We were tired of living in a house and the finer points in the life of a #freerangetextileprinter

I couldn’t rush my current Speed Print! I would really like some Chevron single color prints to fill out the use-ability of these hand prints in a quilt top. I had previously hoped to steam and sew this coming weekend, a retreat weekend.

But. I have decided to slow down and do it all.

Check out the last quilt I made at Retreat!! The Peacock Quilt is also on page 125 of Playful Fabric Printing!!

But, this time, I will be printing the fabrics for a quilt and not lugging my sewing machine. I have taken out and am dusting it off, the Free Range Textile Printers bucket. I am taking this show on the road!

Peach inspected all sides of the #freerangetextileprinter ‘s Bucket. She admits it lacks necessary tools and will require re-inspection prior to launch.

I love retreat group. I miss these gals and I look forward to getting away, even for a short while.

I don’t know how many pieces of fabric are in this Speed Print session, but when it comes time to piece and make a quilt top, I will be one content quilter.

Are you a member of our Playful Fabric Printing community page on Facebook? We post videos, answer questions and participate in discussion about member work! There have been some great fabrics printed and shared, recently! You are welcome. Please join.

Considering Color and Placement

In learning to use the concepts Carol and I present in Playful Fabric Printing, I have done a lot of experimentation (we both have). In retrospect, as I ponder  my approach to using dye paste and printing as is described in our new book, I would say, at first I was exuberant, I threw caution to the wind, I tried every combination of color and value. And I made many printing errors and color missteps in the process. All of this experimentation has had the effect of helping me build color preferences and forge an understanding of how value adds a visual pop to a print.

In Playful Fabric Printing, we illustrate how to mix color in four gradations, Dark, Medium, Light and Pale (Pale is my favorite). In the above prints, (using this Kit), the purple print uses color much more judiciously than the right red brown print. For one, purple and orange are complementary colors, they reside opposite one another on the color wheel. Because of this, the color sizzles, the purple and orange push one another around, seeking dominance. Also, where the purple is a Medium, the orange is a combo of Pale and Light values, which adds to the zing.

The red brown print is quite nice, but the color choice is a bit flat. These colors are analogous and close relatives in the color wheel. A more effective background color, one that pushes the daisies to the forefront of the design would make this print even better. I am not saying that you ought to work on opposing sides of the color wheel in order to make a great print, though. Rather, a cleaner color choice within the analogous range or a more effective use of value might help propel this design forward.

These two prints, (using this Kit) are both quite pleasing, in my opinion. The differences in color choice are quite interesting. The left most prints’ background is a crisp cheddar while the print on the right is an earthen ochre. The print on the left is bright and chipper, with its flash of light green, while the print on the right has a bit more muscle. Would I use them in the same quilt? Perhaps. It would depend on their fellows. Just looking at them side by side though, the print at right makes me want to create a quilt top with an autumn appeal, and the two would not go well together, if that were to be the goal.

I am happy to say, all the the experimentation I have done has lead me to a more purposeful and considered use of color. Being exuberant has helped me to understand the difference between printing green on top of a crisp yellow-even before I apply dye paste to tool and then print the cloth. Which is why I encourage you to play, experiment and try out every combination you think up.

Printing away the day.

This is a day of off-set printing and I am using the StencilGirl L498 Vine Swirl to do so. 

As an aside, when I was at the Fashion Institute of Technology, I took a screen-printing class. I loved it. My first print was a design based on shoes and I got to cut rubylith, which is such fun to do. My teacher was disappointed in my final print because he felt it would benefit by off-set printing. Or printing the same image, one on top of the other, but offset slightly.

He gave me a B+ for my effort. SD 181 (Surface Design 181) at left, its more recent interpretation (at right) went on to live among its fellas in the Meadowlark by Windham fabric line.I love seeing the original artwork alongside its current interpretation.

At the same time, I am playing with some hand cut stencils too. It was been fun to experiment with the many ways to apply dye through a stencil in order to color cloth. My current favorite method is by way of squeegee-ing dye through the stencil. I find this really saturates the cloth and allows for great penetration of dye.

