Category Archives: Fabric Printing

Another Use For Silk

A member of my art quilt group clued me in to yet another way to use silk fabrics, especially men’s ties. She found a tutorial by Linda Heines, who uses neck ties to dye silk scarves. The key is to use all silk.

I had to try this technique as I had old ties and various silk scraps. Linda arranges her materials carefully to create attractive scarves. Since I wasn’t making scarves I got a bit experimental with my combinations.

The technique is easy. You layer your ties/scraps on a piece of silk, such as a scarf, and wrap it all around a dowel to make a tube. After securing the tube with string, rubber bands, etc., you remove the dowel and boil the tube in a big pot (not used for food) for 25 to 30 minutes. Linda adds vinegar to the water, but I tried boiling with and without it, and didn’t see any difference. Maybe it helps the silk retain the color.

After your bundle cools, unwrap it and see what you got. Here’s what I got.

For me the big advantage of this technique is I already have all the needed materials. Also, there’s no dye to rinse out. I rinsed all the fabrics once they were boiled and had little bleeding. The big disadvantage is it’s hard to control your results. If you’re willing to live with whatever you get, then you may enjoy trying it.

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I Crave Color

Winter finally got around to northeast Ohio and has been busy dumping lots of snow and wildly gyrating temperatures on us Buckeyes. One day it’s 40 degrees; the next it’s 10 degrees. My nonessential activities shrink in such weather, so I devote myself to adding color to bits of fabric.

So far I’ve used Marabu fashion spray paints and Jacquard textile paints, but hope to take on Dye-na-flow paints and a gelli plate as well. My base fabrics, none larger than a fat quarter, were previous failures and some vintage linens. With the exception of one stamp, I used stencils to create my designs this go-round. Most of my stencils are from Stencil Girl, which offers a large selection of all sorts and sizes. (No paid promotion, just my opinion.)

Large leaf stencil applied with Jacquard and spray paint on top of painted dye failure.

Marabu spray paint over thermofaxed linen

Marabu spray paint on stencil over dye print

Vintage linen stamped with sprayed on paint
Two colors of Jacquard paint through stencil over thermofaxed damask
Spray paint through lace curtain and stencil over commercial fabric

Spray paint and Jacquard paint through stencil over silk

As you can see, some of my experiments have splotches. Spray paint is hard to control and can drip. I’m not showing other attempts that either were good for nothing but the trash or need more layers. Now I need to figure out how to use my creations. Of course, I could always have them printed out and make yardage from them.

Linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

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Filed under Fabric Printing, In Process

The Fabric Lab Is Open

Summer used to be a time to await the Good Humor ice cream truck and scrape Japanese beetles off rose bushes into milk bottles. (Yes, I’m that old.) Now it’s a time to use fabric coloring products that are messy and need good ventilation, which means an open garage.

So far this summer I’ve used up last summer’s old dyes (stored in the beer refrigerator,) made spray paint with Inktense color blocks, and used place mats as stencils. Some things went right and others went wrong. You just don’t know until you do the work.

The dyeing results were unexpected, as I confused my jars of alum and soda ash, and soaked my fabrics in alum. So, the results were rather pastel though I was using red. In fact, the only vivid colors were on silk and my hands. I should note I was overdyeing fabric.

Videos of different ways to use Derwent Inktense blocks inspired me to experiment. First, I used this video to make spray paint with shavings of the blocks shaken up with water. Using a plastic place mat as my stencil, I sprayed with two colors onto Pellon 830.

Then, I used the spray paint covered place mat to stamp onto another piece of the non-woven fabric. The runniness in some areas was caused by my attempt to see if matte gel medium would darken the colors. It didn’t, but it did make the color run.

Through related Inktense links I found a video for inking stamps with the blocks. Actually, you wet a side of a block with water and rub it over the stamp. As you can see, some colors worked better than others on fabric scraps. The bit on the left is another Inktense spray experiment.

Finally, I tried out what Target called a charger as a stencil. It seems to be made of plastic coated cord that’s woven into a circle.

I used a Marabu fabric spray paint in brown and leftover Ranger spray inks. As you can see, I found the sprays were a bit clogged and I didn’t get a consistent spray on the Pellon non-woven fabric.

I also sprayed onto silk scraps and some kind of semi-sheer curtain fabric. Here the fabrics made the colors bleed, while the nonwoven fabric just sucked them up. And that’s why you experiment before the actual project.

My last fabric lab project will be monoprinting, I hope. I have the supplies, but need to find the right combination of weather and time.

I’ve linked this post to Off-the-Wall Fridays.

 

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Fun With the Sun

Cyanotypes, which are actually photographs, are yet another way to create designs on fabric. A cyanotype “is a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print. Engineers used the process well into the 20th century as a simple and low-cost process to produce copies of drawings, referred to as blueprints. The process uses two chemicals: ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide.”

You can coat fabric with those chemicals yourself or you can buy fabric already coated. After that, the process is the same. You choose materials you want to photograph and lay them on the treated fabric.

Then, you cover them with glass or some other clear object to hold the materials in place and expose the fabric to the sun for 10 to 15 minutes.

After you bring the fabric inside you remove the materials and rinse the fabric in water. Then you admire your results.

