Monday, September 28, 2009

#33 word prompt and a new sewing machine

This week's prompt word is Spiral. ooooooooooh the response? A seahorse, after all he ends in a spiral. Want to know more about the CPP click Clara the Cow on my sidebar.
On Friday, we made a quick trip to Joseph Schneider Haus in Kitchener On, to pick up my Viewers Choice award.......the Janome Memory Craft 6600 Professional sewing machine.
As you can see this is a large machine with wonderfully long neck so that lots of quilt can be manipulated in that space. I spent a little time getting familiar with it this weekend. This machine has some terrific features. There is push button bobbin winding with a separate motor, an extra large extension table, a bright clear display screen to guide you through each stitch set up, there are lots of ways to make adjustments for whatever you are sewing, one touch thread cutting, lots of light and the built on thread stand is perfect ( I normally use a separate thread stand with other machines because the thread never seems to come off quite right)
I played a bit and tried several stitches, used the 1/4" foot ( I really like it) and did a little free motion quilting. The speed adjustment allows for great control. Here is the back of the piece I was working on, the stitches look pretty good don't they?

I am impressed and extremely pleased to own this machine.

Look at how high you can lift that presser foot!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Print on fabric with this homemade solution
Note*  if you are looking for information on printing fabric with an inkjet printer and or, a homemade Bubble Jet Set solution......please click on the "Tutorials" tab contains the most complete and up to date info

Recently, I had tried a homemade solution for printing onto fabric using my inkjet printer with limited success. I have tried a few different things since then and have come up with a solution that actually works quite well.
I'll show you first what happens when you use a simple solution of soda ash mixed with hot water. This image in the upper right corner are test subjects side by side. These were printed using fabrics prepared with Bubble Jet set (left) and a solution of soda ash and water ( right)
as you can see, there is not a huge difference between the 2 after rinsing but I still seem to be losing a fair bit of reds and to some extent the blues. .....good...but not good enough.

Next is the result using the best recipe I have come up with so far. The first 2 photos is what the print looked like fresh from the printer. These were printed on fabric prepared using the recipe below. Then you see them again after not only being rinsed but also being washed with detergent. I deliberately chose images that contained a great deal of reds/pinks and while there still is a little colour loss I'd say that this really does work quite well.

So what is the recipe? well it is as follows:
1 Tablespoon of soda ash
2 Tablespoons alum powder
1 cup hot water.
Important! sure to mix this in a large container......even though this is a small quantity of ingredients, believe me when I tell you that this mixture is really going to "fizz"
Once it has settled down it is ready for use. I gave my fabric a thorough 20 minute soak in the solution, left it to dry and then printed as usual. The mixture can be stored and used again just like the Bubble Jet set solution.
I have an inexpensive Canon printer that really seems to do a pretty good job, I am going to assume that since each printer and the ink used is different, your results may vary.
If you are planning to make an item using photo transfer that will likely be washed a great deal I'd probably stick to the tried and true commercial product.........but for art quilts and projects where they would not likely be exposed to a lot of laundering this just might be something worth exploring in your own studio. I have nothing against the Bubble Jet set solution, after all, it works great, but it is not always easy to find locally and I am not keen on using a product containing formaldehyde so for those reasons, I will continue working toward finding an alternative for my use and share with you the results of my experiments.

I have had a couple of questions put to me about my last post regarding this process.
........... what are these items, what is the cost and where are they found?
Okay so Alum, comes in a powder form (it's what gives pickles their crunch) and can be found in the spice section of your grocery store ( it is quite expensive in those little cans) so better yet is to purchase it at a bulk food store. To give you an example the little can ran about $3.49 Canadian funds for 65g while at the bulk food store 100g is only $1.32
Fabric dyers out there are familiar with Soda Ash, as this is what is used to prepare their fabrics to better accept the dye. I have seen many threads online about soda ash and washing soda being the same far as I can tell they are not. I purchased this box of Soda Ash at Michael's Craft store. It was right around $10.00 but you know you can use your 40 or 50% off coupons and it then becomes much more affordable. Since only a small amount is necessary for each "batch"of solution, I think this box should give me a pretty good yield for the bucks

The images............I have been playing with my Photoshop Elements software and just wanted to show you how some of those photos printed onto fabric started out.
They really were pretty poor images, I cropped, adjusted, spent a little time playing with levels and filters to achieve those interesting effects.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

