I screen printed eight T-shirts yesterday, of which this is my favorite (click in for a closeup!):
Here is my next favorite:
And here are two others I liked:
This one did not come out quite as brightly as I had hoped, probably because my screen printing inks are semi-transparent – meaning the background is apt to show through.
The same thing happened here, but I love it anyway:
And these four are still in progress:
With this one, I intend to discharge the tiger using thickened bleach (more accurately, Cascade dishwashing gel with bleach – more controllable and less likely to bleed), then paint it with thickened dyes to give an orange tiger against a khaki-and-olive shirt. I think that should be really neat!
These two are white and need to be overpainted with thickened dyes to make them more interesting:
The cat with birds is probably the least successful print: the border is a bit blurry on the left side and the cat really doesn’t make sense – compositionally the copper color doesn’t work and who ever heard of a metallic copper cat? I am tempted to toss this one and remake it, this time with a black or dark brown kitty.
The cat-with-birds was a lot of fun to make, though – it involved six Thermofax screens: five small ones for the birds and cat, plus a larger one for the border. And I like the composition, so I will likely redo it.
And here is the last one, which also needs rework:
Here the semi-transparent inks are super obvious: the red dragon is barely visible as a dark maroon. However, this is probably salvageable. I’m going to discharge the shirt using either thiourea dioxide or bleach, then re-dye with a friendlier color. Maybe a flame-colored halo around the dragon? That would be really neat!
And, finally, I printed a pair of sweatpants – this was my first attempt at Thermofax printing and I just LOVE it, though technically it’s a disaster:
Here is a closeup of one motif (which looks a bit blurry; maybe I should have photographed a better one):
Thermofax printing, by the way, is TREMENDOUS fun, especially when compared to much more laborious silkscreening. Instead of having to laboriously apply emulsion to a screen, wait 24 hours for a screen to dry, then exposing and washing out the screen, you just take your design, sandwich it against the sheet of Thermofax screen, and run it through the Thermofax. Presto, you have a screen! It’s just a minute or two to mount the screen in the frame (which is far thinner and less clunky than a silkscreen frame), and then you can print right away. It is such a joy to use! I haven’t felt this empowered by a tool since I changed from a heavy hybrid bike to a lighter, more agile road bike.
(The only downside to a Thermofax machine is its high cost – “going rate” is about $1000 for a used one and $1500 for a new one – but after much searching, I found one on Craigslist dirt cheap. Woo hoo!)
And, as if that weren’t enough, on the quilting front I dyed 14 more fat quarters – shades of rust and orange as well as relatively solid blue, purple colors. The complete set of fat quarters looks like this:
They were tremendous fun to dye and I definitely plan on doing more, if only for the fun of it! I’m going to order at least 10 yards from Dharma this week with the intent of doing more “art cloth” next weekend.
And, finally, I got started on my foundation-pieced quilt block:
It looks rather garish right now but I think will settle down some once I introduce the blues and blue-purples. The construction looks OK, at least to me.
Karen asked about discharge. There are basically two ways of discharging fabric, cold and hot. Bleach can be used cold, but only works on cellulose fibers (it will destroy protein fibers). Thiourea dioxide (and I think one or two other chemicals) works on either, but requires heat and moisture to activate. Both require a respirator with acid gas cartridges, for safety. (Some people do work outdoors with a fan, but not me.) Bleach needs to be rinsed out and then dunked in a bleach-stopping chemical (the chemical name escapes me at the moment, but Dharma Trading Co sells it as Bleach-Stop) to prevent the bleach from eating the fabric; just rinsing it out isn’t enough. Thiourea dioxide either needs to be used in a pot on the stove (though I do this outdoors with an electric roaster/frying pan/camp stove, see previous notes about fumes) or applied as a paste and then ironed. Not all colors of dye will discharge and some colors shift when discharged, which is why I selected colors of MX fiber-reactive dye that will discharge gracefully.
I’ll write more about discharge when I actually do it, probably next weekend.
What’s next? Well, first I need more materials to work on. I plan to order another ten yards of fabric from Dharma this week, which should give me enough to experiment with next weekend. Second, I have homework from my quilting class, so I’ll spend at least a couple days this week practicing foundation piecing. Third, if I have time, I’ll practice draping muslins. Fourth is the book, which I plan to work on in the early mornings.
I haven’t yet figured out what to do with all this fabric I’m making, since I am not a quilter. I suspect I may make some quilter friend very happy, by donating to their stash!
thank you very much. I look forward to your more indepth discussion of discharging dye; I do wish to try it on my yarns, and my weavings.