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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wingspan No 2

I enjoyed knitting Wingspan so much a couple of months ago that I decided to knit another one.  I gave the first one to Baby Bear as I thought the pink and purple suited her more.

This one is using the same cheapie sock wool from Spotlight that is splitty and would not feel good on the feet, but makes a sptriking scarf, obviously in a green and purple colourway this time.

Slight variations from last time, where I followed the pattern completely - I made this one a bit longer.  The pattern calls for eight wings; I decided to try for ten but ran out of yarn just into the tenth one, but decided to just cast it off straight away as I quite liked the effect of the little odd flap.  This does mean that I didn't do the four rows of straight knitting before casting off before the end of the pattern, and that does show as it makes the cast-off edge a bit wonky.  But I intend to wear it pinned together or scrunched up or something, so I figure it won't show.

I will probably make another one at some point, as they are so addictive, and then I will probably stick to nine wings and finish it properly.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Vogue Pattern V2971

So I decided to make Vogue V2971 for the party at the end of the Geelong Fibre Forum, for which the theme was Polka Dots and Paisley.  As it happened, I didn't get it done in time, and I also discovered an old white skirt with bright pink and lime green polka dots that was perfectly suitable.  But I had spent $70 on the fabrics, which I liked, so I wanted to finish it later on and wear it somewhere nice.  I finished it yesterday and I'm wearing it tonight to a 21st birthday party.

It's a design by Dutch designer Koos van den Akker, and it was rated Advanced.  I figured that being an experienced sewer, albeit with rusty skills, I should be ok.  I even remembered to check the pattern measurements against my own; I was slightly miffed to discover that my waist measurement meant a MUCH larger size than I take in RTW but I obediently cut it out that size. The first part, embellishing the front panel, took quite a long time and was a bit fiddly but not hard at all, for someone who has done lots of textile art, and so I had the hubris to believe that the rest of it would be a doddle.  After all, all I had to do was sew some seams, insert a zip, put on a waistband and sew the hem.


To meet the Polka Dot and Paisley scheme I chose the most appropriate materials in the (limited) range at my local Lincraft (I didn't have time to go further afield if, as I had planned at the time, I was going to get it done in time for Geelong).  So I chose these fabrics, shown here in the approximate proportions that appear in the finished skirt.

Ok, so it was really ADVANCED it turned out.  The zip was fine to insert - except that when I did the waistband later, which had elastic in it, I realised that the humongous size it had insisted upon according to measurements was large enough to allow me to pull it on just using the elasticated waistband and that the zip was a waste of time and money, but by that stage it would have taken too long to remove the zip and make it look as though it had never existed.  Never mind, that bit is OK, it just loos like (and is) a done-up zip below a waistband.

The seams - ye gods and little fishes.  Talk about origami.  NOT intuitive.  Despite dutifully marking every notch and circle and other things, and pinning everything together numerous times until it looked EXACTLY like the drawings, I realised that the ******* pockets were neatly aligned on either side of the - back zip.  I must have got the markings mixed up somewhere!  Anyway, I was ready to eat the thing that at stage so I just sewed it that way and sewed over the pocket openings, though I would really have liked pockets in it.

I also didn't measure the finished length - I knew it was going to be long and I like long skirts and I am of average height and THEREFORE I assumed that if I turned the hem up to the measurements on the pattern that it would be the length that it is on the model.  She must be taller than me - it's about two inches longer than I really wanted, which makes it long enough to tread on if I'm not careful, by that stage I just could not bare to change the length - it wasn't a straightforward hem, either, it was a bonkers shape so it would have been time-consuming and difficult to shorten it at that point.  And I don't wear heels.  Actually, having another look at the photo, I DID get the length right, it's just that she is wearing stonking great wedges and I will be wearing ballet flats.  Don't care, it's still a cheerful outfit.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Surrealist Haiku

In the past I have produced a few 'surrealist haikus' which I have photographed, but they never photograph very well.  The name comes from the fact that (a) when I started I got the syllables wrong - I did 7/5/7 instead of 5/7/5 and decided I liked it that way and (b) I make them using the Surrealism set of word magnets that I bought at the Surrealist exhibition in GOMA a couple of years ago.

I can't find the exact set anywhere in a quick search online, but I recommend this site, Magnetic Poetry, so having a huge range of fun ones.

