Monday, August 30, 2010

Mermaid Continued

I got the background fused and taped. Then it was time to start the mermaid.

I wanted the subtle lines of her face but I didn't think embroidery would be a good solution. Frank suggested printing the detail on fabric with our inkjet printer. What a great suggestion! I make my quilt labels by creating graphics on my computer and then printing to treated fabric so I thought I'd take a moment and share the steps.

I start by cutting the fabric 8.5 x 11. Then I cut a sheet of freezer paper the same size. I use a different rotary cutter for the paper, the same as it's best to use different scissors for paper and fabric.

Set the freezer paper aside while you treat the fabric with Bubble Jet Set, this prepares the fabric to accept the ink. I pour a small amount into a Ziplock bag and squish it around. When the fabric is completely saturated, I squeeze the remaining Jet Set back into the bottle. This way there's almost no waste. Iron the fabric dry.

Next place the fabric wrong side up on a FIRM surface, I use a wooden cutting board. Place the freezer paper shiny side down. With a HOT, dry iron fuse sections of the freezer paper to the fabric, counting 10-12 seconds for each section. It's very important to get a good fuse...

...because if you don't, the layers come apart in your printer and you have to start over. If this happens you might have to take the back off the printer to remove the jam, but that's not hard to do. :)

It turns out that the fact it jammed was actually a good thing, because I was printing the color image, when all I wanted were the black lines of the face and torso.

As I work I keep thinking this mermaid needs a name. I asked her creator, my DH, but he said he didn't know. Mer is French for Sea, so I think I'll call her Merial.

Buttonhole Bag

I took my knitting in the car on our vacation, that was fun. The last few rows got done this morning, including splicing ends to avoid a knot in the binding off.

Twist the ends of each ply together, then mash the two plies into each other. Put the splice in the palm of your hand and spritz with water. Place your palms together and rub vigorously back and forth.

Voila! You're actually felting the ends together, so this method only works with 100% wool.

Here it is before washing, the crochet hook is to give you an idea of the size. I threw it in a hot wash with a pair of jeans and agitated for 12 minutes on the heavy-duty cycle. When I checked it, it had felted down about three-quarters of the way. I ran it for another six minutes.

Woo-HOO! Love it!! The picture isn't blurry, the bag is just extremely FUZZY. The instructions say to shave it with a disposable razor, but I haven't decided yet, I kinda like it all furry and soft. It smells a little like a damp dog, but that'll probably disappear with use.

There was a small amount of bright blue lint in the washer. That's odd, the bag is jade green and purple??


Frank and I 'got outa Dodge' last weekend for our anniversary; drove to South Lake Tahoe in the Sierra mountains for three days.

Our lodge was across the street from Heavenly Village. So much shopping! Too much to see in one day.

Sunset on the lake the first night

Emerald Bay

Eagle Falls

Fannette Island, Emerald Bay, Tahoe

Trail to Eagle Lake

The alpine air and the smell of cedar was balm to my soul. The cool air and the deep blue color of the sky and lake was like a tonic. I was very, very happy.

Eagle Lake

These guys were completely fearless, it was kinda scary.

Elevation 8000 feet, a little bit of heaven.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

More on the Mermaid

Finally cleared the decks, mentally as much as anything, and started the Mermaid.

Once I had the pattern pieces cut out, I traced the reverse of each one onto Steam-a-Seam fusible, the lightest fusible I could find.

Then I fused each one to the predetermined color. There are six fabrics and 16 background water pieces. Frank helped me decide which colors to use where so there's enough variation without too much contrast; and to have the blues move from light to somewhat darker to communicate depth.

Here is the top half fused, with one seam covered with the fusible mini bias tape. I was curious how it was going to look. Not too bad! More tomorrow.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Stained Glass: Trying Something New

I've noticed even when I want to work on something, if I'm feeling unsure how it's going to go or how it'll turn out, I stall. I go into the sewing room to start - and I might even do a few things on the given project, but then I start cleaning or I sit down and do a bit of mending... then I catch myself. What are you doing? Stop procrastinating. If you make a mistake, learn from it and go on.

So I've begun the Stained Glass Mermaid. It doesn't have squares and triangles, it's not constructed with seam allowance and pieced blocks; it's unfamiliar territory. Just start with what you know and go from there. Frank and I shopped together and found several batiks that will work. That was so fun!

Five watery blues, a skin tone and three reds for hair

Perfect fin fabric, it's called Island Hideaway

Then I printed the pattern in sections using PhotoShop and reassembled it.

Next I laid the foundation over the pattern and traced the placement lines with washable pen.

And then cut the pattern apart.

I put that aside and cut out some test shapes, fused them to foundation fabric and then fused bias tape over the raw edges. I tested top stitching and blind hem stitch to applique the tape in place; top stitching won, hands down. Click to enlarge. The blind hem stitch is with clear nylon filament and I don't like how it catches the light. It was also a lot harder to position along the tape, which is 1/8" wide.

I know this project could founder at any point, but I'm sharing the process as I go. It'll be interesting, uncharted waters and all that. Wow! Notice all the seafaring metaphors?! More later.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cotton Tank Top

It's done! The blog archive says I cast on last July 21. I had a little detour following the accident but I'm happy to report it didn't become a UFO!

Tada! I learned a lot with this project. I didn't know how to pick up stitches along the edge and I discovered the correct way to sew a side seam. I used to use a running stitch, which didn't look too smooth. Thank you to Claire at the LYS for her help!

I'm already thinking about my *next* knitting project. Maybe I better start calling myself a knitter!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Aug One

Today is the 12 month anniversary of my accident in the Truckee river that resulted in neck trauma and a concussion. Thank the Lord for the healing capabilities of the human body! I don't *think* I'm missing any IQ's, but if I am, I don't know it!