Friday, July 29, 2011

Tutorial! Blueberry deckle

Here is a quick and easy (and extremely inexpensive) way to make a deckle and mold for making paper.

Take a plastic fruit container. It doesn't even have to be blueberries, it can be strawberries, tomatoes, even cherries. Cut off the lid along the joint, then set aside. Looking at your fruit container, you can see it has a bent over rim, cut along that rim:

cut here

And recycle that bottom piece. All you want is the rim. Now, you want to cut a piece of replacement fiberglass window screen fabric (about $5 for a huge roll of the stuff) to size, and cut out a larger piece of plastic crafting canvas ($2 for a placemat sized piece).

the pieces laid out

Then, turn the lid over so it's rim is facing up, put the plastic canvas on top. Above that place the screen, and on top of that, place the stand alone rim. The stand alone rim is the deckle- which determines the size and shape of the paper you make. The rest makes up the mold. The plastic canvas supports the flimsy screen when you dip it in the pulp.  The upside down lid allows for drainage while stabilizing the set up.

blueberry deckle assembled
and assembled

And here is some recycled paper I made with it:

paper made with blueberry deckle

I also have a cherry container I want to try, it's a bit bigger. Also, one could try disposable pie pans and the like... two together, one with holes in the bottom for drainage, one with a shape on top, and a screen between. I saw that technique on YouTube, from the Green Parent.

Anyway, this all may be sort of useless without a tutorial on making paper, but there's always youtube, right? (Although... I don't ever see anyone using the felts to couch the papers as I do - it seems like they only make one piece at a time. I may have to put up a tutorial anyway... but, later!)

But, it seems to me like a nice way to ease into the craft without putting up the money to make wooden deckles or buy them. And if you decide to go farther and make your own (hard woods and brass fasteners, remember!) you'll already have purchased enough window screen material for at least a dozen molds...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

50 for 2011: 36. paper making

As I've probably mentioned, I'm doing Festibooks this Saturday, and I'm signed up to demonstrate (although, it wasn't specified what), and after racking my brain forever for something neat and unusual that doesn't require a lot of $$, I finally thought of paper making! Like a week ago.  But, despite the rush, it's perfect.

I have all the stuff already, as I went through a phase of obsessive paper making some years ago (3? is my best guess).

But I had some kinks to work out, especially with the "giving the kids something to take home" part and after watching some YouTube videos and having done some experimentation, I've hit on a manner of making it work. Which is ironing! With an iron, you can go from an empty deckle and a tub of pulp to a half sheet of paper in about six minutes. It won't lie flat, but it's paper!

ironed paper
for the record, that's a bunny.
And then I made some properly (sort of - sadly, a not great sheet was on top of the stack.)

paper drying
properly - is pressing water out, hanging dry, then pressing flat again
And then today, I experimented further with a mold and deckle made from a blueberry container, a piece of plastic needlework canvas and a small bit of window screen cloth:

blueberry paper
They're not strong enough for the iron, we have to wait.

It works fairly well for something that probably shouldn't work at all... I mean, I wouldn't give up my proper molds and deckles in favor of a blueberry container, of course, but for someone who just wanted to do it once or sometimes and not buy the fancy equipment, (or make it, as I did) it might be reasonable.

However, one still has to use a blender, and I'm not sure you can get around that.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

booth rehearsal

my booth
all ready!... I guess

Eeep. My first sale is next weekend, and I've just applied for another.

So, my elder daughter and I set up a dry run through of the booth. This isn't all the shirts, of course. And I don't have a cash box yet (I ordered one today! I hope it comes in time!).  I've got a dollhouse couch as my business card holder, and surprisingly, my daughter let that go with only a question, as it's her dollhouse.

The fabric I'm using on my little table is a set of curtains I made for her nursery.  I've made a few shirts with that snail, though I've pretty much passed on the rest of those screens.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The dragon is out of the jar

Alright, the long promised photographs:

swirly dragon
swirly dragon

pleated dragon
pleated dragon

overdyed red shirt
overdyed red shirt 1

overdyed red shirt
overdyed red shirt 2

Original post is here.

I know I said I was done, but I'm prepping two more shirts for more low immersion dyeing. I finally broke down the shirts by size and I'm noticeably short on 12 months and 4T, so I'm working up one more of each. Plus, I've a small pile of fabric I need to dye, so why not?

