Monday, February 20, 2006

Update on last week...Scary Movie Part I

I apparently piqued the interest of a non-quilting friend who reads my blog when I said "I have scary things to tend to." (See Goals for last week.) That would be scary in the artistic sense, not in the conventional sense. I'm referring to the kind of scary that accompanies working through design decisions and applying unfamiliar techniques on a project destined for a touring exhibit and due in short order. This can either be a recipe for disaster or the incentive to push to new heights. I'm not sure yet how my "Scary Movie" will end.

It's not starting off well. One of the scary things to tend to is printing on fabric. Yes, I know...everybody does it, there's a ton of info out there on how to do it, I've even done it successfully myself. But I have not had success since changing printers. I love my Epson Stylus Photo RX500 for every other kind of printing, as well as for its copying and scanning capabilities. It does all that much better than my previous set-up. I particularly chose it over other options because of its individual color cartridges. Nothing irked me more than to do a lot of printing in a certain color range, and having to replace a color cartridge that still had plenty of the other colors in it.

What I struggle with now is two-fold: The Epson is extremely sensitive to any curl in what you send through it. Fabric mounted on freezer paper or pre-treated sheets backed like address labels are tend to jam. A sickening sound that is, not to mention the thought of the wasted ink. But I've almost got that one mastered. What I struggle with now is getting a print that does not look washed out. What I really need to do is run controlled tests and take notes, but of course, I only need to print on fabric when I have no time to experiment. And when I am successful, I don't note what I did. Oh yes, and the black ink seems to run regardless of what the fabric is treated with and I don't know why. Recipe for disaster next time round.

So last week was "next time round." Tried pre-treated fabric sheet and photocopying a leaf. Not even close. (Not to mention, the first send through jammed.) Sigh... So I scanned in a number of leaves and moved on to manipulating a couple of jpgs. Had better success there, even in the printing. But then again, it didn't matter if that particular print was washed out and it was hard to tell if it was. It was the sort of day that made me want to give up on the whole idea and work on a different design for the exhibit (or maybe no design at all for it). But in the process of scanning, another design idea came to me and I thought maybe I'd try to print that one, which meant picking some fabric and treating it myself. In the process of looking for that fabric, I stumbled upon what I could use for the background of my original idea. I found another fabric to incorporate. My theme was coming together and it occurred to me that I didn't have to successfully print my leaves to fabric first. In fact, they are the last thing that will be added to the quilt and I have other options for making them should I not be able to get a decent print. Wow - I can just move right on and complete the quilt and leave this scary part for later. That realization turned my week around and got me feeling confident about the concept again - because, I suppose, I could go ahead and work on a part of it that isn't so scary.

As for the rest of the week's goals, well - I didn't manage to get out to look for that metal to fabric adhesive until today, so that experiment was put on hold. And the hand quilting? Don't ask! I didn't actually do any sketching either, but while rummaging around for my saved leaves, I unearthed a large sketch pad where I'd drawn out two different groupings of birch trunks. Mmm, had forgotten I'd done that and one was exactly what I was to work on last week. The other I'd given up on because I didn't think I was getting an interesting mix, but I think it actually looks pretty good now. I guess some things need to sit and simmer.

Stay tuned for "Scary Movie Part II."

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