I don't have any pictures today. I've been having a frustrating time and didn't get to the point of scanning anything until quite late last night.
Quiting Arts never sent my order (a first, they're usually pretty good). I ran out to Jo-Ann's late last week and got some of the printer fabric sheets they stock. I got Blumenthal Craft silk habotai which is a lovely fabric, but hard to manage. It will not stay on grain once removed from the backing. But it presses nicely and is sheer enough to work for what I want. It printed beautifully. I actually think this will work better than the organza I'd ordered from Quilting Arts.
I also got a large package of June Tailor Colorfast sheets. I've used June Tailor products before, but this one is just awful. The sheets are more plastic than fabric and while they say sew in, they definitely mean machine sew. It's nearly impossible for hand sewing. The image printed nicely but I hate the feel of the "fabric."
A couple of tips I learned for handling the silk habotai: Press, don't slide the iron. Stick to a silk setting, no hotter or the fabric will stick. Dampen with a spritz of water and it will press beautifully smooth and when damp it will set nice creases. I was trying to press a double fold hem into all four sides of fairly small pieces. I laid the fabric on the board and cut it square. I spritzed it and folded up the first fold. Then I ran into a conundrum.
If I dampened it to set the second fold, then the first would disappear before I could manipulate the second. However, I learned that if I sprayed the cotton ironing board cover, gently laid the silk on it and then pressed my hem, there was enough steam to set the second crease without the first fading away. I also learned to fold from each corner and press to the center. They're still not at square as I would have liked. A possible solution might be to cut cardboard or heatproof plastic to the final hemmed size and press the fabric over the template. Of course, I didn't think of that until well afterward.
I spent most of the weekend with the overlays for my January TIF journal page. I had gathered images over the past several weeks and set them up in documents to fit the pages of the journal. I printed them Friday, let them dry and then pressed them to set. I pressed in the hems and stitched them all by hand (some straight stitch and others buttonhole). I bound the edge of the piece I printed on the June Tailor plastic with red fabric from my sister's wedding. I also stitched the loops that will be sewn in to the side for binding. I backed my PaintStick-stenciled-and-rubbing square with some wool batting and basted around the outside edge and around the border of each "window" with Kreinik cord (I think in the silk-gold mix, Vatican). It's subtle but I really like it. I found a piece of eyelet lace to add to one edge.
I realized I was beginning to feel really pressured by the challenge; I usually work much slowly and this is intense for me. I took a break and felted the last (yea!) of the hats I'd knit for Christmas. We're finally getting together with my brother's family and I needed to get this last one done. I used a Fiber Space pattern for the hats (felted baseball cap) and Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride and Nature Spun together. They felted beautifully and are great fun to do but after making eight of them, I'm done for now.
I felt by hand at the kitchen sink using a huge Pyrex bowl, mini-scrub board, potato masher, vegetable brush, dish soap and boiling water. The perfect task for a near-zero degree day like we had Saturday.
Lillian sent me an article from the New York Times (December 28, 2007) on an embroidery exhibit. Pricked: Extreme Embroidery It's quite interesting and I wish I was in New York to see it. The Chicago Cultural Center is more doable and they have a new embroidery exhibit open that I hope to get to soon. Petronele Gerlikiene: Embroidered Myths and Everyday Stories. It's there until April 6.