Monday, January 26, 2015

stringing you along

Diane here.  I spent a year recently making quilted birthday hotpads for friends and family. Here's one of my best....the free motion quilting follows the lines of dye.

When Beth asked me to be a resident artist, I thought it sounded like a great idea; I started packing my suitcases and checking flight schedules ... and then she mentioned posting photos and writing blog posts... well, okay, I'm all over that.  Blogging in my jammies and posting photos about stuff I love to do?  Count me in.  I've been a follower of the Fire blog for a while now.  Just between you and me, I think I'm on the list of contributors so I don't post so many questions.  :)

My plan for this week is to string you along with a simple, easy as buying a slice of pie, dyeing tutorial.  Show you the good stuff, briefly point to what can go wrong, and then inform you that I have no idea where you can buy the stuff you need.  But wait... I will give you an opportunity over on my blog this week to win your own little bundle of "secret string," so don't go away mad.

A few years ago, my daughter and I began playing around experimenting with eco-dyeing, contact printing - whatever you want to call it - when you roll up fabric with leaves, wrap it tightly with string, then boil it for hours, wait weeks before opening the roll and hope you get an image of the leaves.  Well, in the beginning we didn't!  But boy oh boy, did we get marks from that string!  One thing led to another and I found a few tubes of cotton string (in my vast stash of yarn and with a little help from my friends) that dye cloth when you simply boil it.

Ignore the fabric in the photo above - that was a sample of contact printed poinsettia leaves and it washed out completely.  Just toss out those holiday plants and move on.

One last photos of a project I've done with the string-that-dyes.  Bookmarks with a kite image made from weaving the yarn on a 2" square Weave-it loom.  The background is a photo of a watercolor of mine that I printed on the cloth after boiling the fabric with the string.

Come back Wednesday and Friday for some process photos and lots more samples.  Go to my blog for a chance to receive several yards of the string so you can try it at home.  Then you'll be on the lookout for more string that might bleed onto your cloth! This is weaving yarn with a bad rep.  No one wants to weave a plaid fabric only to have the dark yarn bleed onto the lights. And did you know there is artists tissue paper that is made to bleed onto fabric? The quilt forums are full of discussions about how do you remove dye that has bled from one fabric to the others.  Maybe we should try marking fabric with some of that bleeding fabric.

What if ...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tapping into the Magic of Fire and Smoke to Make Marks

Given the title of this article and the name of our blog, I was intrigued when the email from Cloth Paper and Scissors hit my inbox.  It is an interesting article but I will warn you that the artist is talking about paper.  But, as we all know, fiber artists steal paper techniques all the time!

The article reminded me of one of the prettiest fabrics I have made.  I got apple peels from an orchard that was making cider. I put them in a pot along with a little water and some white fabric.  Well, I did not pay close enough attention till the apple peels were burned to the bottom of the pan. But the smoke from the peels left a wonderful variegated light grey smoke on the now off white fabric.  I think it was the only piece of fabric I ever took to a Nancy Crow workshop that she liked.  LOL


Friday, January 23, 2015

Sculptural Tyvek

I found a lovely bead on Pinterest and thought "Oh that would look wonderful in Tyvek.  So I tried.

My first attempt was wrapping some Tyvek around some sea-worn snail shells.  I used the same multi-colored glued on odd bits piece of Tyvek I showed in my last post. Here are the results from several different views since it is 3-D.

 Then I added some specialty yarn.

I haven't decided whether I am going to add beads.  What do you think?

Here is a shell with barnacles attached wrapped in Tyvek.

And here is a last sculptural attempt. Sticks and stone and a little bit of clay.

These are first attempts but by no means last ones!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I hope you are not tired of TyveK

Beth has posted her pictures from our Tyvek play date.  Now it is my turn.  As always we both started out with the same idea but ended up with different results.

First Play Date
Beth had received in the mail a piece of Tyvek that was painted, shrunk, and covered with lace.  Yes, covered with lace!  It was beautiful!

We tried to make one like it.  First we just laid the lace on top of the painted Tyvek and ironed it.  Once shrunk this is what it looked like.

