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Online Learning: the new and the unexpected

Online Learning: the new and the unexpected

The last time I posted here (in January) I described my plan to take various online felting classes. With all my sales and exhibitions cancelled or on hold I thought this would be a good way to keep me focused and motivated during our 3rd pandemic lockdown. Here’s the link in case you want to look back to January’s post.

https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2021/01/21/finding-focus/

This time I’m talking about my online learning since then, including how it has led me in some unexpected directions.

I was part-way through Teri Berry’s bag making class, which was great. I made my third bag, a backpack, and am very pleased with it. I’d definitely recommend Teri’s class. The instructions were clear and comprehensive and Teri was very responsive to my many questions, thoughts and comments. I learned a lot about bag making techniques, which is exactly what I was looking for.

Corriedale Backpack with Canvas Straps

Because two of the bags I made are large, relatively thick, and have to be fulled very hard, I admit bag-making was rather harder work than I’d anticipated. I rent a studio in an old industrial building that is largely unheated so maybe mid-winter isn’t the best time to be working so much heavy, cold, wet wool, but it’s a minor point. I had to use plastic gloves for the first time as my hands became so shredded and I often went home with sleeves wet to the armpit!

I’d planned to take 3 classes over January to March but was irresistibly drawn to a 4th: a 2-session live international felt-along by Aniko Boros (Baribon.Hu) learning to make her beautiful felted tulip pendant with pebble inclusions. Having signed up I realised it was going to be difficult to find the colourful 14 micron merino wool I needed. I only had white. I’ve never dyed my own wool before but I thought, why not have a go?

I already had some acid dyes so I started off with some 21 micron merino before going on to the finer and more expensive 14 micron. Then I tried silk hankies, Corriedale tops, mohair tops, silk fabric, alpaca & nylon …. nothing was safe. I had a blast. I had no idea how much fun dying would be.

Then it snowed and I thought ‘ooh, I could try snow dying’. That turned out to be great fun too. On the right are just a few of the snow dyed fabrics.

I had several colour choices of dyed 14 micron merino by the time Aniko’s workshop came around. The workshop itself was really interesting. A clear and detailed PDF was sent in advance and turned out to be very helpful on the first day when the sound or picture dropped out occasionally. It meant I could see what I needed to do next so was able to keep up. I’m pleased with my pendant (although I still have to add a fastener) including how the dyed wool worked, and feel I’ve learned techniques I will be able to use to make my own designs. Also, it led me into the entirely unexpected joy of dyeing.

Hand dyed 14 micron merino pendant with pebbles: Aniko Boros’ workshop

In the meantime I’d started Fiona Duthie’s online class Ink + Cloth. We practiced adding ink at various stages of feltmaking with loads of potential for using these techniques in future projects.

Above are samples of adding dye / ink before felting (on silk fabric) and on prefelt

These are samples of ink added in different ways to finished nuno felt with cotton and two types of silk. I’d found an image in the V&A museum online catalogue (a fantastic resource) of an early 20th century furnishing fabric with this style of lollipop trees that I was thinking of using for the 1st quarter challenge …but that’s a story for another time.

At the end of this I decided to combine various things I’d learned: to dye my own Corriedale wool tops for a bag and maybe to decorate it with inked or dyed pieces. This is still work in progress as I am not completely happy with it. I decided to let it dry and have a think before doing the last bit of fulling. After I’d laid out the wool I dithered over whether to add silk and prefelt pieces or not as I quite liked the wool as it was. At the last minute I added all sorts of bits and pieces without properly thinking through the design. I fear it betrays its history. A colleague who saw me rinsing it at the studio casually commented it was very ‘hippie, trippy summer-of-love’ which is absolutely not the look I was going for! I will come back to it soon. I included the strap in the photo to give an idea of what it will look like finished.

Now I’m part way through another class with Fiona Duthie: Fibre + Paper. It’s a fascinating process of combining specialist paper with wool. We started by making lots of samples: paper and felt, paper relief, extreme paper relief and paper with prefelt.

