Friday, December 9, 2016

Felted project completed

This is the finished piece. I love adding embroidery since stitching into wool is like stitching into air. SO EASY!. On the upper right is some ribbon that wasn't very successful or I would have taken a close-up.

On this one I couched the Sari yarn after breaking a needle trying to felt it.

This is the felted Sari yarn that broke my needle

This one has a Shisha mirror in the center

French knots

Curly roving

Stitched with wool thread

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The technique

This is a Janome Needle Felting Machine. I bought this when they first came out and were much cheaper than they are now. Sometimes they are referred to as Embellishers.

It came with a brace of 5 needles. These are not replaceable if broken. I broke one of the five a while ago and just decided to use the four. While making this piece I broke a second needle so I'm down to three. You CAN buy another brace which has replaceable needle but it costs $50.00. I don't use this enough to warrant buying a new brace of needles. As you can see each needle has it's own hole. It looks like a sewing machine but there is no thread and no bobbin. Where a bobbin would normally be is a small catchment for fibers that are broken loose during the felting process.

The "finger guard" is in place. I can't imagine running 5 barbed needles through my finger. OUCH!

I placed a bit of roving on the wool batting and started to felt. You start the machine then move the wool backing (batting). You never stop the machine either with the needles in the down position or on the backing (batting). I run the backing (batting)  right out from under MOVING needles.

Here is the piece after needle felting. I also used ribbon. Friday I will show the piece finished.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Four techniques for four weeks

Hi! I am Beth Berman and I will be showing four different techniques during December. I tried to think of something interesting but if nothing else, it will be colorful.

I'd like to start with machine needle felting. Today I will show you the materials I will be using.

This is a small piece of 100% wool quilt batting. I dyed it with acid dyes

Now you will really hate me. I bought over 50 balls of roving plus a bag of silk roving from a woman in Florida for about $50.00. I know.

These are the bags that I will be using. The silk roving is in the lower left bag.

I used both the fuzzy fibers as well as the curly ones.

I felted with Sari yarn and ended up breaking a needle. I decided to couch it after that

This some really beautiful limey olive roving.

Tomorrow I will talk about the process.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

What in the world do artists think of us

Judith just sent me a link to a fiber artist who shares her experience with the fire blog. The artist name is Emma and her post can easily be translated by Google translate.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Rust-Dyed Shibori: Some More Results

As noted in some earlier posts, I wanted to experiment with rust-dyed shibori using different liquids: sea water, black tea and a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water.

Here are some pictures of the fabric that was wrapped around rusty pipes and steamed for an hour and a half. Each of the pieces is very different from the others. In this instance, the fabric wet with vinegar and water became the most rusty. The fabric wet with tea also became somewhat rusty. That fabric also has some spots that were caused by the interaction of the tannin in the tea and the iron on the pipes. The fabric wet with salt water was the least rusted. Note that the patterning on each piece is different from the patterning on the other pieces even though they were all wrapped and steamed in the same way.

In my second experiment, in which I kept the moistened bundles in a warm oven, I also got the greatest rusting effect from the vinegar and water combination. The rusting effect was also stronger with the batching method than with the steaming method. The next best effect was from the sea water. The fabric moistened with tea had the least amount of rust, and it also had some black spots from the tea. This picture shows each of the results. The vinegar/water piece is on the left, the sea water piece is in the middle, and the tea piece is on the right.

What surprised me most from this experiment was the different kinds of patterning I got on each piece. All the pieces were wrapped in the same way: the fabric was wound around the pipe and tied with string. I tried to compress each fabric piece but was not able to do so because of the friction on the pipe. Despite this, I got some very distinctive and interesting marks.

In conclusion to my series of posts this month, I would say that it’s possible to use unusual methods to get shibori effects on fabric. The outcome of each method is different from what you’d get using traditional shibori methods with Procion or acid dyes, but interesting all the same. 

Finally, if you haven't already done so, please check out my book, Dyeing Alchemy. It contains a great deal of information on Procion dyeing and also includes a workbook that does all the dyeing math for you. And, please read the latest review of the book in Shuttle Spindle and Dyepot. The link to that review can be found on my website, on the Dyeing Alchemy page.

Thanks for reading my posts this month! I hope they were useful.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Rust-Dyed Shibori: What Worked and What Didn’t

The steaming method of rusting was somewhat successful for the arashi shibori, but less so for the itajime shibori since I used plastic clamps and disks to hold my fabric in place. That was a bad decision. The clamps warped from the steam and didn’t hold the fabric. The same was true for the plastic disks. Here’s what happened to the plastic I used:


And here are some pictures of the fabric that was wrapped around the tin cans and tied with string. The fabric isn't washed or ironed yet, but you can see the rust patterning. Because it wasn't possible to compress the fabric and push it down the can, the marks are not true arashi shibori marks. Some of the rust will come out of the fabric when it's washed.

Earlier this summer, however, I did some itajime shibori at the same time as I was doing some botanical dyeing. I clamped some fabric to some metal plates, using 3 identical plates, one each on the top and bottom of the fabric and another one in the middle. I steamed this bundle for about an hour. Here’s a picture of the resulting fabric. This looks more like true clamped shibori than do the arashi pieces.

Friday, November 25, 2016

An Aside: Rust Dyeing and Botanical Printing

I recently become interested in botanical dyeing, and this summer I took two workshops focusing on the process. One of these workshops used plastic pipes or wooden dowels for rolling the plant-laden fabric, but the other workshop used rusty iron pipes. This led to some interesting discoveries as well as some great fabric.

In the second workshop, the fabric was steamed on the rusty pipes for several hours, depending on the fabric type. As the fabric steamed, it received a bath of vinegar every half hour. The steaming process transferred the images of the plant material onto the fabric, and it also transferred rust. 

Working with those pipes gave me the idea of using them for my experiments with rust-dyed shibori.

One of the most interesting rusting effects I got during the summer was accidental. I was steaming some delicate silk, and I did not want the silk fabric to get too dark during the steaming process by being in direct contact with the rusty pipes for a long time. To prevent this, I cut a piece of linen fabric the length of the pipe and rolled it around the pipe, tucking the ends into the openings at the ends of the pipe before placing the plant-covered silk onto the pipe. The plant material on the silk also transferred to the linen. In addition, the ends of the linen that was tucked into the pipe end openings created a lovely rust pattern.

Next year, once the plants are back and the weather is warm, I plan to experiment more with this process since I think the combination of rust and plant images create very nice fabric.