Friday, October 30, 2009

New Sponsor!

I'm happy to announce that I have a new sponsor and not only does she have a wonderful online store, but she sells something that can be hard to find and that I need and use daily. That's a pretty tall order, but it's true. My newest sponsor is r0ssie and along with selling her wonderful, handcrafted items, she's also just started carrying plexiglass shapes and clamps for itajime. Itajime is a Japanese dye technique that's a subset of a bigger group of techniques called shibori. If you've ever tie-dyed anything then you have done shibori. Itajime is a very specific method that uses clamped shapes to create patterning. Like in this quilt:

All the circles in the quilt are dyed onto the fabric, not appliqued. The process is amazingly simple. All you need to do is sandwich a bit of fabric in between two same sized shapes. You keep the shapes in place by using "C" clamps. When you immerse the fabric in dye the fabric covered by the shape remains unchanged while the surrounding fabric is dyed. Pretty cool, huh?
When I've mentioned this technique before, folks have contacted me asking where to get the clamped shapes. My best advice has been to contact a local plastics fabricator and see if they'd be willing to make shapes out of scrap plexiglass. Although I've not had a problem finding someone to do this for me locally, others have not been so lucky. That's all in the past because now we have r0ssie. Yay!
I wanted to introduce my newest sponsor in some significant way, so I decided to craft something special using her shapes and clamps to pattern my fabric. I thought a fair amount about what I wanted to make. I didn't really want to make another Twinkle mini quilt. That didn't seem unique enough. I didn't want to pattern and dye fabric for a pillow. I frankly didn't know what I wanted to make. And then fate and the weather stepped in. Fate in the form of this article in the latest issue of Stitch Magazine.

For those of you who haven't gotten a copy of the fall issue of Stitch, there's a wonderful feature on a San Francisco based designer and dyer who makes a line of clothing called Ocelot. I'd read an article about this women a few years ago in Fiberarts magazine and loved the simple, graphic patterning she dyes using itajime. Seeing this article in Stitch reminded me of how much I love her work.
Then it got a little colder. Not bone chilling or anything. This is Texas after all, but fall was definitely in the air. So I started thinking about scarves. Put the two influences together and you get this:

I clamped two lengths of black fabric with a pair of 4" circles and discharged(bleached) the background. I removed the clamps and over dyed the fabric green. The beauty of working with black fabric is that I didn't have to keep the shapes clamped in the over dye bath because the black circles, being darker than the green dye, were not altered by the dye bath.

I sewed the lengths together and backed it with a soft, homespun green plaid.
I'm in love with my new scarf and even more in love with my new plexiglass shapes. I've already ordered two more pairs of 4" circles.

Having purchased plexiglass shapes from a local vendor, I can tell you that the prices for these are really good. Even better is the fact that r0ssie's is one stop shop for itajime supplies because you can order your "C" clamps at the same time you buy your shapes. The selection of shapes includes two sizes of circles, two sizes of squares, a 3" triangle as well as bundles of squares, circles and mixed shapes.

This is perfect way for you to try this technique without spending hours searching for the supplies.
Go ahead. Order some shapes and clamps form r0ssie and then head over to Dharma Trading Company to buy a starter Procion MX dye kit complete with instructions. They even carry black cotton fabric suitable for discharge. By this time next week you'll have you very own Ocelot-inspired scarf.


Tara said...

This is fabulous! I've been nudging my husband gently for months to make me some plexiglass circles! I've been wanting to play with this for a while! Does your book talk about your technique?

Malka Dubrawsky said...

Hi Tara,
My book doesn't talk about this technique, but I do have a DVD workshop available from Quilting Arts that explains this process in depth.

Angie said...

Oh this is great. Thank you for the tips! I haven't dyed any of my own fabric in 10 years, and not with this technique. I'll have to try it.

Cheryl Arkison said...

I've been following r0ssie on Flickr for a while, so this is an excellent 'collaboration of inspiration' to me!

Rossie said...

that scarf is awesome! thanks for taking the time to do such a thoughtful post!

Kate said...

Thanks for the link to rOssie - I have been wanting to try this for a while, but live in a small town without someone to cut plexiglass for me. Thanks for all the inspiration!

Andi said...

Malka! Malka! Malka!!!!!
I received my copy of "the book" today and have already read it from cover to cover.
Such a wonderul mix of technique, handy hints and inspiration.
You must be so very proud.
Can't wait to get dyeing!!
And I think I will have to purchase some itajime tools from Rossie (even though you don't describe this technique in the book).
Thanks again and mazal tov!!!!
Andi :-)

Patricia said...

I have been following your blog for quite a while. I started dyeing my fabs this summer and ordered a the plexiglass set yesterday from Rossie (the last one). Can't wait for it to come!! Thanks for sharing such great information!

Unknown said...

Congrats on your book being "officially" released today! It's my birthday too, so I just placed an order for it. I can't wait to get it. Of course, you know what this means. I'll have to order dyes, pleziglass circles, fabric, wax, and who knows what else, next. Thanks for your inspiration!

Sharon said...

All I can say to this is WOW! What dreams and possiblities you've opened up for me. I love your scarf!

Diane said...

Oh thank you, thank you!!!! I have watched your work for some time since I discovered your blog and have been so inspired to try my hand at dyeing fabric. Then I saw you 2 weeks ago on Quilting Arts TV (we have a later viewing date here than other areas I think) and have convinced myself that I can do this! I love your work and appreciate your encouragement for those of us who would like to give this a go. I'm going to put in an order through rossie this week. Again, thank you for your generosity!

Jena Webber said...

I'd love to learn more. I'll have to go to her website also.

Leah said...

very interesting. thanks for all the info on your process.

Erin said...

Hi Malka, I love this idea and decided to try it out. The results are at my blog:

I also just got your book for Christmas...I don't know where to begin!

Thanks so much for your inspiration!