Monday, August 17, 2015

Dip-Dye Fourth of July

Fourth of a July is a big holiday for our family as it's the one time a year that we are all on vacation at the same time. 

As the kids get older, their jobs and schedules are making this harder and harder to achieve and the time we're having all together is shrinking to a weekend or even just one day. 

Every year we choose some type of wearable art project to celebrate...

 
And this year we tried dip-dying.

I chose it because it was relatively simple and we all weren't going to be there until the actual day of Fourth of July.

The kids brought both denim and white items that they already owned or that they found at thrift stores.

The first step was bleaching out the denim...

 

This step took much longer than we expected so there was lots of hurry up and wait.  

I started with a three parts water to two parts bleach mix but that was taking a long time.  Lets just say that watching denim get bleached out is akin to watching paint dry...


That's when Jim suggested industrial strength bleach.  What?  There's different bleach strengths?  He ran to the hardware store and we mixed the stronger bleach;  two parts water and one part bleach.  

That sped things up a bit but it still took us a couple of hours to bleach out our items.


After bleaching, we had to wash and dry everything before dip dying.  In hindsight, we should have bleached days in advance to save time.  Experience is the greatest teacher.

When we finally got to the dip-dying...that went incredibly quickly and the results were immediate...


Bleach pens came in handy for fixing the stray drip...



Or for use as a design element...



Ideally, we should have let each color dry before dipping in the next but it was already becoming late afternoon...



So we rinsed out the dye while the items were still wet which affected the vibrancy...



But not the fun factor...



We also found that pre-worn and old denim bleached out the best.  Really dark, new denim never quite bleached out to white...more of a gray.

And the colors were more muted...which might be desirable for a more understated look...


Not all of us chose to dip-dye.  Ellie used her bleached denim shirt as a canvas for a painted design...
 

And we have a new furry family member, Moose, who was there to help tame the zoo...


Moose is calm in comparison.
By the time we were finished, there was very little time to wash/dry our items and get dressed for the night so we scattered without a group picture.



I remembered to snap one picture after dinner and before the fireworks...


I think we all agree that we'd like to re-try the dip dye activity...especially if we spread it out over a series of days, doing one dye step at a time and letting each step dry thoroughly in the sun before rinsing.

Time was our issue this year.  A harbinger of years to come, I think.

That means we'll have to come up with another way.

Maybe I'll have to mail pre-work or prep kits to everyone next year...hmmm....

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You can see our past patriotic projects here:

2010:  T-Shirts
2009:  T-Shorts
2008:  Baseball Hats

Friday, August 7, 2015

Ruby Rose

AWOL.  Absent without leave.

It's been two months since I've been here so I have a lot of catching up to do.  The good news is that my absence has been all for good reasons.  I've been busy engaging my life, loves, family and friends...and the chair in front of my computer has been so empty it had dust on it.

Jim, Jack and I traveled to Kyoto and Tokyo for ten days in July and I've been busy traveling, embroidering, exploring and enjoying life.  I'll do my best to get caught up on posts since there's a lot of experiences I'd love to share.

Rather than go chronologically, let's just join the movie already in progress.  This week, Jack was center stage as he had requested that I make him a very specific hat and sweatshirt.

I did what any sewing mother would do whose son hadn't asked her to make anything for him in over...umm, let's just say...five years or more.  I dropped everything in order to meet his request.

It turns out, Jack is a big fan of a Rooster Teeth animé-style internet show called RWBY (pronounced "ruby") which has four main characters loosely inspired by the classic fairy tale characters and the colors Red,White, Black and Yellow.  Jack's favorite is the red character Ruby Rose who dresses in black with a red-hooded cape...



And whose logo is this trademark fiery rose...



This weekend Jack is going to the Rooster Teeth (RTX) convention in Austin TX with a friend from school.  Lots of attendees dress up as their favorite characters called cosplay.  Jack didn't want to wear a full costume; just wanted to show his support for his favorite character so he requested a hat and hoodie combination.

Jack has taken to wearing a beanie pretty much every day.  It helps to tame his thick hair so I set about to knit him a beanie in a linen/cotton blend for summer wearing...




I used this free pattern from Jared Flood on Ravelry based on a recommendation from Wae at my local knitting store, Cloverhill Yarns.



Since Jack wears his beanie tilted back from the crown of his head, I didn't want too tight of a ribbed band so I used the same needle for the entire hat instead of dropping down three needle sizes as recommended in the pattern.  This was a mistake so I'm going to re-make him one where I only drop down two sizes.

That being said, the hat turned out great and it was the first time I had ever tried the Tubular Cast On.  It makes a wonderful cast on edge for a ribbed band and I'll be using that idea over again.  Highly recommend.



Next up was trying to figure out the best way of transferring the logo to the hat.  I decided against designing a hat with the rose knitted into the pattern (not my forté) and embroidering directly onto the knitted stitches using duplicate stitch wouldn't give me enough detail.

Eventually I decided to embroider the logo onto 100% wool felt.  Since wool felt is expensive, I basted just the amount I needed for my design onto inexpensive muslin and cut away the muslin from the felt...

This is often used when embroidering onto little bits of very expensive materials such as silk gauze where you don't want to waste the fabric by needing to stretch it into a hoop.

Next up, I used my old favorite of tissue paper design transfer.


 I fall back on this method time and time again.
 

It's not the quickest but it allows me more control over the detail of the design transfer.  It also gives me a nice outline for the outside edge of stitches...



I used one strand of Au Ver a Soie silk floss in random long and short stitch with all the stitches directed to the center of the rose...



After I finished the embroidery, I cut it out and appliqued it onto the top of the knitted beanie...



It worked out better than I expected so I would likely use this technique again.

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