Technique of the Week #29 – Sticker Resist

Project Hours: 3 hours
Design and Materials: 1 hour
Execution: 2 hours
YES!  It’s good to be back!  This week’s technique is from the December/January 2009/2010 issue of Quilting Arts. While in Houston I had the great pleasure of meeting Enid Gjelten Weichselbaum, the author of this technique.  Basically, using a “dry brushing” technique over stickers, you get some great resist effects.  I used some foam stickers to spell out this phrase from H.P. Lovecraft and his short story “The Call of Cthulhu“. 

Her article says that phrases are not recommended and I can see why.  These small stickers made making sure my paint was clearly in all of the little nooks and crannies a bit tough.  Also, if your spacing was not right, your phrases could come out jumbled and look like giant run-on sentences.  I worked my phrase from the bottom up.
This was quick to do, and the stickers I used were from Michaels and only $2.99 for my small pack of them. There are larger letters and more in the scrap book section.  If you have this issue, dig it out and give it a try!

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Technique of the Week #28 – Custom Rust Dyeing

Project Hours: 72 hours
Design and Materials: 2 hours
Execution: 70 hours

Before you look at the number of hours this took, be advised a lot of it is WAITING.  If you are not good at waiting, well, this may not be a project for you.

Everyone and their sister is rust dyeing lately.  It’s pretty easy to do, and you can find lots of instructions by putting “rust dyeing” into Google, so I’ll let you do that, because that’s what I did.  However, I did not just want to wrap fabric around the nearest rusty object and hope it came out nicely, I wanted to rust custom shapes.  However that meant finding a steel object and cutting it to my shape and letting it rust so I could use it to dye.  This is a conundrum.
My dear husband’s hobby and mine intertwined, because he uses some sheet steel in his Miniature painting hobby. The stuff he uses had a label that interested me greatly: Quick Rust™ Steel. This thin steel can be cut with scissors, and then you follow the package instructions to rust it.   Using the internet rust dyeing instructions, I had a rusted composition that was rusted, and then dyeing within 24 hours.  There’s lots that can be done with this using this product as your rusting base!  No more random shapes, shibori method fabrics. Do these shapes look familiar? The templates I used were from a weekly quilt project in 2008.

What people say about sewing through rusted fabric is true.  It’s really difficult.  I had a heavy weight needle and it barely wanted to punch through.  In fact, I thought my machine was acting up, when it was just the thickness the material becomes with rusting.  I switched to lightweight sharps, and still my thread broke, frayed, the needle refused to punch the fabric, etc.  I even picked out all of the existing stitches to put in a lighter loft batting to hopefully take the batting out of the equation.  I offer this as advice to you if you try it. 

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Technique of the Week #27 – Stuffed Dimensional Appliques

Project Hours: 4 hours
Design and Materials: 1 hour
Execution: 3 hours
I love the work of Kathy York.  She is a quilt artist who can think “outside the box” dimensionally.  She’s got two rather “famous” works that have seen publication and exhibition that are dimensional.  The first is Little Fish in a Big City, and th esecond is called Synchronized Swimming.  You can see them here at her website.
I’m not Kathy York, and I’m not going to make a bajillion little fishes to put on my weekly quiltlet.  But I wanted to get a sense of HOW to apply this idea to a quilt surface, and I came up with this stuffed tentacle.  I drew a pattern, added about a third of an inch to each side because I knew stuffing it would draw it upwards, and then sewed the fabric tentacle.  I added yo-yos for suckers.  Pretty cool technique, sewing it down was easy using a variation of a blind hem stitch.  The edge of the background quilt is not wonky, but scanning this stuffed sucker was…
I’m amazed that the cephalopod theme continues strongly so far this year!  It’s a fun theme.

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Technique of the Week #26 – Extravorganza

Project Hours: 4 hours
Design and Materials: 1 hour
Execution: 3 hours
This is using a product called Extravorganza, made by Jaquard.  They make great paints, and this ink-jet printable organza fabric was high on my list of things to try, because I want to envision a much larger project using this (or a similar) technique.  
I used 2 sheets of the Extravorganza and printed out these gears with the idea that I would layer them like looking into a machine.  I printed them using the advanced printer settings to make the ink “heavy” when I printed them because I knew I wanted them to be dark in order to show through. You also ned to let this dry a while before using it, because your ink will smudge on your organza if not allowed to dry properly. Unfortunately for my little sample here, the bottom cotton fabric layer is really lost color wise, and the first gear is pretty hard to see in person.
It was hard to sew 2 layers of organza on top of one another enough to quilt them, and my motif in the middle developed a bubble that ironed into a funky crease at the top of the work.  
There were a few failures of the overall design, but the product was really easy to use and I had fun deciding what to print and sizing it in my software.  I could see using single layers of this for text and other similar applications, but 2 layers were hard to sew.  Your mileage may vary! 🙂

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Technique of the Week #25 – Screenprinting with Mask Ease

Project Hours: 4 hours
Design and Materials: 1 hour
Execution: 3 hours
The product for this technique is called Mask Ease by Scratch-Art.  This stuff is a vinyl mask that you apply to a prepared screen for screenprinting, and it acts as your resist so you can screen through it.  I have some pictures of the process this time, to explain better.  

I did not have a screen around, so I used some sheer cotton fabric and a wood embroidery hoop that cost me 99 cents.  I wrapped the inner hoop with floral tape to make it sticky and pulled my fabric tight and put glue around the edges once I was sure it was taut.  I then used the circle of the hoop to make my pattern. 

I drew my cuttlefish onto the yellow vinyl surface.  He’s going to be reversed in print, so keep that in mind.
Then you cut the vinyl with an X-Acto knife to expose your lines.  I followed the Mask Ease Instructions from here, adhering it to my screen and printing as usual.

One other note is that this needs to be used with good thick print paste or ink, as the large open surfaces can get runny onto fabric.  I’m still not a good screenprinter and I had several runny attempts before I thickened up my print paste. 
I do like this little guy. I wanted him to be a little bigger to fill the space of the quilt a little better, so I think next time I will add borders or get an actual screen for screenprinting or a bigger embroidery hoop.  (It is a cheap alternative)

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