Tuesday, December 31, 2013

happy new year and hello radiant orchid...



We live in one of 300,000 homes in our city that lost power for days after the ice storm ravaged Canada and the US. I won't go into the unpleasant details since this blog is already in danger of having weather posts supplant textile related ones. Thankfully, it is over and we are now WARM.




Pantone's color of the year for 2014 is "Radiant Orchid" so we will now see this purple showing up in everything from fabric, clothing and home dec items although unlike 2013's "Emerald" probably not in cars. On the screen, this shade looks like Robert Kaufman's Kona Pansy although on my Pantone fan deck it is more like Violet with magenta added. I loved last year's green but like to experiment with every new "color of the year". It is always a good exercise trying something new. Where do you stand on this one- Love it or hate it?

Happy New Year! See you in 2014...



Monday, December 16, 2013

retro clean...



As for many, it is a busy time of year and my hours other than work seem to consist of shopping, wrapping and shipping gifts to far-flung family members and friends. Wanted to give an update on the dirty Dresden blocks that I first blogged about here.  After some research, I found this product called Retro Clean that is nothing short of miraculous. It is a cleaning soak that removes yellowing, mildew and all kinds of stains from vintage fabrics. In the interests of "science" I have taken both before and after shots in the same place and in roughly the same light. Here is one of the blocks before...




You can soak the fabric for up to 36 hours but I chickened out after 12. The amount of yellow dirt that immediately came out was incredible...




A quick rinse and wash and here is the result. The after picture does not do true justice to how renewed the blocks look. I wish I'd left them in for even longer. This level of cleaning has made me re-think donating a number of ancient linens and vintage embroideries.




"Retro Clean" and "Retro Wash" are so good, they'll make you feel like Billy Mays!



Friday, December 6, 2013

rest in peace...


















Former South African President Nelson Mandela stands before an AIDS quilt during a World AIDS Day function in Bloemfontein,
South Africa, Sunday Dec. 1, 2002.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Monday, December 2, 2013

challenge 4 art #3...



The theme of our online art group Challenge 4 Art for this quarter was WINTER. Canada is a country which has a long and cold one. You have to embrace it or go crazy. One of the first signs that winter is coming is when the snow fences go up everywhere. They are made of a very distinctive orange plastic mesh and help direct drifting snow. They delineate cliffs, river banks and roads whose edges might be otherwise dangerously obscured. To make my piece, I took a shot of my dog playing in the first light snow of the season that thankfully did not stay on the ground for long.



I edited the shot in iPhoto- cropping out Her Majesty and bumping up the color saturation. I played with an arrangement of multiple images before printing them on silk organza. The organza came in pre-prepared sheets from Dharma Trading which is the most phenomenal supply house for textile crafts of every kind.


                              


The organza prints were sewn together with the paper backing on to prevent slippage. Then the paper was removed. Originally I planned to use the sheer printed organza over a background fabric for a ghost-like effect until I made an exciting (to me) discovery...



Quite by accident my test shot ended up on a shiny piece of foil fabric from a Halloween costume. The effect was fascinating. Because the foil fabric mirrors back the image it saturates the colors and makes the photos look 3D like those of a vintage View-Master. Here is another shot with a fabric strip in the middle so that you can see the flat "before" and stereoscopic "after".




In my challenge piece, the fabric slightly glistens behind the snow fence collage. I used gift wrap tape to hold the translucent print and foil fabric together (spray mount showed through as a splotch), then layered and quilted the piece. It was really easy to sew.




The finished mini is about 10" square. As in the other challenges, trying new techniques has been so much fun. While I have mixed feelings about my finished quilt, I am thrilled with the discovery of layering the reflective fabric behind the sheer. The next experiment will be making my own silk organza sheets for a large format printer using freezer paper for a backing. The paired fabrics are so light and colorfast you could make clothing out of them with your own digital prints like the work of designer Mary Katrantzou. It is really hard to capture with the camera but this layering is a gorgeous effect and one that I'm definitely going to explore further...

Check out what everyone else made for WINTER!

Lisa: Love to Color My World
Amy: Crafty Shenanigans
Claudia will be back for challenge#4