So, I think perhaps I will be playing with value/color choice and off-set printing. (I would like at least 8-10 more of this print, so I gotta get busy.)

Using a white foam roller works well too. (Page 82 PFP)

Please note, I love using tags here on my blog. If you have questions on a specific topic, please search this blog, there is a search bar at right. A very handy feature.

And! Please join the Playful Fabric Printing Community page on Facebook! It has been so much fun to see what my fellow textile design artists are doing while learning from Playful Fabric Printing.

 

Round Up: Playful Fabric Printing Blog Hop

As you know, Carol and I are hosting a blog hop to celebrate the release of our book, Playful Fabric Printing. Today’s post is a Round Up of each participant on the hop, with stories of how we met, why we chose each person to participate with links to their websites and social media hubs. I highlight four hoppers on my blog and Carol is highlighting the other four on her blog


Lisa Chin and I met through social media and have become in-person friends as a result (who doesn’t love making friends in this way?). Lisa’s web presence is called Something Clever about Nothing, a pithy and fun name for the great explorations found within it. Lisa has published articles on topics pertaining to Gelli Plates and Sun Printing, has contributed to books on Zen Doodles, and made an appearance on QATV series 1700. I have been watching Lisa grow and expand her skill set and I am amazed by her commitment to the progress, she has made such strides in such a short time. Please follow Lisa on Facebook, insta and Pinterest.

Judy Coates Perez and I met in the green room on the set of Quilting Arts TV many years ago. We have become teaching roomies whenever we travel to the same event. I have come to love her like a sister and can honestly say her daughter, Indigo, is just as talented as she is (Indigo Perez was the photographer for Playful Fabric Printing and her photos are luscious). But, back to Judy… Judy’s art is amazing. Although I have visited Judy’s home twice, this last visit was the first time that I have touched both these pieces of art. The detail Judy is able to convey is amazing. Judy has self published two books, both of which I highly recommend, Alternatively Bound and Stitched and 10+ Techniques with Acrylic Inks. Please follow Judy on Facebook and insta

Judy Coates Perez

Judy Coates Perez

Chris Dodsley, whose brand is Made by ChrissieD, is a local friend and fellow member of  NYC Metro Mod Quilters. Chris is a firebrand of creativity and is quick to contribute to Call For and requests for help. Each time I have made a call for help in our community, Chris is ready and willing. Her work is strong, her voice sings through and her presentations and images are tight and professional. Well they should be, as Chris is a sample maker for fabric companies that we all know and love! Chris has been blogging for a long while and has some great tutorials on her site. Please friend her on Facebookinsta and Pinterest too!

Chris Dodsley


And now, we turn to Pokey Bolton. Patricia Chatham Bolton, that is. For this stop on the blog hop, I may just go a bit poetic. I first met Pokey while attending Quilt National 2007. Where Repose had gained entry. While there, Pokey asked to speak with me and proceeded to ask if I might be interested in writing a book based on the techniques used in my winning entry. I said yes, and Inspired to Quilt is the result.

 

Similar to Charlie's Angels

In preparing to write this post I asked each Blog Hopper for two photos to feature in this post. I told each that it could be of a connection between us or it could be a favorite project. Pokey sent this image of ‘The Gang’, or rather from left to right: Jamie Fingal, Judy Coates Perez, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Pokey Bolton, myself and Jane LaFazio. This is a small grouping of Pokey’s Angels. Pokey’s Angels, as I am currently calling all of us, is an ever growing, expansive and amorphous group. 

I am unsure, but I think this is Long Beach 2009? Correct me if I am wrong.

See where I am going with this? Pokey’s Angels makes me think of Charlies Angels. Maybe because we are all gorgeous? 😉

Anyway. Pokey brings together people of diverse artistic background. She gathers people up and creates events, publishes magazines and books, Pokey is a passionate whirlwind of great accomplishment. When Pokey asked if Carol and I might be interested in publishing with her, we felt honored. Honored to earn Pokey’s loyalty. Honored to trust that Pokey would make our content shine. I am confident in saying that every person in the Long Beach photo would say the same were they in our shoes. 