There is still time to enter

Nadine at Dream Weaver's Quilts is asking for your help.
Nadine has a wonderful spot she calls the Daily Stitch on which each day she posts valuable information, latest trends, fabulous quilt artists, books, tools and so on. Trouble is, she is on her way to the US soon and needs to get lots of tips loaded up before she goes. Nadine is offering a chance at winning a terrific prize in exchange for your help, you can read exactly what it is she is looking for and how you can get involved here

Have you heard about the Natures Best online quilt show being hosted by Quilting Gallery?
There is still time to enter a quilt in 2 different categories for a chance at some fabulous prizes.
Click here to get started or click the Natures Best button on my side bar.
Hurry, you have till Friday for final submissions and don't forget to return to cast a ballot for your favourite, voting begins Saturday.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Susan Norman workshop and a doodle

Lets get the doodle out of the is my response to this weeks CPP word #32 Even.
I choose to keep it simple and did an equilateral Triangle........all 3 sides are even.

Now, about the workshop...........well I have to tell you that yesterday, I was privileged to attend a thread painting workshop conducted by fibre artist Susan Norman. Her machine embroidered pieces are amazing, you can read more detail about the workshop itself, here. Susan is not only a gifted artist but she has a terrific teaching ability as well.
I have to admit that I did not produce anything wonderful during yesterday's class........ not being in my own "space" seems to have an adverse affect on me. Since this is only the second workshop I have ever taken, I am hoping that I will become more comfortable with the process as I take more classes in the future, but fortunately I was able to spend some time today working on the techniques we were shown.

I began with the single flower petal exercise. The idea is to try to replicate what we see in the detail of the petal using simply our machines and thread. Unfortunately I had only 6 threads that even came close to be right for this, consequently, I did not get the depth I was striving for. Achieving the look I was after would require many more variations of the colour than what I currently have........oh no! looks like I'll have to go thread shopping.
First I lightly drew the outline shape of the petal, then began adding thread starting with the mid tone, then darker and finishing with the lightest using both zigzag and straight free motion stitches. You will notice that the petal did end up a little distorted, I did not use a hoop and I guess I really should have since the stitching is incredibly dense.

Susan had told us to expect to need to clean our machine quite often during this process......just look at the amount of fuzz build up after only a single petal was stitched.

Next, it was onto the exercise of creating backgrounds, again my supplies were limited, as you see here, I simply layered several shades of tulle and net, covered everything with one larger single layer of tulle and then proceeded to add random stitches. It's not quite the "painterly" effect I was after but I will keep practicing. While I am not working toward becoming a machine embroiderer, I believe I will be able to further enhance many of my works as I develop my abilities using this fabulous thread painting technique.

I also learned that some of my favourite free motion stitches take on a completely different look when they are done using a zigzag's like I doubled my stitch repertoire in a single day

Monday, September 14, 2009

Warning! may contain fowl language

I just could not resist that title...........and yes this post will be most fowl. First, here is my response to #31 word prompt Awakenings. Have you checked out the Creative Prompt Project yet? click on the cow on my sidebar for more info.
While I was inking up this rooster I happened upon Dorothy V's blog where she had recently been a participant of a Rooster party, I love that Jim Shore rooster.

Then this morning sewnut contacted me to tell me she was bestowing the Zombie Chicken award on me. What is the Zombie Chicken award, you ask? Well I stole the words right off sewnut's page and it is as follows:

"The blogger who receives this
award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken-- excellence, grace, and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all."

So here just a few of the blogs that I feel are deserving of this award. These are some of the ones that even a raving pack of Zombie Chickens could not stop me from reading. Remember I don't want to incur the wrath of these crazy birds so I am sticking to the rules and just picking 5 even though there are many others I read faithfully.

designed by Diane J Evans
Finishing Lines by K.Sperino
Quilt Hollow
Selvage Blog by Karen Griska
Threads of Loveliness by Clare W

Relax, enjoy what these have to offer............oh and watch out for those Zombie Chickens.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pinch me, .....I must be dreaming

I am so incredibly excited. Why?........Well because I have found out that one of my postcard entries in this year's edition of the Grand National has been chosen as the Viewer's Choice winner.
To me, this is such a great honour, and in addition, I will receive a Janome Memory Craft 6600p from GN's generous sponsor Janome Canada. I can hardly believe it. You can read my earlier posts about the cards I entered and the opening reception here.

