Before you get started gather your supplies. Paper towels and latex gloves are handy depending on the size mess and sensitivity of your hands. I have found putting something over my printing surface like old brown paper bags is useful to avoid ruining your table or work surface.
The good news is that printing is pretty easy compared to the making of that screen.
LilyCompass I: Printing onto Fabric
Take a piece of white foam core or heavy poster board and spray temporary adhesive to it. Then carefully lay your fabric down. Use a ruler to take all of the wrinkles out so that it lays flat.
Check your screen really well for any unintended holes of the emulsion or cracks along the sides of the screen. Tape up anywhere there is a hole that you do not want ink to pass through, onto your fabric. If there are little holes then just use some scotch tape (it may need to be reapplied if you use the screen several times). Larger areas will need some water resistant tape like duck tape.
Position your screen on top of the design where you would like it. I simply centered it. Dab some in at the top of the design.
Squeegee ink top to bottom across the design, making sure of full coverage. Work as quickly as you are able during this step. The ink will dry pretty quickly. Also, if the ink is too thick it can be thinned according to directions on container (usually with water).
Lift the screen off of the fabric. You may need to hold the fabric down as you lift depending on how dry the ink has gotten during squeegee process.
Wash out your screen immediately. Trust me! You want to rinse the screen, set under a fan, then do your next print in about 10 minutes. The drying may be a bit anal but I found that it really preserves the screen. I don't recommend a brush to clean with... if you need to, run your fingers across the screen.
Residue is fine as long as it is not blocking any holes.
Let dry. Heat-set according to directions on the ink container. Usually, this means taking a relatively warm iron and pressing firmly. I like to lay my design down, upside down, lay a piece of freezer paper with the plastic side towards the silk and paper side up. Then iron. I do not remove the freezer paper until I'm ready to sow on the end pieces to keep the fabric crisp.
DO do at least one trial run. Actually, I advocate doing a couple depending on how familiar you are with the fabric and inks used. Start out with doing a print onto paper so you can get a feel for it. Then do another onto fabric. This fabric can be scraps or really inexpensive cotton. In this case, I had a scrap of silk that I had used on an earlier design so the image below will show where that design bleeds through.
LilyCompass I: Printing on the design
Last fall, I dyed some silk a nice variegated green color which I thought I would use. Actually, I'm using half of that piece of silk. I wasn't sure what color metallic ink I wanted the Mariner's Compass to be when I started to print so I did a test run of a dark/medium gold, medium gold, and silver. To accomplish this, I took the scrap silk I had on hand and dabbed all three colors onto screen then squeegeed kind of left to right:
This process also gave me a chance to fine and correct any places where the ink didn't go through well or holes I had missed in the screen. For a fleeting moment I thought about replicating the three color print on my final run but chose to stick with the darker of the three colors.
The clear resin with the design on it is a great way to get a feel for placement of your design on the fabric. Before printing the final design I did spin the compass around a bit to choose if I wanted a true north/south orientation or spin it a bit. The LilyHusband wanted a true north on this one so that is what I went with. Perhaps others in this series will be positioned differently as I continue the LilyCompass series.
Below is the completed print after having end fabric added (off of the Freezer Paper so my apologies for the wrinkles).
LilyCompass: Exploration of ground fabric
When I began this tutorial, I showed a cross section of three different ground fabrics. At the LilyPad, we enjoy a wide variety of needlearts including embroidery and counted ground. The LilyMOM, Jo-Jo, really has one true love outside of knitting and that is cross stitch. So I thought it would be interesting to do the silk, 28 ct even weave, and 18 ct Mono.
28 Ct Monoco
Most of the even weave linens, silks, and cloths act pretty much the same as the silk above in the printing process. I encourage you to click on the photos below to get a closer look at them. One must consider if having the holes plugged will be a burden or not. I have found that I want some of the printing to show and the lines are minor in this design so it the printing is not a big deal. If one prints several colors onto the fabric using thick ink then pushing your needle through may be an imposition.
The Monoco has lots of Sizing in it. If you are using a lighter weight linen then I encourage adding Sizing before the printing process. Also, heat setting your design is a must if you tend to wash your pieces after stitching.
18 Count Mono
I chose to print onto Zweigart white 18 count mono needlepoint canvas. Again, clogging up your holes is a consideration. In the example below I chose to clog up the holes to get a really heavy gold effect on the outer halo of the design.
If you want a lighter printing then I encourage thinning down your ink with water. You will want the consistency of yellow mustard which will not bleed out from under your screen during the printing process. Also, you will want to make sure you have lined up the cross sections and threads of your canvas before printing (see close in of screen above with Fleur De Lis for an example).
Should the ink be too thin after the printing it is possible to take a small paint brush and go back over your design.
Friday: LilyCompass - Color, Design, and Inspiration
Monday: LilyCompass - First Stitches
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