Friday, August 10, 2007

Work Resumes - Belated Journal Quilting

I've been working on my July journal quilt this week. My journal partner, Judi, and I both had conflicts on our regularly scheduled day and the following weekend. And then Judi had to back out all together because her family just finalized their moving plans. Judi's headed out West September 1st, and soon we will be only 6 hours away from each other again. Yippee!

So while she packs up her studio and machine, I soldier on alone, which is just as well this month. My idea for interpreting the July calendar theme and quotation needed several days of preparation, experimentation and paint drying before I could actually make the journal quilt. I did a few "as long as I'm at it" follow-up experiments too. Here's what I've been up to.

As you can see, studio time moved to the kitchen for a few days. I've been hanging on to Tyvek envelops for quite awhile without actually doing anything with them. I'd read that you could paint them, then contort them into interesting textures with heat. I have jars of Dye-na-flo paint I've never really tried. I have a new machine with programmable alphabets it wouldn't hurt to learn how to use. I combined all three to work up a sample that if successful, would dictate how my journal quilt would go together.

Dye-na-flo's attraction for me is that it comes diluted ready to use. No guesswork about consistency. Beyond that, it also reacts to salt and really migrates on the cloth. I loved working with it. Here's the Tyvek I used for the sample - I think these were originally marketed for the big floppy disks that preceded the smaller, more rigid 3.5" size. I was surprised that the paint seeped through since the Tyvek is dense and smooth.

I was using other colors to paint something else (more about that in a separate post), and for fun, "pounced" the mop brush on the Tyvek. I expected dots but got these groups of lines instead.

Because I abhor waste, I had a plain piece of muslin to wipe excess paint on. You can see it in the back of the first picture. Actually, I dipped my brush in water which I hadn't meant to do, so the first strokes of yellow were pale and wetted the muslin as well. Subsequent wipes were with more concentrated paint, and some were streaky lines that bled and blended in a very cool way. Unfortunately, I kept dabbing at this piece until I lost that first bit, but in the process got a better idea of how the Dye-na-flo works. Here you can see the effects of the salt and uneven surface that allowed the pigment to migrate.

The next day, I studied my manual and figured out how to program words into my sewing machine, save them and stitch them out. I didn't know how my machine would react to sewing through the Tyvek, but it was absolutely no problem. Here it is layered with muslin, Thermore polyester batting and a final layer of muslin. The thread is just Aurofil 2 ply 50 wt cotton and the needle is a 75 quilting needle.

Now for the real test. I wanted to see if I could cause places in the Tyvek to peel back or melt away to expose the muslin underneath without the whole thing shriveling up. I've read where you can use a soldering iron to melt away layers of synthetic fabrics, so I hoped I could do the same with the Tyvek. It worked like a charm, was very easy to control and as long as I kept the soldering iron moving, I didn't scorch the muslin underneath.

I was still curious, though, about that shriveling, texture producing process that more overall heat would produce. I've read about using a heat gun for this, but I don't have a heat gun, am not going to buy a heat gun, am going to hope that a hair drier might give similar results. Well, I knew it wouldn't, but I tried anyway. Just not hot enough to do anything. While trying to find info on the web, I ran across this blog post where Tyvek is laid over a rubber stamp, covered with parchment paper and melted with an iron. I don't have parchment paper, but I do have a Teflon applique sheet that works similarly. I couldn't resist. I folded the sheet around a piece of painted Tyvek and without applying pressure, began to move my iron over it to heat it up. At first nothing seemed to be happening, then all at once, it shriveled. It would be really easy to leave the iron on too long and end up with nothing but a burnt lump of goo, but I managed to get this:

The bubbles are just too cool. But my sense is that it would be very hard to control this process to replicate an effect.

I had all my questions answered about technique and process, all the painting done and dried, so now I was ready to make that journal quilt in a single day. See the next post for all the details.


marion said...

Nice work. Isn't it fun to experiment...?

Claire Joy said...

Some hardware stores rent heat guns. I rented one once to peel off old paint layers from a table.