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! 🙂

Read More

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)

Read More

Technique of the Week #24 – Scratch-A-Print Screenprinting

Project Hours: 3 hours
Design and Materials: 1 hour
Execution: 2 hours

This is was one of two screen printing techniques I tried using a new product.  This product is called Scratch-a-Print2, which I got from Dick Blick.  The idea is that these very thin sheets of tissue paper are wax coated on one side, and you “scratch” your drawing into the front, rubbing the wax off onto some paper underneath and opening up the tissue for your paint to go through.
The size I bought meant that my pieces would be very small, and I could try several designs in one quilt.
I found this stuff super easy to use.  It comes 10 to a pack, and when the directions say to “press hard” do indeed press hard and go over your lines twice to make sure they are opened up.  I had to clean my screen and redraw the lines again, as my first ones were not open enough.
One thing that I did before I printed was to take clear packing tape and tape over the cardboard edges of the screens so that if I tried to wash the screen the cardboard would not disintegrate.
I was able to get a better result not be “screening”, but by using a tissue and gently patting the screen ink through the tissue.  Each one was immediately rinsed.  These were the best of my attempts and I know I am not very good at screening.
As you can tell, my “year of the cephalopod” continues, and this is called “Cephalopod Party”.  There’s a dumbo octopus, a regular octo, a cuttlefish and a squid.  Yay!  I do these designs because I don’t have to do much thinking ahead of time, which saves time as I am trying to get myself caught up from my summer hiatus.

Read More

Technique of the Week #23 – Multi-part printing or Faux Screenprinting

Project Hours: 5 hours
Design and Materials: 1 hour
Execution: 4 hours

This week’s technique is from this month’s issue of Cloth Paper Scissors.  Melanie Testa had hinted that this technique was something she helped test for a friend, and turns out that friend is her road-trip roommate from CREATE, Patricia Gaignat.  I had the pleasure of meeting her at CREATE as well.  
I am not going to give away how this was done because you should really get the magazine and give it a try, but I will say that I did this with sticky-backed fun foam and fabric paint.  The fun foam was cut into my multi part print, and then mounted onto clear template plastic to help me align the pieces.  I varied from the magazine only in using fabric paint on fabric (not paper) and the mounting on plastic.
This technique is so much easier than I had thought when Melly was showing her results way way back at IQA Chicago in April.  I could not fathom how to line us the pieces, until I realized you could do so on acetate or plastic.  
This little Octo is one of the first for me to have his legs cross over one another, something that made this project a little tougher.  
I didn’t do that good of a job registering my plates, but there’s next time, and I have the plates forever.  They wash up nicely.  This would be great for ATCs.

Read More

Technique of the Week #22 – Thread Painting

Project Hours: 8 hours
Design and Materials: 2 hours
Execution: 6 hours
It was soooooo good to be back in the “saddle” again.  I took this thread painting class from Elin Waterston at the Cloth Paper Scissors’ art retreat called CREATE.  I had one day, so I was limited in my choices of classes to take, and when I saw this one, I thought it wasn’t going to be something I was interested in, but as usual, I was wrong.  I also thought I “knew how to do that” so it wasn’t going to hold my interest.  Again, wrong!
Essentially thread painting is the layering on of thread free motion style to build up a subject.  Like painting, except with thread.  So the octopus here is only made with thread.  The shading is done to give him some dimension.
The first thing Elin teaches you about thread painting is that there are no mistakes.  And that sums up how our approach was: a free and casual approach.
We were encouraged to bring designs with us, but of course, I had been thinking for two weeks of a subject with no inspiration.  When I got to class, I was going to make an octopus or a pomegranate.  I chose to stay “on theme” for this year, with this little dude.
There are things I did “wrong” that worked itself out, like some puckering that ended up “quilting out” and the shadows of his bumps on his head were done in reverse, so they look like holes.  OOPS.  Oh well, he was an experiment. 
A couple of things: this eats up thread. A LOT OF THREAD, so if you covet your expensive thread you may not want to try this.  Second, Elin teaches you to look up, get up, get away every 20 minutes or so.  This was critical, since I ended up hunched over the bed of the loaner Bernina 440 machine slaving away to cover my background.  The class hours were from 9 am to 4 pm, and we sewed for about 4 of those hours. In that time I got the octopus above done and most of the machine quilting, and he isn’t finished yet, so I will post a photo of the finished work later this week! I’ll be adding a section of beads and an embroidered school of fish to complete him.  Enjoy!

Read More