Sunday, September 25, 2011

FO: Jose's First Handknit Socks.

These socks have actually been done for over a week now, but I haven't gotten the chance to get Jose to sit still and let me take pictures of him wearing them. This is the first pair of socks I've knitted for him.

These socks were actually going to be a Christmas gift, even though he saw me working on them and knew they were for him. A couple of weeks ago he mentioned how he was excited to be able to wear his knitted socks as soon as it got cold, and I didn't feel like reminding him that he wasn't getting them until the end of December. Oh well. Next project that's supposed to be for a present will have to be a secret.

Project Details:

Ravelry Project Page: Link
Pattern: Fit Well Socks by Amanda Cathleen Morgan
Yarn: Ella Rae Lace Merino in colorway 126
Needles: US 2 1/2 dpns

Thoughts on Pattern:

The pattern was very easy and good mindless knitting. I like the rows of plain knit in between each row of ribbing because it makes it a little bit different than your average ribbed sock. I've actually cast on another pair of these as a gift for someone else already.

-- Laura

Friday, September 23, 2011

Yarn Shop Sale!

As I'm sure you know, today is the first official day of autumn. In honor of that, all of my recycled yarns in the Etsy shop have been marked down 20%. These lowered prices will be available through September 30th, so grab what you want now!

Here's a link to all the recycled yarns in my shop: Link

-- Laura

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Vat Dye Discharge Workshop.

Although a few days late, as promised I have the full post on the Vat Dye Discharge workshop with Janet Taylor.

Essentially, what vat dye discharge does is take out the color where you apply it and drop in a new color at the same time. For example, the picture I already posted:

Here, the red was dyed first, and then I stamped on the gold. It took out the red so that the gold would show up. This was on charmeuse silk.

Another scarf I did is on habotai (or china silk):

The difference here is that the discharge part of the process moved faster than the dye, leaving a halo effect around the shapes.

We created big stamps the size of the scarves to make the patterns, but you can also screen print with it. We rolled our concoctions on...

And then stamped them on the fabric...

From here on out will be miscellaneous pictures from the workshop. If you're interested in learning the process yourself, Janet will be teaching the process at Penland in April and possibly at Arrowmont in the near future as well. I'm seriously considering going to Penland so I can explore this some more.

That's all for today. Coming soon, I finished a pair of socks that I can finally show off!

Monday, September 12, 2011

My Printmaking Project and I'm Finally Seeing Red.

As promised, here is my poorly-executed printmaking project. It's definitely better than my first one though. That means my next one will be flawless! (ha)

Today I spent most of my time prepping things for the workshop I'm assisting for this week. We have a visiting artist at my school, Janet Taylor, who was actually my surface design professor Amie's instructor when she was an undergrad. Janet came here to teach us about vat dyeing and taking out color while simultaneously adding a new color. I am beyond excited to learn about all of this!

One of the things I did to prep today was dye some silk for samples. I got to choose one of the colors, so I jumped at the chance to dye them red. I have a love/hate relationship with the color red. Red is my favorite color (my car's even red), but I have never successfully dyed something red. It always comes out pink, no matter how much dye I used or tweaked the ratios of color. I hadn't tried to dye red in over a year, so I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity as I would have not one, but two fibers artists over my shoulder who could help me.

Amie told me for about the millionth time that to get a good red, I should use a 1:1 ratio of scarlet and fuchsia MX dyes, and that I should use a lot. Janet agreed with this, and even though I swear I've done all of that before, but I did it anyway, hoping for a miracle. Well, no such luck. I was staring at hot pink once again in my dye bath. As I was admitting defeat, Janet came up and said that we weren't going to give up until we got it right. I took the silk out, and she added a good amount (about the same amount as one of the other dyes) of sun yellow. I was afraid it was going to be too orange, but to my delight after stirring it up and putting the silk back in, it appeared red! Real red, not pink-red!

And guess what? After washing the silk, it was still red!

I'm pretty sure my friends in my weaving class thought I was weird for running around showing everyone how red the fabric was, but I couldn't help it. I felt like my life was finally complete.

-- Laura

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I'm Not As Good At Screenprinting As I Thought.

This weekend has been a busy one for me. I'm trying to get ahead in school because this next week on Tuesday and Thursday I will be the assistant in a dyeing workshop given by a visiting artist (I'll talk more about that in a later post).

This workshop is all day Tuesday and Thursday, meaning I will miss my printmaking class those days, or in other words, 6 hours of studio time. Our current project is due the following Tuesday, meaning I get no class time to work on it.

I actually would rather work outside of class time since it's a lot less crowded, so it's not an issue for me. I've been screen printing for a couple of years now in my fibers classes and had gotten pretty good at it, so I figured I could crank out the five layers I needed in a few hours yesterday. That was not the case.

There are a lot of things different about the way the fibers screenprinting goes and the printmaking screenprinting goes, and so I feel very clumsy and out of my element trying to get used to everything. For one thing, I have a much smaller workspace than I'm used to. I cannot keep anything clean because I'm not used to everything being so jammed together. In fact, I actually had to go buy more paper yesterday because I ruined so many sheets.

 I got to spread out a bit because there weren't as many people in the studio yesterday.

I ran across the street to one of the off-campus school supply stores that stocks the norm (textbooks, pencils, UNT shirts...) but also has a large art supply section. I figured that since it was Saturday, I could run in and out fairly quickly and didn't even bother taking off the apron I was wearing since no one would really see me.

I walk in and there is a very long line. I had forgotten that it was game day. Not any game day, but the first game day of the year and the first game ever in the brand new stadium. Everyone was buying UNT shirts. I sadly got in the long line so I could ask for my one sheet of Rives BFK. While I was in line, I kept getting a lot of weird looks and I didn't know why. And then I looked down.

I took this picture while standing in line.

I had forgotten I was wearing the apron. This apron isn't mine, but a classroom apron, so there's no telling how old it is. Hardly any of the actual fabric is showing on this thing. I took a full picture later so you could see how I looked:

It doesn't help that the apron was longer than my shorts and it looked like I wasn't wearing pants from the front.

The guy in front of the in the line buying a - surprise! - UNT shirt turned to me and said, "Uh, so do you, like, paint a lot?" to which I responded, "Oh, no, I'm in printmaking." I think that confused him because he didn't look like he understood what I meant, but he turned around after that and didn't try to say anything after that.

Finally when I got back to work I started getting in the grove of things a lot better, but my prints still aren't perfect. If I had a perfect print on one layer, I'd get a drip on the next layer on that sheet. At least the craftsmanship has improved since my first project last week.

I only managed to get three layers done in the three hours I was in the studio. At least I'll be able to finish the last two today and be done with it. I'll take a picture of the best one and post it... maybe.

-- Laura

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Fancy Textile Play Time.

This past Wednesday my weaving class had the pleasure of looking through and fondling several old hand-woven and/or hand-embroidered textiles. A woman who collected textiles from around the world passed away recently, and some of her collection went to the Dallas Museum of Art and some were given to  the Texas Fashion Collection, which is housed at my university in the same building I have all my fibers classes.

Before they were put away in boxes for storage, we had the opportunity to examine and lust over these beautiful fabrics with our bare hands. After this, they will only be available for viewing when wearing gloves. It was such a neat experience, and I took several photos. I'll stop blabbing and get to the eye candy.

Some of the things laid out on a table.

 A ceremonial skirt from Indonesia.

 Hand woven

-- Laura