Last year Pokey had her inaugural Craft Napa event (January 2016):

and we recreated the photo from so many years ago. The second annual Craft Napa Retreat just unfolded, read Pokey’s recap here. I am happy to say, I want to return to Napa to experience Craft Napa retreats for years to come.

In the meantime, Pokey began publishing again! Playful Fabric Printing, coauthored with Carol Soderlund is Pokey’s first title under the name, Crafting a Life, LLC.

 

Playful Fabric Printing by Melanie Testa and Carol Soderlund

I know as an author, I am tooting my own horn here? But tootin’ needs to happen.

This book is photo and content rich. There is a 28 color triangle of repeatable color, in 4 values, combined with thoroughly tested techniques including the use of Fun Foam, Carving Rubber, Stencil and Thermofax Screens. We present all of the information with an eye toward small space printing, because we know that many of us do not have gads of studio space in work in. Then we go on to present six quilts made with handprints! 

Melanie Testa's quilt

This book is huge! And pretty. And it feels nice. It’s a dream come true.

Also? Playful Fabric Printing is published in the U.S.A. <—— This is really important. Pokey has chosen to employ U.S. workers to provide her content. A win for everyone!

Pokey and Melly Hug

This tender photo was taken at Houston Quilt Festival a few years back, when a group of ‘Angels’ honored Pokey’s 40th. We met up for a dinner that included friendship, dressed up Barbie dolls, wine, awesome food, and a whole lot of love. Every time I look at this image, I mist up.

It was my first Festival after a year long slog of breast cancer treatment. I went for no other reason than to be among friends and give myself a treat. And to heal. Because that is what we do for one another. As friends. And community. The very thing Pokey is so good at creating. 

This picture, these memories, and so many more, encapsulate what Pokey means to me. Thank you Pokey.


Blog Hop Schedule

Remember, each blog hopper will give away a copy of Playful Fabric Printing, you must comment on that post to enter your name in the giveaway. Comment on every post!! (Most hoppers will close comments in one weeks time, which brings us to February 7. Check each blog for specific dates. My blog comments will remain open until the 7th). Please keep hopping!!

ALSO: Carol and I have also begun a Playful Fabric Printing Facebook Community page and would love for you to join. This will be a space for you to share images of work inspired by the pages or our book, ask questions, receive feedback and participate in print-alongs. 

January 23: Melly Testa
http://melanietesta.com/blog/

Jan 24: Carol Soderlund
http://www.carolsoderlund.com/blog/

Jan 25: Lisa Chin
http://somethingcleveraboutnothing.blogspot.com

Jan 26: Julie Fei-Fan Balzer
http://www.balzerdesigns.typepad.com/

Jan 27: Judy Coates Perez
http://www.judycoatesperez.com

Jan 28: Carrie Bloomston
http://www.carriebloomston.com/blog/

Jan 28 Chris Dodsley as made by ChrissieD

Jan 29: Lynn Krawcyzk
http://smudgeddesignstudio.com

Jan 30: Leslie Tucker Jenison
http://leslietuckerjenison.blogspot.com

Jan 31: Pokey Bolton
http://pokeybolton.com

 

Playful Fabric Printing Blog Hop!

 

Please join us in celebrating the release of Playful Fabric Printing through a blog hop! Scroll down for a complete list of blog hop participants. Each hop participant will discuss motif making, quilting with handprints and/or review Playful Fabric Printing itself. Each blog hop participant will be giving a copy of Playful Fabric Printing to a commenter, so please comment for a chance to WIN.

Carol and I have also begun a Playful Fabric Printing Facebook Community page and would love for you to join. This will be a space for you to share images of work inspired by the pages or our book, ask questions, receive feedback and participate in print-alongs. 


There are many ways to go about making multicolor cloth and there are no right or wrong ways to go about it. While we discuss the creation of nestled multicolor printing sets that fit one inside the other, this is not always the way you might want to proceed. Instead, you might choose to create free-form motifs and to print them in a tossed pattern.