Above are samples showing different amounts of paper felted into 21 micron merino wool and bottom right combines prefelt and paper. They feel lovely and there seems to be so much potential to use paper with felt in different ways.

This week I made a vessel with paper embedded into the surface. It’s not perfect: I got a bit over-confident near the end and tore some of the surface (you can just see it bottom left, between the two ribs). I’ve been interested in shell shapes for a couple of years so I shall enjoy making more 3D paper & felt shell-inspired objects.

Paper felt shell-inspired vessel

In the coming week I will be trying out adding colour and surface designs with ink and paint plus making samples with some different papers. Fiona’s classes have been really enjoyable with excellent PDFs, photos and videos and lots of class interaction.

All the online classes I’ve taken have been great fun and very inspiring. They have given me lots of new skills and techniques that I will be able to use in my work. And they have definitely achieved my other objective: they have been really helpful in keeping me learning, focussed and motivated during what could otherwise have been quite a bleak time.

Dyeing some locks

Dyeing some locks

It seems a few of us have had the dying bug. I couldn’t find my green curls and I needed some for another little picture I wanted to do, so I decided to do 3 colours of green to give me some variety. I did them in large freezer bags so I would only need one pot. I know I could have done them in the microwave in the bags but I am not really fussy about microwave dying.

The curls I have already separated are small Blue Faced Leister curls, my favourites. I divided the curls into three bags and added some vinegar water and three different greens to them. I used Dharma acid dye 461 Avocado, Prochem 716 Moss, and Prochem 735 Shamrock.

I forgot to take a picture of the curls but you can see these bags haven’t been cooked because they look like white locks in a green liquid. The colours don’t look very different at this point. Makes you wonder if you have gone to a lot of fuss to make three bags of the same colour. Time will tell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t want them to be sitting on the bottom of the pot because they might melt. To prevent that catastrophe I put some ramekins in the bottom of the pot to keep them up. Empty tuna cans would have worked too.

I cooked them at a low simmer for 30 min then checked them.

Two of them definitely needed more cooking so I popped them all back in for 15 min( I think, or maybe it was 30 min) and checked again.

The third one was clear. I decided to let them cool in the bags and only one had any colour left in it by then but it wasn’t much.

I rinsed them, spun them out in the salad spinner and put them out onto a wire rack to dry. and this is the final result; three different greens.

So had to get a good picture of the true colour. The top right and bottom left are the same curls but look so different as the sun came out from behind a cloud and the room brightened. Their true colour is between the two. I like the way the locks are not solid colours. It gives them more life and depth of colour.

Using bags in a pot of water is a great way to dye lots of different colours at once. It’s especially useful when you don’t want huge amounts of any one thing. Who hasn’t been tempted by those little bags of colour at a sale or in a store? They are usually expensive. This way you can make your own. It’s a great way to try making your own colours by mixing your dyes and you don’t have to commit to having a huge amount until you know you like the outcome. Use a permanent marker to write down your proportions of dye right on the bag so you can replicate the colour later.

Snow Dyeing

Snow Dyeing

So this happened at my house recently. When it snows, what do you do? Snow dye, of course!

Luckily, I had just gotten a bunch of silk scarves that needed dyeing. I put them in a large plastic tub with grates underneath to keep them above the muck that occurs with this process. The scarves were soaked in soda ash solution before I put them in the tub. I tried several methods of scrunching up the scarves so the dye would be unevenly applied, sort of a cheater’s shibori. This process is very serendipitous and if you want the colors to stay separate, use separate tubs.

Then I scooped up a bunch of snow and put that on top of the scarves.

