Hankies, steaming, around and back again

This weekend, I completed printing the 48 Blowsy Rose hankie fundraiser to benefit METAvivor. I have sold 47 out of the 48 silk habotai handkerchiefs. I am going to purchase one (I mean donate on behalf), because I need to start collecting -my own- hankies. If the final hankie does not sell today, I will ‘buy’ that too. Tomorrow, I will send 240$ to METAvivor, as this is the listed end date for trying this idea out.

I am so happy to be able to donate money, print hankies, and that YOU will own a piece of my work. Thank you so very much!!!

At the end of the print job, I searched around in my bin of Salty Soda Soaked (Playful Fabric Printing, page 45) fabrics and found a few cotton bandanas. You can see they are quite a bit bigger than the dainty silk habotai hankies.


I have them and ought to print them, don’t you think?

I want to try and rectify the large area of white.

When Carol and I were writing Playful Fabric Printing, we came up with the concept of creating a selvedge with our names on it. 

I created mine using Fum Foam stamps (Playful Fabric Printing, page 62). I think this might just make the center look a little less lonely. And, as I am printing this just for fun, I don’t mind printing my name of it. Though I could use Freezer Paper Resist (Playful Fabric Printing, page 86) to preserve that area of printing…

In the meantime, I have 48 silk hankies to steam, wash and mail away.

ALSO! I put 20 copies of Playful Fabric Printing up for sale on my Etsy page, for just 20$ each. I want to get these books into your hands, so we can start using it! 

If you would like a more in depth exploration of printing these hankies, join our closed FB Community page, Playful Fabric Printing. This is where we do weekly Live Video chats, on print related subjects-this week steaming! There is a backlog of video in the group, which will help you on your way to playfully printing your own fabrics.

See you there!





Blowsy Rose hankies, chugging right along.

Doing this fundraiser for METAvivor has been fun. 

I get to print 48 hankies, make some cash for myself and give some cash to a group whose work I admire. I have just 4 more hankies available for sale. I would love for you to own one, but I also feel kinda grabby! I might need one for myself.

SaveSaveThese hankies are not yet steamed, meaning they are stiff with thickener and Procion MX dye. This is my favorite way to view them! I understand that in steaming and washing them, they will change some. The color will release and fade minimally. What I see here is not what they will eventually look like. But this is my favorite part of printing. Being able to sort through and think about these hankies in their final state is exciting!

I must color the petals of about 22 more hankies. This work will be complete today or tomorrow, then, I will begin to steam, wash and mail the hankies to you. I am ever so grateful to do this work and I feel honored to be able to donate up to $240 per print job!! That’s $240 more than I could afford on my own. So thank you!!!






Blowsy Rose hankies! An update.

In all, the Blowsy Rose print in Florabunda is a four color design, or as we call it in Playful Fabric Printing, a four color multicolor set. In this case, the set consists of one hand carved rubber layer and three fun foam layers that color the background, the leaves and the petals. 

In my opinion, three color designs are the most efficient and easy to print designs, they are approachable, easy to complete and they give you many coloring options. As I print this 4 color design, I periodically drop a layer out, making three color prints, I use all 4 layers too! My goal is to print as many different hankies as I am able in a short period of time, while maintaining consistent print quality.

As I continue to print each of the 48 hankies, I pull some out of the ‘Working Pile’ and place them in the ‘Ready to Steam’ pile.

I rather like these hankies with white background! They are sweet.

So far, I have completed 14 hankies and am well on my way to completing this print job. I am doing this in part to fundraise for METAvivor. There are four hankies for sale, to meet my goal of selling all 48, and donating 240$ from the sale, to this upstanding organization.

I do hope you will head over to my Etsy page and get your hankie today!


And join our Facebook Community Page while you are at it! This is the place for Live Video, asking questions and learning to Playfully Print your own fabrics!





Get your Hankie here! Plus.

As I talked up the creation of the VIP Offering to the AnaOno #cancerland fashion show, many expressed interest in owning their own Melly Made hankies! In gratitude for this opportunity, I have decided to print 48 more hankies and donate a portion of the sale to benefit METAvivor.

I have ordered 48 more hankies. I plan to print them using the large floral design featured in Floribunda! by RJR Fabrics. Each hankie will cost $20.00, with 5$ of each sale donated to Metavivor. Each hankie will be mailed via USPS stamped envelope. If you prefer UPS shipping let me know, I will send you an additional request for $ to cover the cost.

Please purchase your hankie through my Etsy store. While there, perhaps you might purchase Playful Fabric Printing, then head over to the Playful Fabric Printing Community page on Facebook! I will be doing live video updates while completing these hankies and would love to see you there!

My fingers are crossed that I sell all 48 hankies and be able to donate 240$ (my fingers are triple crossed).



Silk Hankies, METAvivor, Anaono Intimates and #cancerland

Beth Fairchild is a woman to admire. She works with METAvivor, is a tireless advocate for breast cancer patients,  she is a mother, an artist and a mermaid.

