I’ve been a busy lady.

I am still doing too much, but not as much as before. I have gotten many things done in the meantime.

One of these things is part of a monumental fabric printing project.

I had been reading the documentation that Lakshmi Amman (from the SCA_India list) had been doing about her wax-resist block printing experience, and then wandered from there to the Al-Fustat textiles, and thought (in that crazy part of my brain), “I can do that!” Only not wax. I am nervous about how many things I can set on fire with wax.

No, I am going to attempt mordant-stamped dyeing. Originally I had intended just to buy paint and do a pigment stamp, but I’m a perfectionist. It won’t be *right* if I do that. So, I looked up sources for madder and some tips on technique, and as soon as I can order it I’m so there (this saves my red fabric for zari embroidery, which is also awesome).

In preparation, I chose a pattern:


Simple, no? Granted, I am not a total beginner with this; I’m just inexperienced with printing on fabric.

On Sunday evening, instead of doing a dozen other things I ought to have done, I made a stamp. Earlier in the week I’d drawn up the pattern, and then transferred it to the block via carbon paper and a burnisher. Here it is, plus a little beginning carving:

stamp, beginning by you.

It looks complicated, but it really just requires a delicate touch. I’m carving away less than 30% of the block’s surface.

Then I proceeded to carve the rest. The little rows of dots around each medallion were a pain until we looked at the extant textile and discovered that they were probably painted in after the pattern was printed. This makes sense. You get a clearer dot that way (carved dots tend to fill in with ink/mordant/wax). So I carved out the entire medallion border and finally I had this:

stamp, carved by you.

Then I took a break for the night. Whew. I also gave myself a blister that I’m quite proud of.

This evening I did some work on another project and afterward pulled out the block printing ink and some scrap paper to pull a few test prints of the block (this is the best one):

test print by you.

The flourishes need more fribbets, which I can add, and I need to carve deeper channels in a few places, to prevent fill-in. However, my calculations on how to cut the block to achieve a seamless design have been accurate:

test, registration by you.

The top and bottom edges are seamless enough, with a few minor adjustments. I’ve asked the husband to cut away the excess, though, since it makes it hard to register the block side-to-side. However, once I have some white fabric, madder, and alum, I’m ready to test. I have no idea if this will work on fabric, but I’m optimistic.

And I’ve got a few nice prints I may frame.

About HappyGoth

By day, I'm a graphic designer. By night, I'm a knitter. I'm doing my part to keep Hotlanta stylish. I imagine that if you don't already understand the title of the blog, you're probably confused and perhaps slightly annoyed, but never fear - I do have a reason (and it's a good one). Having gone to hear Stephanie Pearl McPhee, and then having been inspired to blog about knitting, I found myself wondering what to call the blog. I recalled a conversation I had with Mouse and the Chicken Goddess about why it is a Bad Idea to anger knitters - this conversation was following SPM, aka the Yarn Harlot telling the assembled throng about Those Who Do Not Understand Knitting and Therefore Belittle It Much to the Chagrin of Others, or TWDNUKTBMCO, which is not the acronym she used but is the one I'm using because I forgot hers - that is, we are numerous and we all have very pointy sticks, easily transforming into an angry mob. Therefore, knitters = angry mob.
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9 Responses to I’ve been a busy lady.

  1. iaminchennai says:

    Thats a beautiful print… i am off to get some Lino…
    Just wondering if you are in India..

    • HappyGoth says:

      Thanks! I’m pretty proud of it. We’ll see what it looks like when I print on fabric; I’ve never done that before (my experience is with paper).

      Sadly, no. I am not in India. I would love to be! I’m in Atlanta, Georgia, USA (and am trying to figure out how to visit India sometime soon). I’m making do with import shops and the internet at the moment.

  2. Dang, lady, that’s gorgeous! Fantastic job!

  3. Lorenzo says:


  4. Mouse says:

    Whoah.. that’s awesome!

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