Saturday, April 30, 2016

obsession



in which our plucky heroine declaims "I can stop at any time..."

Narrow trim bands all in a row (waiting on the ironing board for their turn to be heat set). I wanted to see how the various motifs looked on different colors of fabric; it is hard to choose which is my favorite...

I might have to try this again with a few different colorways, and I am going to rummage through my fabric stash to see if I have any nice thin finely woven linen or silk to print on, as my experiments so far make it clear that high thread count fabric is the best for nice clear printing

Three color block printed trim, 1/2" wide - black, russet, and metallic gold. I used the new tiny blocks in combination to create this, and the flat tip of a chopstick to print the golden dots

I initially tried printing with the tiny motifs in all golden yellow on the blue linen, but that looked too monotone. Adding pearl dots and reprinting the stars in russet really enlivened it.
I plan on using this set of sample trim to decorate young Aesa's wool gown. (I finished her gown at the beginning of April, it is fairly plain, being a brown twill wool, with the edges bound in a medium blue wool flannel, stitched down with golden yellow - this trim will add some pretty embellishment to the cuffs)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

printing fabric with great enthusiasm...


in which our plucky heroine blocks out some time for artwork....

Finished up a small project yesterday, for my own SCA garb refurbishment, since camping season will soon be here!...
Pale green silk, block printed in green, used as neckline trim. The printed silk, edges turned under, is stitched to a striped fabric strip, which is then stitched to the neckline edge of the linen undergown.

The trim, only 1/2" wide, with the blocks used to print the motif. Working at this small scale, I thought that using safe-t-cut would be easier than trying to carve linoleum so small...

:::

Today my pal Dayna came over to Acorn Cottage so we could work together printing the fabric for her salwar pants. First step was to chalk in a grid to place the motifs... (she had already cut out the pattern pieces) I ironed the fabric to locate a centerline and the section edges, and then we used a wide transparent ruler and "chaco-line" marker to create evenly spaced sections

The first pass, white Neopaque and pearl Lumiere mixed... we initially tried just the pearl Lumiere textile paint, but it was *too* subtle, mixing in a bit of opaque white helped it contrast well with the purple linen

Also discovered that the pearl Lumiere paint does not work at all well with the DIY paint stamp pad technique. The mica powder, or whatever is used for the pearlised effect, impedes capillary action and clumps up below the felt. I am going to test whether the metallic Lumiere does the same thing. Fortunately I had a brayer and a piece of plexiglass, so we switched to applying the textile paint to the block that way instead...


The second pass on Dayna's salwar fabric was using the tiny geometric block, printed using a mixture of pale purple and violet irridescent fabric paint, for a subtle color variation. Printing the two pieces of fabric for the salwar pants legs took us about three hours.

There was some of the paint leftover, so I decided to try out my confronted horses block... I think it prints fairly well! Still need to carve an outer ring block to use with it. The motif is inspired by this 8th/9th C woven silk textile fragment

:::

April SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter painting sink repair yard waste bin
2 window panel rack re-hem Maeva gowns yard waste bin
3 Æsa gown mend brown pinafore -
4 3 Maeva gowns add trim Farbjorn tunic -
5 2 SR pillow covers framed 2 prints -
6 Farbjorn tunic add green silk trim
to shot linen undergown
-
7 Farbjorn embroidery - -
8 Thora embroidery - -
9 block printed trim - -
10 printed Dayna fabric - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Monday, April 25, 2016

blue Monday


Our plucky heroine had a random and mostly sort of lonesome weekend, reminding me that the responsibility of my solitary state lies squarely on my own shoulders. Somehow, the punctuation of a few hours of social time with friends, bracketing days without any at all is not adequate, but I have yet to solve this conunudrum. Still, there was assorted progress made on various necessary activities...