Next I added fiber reactive dye powder (and a bit of acid dye). Sorry for the bad photo. I tried to keep the colors over where the two scarves were. Of course, it migrates where you aren’t expecting it. From left to right:

cerulean blue, turquoise, sapphire

lemon, black

antique gold, pewter

daffodil, purple haze (acid dye)

scarlet, cabernet, oxblood, fire engine (last three acid dye)

I always get excited to see what I have the next day. The snow melted overnight and I had already removed the scarves on the far right before I remembered to take a photo. You can see the dye in the bottom of the tub is very dark and that is why I use the screens. This process does waste dye powder and I think I over did it this time and used too much. But I don’t like a bunch of white in my scarves and I like deep, rich colors. That’s my excuse 😉

Then the rinsing and washing out of scarves happened. Followed by a lot of ironing. These never look very good until they are completely ironed. Then you can see the color changes, some of which are subtle.

There are two of each main color and I am showing these as they were in the tubs from left to right. I’m calling these two iris.

These are called Monet’s Garden.

These are a bit more golden then they show in the photos and I have named them Dawn Mist.

These two are from a combination of purple acid dye and yellow fiber reactive dye. I wasn’t sure if the acid dye would be strong enough but I really like these two, named Northern Lights.

The last two were mainly acid dye with one fiber reactive. I was a bit disappointed with these two but hubby says that he thinks some people will prefer solid colors. We shall see. I named these two garnet. I will be taking these to Bigfork Arts and Cultural Center to sell in their gift shop.

Which colors do you prefer? Have you tried snow or ice dyeing? Always fun to see the results!

 

 

Hair to dye for the Mer’s.

Hair to dye for the Mer’s.

Hair to dye for the Mer’s.

After a long pause from felting to work on the Guild Library survey (why did no one tell me data analysis was so much fun?) with interruptions to torture incent unsuspecting flax plants, I am now back to working on the Mer’s.  Shark Boy is coming along nicely but seems to be missing something… hair!! They will all need hair, but I want it to work with their tail colours too.

Well, I should have some locks or at least some bits of fleece that might work for long hair, because what Mer would not want long hair? All that floating along behind them in the water, looking flowy, and lustrous. Gorgeous tresses, getting in their eyes when they are hunting. ok maybe a braid might be better or another somewhat controlled hairstyle but long, defiantly.

I am imagining picking up bits of colour from the body may be a base of black or dark gray with streaks and accents of some of the body tones. Since Hair should be different than skin, I want to use a different fibre than the Corriedale I have used for the body. Something with a bit more body, (without the use of styling products or heavy conditioners).

In 2019 I picked up a couple of “Coarse” fleeces from the Wool Growers Co-op. Both are quite soft but are more towards a wavy hair than a fluffy crimpy type of sheep. Both are off white to light gray. I also have a reddish-brown Shetland fleece that might be interesting overdyed. I collected a sandwich zip lock bag of each from my stash and turned to the problem of changing their colour.

I need hair dye! Well, I have threatened my hair with that if it didn’t do something interesting as it’s progressing back to the “blond” I was born with. (Ann says it’s a shade of light gray, I claimed it’s just transforming to blond a very light shade of blond that I hope one day will be white) so I don’t have any hair die and none in greens and blues. Humm.

 1 I don’t have any hair die

I do have some old Ritz dies in the basement but they are for dyeing medieval gowns so a bit too much for small samples of fleece. I have heard rumours that you can use food colouring to dye with. Yep, checked youtube, they seem to show only dyeing yarn but it should work with what you make yarn with! Ok, check the kitchen, no food colouring.  I have a plan! Ask Glenn to pick some up on his way back from work! Thanks, Glenn.

So I had collected samples of the two coarse fleeces and a bit from one of the Icelandic. My final fibre to add was horsehair to give a bit more body. I have some dark and light tail hair but unfortunately, it was clumped together and tangled. I was able to extract some and got them laying parallel, held together with a bulldog clip.

Now what do I cook all this in. it’s a bit small for even my smallest pot. Hummm. I am not using the plastic organizer trays I was using for saucers on some of the outdoor plants. I wonder if they would go in the microwave? They don’t say that they don’t go in the microwave!