As you can see, working in this manner leaves a bunch of white fabric. Never fear, on page 86 of Playful Fabric Printing, we discuss Monoprinting with Masks.

In this case, I chose to use freezer paper, whose shiny side makes a temporary bond to cloth with ironing. I traced the motifs I wanted to reserve, cut and ironed the cutouts in place before preparing to monoprint. 

After rolling thickened dye out in a pleasing manner, a texturizing comb was used to create a grid like pattern in the thick dye.

The cloth was laid atop the texturized surface and pat in place, before lifting the cloth off the print surface.

Freezer paper is the first resist I began to explore upon learning to print with dye. It is quite a versital crafting material that can be found at grocery and big box stores. Freezer paper comes in several widths, my preferred width is 18″, which can sometimes be difficult to find. While freezer paper is a great resist material, we also discuss some much more ingenious ways to use flat objects to make multicolored prints.

However you choose to make marks on cloth, there is always a way to reserve specific areas, color the background, overprint, and add more design elements. It’s the experimentation that’s the fun part.


Next, I discuss ‘hacking’ your copy of Playful Fabric Printing in order to make it a user ready workbook. 

Most of the books I love and use often, get a spiral binding. I bring them to the copy shop, ask that the binding be removed and a spiral binding be placed in its stead. In the case of Playful Fabric Printing, I wanted to push the idea further and make the book even more studio ready.

First, I took a trip to the office supply store to purchase Better Dividers and Corner Lock Three Pocket Binder Pockets. I specifically wanted to place a tab at the color triangle on page 48 and a pocket at the back of the book in order to store tracking sheets. Additionally, I bought Expo Dry Erase Markers.

Then I took a copy of Playful Fabric Printing to my local copy shop, additional items in tow, to have them remove the binding, place the tab and pocket and laminate both the front and back covers prior to placing a spiral binding. I know this book will receive lots of use and I think the spiral binding turns Playful Fabric Printing into a very useable workbook that is ready to be wiped down when spills and drips occur.

In retrospect, I wish I had asked for the 1.25″ plastic spiral, rather than this tight fitting metal binding. I did not know there was an option, and although this works perfectly, I would have preferred to have the larger spiral.

Another change I made to my copy of Playful Fabric Printing was to move pages 57, 58, 59 and 60 (the Value Bands) to follow just after the color triangle on page 48. This will cut down on flipping back and forth between the pages when choosing color palettes. 

Then I asked the copy shop to make a two sided print out of the tracking pages (pages 138 and 139) and a two sided print out of pages 130 and 131 (the dye recipes) prior to lamination. Used with the dry erase markers, these laminated sheets provide a temporary surface to write notes and track your mixing adventures. Later, when your print session is complete, you will want to transfer the essential information gathered to a hard copy.

OR, if you would rather not have separate sheets that may get lost, you might consider placing a second tabbed Better Divider between pages 138 and 139. My one hesitation with this idea is that the Better Divider pages are textural. The dry erase maker does indeed erase from this surface in a preliminary trial, though a very slight smudge remains. While this is not a problem immediately, I do wonder if, with time and repeated ‘off-market’ use like this, the page will become much more smudged and blurry. I cannot answer this question as yet.

And, of course, tracking pages and design notes can be tucked into the added Binder Pocket at the back. 

Perhaps you too might consider moving into and making your book wet studio ready! I think this is pretty snazzy.


Blog Hop Schedule

Remember, each blog hopper will give away a copy of Playful Fabric Printing, you must comment on that post to enter your name in the giveaway. Comment on every post!!

