed fabrics. What is shibori? In a nut shell it is a Japanese way of resist dyeing cloth where you fold, stitch, bind, twist and/or compress a fabric to give it a pattern. I have a whole pinterest board filled with fabrics one prettier than the other.

We are staying at my MIL's house while waiting to move into our own home, but I couldn't wait any longer to dip my hands in dye, so  I got a piece of 4ft long linen out. I had bought it from a couple weeks back to use for either a baby wrap, hand towels or pillow cases and had bought it specifically with shibori dyeing on mind. It's a mid weight linen, so I know that compared to dyeing thin silk fabrics the odds are against me, but wanted to give it a go none the less.

The pattern that I have most fancied is a hexagonal snowflake pattern. Sekka Shibori. There are examples one more beautiful than the other online and I'll just post a couple images picked from online so you get an idea.

To try to make this I figured out how to break the pattern down and fold it by looking at the repeat. I'll try to draw it to illustrate my thought process:

When folding you would fold on the red vertical lines first in an accordion fold. To fold the triangles you can do it two ways to get two effects. One is a square or diamond pattern and the other is a hexagon pattern.

Usually this method utilizes thin materials like silk, which makes the folding easier to handle and the dye to take more evenly. I am going to use this fabric for either a baby carrier or other utilitarian items, so my material is a mid weight linen. It was easy to crease when I accordion folded it, but time will tell how the dye job comes out. It might be very uneven because of so many layers of fabric.

***Disclaimer before getting to business - I am not an expert or professional at dyeing, this posting is just giving you the steps that I did based on my research and what worked/was available in my circumstances.

Prepping the fabric for dyeing. The linen was store bought new, so I decided to wash it hot once with detergent and Blue Dawn soap. It didn't look that much different, so I decided to wash on hot again with just Blue Dawn. Now I could definitely tell a difference, on just how much lint came off and the feel of the fabric. I had to do a second thorough rinse, with stopping in the middle to fluff it with my hands, to get more lint to come off. Then I dried it on low heat setting for a little bit until it was damp dry and ironed on top of that.

Since I had planned a wrap, I cut the fabric in half at this point and hemmed the unfinished long edges. Now I had two 4 yd long pieces to play with. As you know linen wrinkles fast, so by the time I was ready to fold it for dyeing, it was pretty wrinkly already. I first tried folding the strip in half and then again in half length wise, but felt that that would give me too large of a pattern so I decided to go the hard way and start folding on one edge for a smaller width. I took the closest thing available, Ikea catalog cover, and folded a template for myself so I'd know how much to fold over. In the below pictures you can see the first line being folder and creased with fingers. The template is peaking out a little at the bottom of the picture.

Here's a closeup of my fancy template.

After the first fold, I just carefully kept going with the pleats back and forth...

Everything accordion folded: 

After the whole thing was folded, I pressed it on the floor with an iron. From my template, I ripped a triangle that is even on all four sides and used that to start folding my triangles. I tried to iron in between each layer. 

The stack thickens really quick.

Less than half way through I realized this will not stay together as it gets taller, so I decided to tag the corners together with some contrasting thread (easy to pick off later hopefully). I stopped three times to sew, to keep the pile nice and tidy.

Whole 4 yards finished folding. Isn't it pretty!

When I plopped it on it's side everything lined up beautifully and the stack was very neat looking.

This folding process took several hours to do. So I'd recommend doing it without the kids around. It wasn't a perfect job, but I hope the dye will still look decent on it after all the work. Because this is so picture heavy, I am breaking the dye process into another post. The fabric is sitting with dye as I write, and the second half to this tutorial will follow as soon as I am done rinsing it off. :)

I am participating in a link party here.

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