In recent years The Grand National has put together an on-line catalogue of all of the entries to that year's show, I hope they are able to do this again because there were some absolutely fabulous cards on display. Not only were these cards quilted but many were also painted, needled felted, embroidered, collaged, had found items on them, if you could think it up it was done and on display.

So I have to say Thank you, Thank you, a million times Thank you to the organizing committee, Janome Canada, Joseph Shcneider Haus Museum, to everyone who took in the show and to those who chose my postcard as their favourite.
I am thrilled, shocked, humbled and did I mention Excited!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Journal Cover and Yes....... more doodles

I was inspired by Exuberant Color's blog where she has been making many journal covers, you can find them here, scroll down and you will find her excellent tutorial.
I thought this would be a good way to use some of the things I have been playing with lately.In addition to using a couple of my doodles, I have added several of those inchies I made a while back, see that leaf? is a real leaf that has been preserved and then thread painted (it was a "test' leaf for my piece called Reality Show)...............and of course there are the selvages, gotta love those selvage edges.

I used some of my hand painted fabrics, practiced some machine quilting and even that fun little hand stitch......that one is addictive.
I have also put some vinyl pockets on the inside flaps to hold cards from my favourite quilt shops. I plan to keep my wish list in this book along with quilt ideas so I will be all set the next time I go quilt shop hopping.

The most recent CPP word # 30, is I sharpened my pencil to a fine point and drew this Mariner's Compass.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Doodles & Postcards

Last week's word (#29)for the Creative Prompt Project was Window. This is my version of a stained glass window.

Recently I have been playing with some photo editing and decided to make a couple of postcards. Normally I do a fair bit of stitching but with both of these, I took the "less is more" approach,
sometimes you just gotta know when to stop.
Click on them to see the detail

I have also been trying to get a little practice time in with my fabric paints as you can see here. This one has been incorporated into another project..................but that is another post.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Faux Bubble Jet Set Recipe*  if you are looking for information on printing fabric with an inkjet printer and or, a homemade Bubble Jet Set solution......please click on the "Tutorials" tab contains the most complete and up to date info

I have been printing on fabric a fair bit lately and am getting low on my BJS supply. I came across a post by goddessofdyi from a couple years ago about making your own, so I thought I'd give it a try. I'll show you what I found through my tests. In the top photo , the fabric on the left was treated with BJS and the one on the right treated with the homemade version. The next photo is the result after rinsing. as you can see very little colour remained on the homemade version but the black ink is definitely set.
I also tried it again, modifying the recipe by adding salt and vinegar, left it 24 hours before rinsing and heat set it..........the result was no different.

So if you only want a black and white image then the solution works otherwise I say stick to the real thing, I know I will be.

Now I will point out that goddessofdyi directions were to "quickly rinse" ...............well that's fine, you will retain some colour but what happens when the image later gets wet? Lets say you use an image on a tote bag and you get caught in the rain, I'm guessing you'd have a bit of a mess. So for my testing I rinsed/washed the images to make sure no more ink would be coming out.
So if you'd like to try this.

The recipe used was as follows:
2 Tablespoons of Alum
2 and 1/2 teaspoons of Washing Soda
1/2 teaspoon of fabric softener
1 cup of very hot water

note: the recipe posted by goddessofdyi was by weight not volume..... I did a conversion because I do not have a delicate enough scale to weigh 3 grams.

Mix these all will be quite foamy so you'll want to let it settle down before using the solution, it should resemble watery milk. Let your fabric soak for a few minutes and then leave it to hang/drip dry, print as usual.

I will assume that results may vary depending on the inks your printer uses.

I have also been playing a little more with my Photoshop Elements program. These images were taken (with permission) from The Comic Book Lady's gardening blog. I really like the way the one with the pumpkin turned out.

The clematis you see in the photo above has been altered in PSE from a photo I took of a pure white one that blooms in my garden.

These altered images are all destined to become postcards.
Something else I discovered while playing with printing is that you can get a good black ink print by simply coating your fabric with clear aloe vera gel. Again, let dry and print as usual.

Copyright Jill Buckley