A good start on the next sewing commission, framing the two prints from the Letterpress Fair, a lot of housekeeping activity (including excavating Mt Dishmore down to the bedrock), and some walking and bike riding tucked in between the at-last-suitable rain and wind of April, which we have had nowhere near enough of. I suspect that my corner neighbors would disagree with that, since the storm broke the venerable (and now seen to be hollow) apple tree in their front yard. A third of the tree snapped off, fortunately missing both their house and the power lines, and entirely blocking the sidewalk with a chunk of tree and branches fifteen feet tall.
:::


"When Raven stole the Moon"
:::

Just a few smaller blocks carved this weekend, tiny ones not even an inch across, that I used to print some narrow strips of silk to mend and trim my green herringbone linen undergown. Soon it will be camping season, and while I have been busily making Blue Cedar House clothing, it would be a good idea for my own SCA wardrobe to get mended and refurbished, since most of those garments are close to twenty years old and rather threadbare in spots. One goal I have is to eventually print fabric inspired by Osberg silk samite fragments, and use that fabric as trim for new garb...
:::

April SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter painting sink repair yard waste bin
2 window panel rack re-hem Maeva gowns yard waste bin
3 Æsa gown mend brown pinafore -
4 3 Maeva gowns add trim Farbjorn tunic -
5 2 SR pillow covers framed 2 prints -
6 Farbjorn tunic - -
7 Farbjorn embroidery - -
8 Thora embroidery - -
9 block printed trim - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Friday, April 22, 2016

Çintamani, Chihiro, and other Friday fragments...



in which our plucky heroine receives a surprise...

I was delighted at such a lovely gift from Ariadne! A print of Haku and Chihiro from Spirited Away, as interpreted by the talented artists at Ukiyo-e Heroes:
It is fascinating to watch the videos of the process used to create these and of the collaboration between artist designer and artist printmaker
:::

Wednesday I started carving a çintamani border motif on one of the smaller pieces of grey lino, which turned out less amenable than the tan lino (apparently requires very careful use of pressure) The tips on the wavy "tiger stripes" underneath the circular design accidentally broke away.

Decided to simply remove the stripes from this block, and carve them as separate motifs instead; having the various motifs as individual pieces will allow much greater freedom for printing assorted designs
Çintamani block proof - I was concerned that the narrow space between the central small dots and the larger outer dots would fill with ink, but it proved not an issue. It became apparent, however, that lowering the level of the carved away background in the upper corners would be a really good idea!
:::

My newest pinafore seemed to have been somehow acquired a torn hole in one panel, and since the fabric is a shot black/brown linen, it was a good thing I still had some scraps of the actual fabric left, since it would be Very Difficult to find anything else suitable for patching. I realise that sewing patches onto garments is a rather uncommon choice, but since the rest of the pinafore is practically brand new, it seems only sensible. Indeed, one of my criteria for choosing to retire a piece of clothing is how worn out the actual fabric is. Threadbare edges can sometimes be re-bound, but if the fabric itself is too weak to hold a patch, that is a sign to think about replacement rather than repair.
:::

The apron dress I made earlier this year for young Æsa was re-cut from a modern wool pinafore I'd made for Elizabeth a few years back, and the hemline is going to have a band of block printed embellishment in black on madder red, just like her father Farbjorn has on his tunic cuffs. It occurred to me that printing all the trim panels on one large piece of fabric, and then cutting them apart afterwards, would really allow me to avoid fraying edges on the linen. It has worked a like a charm, and I was able to run the fabric repeatedly through the serger, which will leave a neat finished edge to turn under and applique.

I also carved, very quickly using an exacto and a tiny scrap of safe-t-cut, a little geometric interstitial block to add decoration to the upper edge. I am obsessed, I admit it... have long been fascinated with printmaking, and seem to be dipping my toes into the concept, via textile decoration.

:::
April SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter painting sink repair yard waste bin
2 window panel rack re-hem Maeva gowns yard waste bin
3 Æsa gown mend brown pinafore -
4 Maeva gown - -
5 Maeva gown - -
6 Maeva gown - -
7 2 SR pillow covers - -
8 Farbjorn tunic - -
9 Farbjorn embroidery - -
10 Thora embroidery - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

more stamping


in which our plucky heroine continues to have fun...

