Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Blues Handprinted Fabric

Fall is coming and I’m feeling the urge to finish up the odds and ends of summer projects before we are inside for the winter. And then there is the list of really want to do but probably won’t get to. It's a mad dash before the air is too cold to paint all the things that need to be fixed up around here.

The fabric printing project and tutorial that I posted here ended up being one of the most creative and fun things I did this summer personally. Printing the fabric was an idea I had had floating around in my head for at least three years but never managed to accomplish. It was something I was going to do for myself, not for any deadline or project idea to be sold. That's a rarity for me. The stuff that has a deadline gets done - the other stuff just languishes in my brain. After I finished printing up the first two patterns for the garden shed wicker chairs, my mind was swimming with other pattern ideas. But the lack of time available got me, again. I did however manage to get one more pattern printed. This time the pattern was for a set of rusting metal chairs I picked up at an auction for a buck a piece a few years ago.

Here's a photo showing a step by step of how the pattern developed. I had to print 4 pieces of canvas - one for each of the cushions for my old metal chairs. Way back when, I managed to squeeze in this photo early one morning so you could see the pattern developing. After the photo, I must admit, the project sat around for a bit until I squeezed in the time to finish all four pieces.

Here's a closer shot of the finished print. I used paisley and leaf shape foam printing blocks to develop the pattern. If you missed the tutorial, check it out via the link above. I made sure to make the paisleys and leaves go both ways so that the fabric wouldn't have a one way up orientation. Read more about pattern design in Lena Corwin's new book Printing by Hand.

Then the fabric sat around for a bit more, just waiting to be seamed to fit onto the cushions. Nothing fancy on the sewing and with a little creative folding and stuffing in the ends, here are the chairs sitting out in the pasture under an old apple tree that is covered with a grapevine. I love this tree - it's shape and the wandering old grape vine. I'm amazed it is still alive underneath it all. The sheep use it for shade in the summer. This shot is at sunrise this morning.

I love using this blog to show a project develop. When I talk to people who want to design things -- whether it be fabric, a sweater, a room, or even write a book - they often say "I don't know where to start." The best advice I can give is to JUST START! Not every project will be successful. Believe me, I've had my share of failures.... but I always learn from my failures and apply it to designing in the future.

Here are the chairs up close, just waiting for me to sit in them if I could ever find the time.


Michele in Maine said...

Simply lovely!

I realized that I don't have chairs in my backyard because when I'm in the yard I'm always working - mowing, weeding, gardening, scooping (two dogs), etc.

The colors and designs on these fabrics is perfect!

Lynn said...

Those are wonderful!

Beth said...

Oh Kristin! I love this pattern and the color combinations. I'm a blues girl, myself. Any way you'd be willing to share your templates??? These chairs are perfect!

And good for you for taking/making the time to get projects done for yourself and your home. I'm sure the sense of accomplishment and joy is great.

Today I'm blocking and stitching up a stitchery pillow I ordered from you awhile ago (the cat on the chair). It's going to a dear friend this weekend. What a pleasure it was to make and even greater pleasure to share with someone special.

Harpa J said...

Wonderful! Simply wonderful.

Anonymous said...

I'd be sitting and knitting in those chairs all day long. Fab paisley!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the inspiration. Like you, I have thoughts about fabric printing floating in my head for couple of years now and haven't gotten my act together. Partially due to fear of failure. Thank you for the nudge. I love these design. btw, where did you buy the cushion (if you don't me asking). Thanks.

Lesley said...

They look wonderful. This is such a great idea - thank you for sharing!

Rosa said...

Nice - very nice!
I've got two chairs (indoor) that need new cushions - so I'm very inspired by your project.
Love the tutorial :O))

Willow said...

Those chairs and cushions would look wonderful on my patio! They're beautiful!

You're so right that you just need to 'start doing it'. I have a list and I'm going through it to DO things instead of THINKING about DOING them. I love it when I finish the project.


Ulrike said...

The chairs look great - you have to find the time to sit in them and enjoy.
I like your blog very much, it's a wonderful inspiration.
Greetings from rainy and grey Germany,

Anonymous said...

Wow. I've been dabbling with fabric printing, but have been too intimidated to do anything on a large scale. These wonderful photos may inspire me to take the next step . . .

Lynn said...

How beautiful! I love the way the fabric turned out!