Well, no. I haven’t. I have done something monumental (for me) this weekend, though.
I block-printed 4 yards of fabric.
Allow me to say, though, for the record, that although I freaked out completely that the madder I ordered hit some snags in getting to me (btw – Griffin Dye Works is awesome, and the Georgia branch of the USPS sucks), I am glad it did not arrive until this morning. Along with printing a whole lot of fabric, I also learned that fabric printing is tricky business, and the thicker the substance you’re using, the easier the printing is. I still don’t know how to apply liquid pigment to the block without it bleeding, nor do I know how to process madder root, nor do I know how to use mordants properly, and many other things.
I do know, though, how to block print fabric.
Lea (still no blog) and Yul came over and I taught them to carve blocks. I taught them on Speed-Y carve blocks to start, which are fiddly and irritating if you’ve been doing this for a while, but are less likely to help you stab yourself with a carving tool. Yul listened to my preliminary instructions and then just went for it, which was great. He sort of freehanded his design (he used a compass) and then carved it almost before Lea had finished choosing a design. And it was excellent, and it prints pretty seamlessly:
(the little brown thing is a test I did using Dye-Na-Flow and a wooden Indian block, and the results on paper are much nicer than on fabric, by the by)
Lea chose a design and after a false start (did you know that Speed-Y cut blocks and carbon paper do not mix? well, they do not) Lea carved her block:
And then printed it. She was pretty pleased and I think that she’s going to be a whiz at this.
(I didn’t realize she blinked until later; sorry, Lea)
While they were doing their thing, I tested my own block. The Dye-na-flow is really bleedy, and so I was glad I bought paints. I tested them:
This was a real challenge. The rubber brayer I have doesn’t roll through the pigment well, so Yul and I made a last-minute dash to Ace Hardware (I love you, Internets) for some foam paint trim rollers, which work much better. You can see the one I used in the upper right corner. I will have to see how a soaked pad works in the future; in the Indian block print videos, it looks as though the guy with the blocks is inking from a pad. I do not know, though. This will be researched and experimented on some more. Something else I learned is that I need a more heavily padded table. Originally I assumed this was to soak up excess dye. However, I found out that no padding = uneven image, so I put a stack of shop towels under the fabric as a temporary pad until I can put quilt batting under my canvas on my table.
And then Lea experimented with Lino cut ink on fabric (which is lovely, but can never, ever be gotten wet):
Her prints are awesome.
Yul was gleeful, but Lea’s husband was not so sure.
After they left, I printed FOUR YARDS of fabric, using a dead-blow mallet to pound the block so it would print evenly. Here’s the first yard:
(In the upper right corner, you can see a light spot, which is what happened when I didn’t pad under the fabric.)
I printed until 11pm, and then went to bed. My arm really hurts.
Now, before I heat-set the fabric, I get to add in tiny little dots, by hand:
Wooo. But it will look awesome. I might heat-set it, and then add the dots later, and heat set them after that.
Today consisted of finishing a project for my mom, sitting around, and going to get pani puri with the ChickenGoddess (did you know that if you suck the spicy pani up into your windpipe through the overexcitement of really tasty food, the burning on your tongue suddenly feels not so bad? Well, it’s true, and now I know that).