28 February 2011

Chapter 7 - Traditional Piecing Methods

Made several designs in paper (the "a" images on the left below).

Then tried them in fabric (the "b" images on the right below.)

7.1 Log cabin paper design with black and printed papers
(with a little help from my cat - the colors of this Module harmonize rather well with her coat ;-)

7.2a Log cabin paper designs (left); 
7.2b designs in fabric (right)

7.3a Log cabin paper designs (left); 
7.3b in fabric (right)

7.4 Black, white paper strips and smaller strips, cut and rearranged

7.5 Printed and black, white paper strips

7.6 Strips from 7.5 above rearranged

7.7a Second attempt at printed and black paper strips (left); 
7.7b and in fabric (right)

7.8 Strips from 7.7 above rearranged...

7.9 and rearranged again...

7.10 and again...

7.11a cut, and rearranged a final time 
in paper (left);
 7.11b in fabric (right)

7.12 Two strips, cut and sewn together...

7.13 Added white and striped strips to the top strip in 7.12, 
cut, arranged and sewn together...

7.14 Final piece with black and white border 

7.15 Just playing

In 7.15 above, after making another section like the top sample in 7.12 above, I cut the pieces at an angle, and then turned alternate pieces over, revealing the seams, before sewing into this construction.

I then took four new pieces of printed, bought patterned and white fabrics. Using the ideas we tried in Chapter 3 (Machine Stitchery), I sewed a giraffe-like pattern onto one of the darker materials, and a starburst zigzag pattern onto a lighter. It's kind of hard to see in the photo below (7.16), but I think it adds a little something to the pieces to make them more interesting.

7.16 Cut, rearranged and sewn once...

7.17 ... and cut once again, 
this time at angles, 
repositioned and sewn together

Ooh, this is fun! Let's do some more...

7.18a Another Log Cabin pattern 
in paper (left);
7.18b and in fabric (right)

In 7.18b above, I used smaller inserts of seminole patterns within the Log Cabin method.

7.19a Another pattern of the 
seminole method in paper (left);
7.19b the same pattern in fabric (right)

In 7.19a above, I used photocopied samples of my dyed fabrics (THANK YOU, Sian, for the great suggestion!). Then, when I went to do it in fabric, it helped me a great deal to figure out which sides needed to be sewn together. I read Chapter 8 and decided to play. I happened to have some scraps from earlier pieces above, and put one - a kind of knit fabric -  in between when sewing the seam. When I frayed it, it ended up looking like the mane on a zebra when viewed against the wide stripes of the fabric pieces (7.19b). Serendipity! (Also used the back side of a tiger pattern bought fabric which made it more subtle.)

7.20 Close-up of seams of 7.19b above

7.21a Final practice piece in paper (left);
7.21b and in fabric (right)

In 7.21a above, again, I used photocopies of painted and dyed fabrics, making first the long strips in seminole method, cutting, rearranging, re-gluing. Then, in 7.21b, I used the same fabrics and inserted bits of other fabrics, yarn, and even some of the threads I had pulled out of the "zebra" piece above to sew in at the seams.

7.22 The two pieces together

Lessons learned:

  • I am not a seamstress. For me, it's rather SEAM  STRESS. I really had trouble with the top and bottom samples in 7.2b and 7.3b. Just couldn't get them to end up with straight rows that ended together. I am in awe of the person who produced the samples in the course book. 


Oh, well, forge ahead.

And forging ahead, I found that these processes were a lot of fun! (As long as you don't need to sew too straight.)

  • Save little pieces of fabric. You never know when they might come in handy. Happily, this follows the rule of conserving resources and recycling.
  • Don't cut the fabric too small. If you do, you either have to sew very teeny tiny seams which then fall apart, or the piece gets lost between larger pieces.
  • The mantra is "It's okay to play. It's okay to play..."

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Total hours Chapter 7:  17.5 (but had a lot of fun!)

15 February 2011

Chapter 6 -Patterning Fabrics with Dyes and Paints

Collected an array of patterned fabrics (6.1).

6.1 Patterned fabric selection

First, to get the idea of how this process works, I cut some smallish pieces out of a large white fabric piece that had been pre-washed and dried. I then sewed straight lines through one folded piece and rolled it up tight. With another, I just twisted it and tied it up in a ball. The third I sewed a line in a circle and pulled it tight.