 2-3 Plan B

I am likely too impatient but I soaked the fibres in warm water and vinegar to prep them for dying. I realized I could fit most of my samples in one organizer and left one sample in the other.  I let it soak until the fibre seemed quite saturated and removed some of the excess water.

  4-6 Soaking in water and vinegar

When I could not stand the wait any longer, I dripped in drops of strait blue die on one end of the containers.

 7 Dye just sitting there

Well, that was disappointing. They just sat there, maybe I took out too much water. I think it needs a poke to inspire the die to migrate a bit. (One of the YouTube videos poked at their skeins in the dye bath) where did I put the spare take out wooden chopsticks? Found them! Why are they with the plastic straws? (maybe filed by the similarity of shape?) Poke, poke, stab, poke and the die is migrating along the top. Ok, let’s add some green and see if we can get a bit of migration and mingling. This is starting to sound quite social. I should put out cookies and make drinks! Again, green drips just sat there. Maybe a bit more water, AH! Yes, now it’s mingling better. More poking but not stirring and I have a nice blue-green, not the Prussian blue I was hoping for but it’s not the right base blue I suspect.

8-9 Poked with chopsticks then tipped the container to migrate the dye

Next, I dripped in some yellow to both samples and worked that in with more poking. Finally, I tipped the containers and got the unattached die to migrate towards the undyed parts. I assessed how it looked and deemed the blue was not quite what I wanted. Maybe a bit of red to get the blue a bit more towards purple would be better?  Let’s try that on the samples with the darker one. A few drops! Oh, my! Red is an aggressive colour! Well, I’m not sure you would call that blue but it is investing. Let’s see what it looks like when it’s dry.

10 3 drops of red

11-13 Heating it up, then letting it cool

Now on to the microwave, let’s guess a minute at a time. Two minutes total gave a nice hot dyebath but still a lot of suspended die. I cooked both for 2 minutes covered with cling wrap and remembered to take the mettle bulldog clip off the horsehair before I stuck it in the microwave. Now let it sit covered until it cools down on the stove and see if I have suspended dye left in the wool.

 14 one leaked but it did seem to have survived the microwave

Usually, I am much better at this patents thing, maybe I will go make some oolong tea. In addition, one of the last of the season’s butter tarts made by Ann. She is amazing and her butter tarts are Really good!

15-16 Oolong with one of the last tarts of 2020.

17 Cooling fibre on the stove

Enjoyed the Butter tart, drank most of the tea and worked on the computer….. Then went to drain and rinse the wool samples. Looking good!! I added some soap and re-rinsed, seems to have mostly stopped leaking blue.

18-19 Rinsing in the sink

So a light squeeze and draped over a chopstick and paper towel to dry.

  20-21 set out to dry

Went back to the computer (played Rune scape) then back to the kitchen to check on the wool and start dinner (miso and ginger soup with shitake mushrooms, onion and noodles). The wool seems to have left a few spots on the paper towel but is looking very colourful.

22 a bit of staining on the underside of the paper towel

  23-24 dyeing made me hunger for dinner

  25-26 Dry and ready to use

It was interesting to see how little die the white horse tail hairs picked up. I may get better results by letting them simmer overnight in a die bath but there is a bit of colour and they may still work.

It has been years since I got a chance to dye anything and this was a lot of fun. I will have to keep an eye out for variegated grey fleeces in 2021 and consider doing some dyeing outdoors next spring. (Glenn does have that second forge but it might make the dye bath a bit too hot. So maybe I can use the barbeque.)  Have fun and happy felting!

27 now on to more butter tarts!

Decorating the cowl

Decorating the cowl

As you recall I was dying some silk lap for my cowl. They turned out well. Silk always looks so raggy after dying. I think it’s the squeezing out of the excess water. They look a little better dry after a little shake and stretch.

With the cowl being different colours of purple I think either the gold/orange or gold/ orange/purple.

 

I decided on the gold/orange/purple. the gold/ orange was to close the leaf fabric. I cut a small amount from one side of the lap.

