Archive for August, 2008

Another Print Session

August 24, 2008

Finally, a normal day – I woke up at 9:30am.  My brain was so tired, it finally let my body sleep. Refreshed and ready to print fabric again, I am very happy with today’s results.  It took a few tries, but I got exactly what I wanted this morning.

This first try was pretty lousy.  I was attempting to build on yesterday’s idea of printing layers.  The top layer was the cotton voile and a PFD cotton Robert Kaufman fabric ironed to freezer paper was underneath.  I taped everything to sheet of regular computer paper and got an awful lot of smudges.  The paper thickness lever needed to be adjusted.  Also, the cotton voile absorbed more of the ink than I thought.  The image on the fabric beneath is barely discernible, so I didn’t even bother to try and photograph it.

This second try was worse than the first.  I ironed the PFD cotton Robert Kaufman fabric to freezer paper, taped it to computer paper and it stretched in the printer pretty badly.  I was surprised that it separated from the freezer paper so badly.  It was also taped along the edges.  And I forgot to use the smaller image, so got a full page printed.  That could be part of the reason why it shifted so much.  The printing started right at the edge.


This third try was the winner.  I used the same PFD cotton Robert Kaufman and skipped ironing it to freezer paper.  Instead I took some heavier weight 110# card stock and taped the fabric to that.  I adjusted the paper thickness lever as wide as it would go and this last print turned out perfectly.

Using the printer is sooooo much easier than dyeing fabric.  It’s perfect for small projects, but I won’t be putting away my dyes any time soon.  There is a time and place for each method to be used, and I’m blessed that both are viable options for me.


Even Earlier Wake-up Work Session Today

August 22, 2008

Another early rising for me.  My daughter is embroiled in a real estate nightmare and this time I didn’t wait till 6 am to get up.  I got up at 3 am this morning.  I’m staying positive and refraining from saying what I think about lawyers – not all of them – just a few in particular. 

Focusing on creative endeavors is a welcome respite from all the stress, and it’s really quiet at this time of the day.  No phone calls to interrupt the creative flow.  Positive vibes, yes positive vibes being sent out to the universe.  Hopefully, they’ll do some good – to somebody – anybody – and if they want to rebound back here, that would be good too.

This morning – or should I say in the middle of the night – I tried printing some of my photographs on sheer fabric.  I have a super duper Epson Photo 2000P that uses archival ink – no heat setting required – prints on fabric like a dream – cost an arm and a leg years ago when I bought it – never used it much to print fabric till this year, and am in love with this printer.

Another article in AQS magazine – Photo Illusion by Susan Purney Mark – has great instructions and suggestions for printing on sheer silk organza.   Yes, I have some of that, but I also have some gorgeous Robert Kaufmann cotton/silk voile from that recent fabric order. I liked how it dyed, so thought I’d try using it instead. 

I messed up the size so it didn’t go through the printer the first time – observe the gobbledygook printed at the top – but once I taped the fabric to a piece of regular paper, it fed through the printer great.  I actually like the ghost image the best.  It’s very hard to see in the photo, but looks great in person.  I’m going to experiment with putting multiple layers of this light weight fabric through at the same time to see how many will absorb ink.  It will probably be a great way to create different values – easily. 

These are my mother’s hands and the photographs were taken 2 years ago when she was in hospice.  It took me a long time to try and do something with the images, but the time is right now.  In fact, I feel like she’s here saying,  “It’s all right.  Everything will work out.”

Sunrise Sewing Session

August 21, 2008

Not much sewing has been going on lately.  Our garden is in full production mode and I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen blanching and freezing veggies, and making my very own specialty – cherry tomato and zucchini marinara.  It might sound weird, but it’s the best recipe I ever made up in my life. 

All my basil is dried and stored away, and before the sweet red peppers are ready to be roasted and peeled, and a few pan fulls baked with meat and rice stuffing, I got in a bit of sewing this morning.  Now everybody who knows me, knows I am not a morning person.  Heck, I never make an appointment before 1pm – if possible.  But, I was experiencing some heavy duty sewing machine withdrawal and found myself selecting fabrics at 6 am to make a couple of blocks based on the recent AQS article Double Fun by Linda Hungerford. 

It’s a fun technique, and I pretty much well followed the instructions – step by step.  I do think the fabric strips should be cut 13″ long though.  I also didn’t cut away the fabric behind the circle on one of the pieces.  The reason?  I did cut it away from the first circle and when I cut through the circle for the first curve, then sewed the strips together, the fabric puckered a bit.  Everything is on the bias, and I liked having the background fabric behind the circle to stabilize the circle piece.  It does make for heavier seams to sew through, but my sewing machine sewed through them just fine.