But the lace did not shrink and stick to the Tyvek as we had hoped.  Feel free to notice that I forgot to iron the Tyvek on the back.  When you iron it on the front all the lovely bubbles are on the back.

Then we painted the Tyvek and while the paint was still wet we attempted to attach the lace by pressing it into the wet paint.  When the paint dried we shrunk the Tyvek with the iron.  This is what we got.

But again the lace did not shrink and stick to the Tyvek.


On our last and successful attempt we used mat medium to glue the lace onto the painted Tyvek.  We let it dry.  Here is what we started with.

 This is what we got after it was shrunk  Yeah!  It stuck!

Second Play Date
For our second play date I came prepared with Tyvek that was painted a variety of colors and had a variety of  organzas, laces, ribbons, threads, and glitter Mod Podged to the surface.  I couldn't find my mat medium that day and since then have also used 1/2 and 1/2 white glue.  They all work.  It is hard to tell but the Tyvek pieces are about 10 inches by 14 inches.

 I cut them up to about artist card size.

Here is me shrinking a piece.

And here is what I got.  Do notice the writing on the Tyvek.  I used a postal envelope and you can see the writing peeking through the paint.  Just looks like a design unless you are really really close like this picture.

The lovely purple on this last piece was a piece of organza that I had printed on my gelli plate.  It has those wonderful squiggly lines on it in the upper left-hand corner. You can't tell that I didn't paint the lines right on the Tyvek.

I plan to use these lovely pieces to make brooches.  Here I am modeling a potential brooch.  Doesn't it look fabulous on my paint shirt?  We won't talk about how I look.

And here is one that I have Smooched a little, sewed a few beads on, backed with felt and attached a pin. I've worn it to church a couple of times now.

Next--Tyvek in a much more sculptural technique.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Rice Bags

Rice bags come in so handy for batching MX dyes in cold weather. They are also dead easy to make. I cut a piece of plain muslin 13" long (33cm) from a bolt. This strip I cut along the fold giving me 2 pieces 13" X 22" (56cm).

I folded it along the 22" side making a square about 13 X 11. I marked three lines dividing the fabric into four sections with the fold at the bottom.

I folded the fabric lined side in, stitched along the sides, turned it lined side out then stitched on the lines giving me four long pockets with the openings at the top. I used a funnel and cup and poured dry rice into each pocket filling them about 3/4 full and pinned them shut.

I sewed them closed and now I have 2 rice bags to keep my fabric warm while batching. Just pop the bags into the microwave for 3 minutes on high and they will stay warm for quite a while. While batching I cover the fabric and bags with a towel to keep the heat inside.

If you would like to, you can make some rice bags 6" X 22" and wrap them around your neck or use these bags to warm your feet. They deliver moist heat. You can make them in pretty fabric and give them as gifts too.

Friday, January 16, 2015

and more TYVEC

I found all these small pieces of painted Tyvec and of course I couldn't just put them away! So I made a few more beads.

These beads with two colors on both sides really are lovely and the mica in the ProBrite paint is very sparkly.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


I had been saving Tyvec envelopes for YEARS (where were they now?) so I had everything we needed. We decided to use ProBrite fabric paints because of the mica which gives the hues a warm glow. We tried some experiments which didn't work but when we have perfected them, you'll be the first to know. 

These are the 6 pieces I painted and heated.

I was looking on YouTube trying to find some videos on Tyvec that didn't involve putting it on your house when I came across this one.

So I set off on a Tyvec bead making adventure. This is where I started.

I started by painting both sides of the Tyvec different colors

This is the sea mist green and chocolate bead with gold string.

This is the same material but rolled with the other (chocolate) color out

This is the long triangle of Tyvec painted on both sides and the slits along the edge.

Rolled on to a knitting needle and the end secured with a straight pin.

Very nice.

Thicker metallic threads

Another piece that is really wide.

Secured with a pin

OOO! Crunchy looking but actual quite soft

With beads. You can see the drop of Elmers I put on the knot to make sure it held.

What would a bead look like from a tiny piece of un-notched Tyvec look like?

Looks like it came from a horror movie - the bead from the Black Lagoon!