Tag Archives: silk scarves

The Week in Dangerous Crafts

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The Week in Dangerous Crafts

So I’m back from Wiscon, the feminist SF convention that takes place in Madison every year. It’s my mini-vacation; after the first year of commuting an hour each way, I started staying at the con hotel, which means I can manage later nights and/or earlier mornings. The last few years I’ve been putting stuff in the art show, some for sale, some not, but just to show off. Mostly scarves — first the very subtly colored silks I made with plants for dye. This year I’ve found ways to get much brighter colors, so I put in mostly those newer scarves, plus some framed collages and some of the galaxy tees and deconstructed tee shirts I made the last couple of weeks. It was a lot — 48 pieces, which required marking them all down on the control sheet, then making bid sheets for each one, which I usually do over lunch with my friend Gwynne, who comes to the con from LA.

I missed a lot of the opening stuff while I put up all my pieces (with help from a wonderful volunteer), and then was so tired I crawled up to my room without going to the opening ceremonies or parties.

I checked in once or twice a day to see how things were going, but for most of the weekend, it didn’t seem like much was moving at all. But by the time I took down my 3 panels, I realized some had gone. Once we checked the bid sheets against the control sheet, I realized it was even more than I thought. I haven’t added it all up yet (the art show folks double and triple check that stuff, then send a check), but I think it’s going to prove to be worth the work. Not THAT much work, though. Maybe I’ll take it back down to two panels next year, and mostly keep it to scarves.

When I get over Wiscon exhaustion I’d like to put some up on Etsy, and maybe try a few scarves in my flea market booth. Otherwise, they will just be hanging around the house for another year, bogarting the TV remote and drinking beer.

Anyhow, here’s my booth:

Panels 1 & 2

…and the other side:

Next year, I hope to pare down my selection and my work, and maybe put some of the energy into making a kickass outfit for the big party night on Sunday. Everyone looked so inspirational and fabulous for the dance party!

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First one’s free, kid…

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First one’s free, kid…

So regular readers of this blog may remember (::cough::) that I was somewhat (::cough::) cranky on Sunday and not feeling the big creative love until sometime around 6 or 7 pm. Then I made a tie-dyed scarf with a new medium, plain ol’ food coloring.

Well, I got all charged up again and ended up making another five in one day, and I am loving them to pieces.

I love when that happens.

Here they are, with the one that started the whole frenzy.

The dye packages have little charts telling you how to make other colors, so I tried my hand. My first attempt was stormy blue. I didn’t stir the color mix up after pouring in the hot water, so I got this scarf that still has separate patches of the color component — and I love it.

Imperfection FOR THE WIN.

The apricot scarf I stirred the component colors better, but due to the small container dye method (which I love), it still has a nicely watercolor effect. Apricot, you may be fascinated to know, comes from mixing GREEN AND PINK.

WAIT. WHAT?

Will try to post more colors another time.

This weekend will be interesting. I’ve got a bunch of things yet to make for Wiscon, plus getting the house in order for a guest in a week. Must also sneak over to my flea market booth and see how I’m doing!

The Fast and the Furious: Project Post #12

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The Fast and the Furious: Project Post #12

Even though I said I didn’t want to, I started sewing on one of the projects again. Made some progress, but realized I couldn’t possibly get it done today (tonight), so I grumped around and finally decided to try tie-dyeing a silk scarf with food coloring. I’ve never dyed with it before, but a crafty friend had told me she’s done it, so I thought I’d give it a try. I bought both kinds of food coloring, but went totally with neon for this one.

Everything I used, except water, vinegar and the microwave.

So basically, I just kinda made this system up. I did use the tie-dye method I’d learned in the class where I made last week’s project, the scarf with felting. Made little bobbles of glass pebbles tied off with rubber bands, most with one, but a few with two or more. I think I like the ones and twos best.

I have nothing witty to say here. Try back later.

I really liked the way the ligatures turned out in the tie-dying in that class, but was disappointed that I seemed to have lost those subtle details completely in all the sudsy water rolling and rolling to felt the fuzzy bits on. So I’d been wanting to use that method another time.

Or this one, either.

Wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do from this point, where I’d squirted most of the bobbles with food coloring. Then I checked out the chart on the back of the boxes telling how to make different colors, and oooooohhh. Due to my ongoing love affair with teal, I picked that color and mixed the blue and green as directed for cake batter. I mean, I dunno. Then I poured on 1/2 cup of boiling water onto those color drops as it said in the egg dyeing directions, and I splashed a bit more vinegar than the amount they said (because I hadn’t noticed that they called for vinegar at all). Then I poured the boiling water with color onto the whole scarf and put it into the microwave for a minute. Again, I dunno. I just made this up as I went along. I might’ve given it more time, but I got nervous when I peeked at it and it was steaming heartily. (A touch of PTSD after burning the silk/wool scarf, maybe?) So I took it out and let it sit for a while.

Dunno if the steam will show at this resolution, but trust me.

Once it cooled down, I undid all the ties and hung the thing up. I’m pretty damn excited about it. Love that I can mix up some cool, non primary colors.

And there it is, fresh out of the microwave.

You can see the designs the ligatures made.

Neat, huh? The tighter you get the rubber bands all around the scarf, the more of those subtle markings you'll see.

And one more bitchin’ closeup.

So need to play with these colors some more. So so cool....

This is so what I needed today: a project that gets me fired up again and has me plotting what other things I want to try. I have a great idea, but I’m not sure how to execute it (uh-oh. That’s always the way that leads to disappointment).

Mr. Pointy

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Mr. Pointy

I think I may have made up for yesterday’s complete worthlessness.

