A beautiful flower "mandala" I discovered during this morning's meditation walk.
A Personal Note from Julie
November 22, 2015
I'm feeling like this weekend is "the calm before the storm." Next Thursday is Thanksgiving and then we are full swing into the frenzy of the holiday season.
Not that it is all bad... this time of year is full of wonderful social events with chances to see family and good friends. In fact, I have a very full weekend coming up (see Upcoming Book Events in the left column) and I'm really looking forward to introducing people to fabric printing and hand stitching. If you live in the Washington DC area, please consider signing up for a silk scarf printing mini-workshop at Stifel & Capra
(The workshop alone is only $10 or for $32.99 you get the workshop, a signed copy of Fabric Printing at Home,
and an additional free scarf blank!) or join me for one or both of the open houses I'm participating in.
I do find, however, that I can get just a bit "off balance" this time of year. There are moments when I just want to slow things down. I want to catch my breath and think. I want to feel just a bit more centered.
Two activities help me feel more in tune and calm me down no matter how crazy it gets: walking and stitching. I try to get out for a brisk walk at least four times a week. Walks are where I problem solve and get inspired. The rhythmic motion of walking seems to focus my mind. I have some of my most creative thoughts during a walk. At times (like this morning), I bring along my camera to capture inspirations. These are walks when I'm "less in my head" and more aware of the beauty and sometimes, quirkiness, of nature. I might set out on a visually-inspired walk with a definite plan such as looking for a particular color. Other times, I just stay aware and open myself up to the universe...those are often the most surprising walks!
Glorious and surprising color from this morning's walk.
Hand stitching also has a rhythm. Moving the needle and thread through the fabric seems to center me. Paying close attention to each individual stitch makes me feel more in the moment. Recently, I've been working on samples for my upcoming Hand Stitching class
. My intention in stitching these samples is to rediscover the potential of simple hand stitches such as running stitch and back stitch. The results have been surprising...even to me...someone who's been stitching since age 10! I'm looking forward to sharing my discoveries with my students. I hope to inspire them to see both the centering benefits and exciting possibilities of working with needle and thread.
Discovering the potential of simple hand stitches.
And now for a project that combines fabric painting, printing and hand stitching...just in time for the holidays....
Today is Part 1 of a two-part project. You'll learn a simple technique for applying resist patterns to your fabric. In Part 2 you'll hem and hand stitch motifs on your fabric to create a small table runner, bread cover or pretty little mat on which to serve tea. Look for Part 2 in December.
Holiday Handmade Part 1: Creating the Fabric
Today you'll create the fabric for this "holiday handmade" piece, using rubbing plates and resists.
The First Layer: Brayer Rubbings with Resists
Choose one of these liquid resists for your brayer rubbing designs.
You will need the following materials:
Hot glue on recycled cardboard rubbing plates.
- 20" x 30" or 15" x 20" Padded Portable Work Surfaces (See Issue #2 under Get Ready, Get Set...). You will want one for each fabric design you plan to create. Use larger boards if you plan to paint fat quarters (18" x 22.5").
- 100% Cotton fabric. I used Prepared for Dyeing Kona Cotton that I hand painted with Pebeo Setacolor Transparent Fabric Paints (1 part paint to 2 parts water dilution). You can also use commercial cotton fabrics in light to medium colors. Determine how large you want your final project to be. For a table runner or large bread cover, you'll want to cut fat quarters. For a smaller mat cut a 14" square or 14" x 18" piece.
- Liquid resist: Choose from the following: Liquid dishwashing soap, blue school glue gel, white glue, or confectioners' sugar syrup. Each one of these resists will have subtly different results. I decided to use the confectioners' sugar syrup resist. You can find the recipe in my book, Fabric Printing at Home, on page 102.
- Dense foam brayer. I like to use Testrite brand.
- Glass or Plexiglas palette. Visit your craft or framing store for pre-cut glass and tape the edges with duct tape.
- Hot glue on cardboard blocks/rubbing plates. Apply hot glue designs to cardboard squares or rectangles. These will be used as rubbing plates. (See Issue #25: Hot (Glue) Hearts, for directions.)
- Optional: Masking tape.
- Paper towels.
1. Place your fabric on a Padded Portable Work Surface. Optional: Tape the fabric to the board. Slip a hot glue on cardboard rubbing plate under the fabric.
Slip a hot glue rubbing plate under the fabric.
2. Squeeze or spoon your chosen resist onto the glass palette. Roll over the resist with the dense foam brayer until the brayer is evenly coated.
3. Roll over the area of the fabric covering the rubbing plate until you see the design start to emerge on the fabric.
Roll the resist over the fabric covering the rubbing plate to pick up the designs.
4. Shift the rubbing plate to another area of the fabric and continue until the entire piece is covered with resist designs.
5. Let the resist dry completely before painting over the design.
Detail of resist-covered fabric.
The Second Layer: Painting the Resist-Covered Fabric
You will now need to paint over the dry resist designs. The resist will prevent the paint from reaching the fabric's surface.
You will need the following materials:
- Piece of cotton or muslin of the same dimensions as the resist-covered fabric. Tape this to the Portable Work Surface first. This fabric will act as blotter, soaking up excess paint and preventing paint from breaching or breaking through the resist.
- Resist-covered fabric taped over the fabric that is already attached to the Portable Work Surface.
- Transparent fabric paints with enough color contrast so you will see the resist design. I used Pebeo Setacolor paints.
- 2" Foam brushes. One for each color you choose.
- Small plastic containers for paint.
- Plastic spoons for mixing paint.
- Water container with water.
- Optional: Wipe up cloth (cotton or muslin) or paper towel.
1. Pour some transparent fabric paint into a small plastic container and dilute it so that it's the consistency of heavy cream (about 1 part paint to 1.5 parts water). This thicker-than-normal dilution with help prevent the paint from breaching the resist.
2. Use the foam brush to apply the paint over the resist-covered fabric. You may want to gently blot with the wipe up cloth or paper towel to absorb excess paint.
Carefully paint over the resist using a thicker-than-normal paint dilution. The resist prevents the paint from reaching the fabric's surface.areas
3. Let the paint dry completely.
Setting the Fabric Paint Before Removing the Resist
The fabric paint will need to be set before removing the resist. If you are patient you can let the fabric passively set by letting it sit for a week before continuing. Using an iron is another option for setting the paint. See the steps below.
1. Place the piece of painted fabric between two pieces of muslin or two pressing cloths (a fabric "sandwich") to protect the iron and the ironing board.
2. Use the cotton setting on the iron. Iron this fabric "sandwich" for half the manufacturer's recommended setting time on one side. Flip the "sandwich" over and iron for the remaining minutes on the other side. The fabric will now be set.
Washing out the Resist
1. After setting the fabric, place it in a plastic container or bowl that will fit in your sink or put it directly in the sink.
2. Squeeze some liquid dishwashing soap onto the fabric (unless you used the soap as the resist). Fill the container or sink with warm water. Agitate to help remove the resist and excess paint. If you used one of the glues, you may need to soak the fabric and rub it against itself or use a toothbrush to remove the resist.
3. Dump the dirty water and add clean water to continue until the resist and residual paint are removed.
4. Machine wash the fabric in a cold or warm water wash using the delicate cycle.
5. Machine or hang dry the fabric.
Here are my final fabrics:
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this project coming in December!