Me Made May


I am terrible at taking pictures. The time it takes to get a good shot I could be making stuff?  So I’m using mmmay as an excuse to get better at documenting what I make, and using Instagram @jbkell.

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Here are two things I made: I block printed the fabric and used it for a Kiomi dress from Lotta Jansdotter’s book “Everyday Style”. The sweater is “Judith” from Cecily Glowik Macdonald, yarn is Quince and Co. Chickadee in color Peacock.

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More Fabric Printing

I signed up for Jen Hewitt’s online class, “Design, Carve, Print” that started last weekend so I could learn how to block print on fabric. “How to” books usually work for me for learning new creative things, but my previous attempt at block printing was discouraging so I decided to splurge. I have never taken an online class before and it has been a great way to get some support and expertise as I work at my own pace and build this new skill. Jen uses Facebook and Instagram for sharing work and ideas, and the lessons are a series of short videos on her website. 
My first attempts were not gorgeous, but I plugged along, trying hard to be inspired not discouraged by the beautiful things my classmates were posting almost immediately. I learned how to carve, how deeply, how to make test prints and adjust carving. I had to glue my block onto a piece of wood because it got too thin and floppy, and I found the paint roller I was using was too nappy to get proper paint coverage.

After troubleshooting and adjusting, with the help of teacher and classmates on Facebook, I was happier with my results. I tried some new designs.



I was thinking about designs that would work well for clothing, geometric overall patterns that I could wear to work and not get funny looks.


This three ring design appealed to me, and after I trimmed the thickness of the rings, I felt ready to take a plunge!


I cut into some gray purple linen from a sheath dress and jacket I would never have occasion to wear and attempted to mix some purple or fuscia from the primary colors I purchased, only to find I had the wrong kind of red for making purple! I embraced the experimental nature of this project and forged ahead with my muddy purple. As a knitter, I do appreciate thoughtful/mindless repetitive action and I really enjoyed the stamping process! It did not even take that long, something like an hour for shirt front, back and two sleeves.


So here it is, my first garment made with hand printed fabric! An Esme top from Lotta Jansdotter’s new book, Everyday Style, which was at the top of my Christmas list this year.



This is my pleased and amazed expression. This session of Jen’s class continues until April 7 and I’m so glad I splurged. It is a great motivator to work and try new things. I am also getting more comfortable with social media, another goal of mine for 2016 since that is where all the creative inspiring people are hanging out these days. Yay!

Sweaters

I knit pretty obsessively. I’m also very cheap and have not purchased yarn store yarn for a sweater in over 20 years. Between some lucky yarn finds at Goodwill, benefitting from friends’ de-stashing, and unravelling my own creations, I manage to keep myself knitting without spending lots of money. I have purchased many patterns from Quince and Co., which I find hard to resist.

Here are some sweaters I have made this past year:

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imageMelissa LaBarre’s “Odetta Cartigan” made with yarn from a Goodwill sweater I ripped out.

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imageCarrie Bostick Hoge “Barn Sweater” has been so many other sweaters previously, I cannot remember where the wool came from originally!

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Cecily Glowik MacDonald “Abigail Cardi” with a cotton/wool yarn I found at Goodwill. The “no button” design did not work with my substituted yarn and I was going to rip it out but then decided to try a pin. Now one of my favorite ways to wear a sweater!

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Knitty’s free “Shapely Boyfriend” sweater pattern by Stephanie Japel, made with some old school Germantown worsted I found at Goodwill.

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Another “Shapely Boyfriend”, this time with Peace Fleece I gained when my friend Marcy cleaned out her stash. Note another pin to close instead of buttons.

Bags

Five bags sewn from my handprinted fabric, ready for Silent Auction next Friday.

Mail Sack (large version, pattern from Pink Chalk Fabrics) with “Tree Rings”
Mail Sack has “Frogs Egg” lining and upholstery remnant for base
Everyday Tote (pattern from purlbee.com) with “Tree Rings” on yellow duck cloth
Grocery Bag (pattern is from michellepatterns.com) with “Boardwalk through the Marsh” and some experimental potato stamp handles
“Frog Egg” fabric lining Grocery Bag
“Challenge Course Clothes” drawstring backpack. Found pattern on Martha Stewart who has you use nylon for lining.
“Mini-Messenger Bag” from Michelle Patterns

Handprinted III: A Fabric Swap

I have now learned how to print on fabric (in a beginner kind of way), thanks to Leslie Keating’s Third Annual Handprinted Fabric Swap event. Today was the deadline for having my handprinted fabric samples mailed off to my swapmates and I’m pleased to say I met the deadline!

Final product, four 1/4 yard pieces of handprinted fabric

I have not tried blogging before either, but it seems like a good way to document/share my process:

2007
Purchased Lena Corwin’s book, Printing By Hand, thinking I need to try that some day.
2010
Bought the fantastic book Sewing School by Amie Petronis Plumley and Andria Lisle for my daughter for Christmas. Perusing the bibliography I happily discovered “craft blogs” and got with the 21st century.
2011
Claimed an unused silkscreen from a yardsale-ing neighbor, thinking I might use that some day.
December 2012
My husband gave me a Google Tablet for my birthday which made following craft blogs not a huge time suck which helped me become a more consistent follower.
February 19, 2013
Found out about Leslie’s swap from Kleas
Hmm. I could use that book, and that silkscreen and do the swap … and with other fabric I print I could sew bags for Art and Science in the Woods Summer Camp Silent Auction in June. Hmm … yes … my designs could have something to do with the woods and the marsh and frogs and bugs and mud and stuff.
 
OK.

My first attempt, “Boardwalk Through the Marsh”, with Martha Stewart craft paint and freezer paper stencil gave me courage to continue.
“Boardwalk Through The Marsh”
Foam cutout glued onto wood block plus eraser tip with Martha Stewart craft paint worked for “frogs eggs” on weirdly dyed blue/green fabric I got for $3 a bag at local community theater fabric reduction sale.
 
“Frogs Eggs”
Sweet potato print tree rings, “Permaset aqua” textile printing ink in dark brown. Brown ink was darker than I wanted … and my tree rings need to be larger.
 
“Tree Rings” (small trees!)
Sweet potato print ripples, Martha Stewart craft paint. Ripples need work.

“Ripples”
Tried ripples again with Speedball “opaque fabric” screenprinting ink on rubber block (“ready-cut”) from Dick Blick (lino blocks I ordered were impossible to cut). Need to cut deeper into block?
 
“Ripples” Take 2
Not wanting to use my nice free silkscreen until I know what I’m doing, followed Leslie’s tutorial for using picture frames as silkscreen frame for attempt of tree rings on larger scale. Learned I need to cover ENTIRE screen with screen filler to avoid unwanted ink leakage. Oops.
 
Silkscreen Tree Ring
Also learned I need to s-l-o-w-l-y rotate squeegee around during multiple passes to avoid flinging ink.
 
Unwanted Ink Fling
Tried another picture frame silkscreen, smaller frame. Taped my inside edges too this time, to eliminate ink leakage at edges. Yes, I know Lena Corwin said to tape edges but I forgot and now I know why it is necessary! 
Silkscreen Tree Ring, Take 2

Big tree rings look cool together with small ones! Never would have thought of that if I hadn’t goofed first silkscreen!

Tree Rings, Big and Small
Thank you Leslie for this handprinted fabric swap! I had a very good time with it. And thanks also to Kleas for advertising it on your blog! I am happily awaiting my parcels from Australia and Indiana, USA … and practicing for next year! 

-Jennifer