I'm hoping to get a kind of catalog made up of the shirts I've done, and the dye process I went through, for the sale, for people to flip through if they don't see what they like (I guess, assuming things sell first?). But we'll see, as I also have to work out how my demo is going to work!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Catch of the day

I went to the thrift store for more baskets, for my booth at my upcoming (first real) sale. And while I did get a few baskets (one for my kitchen, though, and one I'm not sure I can use, but it's metal! and one I probably will use, though I may cut off the handle...) I found something infinitely more interesting:

size 50 knitting needles
size 50 knitting needles

Now, this thrift shop is run by someone who knows what they are doing, most times, and it's got a huge craft section, where the craft supplies are not so cheap as one might wish, so it was something of a shock to come upon these in the toy section, each individually priced. At 10 cents apiece. I wonder what they thought they might be.

Of course, having found them in the toy section, the kids wish to persist in the notion that they were toys. My elder daughter was demanding some knitting needles to play with when I took these away from her. Now they're secreted in my needle stash, and hopefully, the episode will be forgotten by the kids...

And here are the signs for the sale. It's one sign, really, it's a double faced frame from Ikea ($2) painted with sparkly black acrylic paint.  The picture at the base is an original computer printed out design from which the screen prints are drawn onto the screens. Then it's decorated with tissue paper, crayons and markers.

my sign(s)
my sign(s)!

I still need to do one more - for fingerless gloves. And I still owe you guys pictures of the shirts. They look good, I can tell you, but every time I think of it, it's nearing midnight, and I'm sure we're all sick of these lightless pictures I am taking.

Like now.

Friday, July 8, 2011

And in this jar...

I have a sale coming up, I suspect I didn't mention it. I'm going to be at Festibooks on Saturday, July 23.

These shirts are going to be the last ones until after that, mostly because I need to get them all labeled and priced, but partly because I'm pretty much out of soda ash, which fixes the dye to the fabric...

low immersion dyeing
low immersion dyeing

Most of the shirts have been tub dyed in groups of 6-10, but I only had four this time, and with the shortage of soda ash, I went this route. You use 1/5 the amount of soda ash, as well as much less dye because of the small volume of water.

The trade off is that you get uneven dyeing, but I never stir my tubs as much as I should, and I always get uneven dyeing. I prefer the look really, because it doesn't look like anything else I've seen around. However, this takes that handdyed mottled look to the extreme.

I'll post the final products in a day or two.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

All in line for the sewing machine

First, there is this:

the new shirts, ready to be labeled
It is something on the order of twenty-four new shirts*, mostly toddler and preschool sizes, hardly one of which is identical to another.  I have another half dozen that are just a step or two from complete.

However, even for the done ones I can't sew on the labels yet, because:

quilt being quilted
I'm in the middle of something

This crib sized top is one I finished when I was pregnant with my first born! I told her it was hers yesterday and she pronounced that she was happy to turn it over to her sister... who is pretty soon going to outgrow this herself.

But I started this now, not because it needs to be done (because that is never a good reason to do something, after five years!), but because I wanted to get some experience quilting before I start on this:

jelly top
my baby! my jelly top!

It's about a foot and a half wide, by two feet tall. The circle black and white fabric is the chosen backing. Despite my work with the machine, I will probably have to hand quilt it, because of the fabric paint. And I'm horrid at quilting (ahem, inexperienced!), and I hate my machine's walking foot.... anyway, that way I can add beads, and use embroidery floss, which would be neat.

Also, today, I replaced the pocket in one of my bags. A bit of a long story, but it's nice, sometimes, to just whip through something so straight forward... Makes a change, for sure.

*I am already dreading the mammoth photography session in front of me with these. sigh.

Friday, July 1, 2011

recent dyeing experiments

I'm not sure what to say about these, but I love them. I've been dyeing shirts, and less frequently than I meant to, I've been putting in some attempts at shibori.

storm at sea

This one is where you wrap a piece of fabric around a pole, tie a fabric around, then push it down.  It's not called storm at sea, that's a quilt block name. It has some sort of storm evoking name, though... I just can't think of it.  I'm going to cut off the right side, and overdye the rest.

pleated pink and gold
pleated pink and gold

this was pleated, wrapped around a jar, and dyed one color, then pleated in the other direction, and wrapped around the jar and dyed the other color. I'm considering dyeing this blue, so that it would be blue, purple, and green, rather than white, gold, and pink.

The possibilities are endless, which is what makes it so wonderful!