Overall, I’m pleased with the concept, but don’t like the grey/black striped fabric.  That’s what I get for selecting fabric before the sun comes up.  The red didn’t photograph well, but trust me, it’s really red – not orangey red either. 

Since I wasn’t crazy about the striped fabric, I played around with it in my paint program and came up with something that I like a lot better.  Here’s a photo of the original with the digital.  It’s a subtle change, but I like it much better than the stripe.

Linda gives instructions for making transition blocks so you can piece a quilt, but I’m not going to make them.  Instead, I’ll use these two blocks for machine quilting practice pieces.  I’ll probably paint over the grey striped fabric I don’t like, or put something sheer over it, maybe even applique another fabric over the top.  I haven’t decided yet, but it felt very good to hear my sewing machine humming along, the iron pinging as it kept itself hot, and watch the sun rise – a rare sight for this night owl.

Dye Experiment – Summer of 2008 Concluded

August 3, 2008

Today I have the results from the 3rd attempt to match a color from a photograph. 

The 100% cotton at the top is the same cotton I used in the 2nd attempt.  The big difference was in batching the 2nd attempt for 4 or 5 hours vs batching this 3rd attempt for 48 hours.  I got a closer match with the 2nd attempt for this cotton – however – look at the marked difference in the other fabrics.  They are appreciably darker.

Everything was dyed at 3% DOS.  I weighed each piece of fabric and calculated the water and dye concentrate amounts for each piece, and they were dyed in separate containers.  The fabric was placed into their containers dry.  All were batched for the same amount of time, rinsed, washed, boiled and ironed the same, but what a difference in color.

The upper right corner of the cotton/bamboo blend fabric is almost a perfect match.  I’m thrilled. 

The next fabric swatch 60% linen and 40% cotton is pretty close also.

The other fabrics are not great matches, but that’s all right.  I learned a lot, plus I got to try a lot of new fabrics.

My conclusions?

It’s a lot of work trying to match colors from a photograph.  It can be done though, and I actually enjoyed the attempts.  I met a lot of nice people, discovered a lot of new color analysis websites, and my high school algebra came in very handy.  😉

Basically, I selected a color and used the dropper in my paint program to isolate it.  That gave me the Hex number. 

Next, I got the cyan, magenta and yellow percentages for the color from

From there,  I went to Oulu’s dye applet  and selected my blue, red and yellow dyes using the percentages from the forret website.

This is where a little dye experience comes in handy.  The blues are a bit different from each other.  So are the 2 reds, and the yellows.   It takes a little practice to know which ones will combine to create the color you’ve selected.

Additionally, I found when I thought I had a perfect match – eyeballing it – I really didn’t.  I used the print screen capture to copy the dye applet color into my paint program.  Then I used the dropper to compare the R,G,B values.  They were always off.  It took a bit of tweaking, but evenutally I changed the dye applet percentages just right to be very close match.

From there, I mixed the dye powders needed to creat the color all the same – 1 gram of dye powder to 100 ml of water.  This made it very easy to do the math.  If I needed 51% of turquoise, 30% of fuchsia, and 19% golden yellow, it was easy to measure 51 ml of the turquoise dye concentrate, 30 ml of fuchsia, and 19 ml of golden yellow into another container.   Voila!!!  There was the combination I’d need to dye my fabric. 

The amount of this mixed dye concentrate varied by fabric weight, but it was easy to measure the correct amount for each fabric from my customized dye concentrate container.

Is this for the faint of heart?  No, but it’s doable.  It does help to have some experience with dyeing.  I use scales and measure all my dye powder by weight.  It gives consistent results and satisfies the mad scientist that is hiding in a remote section of my psyche.  😉

By the way, I opened an account with Robert Kaufman just so I could try dyeing all these wonderful fabrics.  Everything was PFD, and I used 100% cotton for the first one, Panda for the second, Handkerchief Linen, then Essex, Voile, and Radiance.  PFD fabric is great – no pre scouring required and gorgeous results.

Dye Experiment – Summer of 2008 Update

August 1, 2008

Yippee!!! My water system is fixed.  We didn’t need a new part after all.  The repairman said we had a power surge, and the regenerating switch on the charcoal filter wouldn’t turn off.  It just had to be reset and all is well with the water system now.  Oh happy days!!!

To celebrate, I mixed up the exact same dyes from the last experiment and am repeating the dye run – this time letting the fabric batch for 48 hours.  Hopefully, this will allow the turquoise dye to properly bond with the fabric.

I’m dyeing all sorts of new fabrics this time also.  My Robert Kaufman order arrived – all the fabric is listed on my business website – and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.  Plus I included a container of the same cotton I used in the last dye run.  It will be interesting to see if the longer batch time will make a difference in the final color.

Waiting for Sunday’s rinse, wash and boiling session is going to be hard.