Monday, April 11, 2011

more fun with itajime shapes

My favorite thing to do is play. Play with techniques, dye, fabric. This weekend I played some more with itajime. I created fabric sandwiches with different shapes.  Here's a heart that turned out fairly well. I didn't get quite the definition I wanted on most of the pieces I worked on, including this heart. I suspect my problem is that I soaked the fabric beforehand in warm water. My hunch is that the water soaked fibers actually prevented the dye from penetrating thoroughly. The top layer (top half of the fabric to the left) has good definition, but the layers underneath are blotchy. Presoaking might be a good thing to do with silk, but I am having my doubts about using this method with cotton and hemp.

Today I'll be clamping and using my usual tub dye method without the water pre-soak, and we'll see what happens.

I love, love, love this flower motif. If I can improve the definition, I think this could be really gorgeous. So far this is my favorite.
Here's a small piece that I blocked out with two triangles, leaving just a small corridor for the dye to penetrate. This could be a great frame for some beautiful stitching.

Working on these pieces makes me want to create some really lovely pillows, with itajime patterns centered in a square or rectangle of hemp linen. Hmm... more to ponder. As usual, so many ideas, too little time.


Kim Barron said...

I've found that if I don't presoak the color seeps into the fabric inside the clamp. That the water helps keep it out of there.
Is the fabric a pretty dens or tight weave? I know some of the ones I've done it doesnt' seem to matter how much I stir and swish, the dye just doesn't get inside the folded area.

JacksonFabricArts said...

Hi Kim,
actually this hemp cotton blend is a pretty loose weave. I figured it would work better than the high threadcount cotton I normally use. How long do you keep the packets in the dye? I've been doing my usual tub dye method of 20 minutes with salt & dye; 40 minutes with salt, dye & soda ash. Maybe that's not enough time. I'm going to let it go longer next time and see how they turn out.

Kim Barron said...

I think I tend to leave them in longer. But not a lot more. On silk I've seen what makes me think of dye settlingg out and landing on the fabric. A difference between the upper part and the lower part. I think I tend to not stir teh fabric nearly as often I'm supposed to. But I like the unevenness that not stirring gives, on some items.
Would you mind sharing your source for the hemp blend fabric? The prices for hemp are so high. (and I think it is so lame that it can't be grown in the US. I'm hoping the enviro awareness will perhaps give a nudge to allowing it.)