Friday, May 20, 2016

Passing It On

     One of the things I love to do is spend time each week at our local Boys and Girls Club teaching a small group of girls (and now one boy) how to sew. I started last summer by having them write stories in sketch books I got them and then lay down a background in fabric and baste it. Then we planned a foreground in fabric to fit each story and began to stitch it in top. Well, those were taking too long for them so we put those aside and began making smaller works to eventually sew together into small books. They got very excited about sewing their "pages" since they could get each one done in a relatively short period of time. Each page could tell a little story, too. All the sewing is done by hand and I have a huge collection of embroidery threads in every color imaginable that they call the treasure box.
     Here is a small sample of some pages of one of the girls.
book page 1

book page 2

book page 3
I love her free style. She composed all these without my help. Her mother says she just wants to sew all the time. It's such a joy to pass this skill on to another generation. This particular girl even wants to teach some of the other girls in the club how to sew when I'm not there.  She's hoping to start a little club on her own soon. I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts so that they know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

How Do You Deal With A Clothing Disaster?

     Have you ever had a favorite shirt that got ruined? My husband has a pullover that I call my boyfriend shirt. Sometimes I take it out of his closet and put it on. When he sees me wearing it he says he was going to wear it that day. It's a running joke in our family. One day a couple of months ago I got a spot of grease on the front of it so I took out the OxiClean and sprayed some on before throwing it in the washing machine with the other laundry. After I took the laundry out of the dryer and sorted the clothes, a large part of the front of our favorite shirt was bleached out. The OxiClean had never done that before. It's not supposed to do that!
     When my husband came home, I said, "Well, you know when something bad happens, you have to count all the good things in your day." Then I showed him the shirt and told him what I did. I kiddingly asked if he put bleach in the OxiClean container. And you know what? He said maybe! He said he did put bleach in an empty OxiClean container to use in the garage and somehow it must have got put in the laundry room by mistake. But he never took off the label or relabeled it with "Bleach". Luckily, I didn't spray any of that bleach onto any other laundry that day. Here is that poor shirt.
My damaged boyfriend shirt
     I didn't want to throw away the shirt and my husband didn't want it anymore, so I decided to try some boro stitching on it. I cut out some patches from cotton fabrics I had and pinned them on. And I picked out some embroidery floss. When I get time in between my homework assignments I stitch on the patches. As the stitching gets added, it blends the patches into the fabric of the shirt. The stitches are meant to show a lot and the bleached out part of the shirt is meant to show, also. 
stitching continues and will change colors
     And the shirt will be all mine (maybe).
     The other thing I've been stitching is a small bag that used to belong to my father. He carried his golf tees in it. He passed away in 1993. I've had the bag sitting around and not being used for anything and decided to honor it. 
Golf tee bag

As stitching is progressing on one side
     So that is how I dealt with this particular clothing disaster. Incorporate part of the disaster into the artwork of the stitchery. I think it will work. I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their blogs so that they know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Learning A New Skill Set

     A huge part of the Art Cloth Mastery Class involves dyeing cloth which I only did for a weekend way back in about 2006 and again in this class for a couple of days in March of this year. My dyes from  Prochemical arrived in the mail a few weeks ago and so did some sample cotton fabrics I wanted to test out. Their arrival was very exciting, but it also meant that I was on my own to set up a dyeing station and begin working with them.
     The first thing I did was to dye several colors with each fabric type to compare the fabrics in order to choose which fabric I liked the best. I decided I liked the mercerized cotton broadcloth. So I ordered several yards from Dharma. I chose them because several friends recommended them and the cloth comes from the USA. Other companies couldn't tell me for sure where their cloth came from. It's also supposed to be PFD. Even so, I still scour it before I use it. (That means I wash it in hot water with washing soda.)
     When I began, all my colors came out too dark. It turned out I had not accounted for that fact that I had used only a small sample of cloth in each dye bath and I needed to recalculate the dye powder amounts also based on the weight of cloth used. Once I did that, I was back in business.
     The next thing I did was to dye two swatches of broadcloth for each dye color I had so that I can create a dye notebook. Then, I'll take one of the swatches and discharge sections of it (one section with bleach and one section with a product from Jacquard) to see what color it turns when discharged. Those will go into the dye notebook, also. That way I'll have a permanent record for each dye powder's effects on broadcloth.
swatches of each of 23 colors on broadcloth
     I got dots on two of the samples. (The dots keep appearing on the Basic Blue even after really mixing it, letting it sit, and filtering it through a nylon stocking. So I think the dye is precipitating back out of solution afterwards while it is batching.) I think that means my water may be too hard so I'm going to add some softener to my chemical water and try a sample and see if that helps. 
     While I was doing all those solids, I wanted to play a bit, so I did some clamping and folding on some leftover fabric samples after reading some blogposts and taking Jane Dunnewold's Craftsy class on dyeing and here is what I got:
Sample 1

Sample 2
Sample 2 was cut in that shape because that was all that was left of that piece of broadcloth.
Sample 3
     Sample 3 was my favorite. Those were just quick experiments. I can't wait until I'm doing real art cloths.  But the next few weeks will be spent on a huge research project for the class involving lots of dyeing of cloth that I can't share with you. I'll be learning so much and creating cloth and data for the other students in the class. They, in turn, will be doing their research projects to share with the class. It feels wonderful to be learning a whole new skill set. There is a big new world opening up to me with all sorts of possibilities to mix in with the skills I have already have. I love when a journey presents itself with a fork in the road.
     I'm hoping to add stitching to some of these cloths when I get some spare time in the next few weeks, too.
     I'm linking this to  Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts so that they know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.