These are the other set of blocks intended for decorating Blue Cedar House wool clothing. The motif is one I've seen on Viking Age carvings (and also and unexpectedly happens to match the design on their wedding rings!... as I found out when I showed them my initial sketches and got a delighted response) This was a much simpler block to carve, and I used some scraps of safe-t-cut I had... I wanted to make two blocks, mirror imaged, so as to allow for symmetrical designs when used as cuff trim, as well as several interesting variations when used for borders...

Two strips of cuff trim printed... realised on cuff #2 that areas not fully covered could, with a little care, be printed a second time to fill in the gaps. (cuff #1 is above, #2 below) I am going to carefully overprint #1 for better coverage.

Block-printed madder red linen and hand-dyed indigo linen trims: this is more or less the effect I am going for with Farbjorn's wool tunic cuffs... the printed trim fabrics need to wait 24 hours, and then have the designs be heat set, before the strips can be sewed in place.
:::

Have had a few additional ideas about block printing:

If printing on irregular shapes rather than on tidy rectangles, it occurs to me that I can simply trace out the pattern pieces needed but not cut them out until I am ready to use or apply them. Since I will be printing some curved hemline panels for Aesa's apron dress, it will be a lot easier to do this, and will keep the edges secure and unfrayed

The homemade fabric paint stamp pad is working really well so far. I am wondering if a slightly larger one would be possible, perhaps using a more rectangular container, should I be able to find one with a flat lid.

I am also hoping to eventually make some more complex and multicolor prints, that will be cut into narrower strips to more closely resemble the actual strips/fragments of silk samite that have been found in Viking Age graves
:::

Finished this embroidery for Thora today, whilst riding the Max and the bus to Beaverton and back home...  It matches the design I embroidered for her husband Farbjorn, but with a hand-dyed indigo linen backing instead of madder red. This will look quite pleasing, I think, on the front of her burgundy wool gown. (This sort of embroidery takes between a week to two or three weeks of interstitial time to complete)
:::

April SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter painting sink repair yard waste bin
2 window panel rack re-hem Maeva gowns yard waste bin
3 Æsa gown - -
4 Maeva gown - -
5 Maeva gown - -
6 Maeva gown - -
7 2 SR pillow covers - -
8 Farbjorn tunic - -
9 Farbjorn embroidery - -
10 Thora embroidery - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Monday, April 18, 2016

simple stamping


in which our plucky heroine becomes a bit of a block head...

My first attempt at printing one of my hand carved lino blocks: cuff bands to be applied to Farbjorn's tunic . Although... I can see where  the spaces between the upper and lower motifs are quite uneven... better next time, I hope!

Decided to try out using a homemade fabric paint stamp pad instead of rolling out the ink and applying it to the block using a brayer, and as you can see, it works a treat! Wouldn't be good for a large block, but for this 2"sq design, it is much faster than rolling out and transferring ink. I can see where I went off on the second row of motifs... next time, do not start at the very end, but with one motif *centered* between the upper ones. Now I do not feel quite so bad about dropping the block onto the other cuff band.

Because the design is congruent with the edges of the block, it makes registering the pattern fairly simple, just match up the corners. Any discontinuity is user error, as mentioned above.




Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday snippets


in which our plucky heroine fits assorted creativity in amongst the weekend chores...

Took a break today to head over to the 7th Annual Letterpress Printers Fair, one of the very few free Design Week Portland events. In addition to the vendor tables, there was an assortment of technique demonstrations, and while I was too short to see over the crowd watching the steamroller printing, I was there early enough to try out using the "proofing press" by hand.
This charming design was set up, and each visitor was able to choose a color of ink, roll it onto the block using a brayer, and then roll the press over the paper to create the printed souvenir to take home. I think this little red bear will be a great addition to the artwork in the kitchen here at Acorn Cottage
:::

Made considerable progress on the embroidery for Thora yesterday. I love how the texture of the Bayeaux tapestry stitch, filling in the blue cedar tree, reminds me of a sort of abstract foliage. It is easy to roll up small decorative pieces like this to carry along in my bag while riding transit, and two or three long transit days will see this completed.

