Print, print, steam!

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Today is a day for steaming, soaking and washing finished work. I will print as I am doing this. I have the windows open, the high will be 77 degrees today and printing in warmth is a good thing.

What you see here is 4.5 yards of cloth (layered, three deep in newsprint). I love seeing my sample pile grow larger and larger.

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But honestly, it is time to start thinking about quilt block patterns and how to use the cloth I am printing. Last week I went to The City Quilter with Teri Lucas. I leafed through books and magazines and I realize, I am out of the loop. I have not quilted in quite some time and I feel like I need a refresher course in quilt blocks, settings, styles.

My fabric bits are small, measuring about 9×10″. I want to feature the prints but also want to use every inch of cloth. I have not yet decided on a block, and do not know if I will even try to create a specific block. I love the look of lots of white or light colored fabric alongside bright and cheerful prints, I like darks with bright cheerful prints. I also love busy prints side by side. I just don’t know! 

When Teri and I were hanging out, I threw several of my least favorite prints her way. This week she has been my ‘Tricky Quilt Fairie’ and has been making the cloth into a 9 patch blocks and setting them on point (she has been updating her facebook page with pictures). I love seeing the cloth in this way and it is helping me to get to the cut and sew stage. 

Hey! Help a girl out! If you know a quilt block or quilt that you think would show of my printed cloth well, please comment and leave a link! Pretty please?

 

Printing, printing, printing.

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I have been printing away over here. Some pieces are batching, some washed, some on paper, some cloth. Today will be a continued day of printing. I find I like working small. These cloth pieces are about 8×12, or just a bit bigger. Previously I worked on fat quarters, 18×22″ or so. I find what works best for me now, is to rip those fat quarters into fat eight(?) or is it now, fat sixteenth? I will mix an interesting set of colors and then print as many sets of multicolor stamps, stencils or  jobbies as I possibly can. At the end of the day, I have entire groupings of cloth. It is almost as if I went to the quilting store and bought a full line of prints. Except I made these! This is very exciting.

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I really should do a pictorial inventory of all the projects I am working on right now, it would help me see the forrest through the trees. 

I find that even though I no longer have breasts, I miss the trappings of womanhood, seeing the outline of a bra under my shirts, taking it off at the end of the night. For women who had bilateral mastectomy, there are a few bra options out there or maybe just one. There are ‘bralettes’, though I think these are generally geared to teenagers (cheaply made in bright colors), camisoles, half camisoles, but really not much in the way of ‘under clothing’, and hardly anything that doesn’t push prothesis down your throat, as if you want to wear them. So I have been playing with the idea of making my own under things. The piece at the top is a trial sample, and I have to say, it works well. It looks good.

Seeing as I made my own pattern (and it worked), I figured I would go ahead and start using Natalie Chanin‘s techniques from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design book. I look forward to seeing how this piece turns out. The ‘bra’ at right, the one being stitched is smaller (less coverage) than the finished one it rests on. Perhaps I can perfect the pattern and make a set, so I can wear them whenever I want to! Perhaps I should make a printed and patterned bra (now we are talking).

I do need to shop the notions stores in the city and find suitable connectors and fasteners. Oh, darn!

Relearn

Procion MX dye on cotton broadcloth

I have become lackadaisical in my use of Procion MX dyes, so I asked a fabulous teacher, who has had a profound effect on my own work with MX dyes to help me troubleshoot and identify my issues. If you know me, you might know who I am talking about, but because I have not asked permission I will leave her name out of this post. The piece you see above has been printed and batched, not washed. I look forward to seeing what my washout results show me. 

In the meantime, I can tell you that batching seems to be a large part of my problem and although I have identified a problem area, I still have lots of questions about how to work in my style while following the tenets needed for colorful success with MX dyes.

The above cotton broadcloth was printed using a mix and match of stamping techniques and the stamps are created in a loose repeat. My training as a textile designer has been making itself useful in this respect. Putting a design into repeat in a home studio is not easy, so I am using the term loosely.

One of the effects of working in this manner is the ability to maintain areas of white, which seem to glisten and sparkle. Saving areas of white is so important and often goes missing in our frenzy to dye, print and play. 

Scored Rose pattern

 I like this print a bunch. I see additional layering possibilities but have not figured out what I would like to see, so it remains a lone rosey stamp.