Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Liquitex Inks, Silk Carrier Rods - Another Experiment

An article in Britain’s Embroidery Guild magazine, “Stitch”,
It used silk rods and Liquitex Inks and enticed me to try this project.  Since being designated an author ambassador by my publisher, C & T Publishing, and receiving some of these inks to experiment with, I had everything I needed on hand so thought it would be a great little project to try these inks out on.
Happily on this sunny morning I got out all my supplies and proceeded to arrange everything for this project.  I soaked the silk rods in a bowl of warm water.  The article said 20 minutes to an hour, but I found after about half an hour they separated easily.  The goal is to not lose the gummy stuff that makes them stick together!  They are multi layered so this was also an experiment in how thin to use them.  Here is what they looked like when I started.
When separating these “carrier rods”, it isn’t unusual to find bits and pieces of stuff other than silk.  I found two little brown bits, that made the silk in that area a color just a shade earthier than the surrounding silk, and I think there was one piece that was a silk worm!  However, they are hard and dried and just fall out as you separate the layers.  I tried to capitalize on those spots, but two of them got lost in the inking! 
There are two good sources for these silk by-products.  One is Treenway Silks on Saltspring Island, BC .
Another supplier is Stef Francis in the U.K.  I have purchased from both and find both of them to give excellent service, mailing the order quickly and providing a high quality product. 
Here is a photo of the soaked and separated layers.  They are still wet here. 
From here I laid them out on wax paper on top of paper towel, laying the strips horizontally and overlapping so that the gummy residue could glue them back together.  Another layer of wax paper was placed on top of the wet layers and more paper towel, and then it was pressed with a dry iron. 
And here is a picture of the project after laying out the strips, pressing it dry, peeling it off the wax paper, and painting  water diluted Liquitex  ink onto the surface with a paintbrush.  See the inks here: The ink worked very well but I was not too happy with this sample, although it did stick together the best of the two:
But this one I painted while it was wet, and then pressed it almost dry in the same layered arrangement as the first one.  I think this one has potential for embellishment and mounting on a quilted background. You can see that some layers didn't bond, but I think hand stitching with embroidery floss will fix that problem and add another design element.   I can’t wait to get to that. 
I hadn't worked with Silk Carrier Rods in any capacity other than an already colored item that made an excellent embellishment.   I have a number of items that I’ve done with Liquitex inks now, and they all worked well.  I recommend the product highly.  Now I need to get busy and put them together into pieces of art!  What a lovely way to spend the day. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Draperies, Grommets & Rotary Cutters

Since moving into our new house, we have done a lot of upgrades, one of which was replacing all the windows throughout the house.  Since they were installed and finished, I’ve been working on window coverings.  Some are for heat retention, some for privacy. 

Having quite a good “stash” of fabrics, and after looking around at all the local suppliers for ready-made window coverings, I have decided I can create what I want more satisfactorily and for less cost.  Have I mentioned that I don’t like making draperies?  Or that my skills at measuring are ok but I seldom use them, preferring to rush through and get it done rather than achieve perfection! Terrible to admit, but that’s the way it is. 

This time however, I’ve been quite diligent in measuring and cutting, in the sincere hope that I will never have to do this again and these will last until I personally don’t care anymore. 

To this end, last Friday evening, my 7 year old granddaughter and I were happily ensconced in my sewing room.  She was playing games on my lap top at the end of my sewing table and I was measuring and cutting circular holes for grommets in the draperies I had just finished cutting and hemming.  The last step before hanging them up and believe me.... I was pleased to be at that point. 

I have a delightful little Olfa Rotary cutter designed for cutting perfect circles of just about any size.  It was doing well, but needed a new blade.  So I proceeded to insert that new blade.  All was going well until the unit slipped out of my hand……and my instinctual reaction was to catch it.  And catch it I did…..with two fingers and a thumb and quite firmly.  This is like catching a round razor blade; instantly blood was flowing.  My granddaughter looked up at my exclamation and said “Grandma!  You’re getting blood everywhere!”  (Thankfully none of it was on the drapery….a miracle in itself.) 