Today I finished my project, ironed and then washed a dozen silk scarves. No, that’s not out of order. I wanted to use the iron to set the color before washing, which is what the instructions are for the oil paints for fabric that I sometime use. I figured it was good general advice. Ironed a few of them, and have more still drying last time I checked.

I washer-felted 4 sweaters: 3 that I bought at Goodwill in Austin, and one that I’ve had for a very long time. My bathroom now smells like a wet sheep. Did a bit of wet-felting with some wool roving that I had, overlaid with “silk handkerchief,” a very filamenty silk that comes from a cocoon. It doesn’t look like it’ll be sticking to the felt cuff I wanted to make, so I’ll have to pull out the sharp and pointy things again. And last, I got out the seam ripper and removed the sleeves from an Indian ladies’ Kameez that I bought in Austin at the thrift store. gorgeous silk overlayer, which has started to shred a bit. I am not sure what I’ll make of them. Not long enough to sew together to make a scarf. Might make a good back panel overlay for the denim vest I bought, also from a thrift shop.

Oh wait! One other thing: I ironed some designs I’d painted on this pullover hoodie I’m doing an upcycle on, then tossed it in the washer. That one feels like a disappointment in the making, so I haven’t exactly been powering through working on it. I did some stitching at the edges and decided I hate it. I used oil paint crayons to do the designs and wasn’t too careful, so it got all over my hands, so there are smears of color in places where I didn’t intend. I want to try to fix it so I want to wear it, but so far no luck. So it was quite the frenzy of activity once I got moving. Now I am done with the moving, because my legs and feet are in a lot of pain that rest and naproxen aren’t helping at all.

Okay, but enough about all that. Project time!

Back in March I took a 3-hour class that involved some nuno felting techniques, though it wasn’t the standard all-over covering of felt that the term nuno conveys. Our first step was dyeing our white silk scarf blanks. I learned a few goodies about tie-dyeing, using glass pebbles (the kind you use in floral arrangements) inside a twist of rubber band fastened silk, and adding color directly to the bundle with cattle syringes bought at Farm & Fleet (no pointy needles, however). I really liked the effect I got, but I kinda feel like it got lost or hidden during the next phase, the wet felting.

I chose lavender and lilac to go with the glasses frames I had ordered (even before I had my eye exam, I loved them that much). Chose dyed roving in purple, periwinkle and an inky shade of blue. Then we wrapped them up around pool noodles (Obscure fact: I am in an imaginary band called the Pool Noodles with a dancer for NY City Ballet, whom I know only through Twitter.), poured on some sudsy water and rolled. And rolled and rolled and rolled and rolled, in my case. I had accidentally grabbed some mohair. Mohair will not stick to silk as wool will, unless it has some wool to fasten itself to. Well, it’s hard to see what’s working and what’s not when your work is wrapped around a pool noodle, so there was unwrapping, sighing, rewrapping, and rolling, lathering, rinsing, repeating. It was a bit frustrating, but the instructor helped and it improved things, and she also told me I could needle-felt the mohair into the piece.

So the needle felting is the part I did today. I would have preferred the wet felting to work. Needle felting punches the fibers through the silk, so you wind up with a funky whiskery thing happening on the other side of the fabric. The fabric puckers too — not that it’s terrible — the felting of fibers on top of the wool actually makes little creases and folds as it catches during the rolling around process. Another reason it’s not ideal is, the design gets smaller and the funky curly mohairs get punched into submission so you lose that cool look. But punch ’em down I did, and I still like the result a lot, even though there were things I liked that got lost along the way. I finished off the project by ironing the scarf, since I was already ironing a bunch of scarves.

I have a friend who has long said, “If you learn one good thing in a class, you’ve gotten your money’s worth.” I got two. The little glass marble bundle technique of tie dyeing, and something I feel like a complete idiot for never knowing: once you’ve done all your dyeing and abusing of your scarf, a rinse in water with some fabric softener will bring back that deliciously silky feeling to your silk. Seems so obvious, yet it has never occurred to me.

Anyway! Show and tell time!

Hair of mo. You can see how curly it is, as this bit did bond to the silk and wool.

And here's a loose piece I needle felted into the scarf.

Good shot of the whiskery bits that come through the reverse when you needle felt.

Aaand the finished project, after ironing.

Soft and pretty, yes?

I would show how it looks on, with the glasses, but I keep nodding off over the keyboard, so I think that’s a message. I’ll try to remember to snap a quick shot of me wearing the scarf.

Goodnight, y’all!

Isadora, watch out!!: Scarves — Project 2

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Chaos!

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One thing that drives me nuts about crafting: I’ll be searching for something I need for a project and won’t be able to find it where I think it is, but I’ll run across something else and think. “Huh. What’s that doing there?” Without fail, 2 weeks later I need the thing I did run across and now I can’t remember where that thing is.

I am currently wanting to find two groups of objects:
1. A small group of metal pieces and parts from the found objects box at the arts center where I hang out. I chose them because they have personality and I thought they’d be cool in an assemblage. But now I’m thinking they would make good objects to use for rubbings to make robot designs on some silk scarves for Wiscon. (Wiscon is the feminist science fiction convention that’s been going on yearly in Madison, Wisconsin for 35 years. It attracts some very cool people, and I’ve participated for the last few years in the art show there and you should go.)

So while looking for the still-at-large robot bits, I ran across:

2. The ball-bearing shower curtain rings that glide smoothly on the rod. I took them off when I got some that looked snazzier, and put them someplace that makes no sense. And now that I bought a shower curtain to use as a window curtain, I want those curtain rings. Haven’t yet started the search, but it will probably be epic.

Ironically, this post was written in a fit of frustration at a time when the blog wasn’t happening yet. I ran across it while getting ready for my first project post. Both items, by the way, have been found and are in use or are about to be.