Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sailor Squid (and working with stabilizer)

This was another squid for last month's Squid a Month Club.  It was the final squid of a one year run for a girl in Colorado.  Her mom has been ordering them since 2008 and I have adored her lists. These lists always have the staple interests such as Dungeon and Dragons, video games and cats (me and this girl would get along splendidly).  Every year though it's fun to see what new interests she has.  Her mom just re-ordered and there's now a new element of medical science.  I also learned that she took some in for show and tell once.  I think I melted briefly when I read that email.
So, I had been holding off on the tattoo description on this list for the year since I wasn't really sure what to do.  I knew the tentacles of a standard squid would be too small to really do anything so I decided on the Limited Edition style squid.  I couldn't draw directly onto the felt with the accuracy I needed so I dug through my supplies cabinet.  I have a shelf that has odds and ends that I like to keep "just in case".  This has proved fruitful.  In college I needed some plastic for a Fibers project. I bought half a yard of that plastic that people use to cover picnic tables.  I never thought I would need it again but I hung onto it.  Once I started making squid I snip some off occasionally to make the safety goggles for science squid and also a welder's mask for another custom piece.  So hey, sometimes it pays to be a pack rat. 
Anyhoo, I dug through my embroidery supplies until I found some stabilizer.  I can't even remember what I bought this for but at some point I purchases some of the insanely thick stabilizer  but have never opened the packaged.  I figured this would be perfect. I was kind of winging this so in case anyone else out there isn't sure how to use this stuff here's a little how-to.
I started off drawing my designs on a template of the squid since they needed to be exact.  There really wasn't any room for error on the arm tattoos.

After that I took some strips of stabilizer and placed them on top of the drawing to trace the designs.
And then I got to work.

Once I was done I cut away any extra stabilizer that I could get to and grabbed some water and a paint brush to dissolve the rest. Normally you're supposed to soak but I found it better to dab and brush on the water since I was working with felt.  I accidentally used one of my non-squid markers with this so my outline also washed away and I had to redraw it.  Also it stained some of my white embroidery floss so I had to cut that out and sew it again.  That was a pain.

After all of this I just waited for everything to dry.

The squid is a tad stiffer than it would normally be with the stabilizer but I kind of liked that side effect.  It made the tattoos stand out more. 

This guy didn't seem quite finished after I sewed him up so I added a little something extra.

As soon as I finished with this guy I wanted to do more.  As of last month I have.  The latest one was inspired by my reading of Fruits of Victory and a sideshow carnival theme of this lovely show

(update: here are the finished squid from the carnival show)


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