Experiment time

Last summer at Blue Lake the print teacher let us play in her studio one afternoon. I had the idea of combining paper and fabric prints so I made some of both.

It turns out that we were using water soluble ink, so the fabric prints would not be washable. Bummer! Today I decided to try and make them more permanent.

Mat gel medium, rolled out on a plastic sheet (usually pick these up as cutting mats from a dollar store)–one was a very thin layer and the pic shows the thickest layer.

The next step was the hardest–lay the fabric face down and wait for it to dry!

I was a little impatient and pulled the first one, the one with the thinnest layer of medium, while it did still feel a bit damp. Not good!

Pulled the ink off the fabric and left it on the plastic. The other prints came off very nicely, but the gel medium gives them that nice plastic finish that I’m not crazy about.

Next experiment–iron, wrinkle, iron again…some of the wrinkle lines remain, even though the back looks perfectly flat. Not a problem for me, since I will want the texture when I use these.

Now the original question–will this make the inks permanent? No, it does not!

A lot of the color came out with just a quick rinse and the medium got kind of flaky. It laid down smoothly again after another ironing. Also, I used the piece that was not completely coated…again, I’m a mixed texture lover, so none of this is a disaster to me. Simply additional texture.

My last experiment was to lay one of the prints ‘plastic’ side down and get it wet to see what would happen. Aaaand………the ink would have rinsed out if I had done this in a sink. As it was, the ink pooled and moved but remained and the print still has good color. (No pic, sorry.)

I decided that I did not want to bother putting medium on both sides of the prints. That would have made them very, very plastic-y and having it on the right side of the fabric is enough to protect it from casual water drips during or after construction use.

The next step will be to sew with it, but that will have to wait for another day! I love ‘what if’ days!



Next design decision–

First, though, here is a picture of my happy place finished piece. It even has a sleeve and label on it, so it’s all ready to roll.

I probably should give it a title of My Happy Place, but it says it’s real name is Whereabouts.

The next project is the start of a series, I’m sure. I thought I talked about this here, but maybe not. I have a couple of Adirondack chairs that I just love. I kept them stained for quite a number of years, but I finally ended up painting them with bright, bright lime green paint. Over the years I’ve taken a few photos of them and now I want to translate those into fabric.

First step was printing on a transparency.

Then project and trace at the size desired.

And now I’m trying to decide which fabric direction in which to travel on this first piece.

The design will rely primarily on the stitching and I want to use a sheer-ish fabric. I have some lovely cotton organza

in a soft green, and not pictured, poly organza in a light green and an olive green.

And then I thought about all those strips of fused organza that I have used in a couple of other pieces. Could I–should I–make the chair fabric out of those?

Still not sure, but the background might be a bit too busy for this application.

What I think I will do is make them both and try them out. I certainly do plan on making more in this series, though not necessarily two of the exact same chair view. What is playtime all about, if not to play and try out options!

Fun ahead in my future!

Discharge paste

I have tried to experiment with discharge paste before and was not too impressed with my results. My latest dye results were not my best either, so I thought I’d play with both. Nothing to lose, right?

The piece of fabric I used started as a black and white print. I did a single color deconstructed screen print over it and it came out very, very dark. I neglected to take a photo of the original!

I used stencils and discharge paste right out of the bottle and got a little bit of lightening of the darkest area.

I looked over the directions again and honed in on the possibility of adding water to the paste so that it was absorbed more into the fabric. Which I did and here are the results, in the same area of the fabric.

See any noticeable difference? I sure don’t! The discharge paste DID work on the fabric in many areas. Enough to make this an interesting piece of fabric.

I have another piece of fabric that I really, really did not like and I watered the paste down even more. After it dries, I’ll see if the paste had more of an effect than on this one, but overall, I don’t think that discharge paste is worth the effort for me! One more item I can clean out of my studio and pass on to someone else.

So now it’s back to working on items for my Artisan Showcase. I know I need to make some Christmas items. They were popular last time, but I’m not thrilled with making Christmas things. I opened up the drawer that I shoved all my Christmas stuff into and found this————-

A whole bunch of started items that only need some embellishment. Hooray! I feel like I’m almost done already now! Ready–set–go!

