Keep Summer With You

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I’ve had a lot of fun using summer sunshine to print onto fabric.  I now have some scarves for sale in my etsy shop. In each listing, I’ve described how the print was achieved.

Even better, utilize September’s sunshine yourself and try this at home, with chemicals from www.blueprintsonfabric.com and scarves/fabric from www.dharmatrading.com.  September is not too late:  The scarf in the lower right of the photo on the left was printed yesterday, when the temperature was in the 60’s and the sun was at a steep slant (see photo on right).  (Do you see my shadow, taking the picture?) Here’s how the dandelions turned out (from the photo on the front steps): DSCN0110

To keep the dandelion seeds in place, I covered the piece of fabric with glass from an old picture frame.  I’ve discovered from experience that fabric under glass needs to be dry, so previously I soaked the fabric in the chemical solution and allowed it to dry–and then ironed it–in a darkened room.  I saved it for this moment in a black plastic bag, out of direct sunlight.

How will you keep summer with you all year long?

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Addicted to Sun Printing Fabric

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We’re having a record-breaking sunny summer in Anchorage, Alaska and I feel compelled to take advantage of it.  I received more chemicals (my “drugs”) from my supplier, www.blueprintsonfabric.com and 5 yards each of Kona and Pimatex cotton from Dharma Trading Co.

Do you see the shadow of me taking the photo?  It was high noon in Anchorage:  The sun always shines at an angle, never directly overhead, and even more so as autumn approaches.  I do have the board with the fabric propped up towards the sun, but it doesn’t totally compensate.  That’s one reason most of the leaf edges are a bit blurry.  The other reason is that the leaves aren’t totally flat.  (I’ve pinned them with one pin each.)

My favorites are the fabrics that I previously dyed different shades of green (with fiber-reactive dyes).  Perhaps I’ll dye more fabric green this evening, just in case it’s sunny again tomorrow!

Even More Sun Printing in Alaska

Two inches of rain fell in 12 hours in Anchorage.  Once the sun reappeared, I was outside sun printing again.

DSCN0183The piece above is Kona PFD fabric from JoAnn fabrics.  It combines the shibori technique with the sun printing chemicals (purchased from www.blueprintsonfabric.com).  I used a long stitch and machine-sewed 5 lines the length of the fabric.  I pulled the bottom threads to gather the fabric–just like you do when creating ruffles.  I then soaked the fabric in the cyanotype chemicals and put it out in the sun.  The next photo shows how it looked when I brought it in, before removing the threads, rinsing and ironing.

DSCN0179Two other experiments were not quite as amazing, but nonetheless produced fabrics usable for my purpose (quilting).

While it was still very cloudy, I wondered if artificial light would work.  So I put an Ottlite (full-spectrum) bulb in a shop light, clamped it to my husband’s bike and set a piece of chemical-soaked fabric beneath it–with foliage on top, of course.DSCN0177

The photo above shows it after about 45 minutes, when the blue color began appearing.  I moved the light slightly, gave it another hour or so, and here is the result:DSCN0185

The purplish color in the upper-left leaves indicate that something went wrong, but at least I have experienced first-hand the possibility of sun printing indoors (which I’d read was possible).

I found some transparency film made for a printer different from ours, but used it nonetheless to print “The Holstee Manifesto,” which I love. I placed the transparency over a piece of chemical-soaked fabric and set it out in the still-hazy sun.DSCN0181 First I did this with wet fabric, which is how I normally sun print.  Then I did it with dry fabric.  (I dried the chemical-soaked fabric in a closet, then ironed it sandwiched inside a press cloth in a room with the curtains closed.) Here are the results: DSCN0184 The fabric on the left was wet when it developed; the fabric on the right was dry.  It was hot (70 degrees?!) and sunny when I did the fabric on the right, and I believe I overexposed it:  Here’s how it looked after I brought it in. (It’s the piece on the left.)DSCN0182

It should be dark blue and the masked areas should be light, but you can see that the whole thing is a faded lavender; obviously it improved after rinsing. Well, I was busy weeding and sort of forgot about it.  It still is serviceable in a quilt–as a medium-dark-blue fabric with faded text.

Speaking of quilts, I am taking Rayna Gillman’s quilting class here in August, and I need to have a UFO to slice and recombine.  I have no UFO, so I’ve got to make a quilt top!  I plan on simply sewing squares of sunprinted fabric together:  I certainly have a lot!

I’m including one photo for the benefit of knitters who are waiting for me to dye more self-striping yarn for my etsy shop.  I’ve begun creating the 60-foot skeins needed for creating the self-striping yarn. Later this week I will dye yarn!DSCN0180

More Sun Printing in Alaska

We had one of those occasional sunny and hot (73 degrees!) days in Anchorage yesterday and I was sunprinting like mad.DSCN0167 For the fabrics in the first three photos, I used my favorite blueprinting method:  Dipping the fabric in a cyanotype chemical solution consisting of potassium ferricyanide and ferric ammonium citrate. I purchased the chemicals from www.blueprintsonfabric.com ten years ago.  I mixed some solution (chemicals plus water) a month or two ago and keep it in the garage in an opaque plastic container, covered–for good measure–with a black garbage bag.

I included some different fabrics in yesterday’s dyefest.  At the bottom center of the photo is linen (the two small ferns).  On the lower left is wool–not a big success this time!  Continuing around clockwise is silk velvet. To the right of the silk velvet is Kona cotton that was previously dyed green, yellow and turquoise. In the upper right–the four ferns–is a piece of silk.

You can see that I used a variety of items as masks this time:  Lace, two types of mesh, paper clips, washers and a big metal grid.

DSCN0162The white fabric (here, Kona cotton, PFD) is yellowish right after it’s removed from the solution.  I work in the garage–with the garage door closed–to prevent UV light from exposing the fabric until I am ready.  You can see that I raided my husband’s workbench for supplies!  Then I carried the fabric (on its “bed” of, here, foam core board covered with batting and then plastic) outdoors, left it in the sun for 20 minutes, brought it inside and rinsed it.  Here is the result:DSCN0171

I had better luck this time with my Lumi Inkodye prints.  I think I overexposed them previously.   DSCN0173Now I need to figure out how to use the fabrics in quilting!