Yesterday I rode the Orange Line for the first time, all the long way to the end in Milwaukie, where my friends Sam and Bob live about four blocks from the station. While at the sewing afternoon, I worked on hemming lower edge binding on the wool tunic for Farbjorn, which took several hours; large garment work isn't really suitable for "transit stitchery", and Farbjorn being quite tall, his tunic is commensurately rather long. The blue cedar tree is the badge for Blue Cedar House, hence my conceit of using it to decorate both their warm wool garments, albeit in slightly varying colors...
While this tunic is now a wearable garment, with all the edges bound in madder red wool flannel, my intention is to also add some additional decoration at the cuffs and over the shoulder seams, similar to where I decorated one of his linen tunics, but to use strips cut from block printed fabric, done in black on red. There were decorations found on some Viking Age garment fragments that were made from narrow strips cut from silk samite, and my idea is to use the block printed fabric as a sort of stand-in for the silk, since samite in suitable motif patterning* is basically unavailable nowadays.
:::

April SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter painting sink repair yard waste bin
2 window panel rack re-hem Maeva gowns yard waste bin
3 Æsa gown - -
4 Maeva gown - -
5 Maeva gown - -
6 Maeva gown - -
7 2 SR pillow covers - -
8 Farbjorn tunic - -
9 Farbjorn embroidery - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

*some people use brocade fabrics as a substitute, and while the weave is similar, the motifs, often either "oriental" or "ecclesiastical" are not.

Friday, April 15, 2016

floral Friday


in which our plucky heroine is aesthetically pleased...

This time of year the flowers in the front border are a lovely collection of shapes and colors... there are a few of these black tulips; they were mystery bulbs inside a tin box from The Bins

There is a dwarf lilac, currently growing in a pot, but maybe to be transplanted into the border this year; a gift from Elfrida

Sleepydicks, which close up (go to "sleep") when it is not sunny out... a gift from Meagn

Wood Hyacinth (also called bluebells, but not the same as the Old World bluebell) another ubiquitous PNW yard plant... I have these in blue, and in white, not sure where they came from?

These violets are actually somewhere between magenta and violet color, and are gradually spreading out around the front yard garden bed. I have white violets also, but they mostly grow in the lawn, early in the year before it is long enough to mow. If I can remember to next year, I will dig up some of the white ones to add to the garden bed as well

Monday, April 11, 2016

media Monday



in which our plucky heroine offers a distraction, while she struggles with arithmetical calculations, here is something wonderful to listen to -


April SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter painting sink repair yard waste bin
2 window panel rack re-hem Maeva gowns yard waste bin
3 Æsa gown - -
4 Maeva gown - -
5 Maeva gown - -
6 Maeva gown - -
7 2 SR pillow covers - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Sunday, April 10, 2016

a cunning plan


in which our plucky heroine does her best to make her friends look splendid...

There is a plan for the wool tunic I am making for Farbjorn (Mr Blue Cedar House), that combines sewing, embroidery, and block printing. The tunic itself is of brown wool twill, edgebound in madder red wool flannel. The Blue Cedar tree is embroidered on madder red linen, and the trim strips for cuffs and shoulders will be block printed on the same red linen, and possibly outlined in embroidery...

Small embroidered panel which will be used to decorate his woolen tunic; it took about three hours of stitching to complete the outline stitch embroidery, which is about the size of my hand:
.
Decided on filling the motif with Bayeaux Tapestry stitch in pale indigo. This takes a bit longer than simply outlining, but the solid color filling really stands out, and this type of stitchery is very durable.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Friday fragments


...in which our plucky heroine continues to make incremental progress in various directions, while still being subject to sudden afternoon napping...