 

I stretched the silk over the back of the cowl leaving enough on each end to cover the front.

I flipped it over and then cut up the leaves to decorate the ends. I put some on the underside( the silk side) and some on the top.

Then the other end

You saw above I had about 10 grams of silk. After stretching it out to get the amount of silk lap I wanted, I ended up cutting about 1/4 of it off the 2 ends.

I covered it up and gave it a good rubbing on both sides and rolled it up. Next up, the rolling. I am starting to feel like this is the never-ending cowl but I hope to show you it all finished in the next post. Before I can do that, I have to make some more masks, my mom wants a couple and some more pie making. And of course, today is Halloween. No trick or treating for the kids but the grandkids are having a haunted walk in the field. The grownups have as much fun setting it up as the kids will have running around in it.

 

 

Next Steps for My Cowl

Next Steps for My Cowl

With a few weeks until the Christmas markets, I finally got back to my cowl.

This is as far as I had gotten before I had to put it aside. It took me forever to get the silk wrapped around the template properly and as you can see I had to use painters tape to do it.

The first job today was to sew the center together. I used some nylon thread and large basting stitches so I can pull it out at the end.

I put some tape on the one end of the thread so it should be easy to find when it is finished.

Time to add the wool, 3 shades of purple.

The next thing should have been cutting up the yellow/orange/red prefelt into some leave and put them on the cowl. But that would too easy. I decided I wanted to put some silk on top of everything. I thought about some silk hankies but remembered I had a big bag of silk lap. Silk lap is similar to silk hankies but much bigger and many layers.

As you can see the silk is bright white. I will have to dye it. I am not sure what would be the best colour so I cut several strips of the lap to dye.  I was thinking different shades of green but maybe copper or gold would be better. Maybe a combination s of all 3. What do you think?

First I had to find the end, easier said than done.

Even with many layers, it is still see-through.

Silk takes more preparation to dye than wool and other fibres. Silk is hard to get wet. I added a little dish soap to help the silk get wet. It will have to sit at least overnight to be properly wet so I can dye it. I will show you next week when it’s my turn to post again.

And a reminder about the holiday card exchange. You have until tomorrow night (Oct 24th at midnight) to sign up on the forum. holiday-card-exchange-2020 link  If You have signed up chec the forum on the evening of the 25 to find out who your partner is.

Burning the fuzz off a basket and then dying it.

Burning the fuzz off a basket and then dying it.

I thought I would try burning fuss of some felt, a bergschaf wool basket to be precise. My son gave me his cool little cigar lighter he picked up. It worked for about 5 seconds then was out of fuel. no problem we will just get some butane and fill it. Well, you would think that was easy but no.

So I will try a candle. We really only have beeswax candles so I got a tealight and tried it. It worked  (it looks more scorched than it is)  but I spilled wax on the basket and that’s not good. Good thing I decided to try the inside of the handle where it won’t show so I will not have to look up how to get beeswax out of wool. I seem to remember something about ironing with paper from my grade 7 batiking class. We will not mention just how long ago that class was.

Next was to see if Walmart has a little torch in the kitchen section for doing the tops of Creme Brulee. No, they do not. How about some butane? No, you have to order that on the online platform. No flammable gas in the store but they will ship you pressurized gas in the mail. No time for that, buy a BBQ lighter. They have that. I had to return that seems it won’t light. Next, let’s try Canadian Tire. Yes,  according to the website they have butane and even have a little torch on sale cheap ($9.99 marked down from $39.99). No, they are sold out even if the app says there are 2 left. And where is the butane? Nowhere to be found. Another fail. I am starting to think the universe is telling me not to do this. But there are BBQ lighters at the cashout. Let’s try again, I grabbed one and off I went.

This BBQ lighter works, now I can give this a try.

I worked well. A little hard to keep it lit because of all the safety features on lighters these days but I managed. I was wishing to the flamethrower lighters of my teen years. Just not the same waving a phone light. Not to mention you cant singe hairs of wool with them.