So here's today's offering -

gorgeous lake a language &
diamond can sing how
spray rain as frantic lather

Friday, October 11, 2013

Sublimation Printing - TAFTA Geelong Fibre Forum

Last week I spent a fantastic week at Geelong Grammar attending my first ever TAFTA Fibre Forum, and I'll post pictures of what I have been making over two or three blog posts.

I did a workshop with Melbourne jeweller Anna Davern studying sublimation printing onto metal.  It also involved quite a lot of basic metalwork techniques for those who needed it, i.e. especially me!

Sublimation printing = 'Design your graphics in your computer and or scan the image into your computer. When you get ready to print the image be sure to "flip or mirror image" the image so it will be a transfer. If you will design a hairline rectangular border 1/8 inch larger than your metal plate you wish to print and center all your graphics inside that border; it will help you center the graphics on the plate when you are ready to print. You will be printing the "border" with your graphics centered in the border.
It will take approximately 15 minutes for your heat press to get to printing temperature so turn it on ahead of time. Set the temperature to 350° to 360°F. This temperature is important. Any setting under 340° may cause the toner to stick too tightly to the metal and may cause gray printing. Any setting over 370° may cause the toner to "bleed" and the edges of your characters may be slightly distorted.
Remove the plastic protective covering from the metal plate. Preheat the bottom pad of your heat press for 5 or 6 seconds by closing the heat press without anything in it. Now lay your transfer "ink side up" on the warm pad of the heat press. This will pre-shrink the paper prior to printing. This will keep the image from blurring during the printing process. Center your cut metal plate inside the hairline rectangle you designed on your computer. Pull the handle of your heat press down until it locks in place. This process does not require heavy pressure. Set the timer for 20-25 seconds.
When the timer goes off, open the heat press. Immediately, while the metal is still in the heat press, separate the paper from the metal plate. The best way to do this is to pick up one edge of the paper and quickly turn the paper and the metal plate upside down. You will find the metal and the paper are stuck together. With your other hand (with a clean glove on or a clean heavy cloth wrapped around your finger) hold the metal plate down and pull the paper away from the metal. Do this quickly; you have a window of only a few seconds to separate the metal and the paper. Do not move your finger around on the metal as you may pick up some toner on your glove and double print the metal where the glove touches the metal the second time.
Now remove the metal from the heat press and lay in down on some object (that is heat resistant) to cool down.'  It's too complicated for me to explain in my own words, so I borrowed some from here, an American site called Sublimation TOG LLC - there are also Australian firms which sell the stuff.  

Will talk more about the process in other posts but now I want to put some piccies in:

The square pieces have been printed with an image or images, and sometimes overprinted with other images,, and then have had another printed piece/s glued directly to them (with superglue).  They are going into the mixed media stash and will be used in various ways.  If I ever use them, I'll post photos of the finished works!

The smaller blanks have all been printed with one image on each and mostly turned into brooches, except of course for the obvious pair of earrings that I made to match one of the brooches.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Lake Hart Salt Mine

I loaded up the pictures for this about six weeks ago and have been sitting on them ever since, unable to write another blog post because I wanted to finish this one, but stuck.  I've got lots of other Central Australia stuff to blog about so I need to get on with it!

And I have just been to my first Geelong Fibre Forum and have lots of things to say about that too!

Lake Hart, South Australia, near Woomera.  It was the site of salt mining up until the 1930s and the salt was taken by rail on the Trans Continental Line to Sydney for domestic and industrial use.  It was supposed to be twice as 'salty' as other salt, and free of gypsum.

This pictures show a huge pile of bags of salt (7,00 tons originally, though I;m sure some of that has dissolved and disintegrated) that had just been left in situ since 1931 in the sun (and occasional rain). It is an astonishing sight, similar to an industrial ruin that had sunk into the landscape and taken on an organic form. The hessian bags have largely rotted away but have left their imprint on the salt, and are the reason for the odd drapey shapes in the pile.

The railway line is still there though the trains don't go there any more, obviously.

Amazing skies over a dead flat landscape - taken over the lake.

Salt.  It wasn't until I tasted it that I believed it was salt, it must have melted and resolidified countless times over the decades.

It was a haunting landscape and a poignant reminder of the death of a once lucrative industry.