Friday, January 30, 2009

The College Playoffs

Craft College style.

Some intrepid soul at work decided that enough was enough. Too many complaints about the cold and snow. Too many people moaning about the winter. Something was desperately need to chase away the winter blahs.
So the Photo department challenged the Graphics department to a ball hockey game at lunch last Tuesday. There were many interested players.

And many interested spectators. I watched most of the game from the comfort of a second floor classroom. Which is why there is a grid in the second picture. It is the window screen.

Photo won and was challenged by Fashion. That game went down yesterday but unfortunately, I didn't get to see any of it as I was kept running over my lunch hour. I'll let you know next week when the winner plays another challenger.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

And it only took 25+ hours

Monday I printed leaves - 4.5 hours
Tuesday I ironed interfacing and cut leaves - 2.5 hours
Wednesday I ironed interfacing and cut leaves - 2 hours
Thursday I printed more leaves but got sneaky and printed my whole screen (13 leaves, 5 different kinds) I gave up on each leaf type being a different kind of fabric. Only the hand dyed fabric were printed exclusively as maple leaves This sped up the process quite a bit and I only spent 2.5 hours.
Friday I cut the last of the leaves (3 hours) and as I stated before, they totaled 163.
Saturday I hiked down to the school where I was able to spread out, take over large tables, and use the industrial sewing machines.
I cut out my pattern pieces and sewed a liner. Then I started sewing on all of the individual leaves. - 4 hours
After getting a good start at school, I came home to snack on Jalapeno Corn Bread (thank you Bill) and sewed more leaves. There was probably another 4 hours of sewing that night.
Sunday Back to the school by 11 and sewing the last of the leaves and the bottom of the pillow on to the leafy part. Inserting the liner and stuffing it was almost the end! Yeah!
I used bean bag Styrofoam pellets. Sewed up the liner, zipped up the zipper and called it done! - 3 hours.

Total time not including research, idea development, pattern development, making of the screen, doing test prints, and a concept board, etc. (total time approximately 12 hours) was 25.5 hours.

And here's the finished product, not in it's natural environment.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Leaf Pillow

I must be insane.......

163 leaves have been printed for my pillow. And with the material that I am using (basically fake suede) and the printing ink that I am using (Speedball metallic gold) you can only get one good print before you need to rinse out the screen and re-coat the edges with tape.
One print.
163 leaves.

Here are some of those leaves that have been printed. On the left are the cut ones, on the right, are the ones to cut.

I made a pillow that was the approximate shape of a pile of leaves. And I started to sew. And sew. And sew. And sew...... you get the picture. It strated to go much quicker when I realized that I didn't need to sew all of the leaf spines down, just the main central one. And later if I needed to sew more of the leaf, I could. A lot of them will be overlapped any way and would be tacked down by the stitches on the top leaf.
Things started to get much quicker.

I am now more than half way through my leaves and I still need to put a bottom on my pillow. There will only be leaves on the top and sides of my pillow. The bottom will be a solid piece of fabric with leaves that overlap the edges.

It is due on Monday so I have a lot of sewing to do in the next 24 hours!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Post Cards from the Selv-edge

The penultimate installment......

This month was the brain child of a Stargate enthusiast. (see the stargate in the upper right (I was told by Jan (the enthusiast) that the stargate was supposed to be on the bottom of the postcard. She felt that it was now like some sort of funky funky space ship. And that wasn't a good thing.
This one had actually been sent through the mail as is (ie no envelope) and as a result had suffered a few losses. Someone somewhere had stuck down some stars with glue and whatever machinery that dealt with this postcard while it was in the post office didn't deal too kindly with some of the stars. As I mentioned before, some of these postcards had more of a "deal with something that bothered me". What bothered me on this one was the small spots of glue. And the blank back (but more on that later).
You can see below that I added some paint to the missing star area. I also added some moon stones. I looked up and down for some star sequins (something that I never thought that I would admit too) and (of course) once I decided on the moonstones and passed the postcard on, Mira decides that she wants to sequin a small fish that I had given to her about 4 years ago and she had out her sequins. And she has star sequins. Of course! Why didn't I think if of asking her?


And now the back. Badly photoshopped to lose the addresses but you get the general picture.