I had bought a packet of assorted color pretreated cyanotype fabric squares with a gift certificate from Dharma Trading, and was waiting for sunshine and warm weather. When those events aligned I set up my work area on the roof of my screen porch.  Why the roof? Because I can access it through a door from my bedroom. I suppose the people we bought our house from had visions of night star gazing, but it’s three stories up from the driveway and the railing isn’t very high. Also, wasps love to build nests on the railing. So I was happy to find a use for that roof.

I was pleased with my results, and have found many breathtaking examples of this technique online. How about this delicate piece by Linda Sterner?

I have no idea what I’ll make with my crocheted pieces, but I still have eight more treated fabric squares to play with.

 

 

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It’s All About The Surface

Over the years I’ve accumulated a pile of fabrics I’ve created with paints, stencils, dyes, and other surface design techniques. Since I didn’t feel up to deep thought projects but wanted to make something after my surgery, I sorted that pile and cut up much of it into 5 inch squares. Then, I arranged the squares that seemed to go together into more or less traditional designs.

The resulting tops are totally about texture and color. I meant no discernible message. Each is about 41 inches square and has a border (gasp.)

“All Decked Out” is a trip around the world design made with fabric I designed or dyed, with one exception. The center is a paintstik rubbing of a glass salad plate, accented with embroidery. The surrounding squares are either Marcia Derse fabric (the darker fabric) or sun printed with a crocheted doily. The blue and white squares are from a silk screening class, while the multicolored squares suffered through four processes – dyeing, fabric collage, cheesecloth overlay, and stenciling. The dark and light rose squares are hand dyed, while the blue and white border fabric is from a photo of my deck I manipulated and printed through Spoonflower.

“Sur La Table” is made mostly from tablecloths I painted and dyed.  (Finally a use for high school French.) The yellow is damask that’s been printed with leaves, while the orange is a drop cloth I enhanced. The green strips are from a gradation and the outer border is linen I dyed. The diagonal strips are bias tape I made and some cording. The squares on the end of the green units are made from fabric I painted and stenciled. The thin green strip inside the border is Grunge fabric, the only fabric I didn’t mess around with.

I thought I’d do quick and dirty quilting on these, but already that isn’t going to plan. A group I belong to had lots of complicated ideas for quilting “All Decked Out.” Of course the ideas are much better than what I had envisioned, but also more work.

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Filed under dyeing, Fabric Printing, In Process, Techniques

Bound To Finish

Recuperation is great for mindless sewing tasks such as sewing on quilt bindings. I actually got two largish quilts done since my surgery – Damask and Denim and Trip Around Columbus. It helped that the bindings were already made, so I just had to machine, then hand stitch them.

I quilted most of Damask and Denim (44 by 55 inches) with a golden yellow cotton thread, though I used a pale blue in the diamond interiors. The binding is a soft gray small print.

Trip Around Columbus was made from an Art Gallery pattern, and features many fabrics I made in a painted dye workshop. I had it quilted by a longarm quilter as the size (55 inches square) was just too large for me to deal with, especially after Damask and Denim. It’s bound with what I think is home dec fabric that was given to me. I also used some of it as part of the backing.

You can see how it crinkled up after washing and drying. I used a bamboo batting.

I have heaved a sigh of relief that these large projects are done, though they are no longer my excuses for postponing a piece that will require a lot of thinking and planning. It’s to be a map quilt of the Ohio and Erie Canal near my house. I’ve found archival photos that I hope to print on fabric. Right now I’m worrying over how best to do that, and have ordered supplies for different approaches – transfer printing and direct printing on fabric. I’m even considering a new printer, though I spent yesterday agonizing over reviews of various options. Some reviewers have had horrible experiences, which I’d prefer to avoid. If you have any recommendations, let me know.

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Filed under Completed Projects, Fabric Printing

Playing With Spoonflower

One of the reasons I took all those photos in 2017 was to build up a stock of images I could manipulate and print out on fabric. I got an early start in December when I succumbed to a special offer from Spoonflower and tried out their fill-a-yard offering.

Last summer I got carried away and took lots of German expressionist shots of our newly painted deck.

I downloaded them to my Spoonflower account and started playing with different arrangements. You can arrange your image to print several ways: just by itself, in rows, in what’s called half brick staggered rows, and in mirror image. You can also change the colors in your photo (both the number of colors and hues) and do some editing of your photo via PicMonkey. So, prepare to waste spend lots of time jiggering with your images before you even decide on a layout.

For my order I decided to use the fill-a-yard option to print half yards of four photos, two per yard. I chose cotton sateen because I love its silky hand. Yes, it costs more ($27/yard) than basic cotton or Kona but it’s wider (56 inches) and hey, I’m worth it.  You do get a bit of a discount if you’re the fabric designer.

I had Spoonflower print two of the deck photos, plus a shot of icicles on my neighbor’s downspout and a sun print I had made. My slightly manipulated photos are below. I changed them even more in Spoonflower.

For all of them I chose the mirror image layout as I love the kaleidoscope effects that can give. Did I mention you should set aside large amounts of time to play with all the possibilities?

It took 12 days from Spoonflower’s acknowledgement of my order to shipping, then a few more days for my order to arrive. You can speed up an order a bit by paying more for shipping, but don’t expect to get your finished fabric a day or so after ordering it.

How did my fabric look? (Please ignore the wrinkles)

 

 

I’ve washed and ironed my fabrics per Spoonflower’s recommendation. The color catcher I put in the wash showed almost no bleeding, despite the dark colors.

There are other fabric printing options available in addition to Spoonflower. Check out this article by the Pixeladies for their review of three services.

 

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