Sunday, August 29, 2010

cool days, good days

What a difference a few degrees makes, and how very much more productive activity is possible. Enameling is bearable when the temperature is lower. The kiln has been in use most of the weekend, and the two much belated projects are well underway.

One of them is a remake of a double-sided medallion that is lost somewhere in the studio, and rather than create more chaos by taking my storage boxes and drawers entirely apart, it just made more sense to re-do the project. (When the Good Folk bring it back again, it can become a bit of backstock, though probably be re-set as two separate medallions).
(adding another layer
of background enamel)
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Some scraps of Ikea fabric are now a tidy tote for clothespins, and the gifted wire hanger turned out to be plastic coated, which is ideal for such a use. There are so many small things that can be scavenged or created that make chores just a little easier. Instead of carrying the clothespins around in a basket, which meant constantly setting it down and picking it up while walking up and down the clothesline, now the pins can slide along just ahead of where they are needed - much better!
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Yesterday, a lunch break was a chance to visit with C, which was a most enjoyable treat. We ended up walking to Thai Ginger on Rosa Parks, and had a very tasty lunch. While I get quite a bit of exercise walking and riding my bike to run errands, I'd forgotten how very pleasant it is to just walk with a friend.
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Betwixt and between all this, there has not been much more preparation happening here for Self Stitched September. My mother sent a big box of fabric, most of which is a BIG piece of interesting wool in a large herringbone weave, that will be a good option for a coat, if IF it can be overdyed with blue. Wouldn't it be nifty to have a charcoal and blue tweed coat! (fabric is currently charcoal with brown and tan and cream herringbone)

Normally I have no difficulty with overdyeing fabric, but this is about five yards of 60" wide wool. There are no pots or pans here at Acorn Cottage big enough for this project, and acid dyes work much better need to be done as a hot water dyebath. Given the condition of the Acorn Cottage bathtub, if it gets used for a dye vat, it will be blue forevermore. Anyone out there have experience/suggestions about dyeing such a big piece of fabric?
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Though soon it will be cool enough for knitting to return as a take-along handwork project, currently embroidery is filling that niche. There are at least five more jumpers planned for autumn sewing, and one will be narrow wale grey corduroy. My original intention was to use black corduroy for the edge binding and some narrow stripes just above the hemline. This contest inspired me to add an embroidered component as well. Andrea's embroidery designs are pleasingly quirky, and it was difficult to choose which one to add to my jumper. Though tempted by this caterpillar, I chose this bird on a branch instead, and a variety of subtle almost-grey floss in various colors.
(partially completed couched outline,
some of the paper already removed)

My usual methods of transferring designs work poorly on corduroy. What did work, oddly enough, was to simply print out the design, at a size that was appropriate, baste the paper, to the fabric, and stitch right through the paper. Once that is completed, it is pretty easy to tear away the paper, though fine pointed tweezers helped with some of the small bits stuck between where two stitches were close together. Once the outline is finished, comes the fun of "coloring it in" with fill stitches. Hmmm... satin stitch?, bayeaux tapestry stitch?, long and short stitch?...
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This week is time to put together a schedule for the enameling and metalwork classes this autumn, so as to have a schedule in hand for Art In the Pearl. My intention is to offer at least one class a month... any special requests?

1 comment:

  1. I've dyed large amounts of wool fabric in the washing machine. It helps immensely to cut the fabric into smaller pieces first. You could roughly lay out your coat pattern on the fabric and cut lengths that will fit the pattern, allowing some extra for shrinkage. For a more even dye job, you may consider doing two batches (so it's not all crammed in the washer), measuring the dye and everything very carefully in the hopes that they would end up the same color (or at least close enough).
    I generally prefer my wool fabric to be slightly felted, so I don't mind a bit of agitation, but if you want to minimize the felting, fill the machine with water,add dye & agitate to mix, then add the wetted fabric, and agitate only enough to submerge the fabric (or even use gloved hands to push it down and skip the agitation. Then just let it sit and soak in the washer til done, stirring now and again the way you normally would. Turn the dial to "spin" to spin out the dye. Remove the fabric, refill washer with same temp. water, soak fabric again, spin. Be sure to remove the fabric immediately after spinning or wrinkles may result. I usually then will wash something like towels or work clothes in the washer, but one could also just run an empty load with some bleach to clean the washer. I've never had problems with the dye residue staining subsequent loads of laundry, and occasional dyeing hasn't permanently stained my washer.

    BTW, thanks for showing your embroidery method with the paper; I've read about that method and wondered if it would be too hard to tear out the paper in the end, but it seems to work okay!