January 23: Melly Testa
http://melanietesta.com/blog/

Jan 24: Carol Soderlund
http://www.carolsoderlund.com/blog/

Jan 25: Lisa Chin
http://somethingcleveraboutnothing.blogspot.com

Jan 26: Julie Fei-Fan Balzer
http://www.balzerdesigns.typepad.com/

Jan 27: Judy Coates Perez
http://www.judycoatesperez.com

Jan 28: Carrie Bloomston
http://www.carriebloomston.com/blog/

Jan 28 Chris Dodsley as made by ChrissieD

Jan 29: Lynn Krawcyzk
http://smudgeddesignstudio.com

Jan 30: Leslie Tucker Jenison
http://leslietuckerjenison.blogspot.com

Jan 31: Pokey Bolton
http://pokeybolton.com


Also, I would like to announce that Judy Tucker has won the fabric giveaway I announced on the Focus on Fabric Florida Style post.

Kitting, playfully. A secret revealed.

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I have a secret to start talking about!

I am working to release a line of stamps, stencils and Thermofax screens, all designed to coordinate and print interactively with one another (of course each tool can be used on its own too, which when you think of it-exponentially helps to print a huge and varied stash).

As a kit.

In support of the release of Playful Fabric Printing

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I will debut these kits at Craft Napa. And boy am I excited to be going there! The people! The classes! The food choices! OMG, the food.

I can honestly say, I am really excited to begin showing -you- the possibilities tucked into the awesomeness that is Playful Fabric Printing

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I am working on the release date for my upcoming stencil line now. I believe this will be in February. My stencil line is with a well loved and respected stencil maker in our community! Stay tuned!

At the same time, I am working to manufacture clear plastic stamps and I plan to release these kits to you, good reader, at that same time. This has been a huge leap of faith for me. I have never ‘manufactured’ anything before. I am happy to say, I am employing Americans to bring you these items. I am crossing my fingers that you see the value in them!

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The thing I am most excited about? For a limited time, each kit will contain a hand printed fat sixteenth, printed by me! A Melly Print! I believe it is important for you to have an example of the possibility contained in the tools I am offering.

Through the years of working as an artist, whose primary media is Procion MX dye, I am amazed at what Carol Soderlund and I have created in Playful Fabric Printing. It is my hope, that in offering coordinated stamp, stencil and Thermofax kits, it will jumpstart your love of the dye application, and provide you the opportunity to learn about motif making and repeat design, through a backdoor approach. 

More to come on this topic.

In April, I will be teaching at Focus on Fiber. I am excited about the possibility of using these kits in the classroom because I believe it will free us to experience dye tendencies and its interaction with the tools we use to print it. We will discuss motif making and make some tools of our own too! Of course! 

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It’s all a playful plan to get you printing along with us! 

I am working feverishly to complete the kits, gather the items, print cloth and create the packaging, I will address the cost of the kits and how you might obtain one of your own in the coming weeks. Please let me know if you are interested by posting a comment. 🙂

Thank you.

Pre-order your copy of Playful Fabric Printing!

Playful Fabric Printing has been placed for pre-order in the Crafting A Life, LLC shop! From now until January 10, the release date, you will receive the book free of shipping cost (within the U.S. using the code SHIPFREEUS at check out), and at a discounted rate. 

It’s quite the deal!!

This book is like no other book on dyeing in the market today. We present a color triangle of 28 colors, in four gradations. What this means is, we give you the recipes to mix exactly the color you choose. Repeatably!

We explain the use of motif or designs- printed in a free-form manner. Then we help you put those motifs into a repeat, which is a methodical way to build a stash of fabrics, we call this Speed Printing. Of course, we push these ideas further by showing you how to play with our ideas to make fabrics that pair well with one another. 

While you might think you need lots of space and technical equipment to do this? You don’t. In the book, we say you will need a card table, a bucket and some tenacity. This summer, I took to the streets of Manhattan and printed in public with nothing more than a 5 gallon bucket and lid, a spare few tools, and the will to do it! I call this Free Range Textile Printing. We understand you may not want to sit on a bucket to print, so we’ve made suggestions on how you might utilize the least amount of space, while still doing some great work, while using Procion MX dyes.

We want you printing the fabrics for and making quilts that are as unique as you are. And we feel assured that you will.

This book has been a long time coming and we are all really happy that the release will soon come upon us! We hope you take us up on the discounts and order your copy, TODAY!