I then used Setacolor, painting it on, then, using a spray bottle with water, sprayed the tied-up fabric from the outside so that the color would run. One of the pieces was already damp when I tied it up.

 6.2 Practice piece

6.2 was a good experiment which I took further when using regular dye ( 6.9 & 6.15 below).

6.3 Practice piece

6.4 Practice piece - arashi

 The arashi pattern (6.4) seems clearest. Didn't have pipe, so wrapped a paper towel inner tube in plastic, taped. Worked fine for painting on (would probably disintegrate if dipped in dye, though). I guess it's close to elephant skin.

6.5 Practice piece

6.6 Practice piece

The others are softer tones and don't much relate to any of the animals patterns I have, but...

Then went on to attempt to dye something (for the first time in my life!). Cut about 20 A4-sized pieces from the white fabric. Tied, folded, sewed, scrunched, and otherwise readied about 12 pieces, and 3 for plain black.

Here is how I prepared each one (6.7):

6.7 Outline of how each piece was prepared

Mixed the "cold" dye and salt/soda solutions (cold water dye kit) and set the prepared pieces to sit in the dye...

After the pieces were dry, started taking out the stitching.......

The results ranges from totally expected to pleasantly surprised.

6.8  Piece "A"

Although it took a long time to get the stitching out of piece "A", I like the effect (6.8). I guess it's typically tie-dyed, but from farther away, it does sort of resemble a spider web.

6.9 Piece "B"

Piece "B" was a delightful surprise. Stitching horizontally allowed the dye to go through the holes made by the needle so that there are tiny dots throughout the piece. It's sort of a zebra pattern with a negative image of the white "dots" from the jay's wing surperimposed (6.9).

6.10 Piece "C"
Piece "C" was aimed at the pattern of the Puffer Fish, but as it turns out, if you look at it from a distance, there are parts that are a little girraffey-like ;-)

6.11 Piece "D"
 Piece "D", here shown as two pieces that were rolled up with a piece of bubble wrap in between them (6.11), was intended to show a giraffe pattern because of the way I cut the plastic wrap. Instead, it more resembles some sort of reptile - toad skin, a salamander or something like that.
6.12 Piece "E"

6.13 Piece "G"

Piece "G" was the most accurate of all (6.13). The effect mimicking a bird's wing was quite successful and striking.

6.14 Piece "H"

In a similar fashion, I used the paper towel tube to create an arashi piece, but took it off and tied it up before dyeing. An interesting effect (6.14), elephant skin?

6.15 Piece "I"

I think "I" (6.15) could also be interpreted as a kind of series of bird feathers.
6.16 Piece "J"
The pattern formed in "J" is most reminiscent of snake skin. If you look closely, you can make out the scales! It was a lot of work, though, taking the stitches out ;-)

Lessons Learned:
+ Tie it as tight as possible unless you want it to bleed through a lot.
+ Don't leave them in the dye forever. If I had it to do again, I'd take it out before the 2.5 hours like it said on the product instructions (not clear in Japanese!) in order to have some lighter pieces as well.
+ Stitching on the machine takes a long time to de-stitch. Choose your stitching carefully before you take anything to the machine.
+ Keep careful track of where you put things. I know I made a Piece "F", but for the life of me I cannot find it!!!! Mystery.....


With the remaining 4 pieces, I set up the monoprinting tabletop plastic, Setacolor paint, and cut out some new tools. Here are the results:

6.17 Monoprint sample

6.17 is an interesting pattern - it reminds me of the feathers of a crane or other large bird - ostrich?

6.18 Monoprint sample 

6.19 Monoprint sample 
 6.19 is also a bit like reptile skin or some kind of scales. Love this one! And it looks VERY different on this blog than it does here on my table. In this picture, it's almost like wooden roof shingles (and part of the roof is in water at the bottom!).

6.19 Monoprint sample 

6.20 Monoprint sample 
6.20 was watered-down paint - the dregs. But some interesting things happened. Sharp and melted shapes.

Have my fabrics. Ready for the next step!

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Total hours Chapter 6:  8.5


Here's the "F" that I lost. Found it today out in front of the house where I'd drained the dye rinse water as we don't have anywhere to drain things like that. It must have fallen out of the bucket! It's similar to Piece "B" above, but has a wider stripes and a little more definition. Could be a feathers from a very ragged bird.

6.21 Piece "F"