The postman delivered my bronze castings today... these will become a pair of brooches for Músa-Þóra. This design is based on some Viking Age brooches from Finland. Once the castings are cleaned up, polished, and a sturdy pinstem and spring added to the back they will be ready for her to wear.
:::

The persistence of dandelions is ongoing, though Blue Cedar House does valiant battle. I often will take my trusty Grampa's Weeder out with me in the morning when I feed and water the hens, and pull some more from the backyard. Today the conditions were just right, and the tool not only dragged the upper portions of this plant from the ground, but the entire taproot! About two feet long. (see my clog toe in the righthand corner for scale. Grampa's Weeder is one of my favorite yard tools, it is a clever use of leverage and tooling that helps keep my back and knees happy: pull weeds while standing up!
:::

Ever since I moved here to Acorn Cottage, I have appreciated how great the neighborhood is, and how the only thing that would make it even better would be a fabric store, OR AN ART STORE... This store is opening a branch that will be within walking distance from my house. Urban village for the win!
:::

Today I finished up the three Anglo-Saxon linen gowns for Maeva; she will be picking them up on her way to West Coast Culinary Symposium later this month. The fabrics she chose were not only very appropriate, but the linen, from Fabrics-Store.com, was delightful to work with. I really enjoyed the chance to try out sewing with some of their striped, plaid, and gingham linens, and definitely put the indigo plaid on my own wishlist...
:::

I realise this is a commercial, but the animation is sweetly done, and the message is great. I wish I had had friends like "paper, scissors, and rock" back in my schooldays...

:::

April SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter painting sink repair yard waste bin
2 window panel rack re-hem Maeva gowns yard waste bin
3 Æsa gown - -
4 Maeva gown - -
5 Maeva gown - -
6 Maeva gown - -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Sunday snippets


Our plucky heroine is so tired. So much more to do. This weekend I sewed a child's wool Viking Age gown for Æsa, and an adult woman's linen Anglo Saxon gown for Maeva, and have partially/almost completed two more Anglo Saxon gowns for her and partially completed a man's Viking Age wool tunic for Farbjorn. This barely dents the work I missed all the month of March, when I was too sick to do anything at all.

I had, bit by bit all the previous week, cut out all the garment parts, making up "sewing kits" that included all the necessary pieces for each one. This made the sewing faster, as cutting out takes almost as much time as machine work. Of course, these each also had all the edge bindings and hems stitched by hand; for SCA clothing I mostly use machine work only for the long seams, so that the handwork is used where it is visible.

Tomorrow, my plan is to finish Maeva's gowns, see how much I can get done on the cushions for Tullia, and put in a few hours dealing with paperwork. If I have time, I will try making a pea trellis from some of the withies, as the pea seeds Gwen gave me have sprouted! I may also give some thought to making up some small items for sale at Egils later this year... maybe fibulae, or needle or scissors cases, or???
:::

April SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter painting sink repair yard waste bin
2 window panel rack - -
3 Æsa gown - -
4 Maeva gown - -
5 - - -
6 - - -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Saturday, April 2, 2016

home improvement


Our plucky heroine designed a thing, and decided that the thing needed decoration, a little painted cloud. This is one of the two short ends of the structure. The thing is a variation on an indoor drying rack, which will hang from the ceiling over the washer/dryer (dead cubic space) and rather than hold things to dry; it will be a storage system for the two different sorts of bubble-pak window panels used here to moderate climate. Mylar is used in the summer to bounce heat outside, and clear in the winter to increase interior light and keep indoor heat indoors.

This view shows the decorated end of the storage rack in situ, sans actual window panels that will be clipped to the internal lines visible inside the wooden framework

I am pleased, the storage rack will work exactly as I had hoped, and fits neatly in the designated space...