Last summer we met at a rooftop bar in Manhattan to watch the sun set with friends. It was a magical night (and the first time I met Dana-the owner of AnaOno). At that time, I brought Beth a token gift of my affection, in a handprinted silk hankie (seen above). I love a good hankie. A small piece of fabric with a hemmed edge, to stuff in your pocket, to fuss and fiddle or tie back your hair. 

So when Beth contacted me to ask if I might provide some handprinted swag as a VIP Offering at the AnaOno and #cancerland fashion show, I jumped at the chance.

Here is a short trailer about the project.

I get these 11″ silk hankies at Dharma Trading. They have a nice rolled hem, they take Procion MX dyes beautifully, they can withstand a rigorous washing cycle and they make a great gift.  I printed 48 of these hankies using a three color polka dot design (seen in my first line of fabrics, Meadowlark by Windham Fabrics) using the techniques described in Playful Fabric Printing.

I also used this as an opportunity to record  live video chats about the printing process for our Playful Fabric Printing FB Community page. If you are interested in these printing techniques, our community is perfect for you. Please join.

I chose Procion MX colors that most closely matched the METAvivor ribbon colors, pink, green and blue. (If you want to get technical, in respect to Playful Fabric Printing, I used Colors 10, 11, 27 using Lemon Yellow as my yellow, Fuchsia as red and Turquoise as my blue. I mixed all 4 thickened values for a total of twelve colors and I Speed Printed until complete.)

And here they are atop their silver FedEx swag bags just before the show. 

To see this show was to be inspired by the sheer joy, and utter beauty of real women, real people, who have embraced a difficult diagnosis with badass grace and fierce resolve.

I shivered to my toes and stood present to what an individual, a group of individuals, can do to make real change in the world. I screamed, hooted and cheered. I cried. And it was great.













(StencilGirl) Stencils used imaginatively, plus a sale!

StencilGirl Products is hosting a Cyber Monday Sale! 25% OFF! So please, be my guest! Head over there, but read my pondering too. 🙂

I have come to love using Frixion Pilot pens for creating and/or transferring embroidered designs and ideas. The ink in these pens is affected by heat and disappears (almost entirely), when ironed. I have decided I am willing to suffer the consequences of the use of this fugitive and ever so useful, art supply. I love what it allows me to do. Some folks totally disagree with me on this point and I am OK with that.

Simply use the pen to trace an outline through your favorite stencil. Then, embroider. When finished, iron the ink mark away. The above photograph shows the design tracing -before- ironing. I assure you this will disappear soon. I still have some stitching to complete.

Of course, in the manner of Playful Fabric Printing, I love to print my own cloth for use in quilts.

I have found my StencilGirl stencils very easy to print when using a simple hand squeegee. I like to squeegee through stencils utilizing a padded work surface (page 76, Playful Fabric Printing). A hand towel will work just as well as our tested, June Tailor boards. But please check out that section of the book too. We have some neat hacks and upgrades to the board that will enable you to print in repeat using Thermofax screens too! But, hey, back to the stencils!

While the above photo shows me printing with thickened dye, this technique also works well with fabric paints. The one caveat is, you must wash your stencils well and often, if you want to maintain the sheer nature of the stencil plastic-which I do. Do not allow the paint to dry on the stencil.

I have designed 6 stencils with StencilGirl. Each stencil sheet contains a square repeat design, a few coordinating single motifs and one alphabet per stencil. There are just so many ways to use stencils, whether in your hand embroidery or by way of printing and painting!

And, well. I would really like to get my stencils into your hands! So please, head on over to Stencilgirl Products and get some swag.

My stencils are on sale!

Cyber Monday
Save 25% off all* stencils
Use code: cyber25 
Monday, November 27, 2017
from midnight until 11:59 p.m. CST (Central Standard Time) USA

PLUS 10% discount when you buy 6 stencils of the same size!

NEW THIS YEAR! Choose 1 FREE large stencil for every $100 spent (after discounts are applied). You MUST specify your choice(s) by L### code in the comments section of the cart when you check out or it will be StencilGirl’s choice. Sorry, no exceptions.

BONUS! Spend $500+ (after discounts are applied) and StencilGirl will send you an original work of art by Mary Beth Shaw.

SHOP: http://www.stencilgirlproducts.com/stencilgirl-products-s/1846.htm

Tuesday & Wednesday
Save 20% off all* stencils
Use code: cyber20 
Tuesday, November 28, 2017, & Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Sale ends at 11:59 p.m. CST (Central Standard Time) USA
10% off 6 stencils of the same size discount, FREE stencil(s), and Bonus still apply.

*Stencils only. Does not apply to DVDs, books, tools, wholesale orders, StencilClub, or gift certificates. The StencilClub exclusive monthly member discount does not apply.




Printing with Intent

I plan to print 40 fat sixteenths in this carved rubber, buta motif, series ( for 2.5 yards). So far, I have printed 25 of the little fatties. So, I need 15 more. When I am finished printing these, I will use up the remaining dye with a single color all over print for another 2.5 yards, for a total of 5 yards of cloth.