Jan likes (loves) Stargate and the main characters name is John. So what better than the classic message of "Wish you were here".......
Now I am anxiously awaiting mine that still has three people to get through before it reaches me. One of the postcards seems to have been lost in the mail and in trying to track it down, I saw a photo of mine. It is much changed and I am looking forward to having it back.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Before Christmas I was approached by a woman who wanted me to weave her a blanket. "I've looked for a purple blanket that I liked for years and haven't found one. Would you be interested in making me one?"
Commissions and I have a shady past. I haven't done a lot but with the exception of one dyeing commission, I have always had a problem with something going wrong. Sometimes my fault, but not always. Stupid calculation error when I estimated and then took the estimation as "fact". My fault indeed.
So I was hesitant to agree. But a commission is a guaranteed sale and so thinking "Guaranteed sale" I worked out a quote and presented it. She agreed and so I went ahead.
The way that I normally work out my prices is to take the total time to make the warp, dye the warp (if necessary), and warp the loom and divide the total hours by the number of projects on the loom. So if it takes me two hours to make the warp, three hours to dye the warp, and three hours to warp the loom and there are four scarves in the warp, then I average it out to 2 hours per scarf before weaving, finishing, and washing.
In this case I did the same thing. I decided that I would put on two blankets and weave the weft differently. Only that I never would have been putting on a blanket in the first place if not for the commission. There was NO possibility of selling a second blanket. I also didn't take into account the hour and a half that it took me to make the skeins into balls so that I could use the yarn. So I should have priced the blanket as a "one off". Alas, I did not.
My Bad.
And my lesson learned. So I think that from now on commission work will have a premium price that will take into account any glitches that may arise.
All was not lost though. I had decided early on that the second blanket would make a wonderful Christmas gift for my brother and his partner.
And I was right.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

moaning, bitching, and waulking

Ah, January.

In New Brunswick, that means short days (but getting longer) and cold weather. There is usually what we call a "January thaw" when the temperatures leap to above zero and melting happens only to have us plunge back into the deep freeze. This year we have foregone the thaw part and skipped right into "Holy **** is that ever COLD!" -34 C the other morning! Not including the wind chill factor. For those of you from balmy regions, a wind chill is how cold it feels with the wind blowing every molecule of warmth from your body. Think humidex in reverse. It has been this way since Monday and tomorrow we are scheduled to have a daytime high of a balmy -12 C. Ah, bliss.

Pretty sick when -12 seems warm.

I'm taking a new class this term. It is Surface Embellishments 2. This is where we get to apply a lot of our techniques learned last term into actual projects. The first project is called "Pillow Talk" and we are suppose to make a pillow that "says" something. This could be actual words or some sort of conceptual idea. We need to incorporate dyeing, silk screening and stitching on our pillow.

After looking at many images of pillows on the internet, I decided to make a pillow that resembles a pile of leaves. Thinking of the childhood pleasures of jumping into a pile of leaves. I can't remember the last time that I jumped into a pile of leaves. It certainly wasn't a pile that I raked up! But what joy and carefree abandonment. With no thought to the consequences. Which in this case would be having to rake up the leaves again. And put them in the bag. And get the bag to the curb while hoping that some drunken yahoo doesn't kick it open and spread the leaves out again. Sigh.

While I would like to make a beanbag chair the size of a pile of leaves (all the flopping with none of the raking) I am going to have to settle for a model beanbag pillow. Maybe 18 to 24 inches round. And sort of pile shaped. It is due in two weeks and I'll be back periodically with a report.

In the mean time, I'll leave you with an image of some yardage that I wove in the summer 5 years ago. It is 6 yards, 38 inches wide, 100% wool that I and another woman wove for a waulking demonstration the summer that I was pregnant with wee Nicole. It lost a yard in length and 7 inches in the width during the waulking.

And for those of you wondering what waulking is, it is fulling woolen fabric by stitching the two ends together, wetting it with hot water, and grabbing and squeezing it and the pounding it on the table. It is done by a group of people around a table and the fabric is passed around the table so that it is evenly fulled. See a video here. It seems in the video that they are doing it dry. Thankfully we were outside on a bright sunny day because we managed to get everything soaked!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Did I show you this?

It turned into these (plus one more that found a new home before I remembered to photograph it)
These are more of my "stash scarves". Who doesn't like to expand their stash? And I have found the perfect thing to do with my stash piles. Plastic containers actually. Once I have enough yarns in a particular colour range (in this case brown) I make a mixed warp and weave scarves. I usually use different wefts so that each scarf is a little different.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year


My sister gave me a couple of puzzles this Christmas. Christmas is the one time of the year that we do puzzles. The rest of the year seems to be a little too busy.

My first reaction was "ohhh! Aren't they pretty!"

And then I actually looked at the image with the eyes of puzzle builder and though "ohhh! Evil Puzzle!" Lots of dark areas, lots of reflections in water, lots of back and orange fur.

Day One
It took me over 2 hours to sort the pieces and do the frame. I decided that it was not going to be a one day puzzle.

Day Two
Thankfully I had help. Mira and Bill both helped quite a bit. Simon and Liam put some pieces in. Even Nicole helped in her way. Which usually consisted of her pointing at a blank spot and asking,"Where is this piece?"

Day Three
And the last bit of the puzzle was actually done when I wasn't looking. I was out doing a job for someone and Mira finished it off.
Day Four

2009. Hmmm. I wonder what the picture of my year will look like in December 2009.