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Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Blazer Project - Round 1

Last fall, a woman approached me and asked me to dye a blazer for her. She had a white corduroy blazer that she wanted dyed black. After some negotiation, we ended up with a contract which spelled out all the problems I could foresee. These ranged from shrinkage issues and un-dyeable polyester to uneven color coverage. We agreed on navy blue instead of black.

I decided to do a vat dye (rather than low water immersion), using a 5-gallon bucket. I mixed the dye and put it in about 2.5 gallons of water. I added the jacket, agitated it and let it sit for two hours, stirring it around every 15 minutes or so. When I was ready to add the soda ash, I let the jacket drain into the bucket until my arm got tired. Moving it to a tub created a mess! I'm glad I don't vat dye on a regular basis. I had blue dye all over! With the blazer in a large tub, I poured soda ash over it. I manipulated the jacket to get the soda ash spread throughout. I'm not sure I did a good job, as a blazer is much more difficult to work with than a yard or two of cotton! I expect to dye it twice, maybe three times to get an even color.

I rinsed the blazer the next day in the washer (delicate cycle, cold water). This is the blazer (front and back) after the first dye. There are light and dark areas of color as I expected. I love the color changes, but not what my client is looking for!

The topstitching thread is obviously poly. I'm going to color it (probably with a Sharpie) when the dyeing is finished. Round 2 tomorrow!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Measurable Work

My cash register table needs a cover. For a couple of years worth of shows, I've made do with a big black tablecloth. I fold the too-wide length under and pin the too-long sides up. And promise myself that I'll make a custom cover that FITS. And stuff happens and I don't get it done and I go to the next show and go through the folding and pinning and promising.

I woke up this morning to the sound of a thunderstorm. I planned to spend the day cleaning out my flower beds for spring, planting some early color. With my outdoor plans stymied by the heavy rain, I realized I could make my often-promised table cover AND satisfy an on-going need to produce measurable work.

I started by raw-edge appliquéing strips and chunks from my scrap tub onto a base of muslin about 6" wide. When the first piece was 24" long, I started another. When I had enough 24" pieces to cover my table, I joined them together. I added a skirt black polyester to surround the table and hemmed it so it hangs just an inch off the floor. I finished all the seams so the poly wouldn't ravel. Not creative, but satisfying. I did some top-stitching with varigated threads. I will notice the color, whether anyone else does or not.

This is the finished piece. Colorful, somewhat creative, measurable work. I'm happy. Except that I'm not sure I like the idea of Mike Piazza in an A's uniform.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

New Pincushions

Outside, we have a foot of snow on the ground, the end result of The Blizzard of '07. I've shoveled the snow. I've shoveled the drifting show. I've shoveled the snow the plow threw up into the driveway. I've shoveled more drifting snow. I'm tired of snow! I spent the afternoon inside, declining the offer to go to a movie (Zodiac) so I could stay AWAY from the snow! I made these three pincushions which I may list in my etsy shop later.

This cute little froggy just called out to me "I want to be a pincushion!", so now he is. I needle felted the wool, starting with a "bead" of wool that had been machine felted. (Making felted wool beads didn't work out the way I wanted, so I'm using the beads as a base for other felting projects.)

My second pincushion was a cute little pink cup. You can't see it, but on the saucer was a black poodle. Almost too cute to hide! I tried to felt a striped pattern on the top of the wool, but it looked weird, so I turned the wool upside down in the cup. The matching pink saucer MAKES this pincushion!

My third pincushion was felted last week. I machine felted a wool base because this cup is so big. I hand felted on dark red wool yarn, then put it through another machine felting cycle. You can still see the texture of the yarn, as well as a little of the base wool peeking through. Not as "cute" as the first two, but I like it.