It wasn’t easy trying to get a picture of the singed hairs. If the pot had been white maybe it would have been easier but many tries later I got this good one. Keeping the torch moving is the key to not singing it. and the hairs shrivel quite fast.

The problem is it looks like it’s nice and hair free and then you brush off the burned bits and it just raised more hairs. I tried to be gentle but still. after a second pass, it was better but still, there were hairs. It’s too bad it didn’t work as I wanted because even though is it a bit stinky it was fun to do.

Oh well moving onto the next step, dying the basket. This time I picked magenta and purple.

First into the dye pot upside down to do the lighter colour on the top. it cooked loner than usual as when I went to take it out I realized I hadn’t added any vinegar. Oh well, no harm done.

Then the other way up to do the darker purple. You can see the wax I didn’t get off, on the top. A very effective resist.

I was very happy when I rinsed the basket, there was no bleeding at all.

I rolled up the handle to dry in the right shape this time. So there is a happy face instead of an alien this time.

This is a nice close up that shows the colour changes nicely. When it is dry I will shave it.

 

Here is t is off the ball. I will add some stitching but that’s a job for Sunday.

 

By now, with basket 3, I am sure you are sick of hearing about may baskets. I promise not to do another basket post next week when it is my turn to post again.

 

 

 

 

 

Bubble Texture

Bubble Texture

My best-laid plans have gone awry, so I am going to show you a short piece I did back in 2012. Texture seems to be a popular topic so this should fit right in. Although this is an older post if you want to comment or ask about it you can.

People seem to be interested in how to make bubbles in felt. I know there is more than one way but this is how I did it. This is the storey of my bubble hat. I had made a renaissance hat form Chad Alice Hagen’s hat book. I t was to show a group of ladies that were taking a hat class with me. It is a big hat made on a resist that is shaped like a big droopy mushroom. When you finish it you make wrinkles in it and clothespin them till it dries. The problem is it looks great if you push it all forward and take a picture but from the back, it doesn’t look very good. I am sorry I don’t have a picture of it at that point.

What I did was use a shibori dying technique. I used felt balls but marbles or crumple tinfoil will work the same. I started in the middle. You pull the felt around the ball and tie it off as tight as you can. Move out from there repeating the wrap and tie. When it was all done I dropped it in a simmering dye bath. I let it boil for about an hour. When using this as a dye technique it is usually done on a non-felting fabric so you open it up later and flatten it out you have a die pattern. When you do it to felt at a boil it felts more and the bubble shapes stay in. Making bubbles takes a lot of felt. The hat would fit my dog now. If you put your hands in like a puppet it makes s great Muppet monster.

Basket Mark 2 Finished.

Basket Mark 2 Finished.

This week I finished the basket. All it really needed was to have the handle finished and that would have been fast and easy. But a white basket is not only boring it does not fit with me. I can’t keep anything white clean for long.

So faze to of the basket: dying.

I have a turkey fryer/corn cooker for dying outside. After clearing a spot on the porch for the dye pot and my son cleaning all the bugs and spiders and webs out of the hose and burner I got some water heating. Usually, when you are going to dye wool you wet it first. it gets you a more even take-up of the dye. I didn’t want that in particular so I popped it in dry.

you can see I only put it in partway. Ther is about half the bottom of the basket sticking out. This is limy green. after it had cooked for about 45 min just under a boil the water was clear and I removed it and added a dye from ProChem called Mallard. It’s a blue-green and put the basket into the pot the other way up. I forgot to take a picture of that, sorry.

Once the dye was exhausted I rinsed it and blew the beach ball up in it again, another alien.  I am really pleased with the way the colours came out.

Since I had the dye pot hot I dyed some wool too.

My original idea was to use a piece of a tree branch in the handle.

It was ok when I was holding it but as soon as I put it down this happened.