We dashed off to the washroom to get tissue and Band-Aids, but the forefinger just would not stop bleeding.  I was sorry to have to decide that we needed to go to the emergency ward as I was pretty sure I needed stitches. 

So off we go to the hospital.  My granddaughter took great pleasure in using my cell phone to call her father, two provinces away, to tell him we are on our way to the hospital.  He was so relieved when he found out it wasn’t because she’d been hurt, that he didn’t ask what I’d done till the next day!  She called my oldest son, her uncle and an hour away, to tell him the story.  He wanted to speak to me and she said with intense disdain “Uncle Kris, she can’t talk to you while she’s driving, and besides, she only has one hand.”  He chuckled about that.  She called my youngest son, three hours away, and told him all about it as well.   She was enjoying being the bearer of such exciting news! 

We got to the hospital, me dreading the usual three to four hour wait, especially on a Friday evening.  I was amazed to be in a room being looked after within 20 minutes.   The Dr. and the male nurse were wonderful with my little girl…..the doctor offered to let her sew Grandma up ….since we were in the sewing room together she must know how?  She declined that privilege to my great relief.  After four stitches in one finger and two in the thumb, as well as a tetanus shot, we were on our way.  The nurse said she should look after her Grandma….she said “I will” and managed to look like she had the weight of the world on her shoulders! 

We were on the way home and she wanted to phone her friend who was also spending the weekend with her Grandma.  I said no it was a bit late to call by now.  She said “Oh, I was just wondering if she was having fun with her Grandma or if she had to go to a hospital too!  Maybe it’s just my luck.”  I wasn’t sure if she was saying her evening had been exciting or if she thought her friend might be having a better time!   I enjoyed her comments so much.  She’s seven and amazes me with the observations she will come out with.  She did call her dad and all the uncles again to give them the end of the story! 

And here are the draperies completed, hung up and serving their purpose well.  Don’t those grommets look great?  I should trim that thread that’s hanging there off though!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Quilt Market Houston & Embellishment Village

Now this was a rewarding moment.  A friend of mine went to Quilt Market in Houston.  When she came home she emailed this photograph to me.  The booth is "Embellishment Village" .  My friend Hennie was pleased to get her permission to photograph the booth display because both my book, "Embellishing with Everything" and our friend Pippa Moore's samples were on display in the same booth.  Pippa designs these very colorful quilts and another friend of mine, Joan Darling, does all the embellishing on them. 
My book, "Embellishing with Anything" shown here in this picture, is published through C&T Publishing and has been out for about 1 1/2 years now.  It's been a wonderful experience to do a book like this, C&T are a wonderful publisher to work with,  and I am planning another!   My thanks to Hennie for thinking of recording this International exposure!  It sure made me feel good!  I hope to be there one day myself!  Doesn't every quilter? 

Monday, November 08, 2010

A Beautiful November 7th Walk

Our first day on Pacific Standard Time I woke up earlier than usual!  WHAT is that all about?  However, not to complain, because I woke to an incredibly beautiful, sunny, warm November 7th.  What to do with such a special day?  First of all I played with some silk rods (more on that later0, but couldn’t stay inside.  It was too beautiful.  So the dog and I went for a walk on the beach.  It was stunningly beautiful, lots of people with lots of dogs, all of them friendly and in just as good a mood as I was. 

I had my camera with me and was happy about that because there was an eagle sitting on a piling in the middle of the bay, with possibly 500 seagulls on the gravel bank behind him, and behind that the water, the mountains, the clouds and the sky…..all brilliantly colored.  I took several shots of this scene, thinking I could crop and paste and manipulate and add some text so that I could post a beautiful picture of what November 7th looked like where I live. 
It was not to be.  When I got home I somehow messed up a task I’ve done hundreds of times before and I lost the pictures of my silk rod project and worst of all, the picture of the eagle.  The silk rods I can do again but that scene won’t be duplicated just because I want it to when I go back to the beach!  So here’s a post with a totally unrelated picture!  At least it’s the same dog!!!