Friday, March 12, 2010

It Was A Long Week!

Confession time: I had such good intentions to write a small tutorial on jar dyeing and post it earlier in the week, but by Wednesday I had bailed on it. There's something they say about good intentions but I'm going to claim a senior moment and tell you that I don't remember what it is.

I started the parfait-dyeing tutorial four or five times before realizing that I was spinning my wheels and burning a LOT of time. I just didn't want to leave out any details, no matter how tiny, but the art of fabric dyeing is- by its very nature- a detailed and extensive process.

Don't get me wrong... it's easy and anyone can do it, but there's a lot to know if you want to pull successful yardage out of your final rinse cycle and I couldn't bear leaving out anything that might give you a tiny boost up on creating something beautiful that you can be proud of. There's no way an article like that can be written well in a couple of days.

Maybe in the future I'll finally put my head down for a dedicated week and hammer it out, but no promises. I have a huge respect for the artists and companies that offer us such a wide variety of well-written, well-documented tutorials- I see now that tutorial authorship is an art in itself.

Anyway, onward into the week. As I mentioned last week, I wanted to try creating a flour paste resist on one of my less spectacular lengths of hand-dyed fabrics so I dug up the recipe, pinned a large piece of pale green fabric to my table, and mixed my resist.

I started with two cups of water in a 4-cup container and began slowly whisking in two cups of flour. I was looking for pancake batter consistency and when I reached it,  I poured the mixture on top of the pinned fabric and moved the paste around with my hands until I'd gotten a thin layer across the entire piece.

I doodled into the paste with a wooden chopstick. The idea is that when the whole mess dries, I'll be able to crumple it gently to create cracks in the flour, cover over it with with a dark colored dye or fabric paint, and then when the flour is removed (if I can ever get it out), it will leave behind a crackled finish- with, supposedly, doodles drawn into it.

Honestly, I'm skeptical... I'm not really sure what this stuff is supposed to look like when it's laying wet on your fabric, but I worry that my paste is too thin or that maybe I worked it into the fibers too much to ever get it out again. Plus, the danged thing won't dry and it's taking up monster horizontal space in the wet studio while it simmers away. I hate it a little more every time I go out there and poke at it to see if it's dry yet. It had better be an amazing result for me to do this again!

More fabric was tortured this week, as well. I thickened some black dye and painted it on this little piece that had previously been treated with magenta Dye-Na-Flow.

Then painted the dye onto the bottom of a pie plate and stamped it onto this fabric.

The little pink thing above was too boring, so it got another soaking and scrunching in Dye-Na-Flow.

And then because the color was becoming more muted than I like, I brightened it with a bath of magenta fiber-reactive dye.

Other fabrics got preliminary layers of color and are waiting for future layers. Maybe next week I'll finally break out the Setacolor paints and keep your fingers crossed for me that my danged flour paste resist dries!

Finally, just for fun, I took all my little silk experiments from a couple of months ago, attached loops of machine-wrapped cording to the corners and hung them in the living room as a valance. 

Have a great weekend, and happy creating!


Jan said...

Judi I sympathize with you and your sludge covered fabric! I would be very impatient for that to dry too! I hope it will be worth all the mess. Even if it isn't it will have been worth the experiment, I would think. I tried it with a potato resist but was not happy with the results. I've seen some that was fabulous, but mine wasn't. I hope yours will be. Don't worry about your tutorial, if someone needs to know that right now they can find the information elsewhere. Do your own thing for now. I love your silk valance. Love your pie plate stamp too, that piece of fabric is coming along nicely.

Terri Stegmiller said...

I love the design you got from printing with a pie plate. I'd like to see what the pie plate looks like that created that design. And I love love love the valance!

Gisela Towner said...

I absolutely LOVE the valance!!

I've been itching to try the flour resist, but after reading your post, I think I'll just wait for some hot weather and save that for on the patio...

Nina Lise@Mrs Moen said...

I love those dark circles, very graphic! I can only magine how long the flour goo will take to dry, but I'm sure the result will be interesting. Some times the lessons on what doesn't work is as important as sucsessful results; at least that's what I keep telling myself when something doesn't turn out the way I expected.

elle said...

While you wait for patience... I'd have severly cracked it all up by now. lol But the circles are GREAT. I think we all want to know more about your pie recipe, never mind the biscuit dough. The silk valence is my kind of creativity! LUV IT!

Cate Rose said...

Love the pie plate print and the silk valence! My one experiment with potato starch resist didn't go all that well, either. Took forever to dry, and had pooled on the fabric so it didn't crack well. I learned that the recipe should have been twice as thick as I had made it (I'd followed Dharma's recipe -- NO GOOD). Will try it again one of these days!

Sandy said...

Hi Judi,
I tried this once. I loved the result. but here are somethings I found out.

1 -What is pancake batter consistancy...American Pancakes or British Pancakes? i went for somewhere between the 2. I still think my resist was too thin, but then it did mean it spread easily.

2- even English summer took ages for it to dry, AND I used the fan on it.

3 - I loved the crackle effect. not sure it would have been the same if the resist had been thicker.

4- I tried it on calico (a thick version of your muslin) and normal cotton to wash out most of the resist, I soaked it in a bucket of water and sort of hand scrubbed most of the flour off before I washed it. I didn't fancy finding I had created a stoppage in my washing machine drain.
It washed out well from the normal cotton, but the calico was a bit reluctant to let go. I had to wash it again.

5-I tried colour in the resist (old dye) to see if it would transfer to the fabric and get a 2 for 1 effect. (ie pink in the resist and purple painted over cracks when it dried) The calico got a faint pink colour. I think the dye would have to be much stronger to work better.

Okay, that was long, but maybe worth some ideas for when yours dries. I plan to do more, but I will do it in high summer outdoors under cover somehow.
Sandy in the UK

Grace said...

What a fantastic, colourful idea for a valance. As for the flour paste looks awful drying on the fabric and doesn't look like it will work but in the end it does. Hang in there.

Robbie said...

Love the valance idea!! How cool! And using the bottom of the pie plate for stamping turned out great.

Karen S said...

See -- I knew you'd find a great use for those silks!

I have been wanting to try the flour-resist for the longest time -- maybe now I'll find the time!

Quilt or Dye said...

Have I gushed lately and told you just how talented I think you are? ***gush****gush**** I do love the pie pan!

Anonymous said...

I'm loving that valance Judi - what a great idea. I might have to do something like that over the windows in my new studio.