Friday, 26 September 2008

Variegated Thread & Rust-Dyed Project

I've been searching for some variegated thread for my rust-dyeing projects. Our biggest retail store for handicrafts, fabric etc (Spotlight), has about 5 racks of thread, but very little variegated. The Quilt shops are even worse, as they just don’t have the room, and their prices are truly horrific.
So I decided to make my own. I'm really pleased with the rust-dyed white cotton, which is from the collection left by my Grandmother (thanks Vera!). I left it soaking in the pan overnight, in a 50/50 water/vinegar & sprinkle of salt bath, then rinsed it out tonight, dried it, and put it on a spool – unfortunately the dogs dognapped the big spool I’d set aside for it! I also made some black/brown, using bleach on black cotton thread. I just wiped bleach onto the cotton on the spool, left it for about 30 minutes, and rinsed it off in vinegar, water and soap. I didn’t think it had changed much, but the changes were more obvious under natural light than artificial.
I’ve still got more of Gran’s white cotton thread, so I might try actual colour dyeing to see what I can get.

Since there was room in the frying pan, I did some flower patterned beigey cotton fabric too, which has a nice pattern.

I've finally started sewing my first project, just waiting on some Bubble Jet Set, which is in transit from the US to NZ. The ink is coming off on my sewing gloves, but not transferring to the fabric. It will be interesting to see what happens reversing Beth Wheelers’ recommended process. (ie treat the fabric, then print on it!!!) I'm hoping that some of the ink will wash out, but leave some behind to enhance the stitching.

Next rust dyeing project is a T-Shirt. It’s GREY, with a Pegasus on it, and the colour does nothing for me. I want to get some sand, so I can nestle the fabric-wrapped pan in the sand, ensuring maximum contact.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Experiments with Rust Dyeing

We have a lovely old wheelbarrow that’s been rusting out for a couple of years now (that’s why it’s been replaced with a plastic one!). After discussion on the Rust Dyeing group about bashing/mashing leaves, I wondered if fern fronds would show. They're lying in the bottom of the wheelbarrow. They haven’t, but it’s definitely worth another go. The fabric is good old bleached cotton calico. My other thought was to etch a pattern in the metal of the wheelbarrow. I really like the “fossil batik” prints, and would like to achieve something like that.

Once I brought everything inside, washed it, and ironed it dry, I laid it on the floor to take the photos – and of course, no dog can resist fabric laid on the floor. I missed the shot of him showing his “best” aspect – darn digital cameras.

I got my husband to beat one of the rusty frypans found at my girlfriends place fairly flat. I soaked the fine white cotton in 50/50 warm water/white vinegar, with a heavy splash of salt, then wrapped the fabric round the pan, put it in a plastic bag, and weighted it down with crushed shells (taken from the back path). I managed to leave it about 3 days – not really long enough. I’m going to have another go, with a heavier weight calico cotton, scrunch it up, and leave it for longer. Of course, the pan has grown more rust now, so it should make a more interesting pattern next time.

The rusty pole of our mailbox was just crying out to be used. I folded calico in half, and used the same 50/50 solution + salt. I wrapped gladwrap and a plastic bag around it and left it for a whole week! Then I took it off and rotated the fabric to try to stain the other half. I really like the two dark squares, and there’s some interesting curves in it as well. It’s interesting how, on all the fabrics, some of the most interesting patterns are on the edges! Oh well, the girl loves a challenge! Becca helped wrap the fabric, and re-wrap it.

I’m going to do some low water immersion dyeing this weekend – time to work on the harp bag, so will over-dye some of these fabrics to see what effect I get.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

The Week That Was

And what a week it was.

I spent 19 hours in Wellington one day... visiting Hutt Hospital with two colleagues from Australia to look at a special bed called a Therapulse ATP, which is an air mattress in a special frame, for badly injured patients. It’s been “faulty” for a while, and required its valve/motor assembly to be replaced. The damage had been aggravated by heat, vibration, and a lack of regular maintenance. It would have been good if the tools and spare parts, sent via FedEx, had stayed in Wellington, rather than them sending them to Christchurch, and then back to Wellington. Spent some time training the Biomed Tech, and checking the 3 ATS units the hospital has. We got there at 0830, the parts arrived around 1000, and we were gone by 1100. Had an excellent dinner and lunch, and 2 nice flights – I DO LIKE FLYING! It was nice to get home tho.

Thursday morning I started my first rust-dyeing experiment, and with Becca’s help we wrapped vinegar and salt soaked fabric around the rusting pole of our mail box. Temperatures are averaging around 14-15 degrees C, so we’re going to leave it to “cook” for a week before we check it. I joined a Rust Dyeing group on Yahoo earlier in the week, and it looks like fun. Pictures to follow.

Saturday morning was Brother Club at Newsons, which included an Overlocking class – much more fun than the usual “sit and talk” meeting. Now I’ve got a fabric pack that I’m supposed to turn into a white frilly cushion cover – aaaarrrgh – so not my thing – with lace and ribbon and all. And then I thought ..... ooooohhhh – that could look really cool rust-dyed, and then over-dyed with lwi colour. We also got to see all the farmyard fabric challenge packs – it’s amazing what some women have made. One was a Victorian style doll, with net stockings, petticoated dress, bonnet etc; a couple of wall hangings; a barn held up by a tree; a placemat; cushion, cow and wheatie. I now know a lot more about my overlocker than I did before, but I still really only want it for the overlocking.

Saturday afternoon was shopping – groceries, Mitre 10 for STRAWBERRY Plants, garden mix, wire brush and water filters.
Saturday evening was the Weber Brothers Circus – “Shokarn – Acrobats of the Orient”. Very cool – I kept getting sidetracked watching the technical aspects – setting up nets, guy wires, the acrobats locking themselves into ribbons before swinging themselves around the ring. DB originally didn’t want to come, but in the end we all enjoyed ourselves very much.
Sunday – Hooray – I now have a six-plant Strawberry garden (planted in the garden mix in the Magik Garden), the worm farms’ tomato plants are in the waka, and the lavender plants are spread thru the other gardens. Nearly lost my pansy collection that was growing in pots – didn’t realise how dry they’d got, but they seem to be recovering.

DB has bashed one of the rusty frypans into submission – it’s as flat as it’s gonna get – and it’s now soaking in a salt/vinegar/water solution in a plastic bag, in a wheelbarrow in the garden, with a crushed dog food can. Rust on, my little petal, and you and I will dye together!

Also done the bathrooms, toilets, 2 loads of washing, gone to Mitre 10 for Slug & Snail bait – Quash Iron Cholate pellets, Spotlight for fabric, cleaned the fish tank, cooked dinner. Darn – didn’t do any baking!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Double Wedding Ring Quiltlet

Kama is supervising the layout of the double wedding ring quiltlet. It's a lot bigger than I thought it would be. I'm missing 1 arc, and I have to stick red ends on 4 (trimmed the wrong end!), and work out the joining squares. Looks pretty cool tho!