ZOMG, it’s been so dreary around here with all the rain! So this week has been a bluesy mess* while it was busy raining outside, and I’ve been trying to give that icky stuff the smackdown by keeping busy. But this morning I woke to sunshine, and my Google page promises sun through the Friday \o/

So let me show you what I’ve been up to this wet wet week! I’ve been doing some custom batik stuff. A tiny dino tee came out zomgdorible,  and I just got an assignment for a pretty mat bag that can be worn messenger-style while biking. The fabric for the bag came out of the dryer last night super pretty – lotuses! I’m looking forward to making a bag out of this and playing around with the shape of it. The client wants something particular, and I’m excited about the prospect of meeting what she wants.

I’m also working on new designs – a custom kitty and ladybug are in the works at the moment, and I’m hoping to knock those out and be ready to do another dye bath on Friday.** But the big design thing I’ve been working on is clouds.

Wanna know what drives Apple Moskowitz to drink? When I can see something, but I can’t understand it. For example, when I was last at Kripalu, I fell in love with the fabric on the new sofas – it’s a super pretty spiral, and it feels, well… soothing to look at. So soothing, in fact, that I hijacked an end cushion one night and sat for an hour trying to draw the pattern into my sketchbook. I got close, but I never really understood the pattern enough to get a clean facsimile. In that vein, I’ve always wanted to know how to draw swirly clouds and waves, but have never been able to wrap my head around them. But then!

So did you know Nina Paley has a blog? Well she does, and it’s really good =) Lots of stuff on there about creative commons and contracting, a ton of really cool quilting stuff (manoman can she quilt!) and other odds and ends. So I was perusing her blog when I tripped across an entry that rocked my socks – it’s all about spirals. In that entry she talks about how she had an epiphany about spirals – of course I was totally sucked in, and in the end, like her, ended up doodling for the better part of my evening. Yesterday I went back down to the basement and got busy in wax. Here’s what came out of the dryer in the end –

I don’t know if you can see, but I even got some pointy edges on the sides there \o/ Which is to say, I’m getting better control of my brush with the wax – woot! Hot wax does something that, before I began, I didn’t expect: it spreads through t-shirt fabric like a mutha. So coming to a better understanding of when I need a lighter hand and when I need a heavier hand feels great.

And while we’re on the batik front, here’s the tally this week’s discoveries:
– Dissolving the soda ash to add into the dye bath is indeed the way to do it.
The colors are turning out closer to true. I still have some work to do (I think in terms of timing) to get any super bright colors in the dye bath, but the ones I’m getting now are really pretty and rich.***
– I don’t know how I ever did this before the light box.
Will let me use his light box so that I could better see the design through the fabric, and it has been AMAZING.
– I need to make bigger designs.
I’m just not filling up enough of the shirt, I think, to keep it interesting. The designs that are best selling out of the shop are the ones that take up a big area. I’ve been working on making bigger designs, but I’m running out of room on the light box – it’s 9″x12″, I think? Also, sometimes the designs  come out crooked x.x

The last item on that list is the most important, and it’s tied tightly to the item before it. So I had an idea this morning that if I could move the tee over the lightbox I would have better results, right? ‘Cos right now I’m basically taping the design to the box, and then wrapping the box in the tee – which, while effective, can produce spotty (read: cockeyed) results sometimes. I talked to Will on the phone a little while ago, and he’s going to secure me a t-shirt-sized piece of clear plexiglass. I’m thinking, I can tape the design to the plexiglass, position the tee on the plexiglass and secure it with tape or rubber bands, and then set the whole shebang onto the lightbox, moving the tee/plexi as necessary to accommodate a bigger image. Fingies crossed – I’m very excited about the prospect. I should have something fancy to show by the weekend or Monday =)


*This, “overqualified,” stuff is a big can of yuck. I officially hate looking for a job.  Also, Man Cub brought home a progress report that wasn’t delicious, and soccer being either cancelled or played on a muddy field is making him grouchy to the max. Also, bills. Omg, bills.
**Ok, so the Worcester slam team practices in our basement (the workshop) on Friday nights. This is good entertainment while I’m counting minutes on a dye bath.
***Admission: I have a bottle of jet black dye in the basement that I’m afraid to try again, seeing as the first black dye bath came out grey, and the second came out dark blue. It mocks me, the little bottle of dye.