I am happy with the results I see, so far! I have carved 7 different blocks, and color separated each of them. In printing these samples, I have been quite pleased with the crispness of each color applied. I have one more 4″ red rubber block to carve for the series to be complete! I think I will change the scale of the motif with this last carve.

I have also gotten to the point where I can close my eyes and envision whether or not the next color application will play nicely. Bonus!

For a long while, I applied color in a willy-nilly fashion. This helped me build color preferences and understand the use of value within the layers of the multicolor print set. But because I wasn’t conscious of what was occurring, I printed many duds. Usable, and even pretty duds, but you know.

When you want pretty, and you get…interesting…. well.

So this was a steam and boil sort of day! My color retention was good and everything is hanging to drip dry now.

This photograph was taken just before the steam and boil. I will update this post with a follow up, so you can see the difference.

Are you interested in printing fabric to be used in your own quilts? If so, please let me know if you have any sticking points that impede your abilities. I would like to trouble shoot this with you! Please leave a comment. And join our Facebook Playful Fabric Printing Community.




Floribunda! RJR and some Multicolor Print Sets

I am happy to announce the debut of Floribunda! by RJR Fabrics. A textile line geared to quilters, sprinkled with blowsy roses, tendriled vines, leaves and rich, deep colors. The line was created using techniques illustrated and explained within the pages of Playful Fabric Printing. The line will ship to stores in late March 2018. In the coming months, I will be making quilt tops out of this fabric, please stay tuned!

In the meantime, I have been playing with Inovart Eco Karve, which can be seen as red rubber in the above photograph. There are 5 multicolor sets made with the red Invovart Eco Karve, thus far. Each of these designs are 4″ square, and utilizes a ‘Buta’, a larger medallion like motif (the Buta measure less than 3″ tall), often found in Indian textiles, using a set repeat. Each motif contains a flower. With each subsequent carve, I was able to achieve a finer and finer line.

Soft Kut the grey stuff pictured above at the bottom of the image, has been my go-to carving material for years. I find the Eco Karve to be denser, which allows me to carve a finer line. Move over Soft Kut.

Each time I completed a multicolor print set, (the carved rubber along with the plexiglas mounted fun foam stamps), I printed a sample of each set using a similar palette. I did this in order to level the playing field in assessing them next to their fellas. 

As I just restocked on cotton print cloth, I am itching to begin printing enough of these beauties to start making a quilt! I have about 18 handprints in the hopper! My goal is to print at least 2.5 yards of the Butas in total, and to then print or dye supportive single colors to pad that out. That means I need to Salty Soda Soak at least 1.5 yards and to get printing!

I am, as ever, excited to begin!!

Learning, taking notes and repetition.

Recently my friend, Lisa Chin came to NYC and we had two art playdates. Lisa is a fantastic printmaker and carver. Check out her website and her insta!

In playing together, Lisa wanted me to try out Inovart Eco Karve (and some paints too, though that is a post for another day). So, I tucked in and took some lessons. As I did so, of course, I took notes in my Moleskine.

In the Moleskine, I printed a strike-off (page 31, Playful Fabric Printing), made notes about the carving rubber itself. Then in true Melly style, I decided to carve several similar designs so that I could further improve my skill set within this new carving medium.

Repetition helps build muscle memory and similar imagery gives me time to explore similar lines and carving approaches. I printed them off using the same colors in order to evaluate them side by side. I think the white serves this design well in both versions. I am partial to the white dots at top right, but think both benefit by judicious use of white. White is often a bully of a presence in printed fabric, I feel this use of white creates balanced ‘pop’. I will write notes about this too!

As I create motifs and print, keeping notes along the way allows me to keep up with myself. I have been doing it for long enough that I have 4 journals worth of juicy notes. As a resource, dipping into these journals is really helpful. It can help shift your perspective on current work, provide new ideas, remind you of a new art material or perhaps a playdate with a good friend.

Do you take notes and track your creative efforts? Leave a comment and tell me what you do.




HST: My block of choice. Still.

I have created a quilt top using the Peacock Paisley prints I recently made with the help of my intern, Aishwarya (I miss her so, it was such a great experience). I printed a couple of yards of semisolids to go with them and sat down to consider what block I might use. I even asked my Facebook community to share what their favorite simple quilt block is. I found the answers to be intriguing and exciting, even. Especially the Snowball block. And Nine Patch.

But when it came down to it, I am not yet finished with my love of the Half Square Triangle. I like using a 8.5″ square, because I print my cloth in a 9×11″ size. I like being able to show off an expanse of the handprint, and I like being able to cluster the handprints together. And another thing? I like quick and easy, hardly-any-thinking-quilt-making. 🙂 I started cutting the fabrics over the weekend and completed the top this morning. Now, I just need to figure out what to do for the back.

I do feel some guilt in staying with my favorite block, as if I might grow and learn if I were to choose a different clock. But. No. I am still happy cutting my 8.5″ squares, pairing them with a lighter print and drawing the line corner to corner before putting them under the sewing machine needle. So, for now at least, I am sticking with this simple block. So there.