It dropped right to the bottom. So much for the cream buns you just bought. It is much too heavy. Looking back at the pictures I had seen with wood in the handles, they were all small and the wood was mostly driftwood, which is much lighter. Those baskets seemed to be more decorative than useful.  I went back to just rolling all the excess wool up into the handle. It makes a nice sized comfortable to hold handle.  You can see the colour mixing better now its dry.

when I let go of the handle It still falls to the side but not nearly as much, so the cream buns are safe.

You may have noticed that one side of the basket stretched out more than the other. I think it was from the ball being blown up in it. I should have rewet it and fulled it some more but I didn’t want to. I was thinking of how to fix it or make it a feature rather than a flaw.

I pinched it a couple of different ways and that would have worked but I didn’t really like it. the heck with it, it’s just for me.

The basket part feels a little light even though there is 200grams of fibre in it.  It was a bigger resist but I reasoned to myself that there is more wool in 200 grams of Corriedale then there is in the same weight of Fin. I didn’t put any yarn in it, mostly because I forgot. I wanted to prevent the basket lip form stretching out any more. I tend to overfill my baskets and bags. Off to search my handspun for some appropriate yarn. I found a yarn that is predominantly the same colour as the Mallard on the bottom of the pot and did some decorative and structurally helpful stitching. I am pleased with the results.  Sorry about the pictures. I was trying to keep my arm out of the way and get far enough back to get the whole basket.

I think there will be more baskets in my future.

Sublimation printing with Dawn Dupree

Sublimation printing with Dawn Dupree

This is a guest post by Kim Winter of Flextiles.

A couple of weeks ago I went on a sublimation printing workshop with Dawn Dupree, a well-established textile printer based in south London near me. She specialises in multilayered collage, often made using sublimation printing techniques,  like those below.

Sublimation printing uses a heat press and solid ink, usually painted on paper, and only works on synthetic fabric. You put the inked paper face down on top of the fabric, sandwich it between newsprint to prevent the ink from getting on the heat press, then press it in a heat press for around 30 seconds.

The heat causes the ink to sublimate to a gas and also opens the “pores” of the fabric, allowing the gas to penetrate. As the fabric cools down, the ink returns to a solid state and becomes part of the fabric. Unlike with heat transfer printing, the colour does not sit on top of the fabric so doesn’t crack or peel off.

You can buy ready made dye papers in different colours, and you can also make your own papers by painting them with dye and leaving them to dry. The colour of the paper is usually very different to the final colour on the fabric – the fabric is much brighter! So it’s better to do some sample testing if you are after a particular colour.

You can create collages in several ways. The simplest way is to cut the dye paper into different shapes, or use stencils to create a negative outline. You can also use transfer the dye to a photocopy in the heatpress and then use the photocopy to create an image on fabric. Carol’s pieces below, based on the beautiful work by her daughter Alex, used these techniques.

You can also transfer the dye to other items, such as lace, doilies, or yarn, like Gabriela and Maritza did below.

With the heat press you can also add foil to highlight various parts. Catherine’s multilayered piece below included foiling.

I wanted to see how shibori techniques worked in the heat press. So I took a piece of Vilene and folded it in a series of knife pleats in one direction and then the other. I printed this folded piece in one colour, and then unfolded it, repleated it along different folds, and printed with another colour.

Below you can see the folded Vilene on the right after printing with two colours. The purple dye paper is on the left.

Below is after printing withe four colours:

And this if the final piece after printing with five colours:

I also tried stitching. I stitched a piece of white polyester with five rows of running stitch, pulled up the stitches into pleats and then printed it with pink dye paper.

This is what it looked like when opened up.

I removed the stitches, pressed it and restitched in different places, and printed with a second colour.

I repeated this twice more. Then I tore the piece in half and foiled one half (the piece at the bottom).

I noticed that the papers I used for printing retained a very clear image of the stitched fabric. So I used them to print on other pieces of fabric, which looked amazingly 3D.

I hope you enjoyed this post, even though it doesn’t include any felt! Please note that the post is being scheduled to publish while I am on holiday, so I may not be able to respond to comments immediately.

 

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