Dye distraction

Yesterday was a fun day. I took a class in actual tie dye shape making. I’ve looked at videos about this but never really understood how shapes were made. Now I feel like I’m starting to “get” it.

However, I’m trying not to get distracted by yet more experiments when I have so much other stuff that I want to get finished. Here are some quick pics as I rinse my pieces.

Even the first rinse with a hose makes a colorful photo!

Basic mandala shape, and after rinse and dry.

Geometrics–Stayed very bright orange but all the black went away.

Don’t know what dye I was using…I just used what was already made up, so it’s pretty clear it wasn’t what I thought!

Kind of a flower–and this one got real pale, but it’s kinda pretty!

I know there is a lot more to be learned and practiced, but¬† I’m going to put them away for another day!

Finish is the name of the game right now!!



Blue Lake is an absolutely beautiful campus. So peaceful and serene–before 1000 kids are here!

This is my view from the Fiber Art Studio back porch….

Which I am more in love with every year. And today they cleared off a few more scrub trees and more of that is planned for the fall! Beautiful.

Some of the kids have the first part of their project ready to use.

And you know that I love to dye fabric………..

Tomorrow, real sewing and embroidery. It’s hard when you are a beginner, but these kids are troopers! They will get it!


Creating fabric with…magic!

At least it seems magical to me to use water-soluble stabilizer for the creation of new and unique fabric. I gave a quick demo about it at quilt guild and was asked to write a blog with a few more details, so I’m gathering together a few of the blogs I’ve written about it. I’ll post this here and on the guild blog as well.

There are quite a few methods and variables, but the basics are simple…

lay down a base of stabilizer–I have used Solvy brand, in a heavy weight and a lighter weight and had success with both.

add threads, fabric bits, yarns, etc. over it

cover with another layer of stabilizer

pin, pin, pin and stitch over the top to hold it all together

aaaaand stitch, stitch, stitch

keep stitching….

wash away the stabilizer and use the fabric you have made!!!

Variations are infinite and I’ve gone into more detail on several projects on which I have worked. Here and here.

I had a great time making these large, funky flowers, using a flat background with a fusible interfacing base. The links to those how-to’s start with this one and continue here .

There are more variations and instructions while I was working on this project also.

I don’t have everything all neatly gathered in one place, since I don’t write blogs with the idea of a specific technique tutorial. I jump from project to project and write about what I’m doing as I’m doing it! The links posted here should give you a good idea of how this magic water soluble works. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I’m happy to share anything I’ve learned while playing this way.

Oh, sweet lavender…

We decided to go to a nearby lavender festival this past weekend. Would never have dreamed that there would be a traffic backup! On a long stretch of country road with no cross roads or turn offs. And a fender bender. And another disabled vehicle. Couldn’t hardly¬† move forward and the police and tow trucks had us blocked the other way, so we simply gathered our patience and waited our turn to get into the festival.

The aroma was noticeable the moment we stepped out of the car. Look at these full, beautiful bushes!

And we finally arrived just in time for the lecture and demo I had wanted to hear, so it was all good. I learned about French and English lavender and planting and pruning, and when to call it a day and pull out the plant!

I never knew it was such a “thing” to have your photo taken in a field of lavender, but there were lots of little girls in fancy dresses becoming very pretty pictures!

I did not take too many pics but I sniffed in that delicious aroma a lot! There were vendors and oils and jams and sachets……………I successfully resisted.

It made me very happy to see lots of bees around the plants, too.

Interestingly enough, they were plentiful around those big, full bushes, but where the ones were not as full, I did not see any bees. I guess they know where to get a good meal.

There is a lavender labyrinth near Blue Lake that we visited last year and that inspired the desire to visit this festival. I really never knew how much I loved this fragrant plant until I had a bush of my own. Now I am almost obsessed…I will be making room for more plants in my garden! Perhaps now I can actually keep more of them alive!