Friday, September 28, 2007

Quilt Blocks

A couple of days ago I finally bought myself a rotary fabric cutter. I had been cutting things so crookedly with my scissors for so long that I decided it was time to get a rotary cutter. When I bought it at the fabric store the girl at the counter asked me if I was making a quilt. I said, no, I'm just going to be making random patchwork things. She said that I should because it's really addictive. Making a quilt just seems like it would take way too long and that I would get bored with it long before I got anywheres near to making something that could cover a bed.

When I got home I took out my bag of little fabric scraps and started finding patterns that went well together. Amazingly I had all these fabrics that went so well together. It didn't take terribly long to piece together this little square. I was so proud of myself and really wanted to make another one for some reason.

I made this blue one the next day. It doesn't go with the red and green one at all but I have way more blue fabric scraps than red/green/yellow ones.

Then I made this other mushroomy red/green one. It really is strangely addictive. I have no idea what I'm going to do with these. I know that however fun it has been to make a couple of squares there is no way I can continue to be entertained by making more than 70 of them. I'll probably make 6 of them and make a pillow cover or something. I need to find other good uses for quilt squares. A lot of people make really cute doll quilts that are of a manageable size but I don't see any use for that. Anyway. This may be the beginning of a fun new project.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ikea Animal Print

A couple of weeks ago my car decided to overheat on the freeway on the way home from work. While I was waiting for it to get checked out at Pep Boys I walked across the street to entertain myself at Ikea. Ikea has some pretty cool fabrics. I've looked at them a bunch of times but never bought any there partially because there is never a person manning the cutting table and partially because they are mostly decorating fabrics that are pretty expensive. That day they had all these children's fabrics that they were selling whole bolts of for only $6. Well there were smaller than a normal bolt but it was still a really good deal.

I got this fabric because it was very colorful and cute and had lots of different animals on it. I'm a sucker for animal prints. Of course when I brought it home Nate immediately said that he didn't like it because it was too kiddie and that I should definitely not make a dress out of it. I agreed that it might be a little overwhelming for a dress so I made this skirt instead.

I'm not sure where I will wear it but I like it a lot. I posted it on craftster a couple of days ago and I think I got the most responses I've ever gotten for a post. I even made it into the hot new topics.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Finished Fish Print

It sort of worked to watercolor over the fish print even though it was water based block printing ink and not oil based. I tried to paint in between the lines and didn't use too much water which kind of prevented the black from smearing. If I print more of these I will definitely buy some oil based ink first. I started painting another one of these with just two colors of fish but I think I like this one better.

I was also thinking that I might attempt to carve two additional blocks, one for the fishes and one for the background and block print them instead of filling in the fish with water colors. It would end up looking kind of like my tidepool print that I screen printed in my screen printing class I took at Angel's Gate last year. Actually I could do a reduction where I printed a solid background in a light color first and then carve out all the negative space and print the fish in a darker color and then use this block to print the details of the fish in black.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Fish Print

I feel like I've been working on this project forever. I guess it was just since last week but I'm still not done yet. I wanted to show pictures of the process though, I think it's kind of interesting.

It is a relief print of a menagerie of fish that I'm going to print in black and then color in with watercolors.

I started with this drawing. I think I found pictures of all these fish in my Coastal Fishes of California field guide but I drew them all freehand. At some point I'll make a diagram with the names of all the fish on it but right now I really can't remember what most of the fish are.

Then I transferred the fish onto a piece of linoleum with carbon paper and carved them out. This is what took a really really long time. I've been sitting in front of the TV after work every evening working on this and making a complete mess of my living room. It is best not to be watching anything you are really interested in because it's pretty dangerous. I ended up stabbing myself in the tip of my finger pretty bad when Nate and I were catching up on last season's Heroes. It's pretty much healed now but I'll probably have a scar on my finger for a while.

This is a picture of it all carved out and inked and ready to be printed. At some point, I think before I moved, I had bought oil based black relief printing ink for the purpose of doing projects like this where the outlines are in black and the images are filled in with watercolors. Using oil based ink makes sure that there is no chance that the black image will get smugged when I use the watercolors on top. Of course yesterday searched all over my house and couldn't find that ink so I just printed it with water based ink. It probably won't turn out but I can always print more with the correct ink later.

I printed the fish on watercolor paper which wasn't quite as big as it should have been. I think if I go buy more ink at the art supply store I'll get some nice big sheets of printmaking paper too. I used my barren which is this big round circle with a handle that you press the paper onto the linoleum block with. This takes a lot of arm strength so my right arm is kind of sore today. I kept pressing until I could see the image of the fish embossed in the back of the paper.

One problem with using the barren instead of a printing press is that while pressing the paper down sometimes it shifts and you get a double image like this one. It kind of makes me dizzy.

This is one of the better prints. I think it turned out pretty well. Maybe tonight I'll attempt to do the watercolors. I'll probably test it out on one of the not so good copies and I'll post pictures if it turns out ok.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fish Scale Dress

I made another dress. It's kind of amazing how not all that terribly difficult it is getting now. Again I didn't use a pattern. Just kind of winged it. Mainly using the same design as the last dress but with a few adjustments. Nate doesn't like it. He claims he doesn't like the colors, that it reminds him of Belle from Beauty and the Beast (which doesn't make sense at all, I swear her dress was yellow) but I think it's really because it's not as tight as the blowfish dress was. It is way more comfortable though.

I'm really bad at modeling the clothes that I make so sorry about the boring poses.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Blowfish Dress

Here is my finally completed blowfish dress. It is the first dress that I have sewn and finished into completely wearable form. I didn't use a pattern at all because I'm still scared of and confused by patterns. The skirt is made from the same muslin as the tote bag in my previous post but printed with blowfish and grunions instead of just blowfish. The top is part is made from Japanese star patterned fabric pieces from the Marukai 98 cent store and the waist band is just blue broadcloth.

Since I didn't use a pattern I had a hard time getting it to fit properly. It is still a little tight in the chest. I might still adjust it a little bit to make it looser.

The hardest part was sewing the zipper in with out having it show too much. I had a different zipper at first that was kind of light blue but it showed really badly. When I tried to get it not to show I somehow got it stuck and ended up breaking the zipper trying to get it up. It took forever to rip out the old zipper but I managed to get this dark blue one in without it showing too much. Still not perfect, especially at the bottom, but much better.