Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Are We Having Fun Yet?

So, I've been lurking on the Complex Cloth Yahoo group for quite some time now, and I was happy when a newbie asked about doing a round robin. Since I knew there was at least one other newbie in the group, I happily jumped in and signed up, too. This would be fun, right?

As soon as the fabric came in the mail, I started to panic. It was lovely, and I just knew I was going to screw it up. For days, I stopped and stared at it every time I walked past my craft room. What should I do with it? Overdye it? Discharge it? I was adding the first layer of embellishment, so I didn't really consider paint or Shiva paintsticks.

Should I try a potato dextrin resist? I had been wanting to experiment with this, so I tried it out on my own fabric first. I really like the way it looked, but I was worried that 1) I didn't have enough dextrin to cover an entire yard; 2) the dye wouldn't show up well in the end; or 3) I would screw it up.

Then I decided to overdye it. What color? Yellow would make lots of greens out of the blues. Red would turn the whole thing purples, and sometimes I can get some ugly purples. Another shade of blue might not do much; and, what if I screwed it up?

Then I decided that I would put a resist on the fabric and paint dye onto it. Same color questions. More thinking, more panicking about screwing it up.

Finally, I decided that I would use bleach and a stamp to discharge it. But was this enough? Did that count as a complete layer, or would I need to discharge it and then, say, overdye it? I looked at past round robin photos and, sure enough, some people had simply discharged for their layer.

Ok, now that I knew what I was going to do, I wanted to practice on my own fabric first (come on everyone, say it with me: "So that I didn't screw it up . . . ") . I've mostly discharged with Softscrub with Bleach, but I wanted a thorough bleaching effect, so I mixed bleach and water 1/2 & 1/2, poured some on a paper towel on a plate, dipped my stamp in, and stamped away. It worked fabulously. I laid out the yard of RR fabric, dipped my stamp in, and immediately dribbled bleach on the fabric. The first stamp had too much bleach on it, so the print blobbed out.

I was, of course, panicking fully by now, but it was too late to call the plan off. I continued to stamp, washed the fabric, and quickly mailed it off to the next person on the list.

I'm a wreck. I THINK this is supposed to be fun, so I'm wondering when that part kicks in . . .


Judy said...

Ah Michele: you are too funny!! LOL
I too did have a couple minutes of panic when I overdyed your lovely piece of fabric! But, I don't think these pieces are supposed to be masterpieces, right? They are supposed to be more learning experiences, just using pieces that we haven't previously tinkered with. It's great to have a piece of fabric that has other colorways than I would have chosen to use, and other types of surface design. I think the fun will really begin as the fabrics become more complex.

Since you used bleach on the piece, you did use AntiChlor to stop the bleach, right? If not, I'll dunk it in some when it arrives here.

It looks lovely and I can't wait to see it up close and personal!


Judy said...

p.s. hope you don't mind that I've add your blog to my blog's links

Michele said...

Thanks for adding me, Judy! I sent you email about the fabric; isn't it crazy how I couldn't care less what other people do to my own fabric, but I freak out about what I'm doing to theirs??!!!

Michele Matucheski said...

Ah, Michele G. You make me smile! ;-) Isn't the whole point of Complex Cloth to make some of those unintentional mistakes into design elements in the finished piece?

Looks good from here ...
--Michele at Sweet Leaf Notebook

Michele said...

Thanks, Michele M. I guess the lesson here is that I should lighten up :-)

Liana said...

Michele, your piece it's so nice! Round robin it's always exciting and full of surprises, you never know how will look pieces. Is a challenge I will always like. I make last year a RR with hardanger embroidery and this year I will make another one, I had the same feeling as you with every piece I receive.
Have fun,