Thursday, 3 September 2015

Building a fabric-2

Yesterday my computer time was taken up with writing a newsletter. So, here we are with the next bit of building a fabric.

We had just got to fusing the 3rd fabric and needing to slice up the fabric which was a combo of fabric 1 and 2.
This time the fabric needs to be cut up in the other direction. Perpendicular to the pieces from the first fabric. Again I cut it in 1cm strips.

And then laid them onto the 3rd fabric (laying on the ironing board so I don't have to move the fabric when I have everything placed.)
I staggered the strips.

I rarely use the pieces on the very end. But on this layout, I cut little bits from that strip to place on edges because the 2nd fabric was a little too wide.
To put the little pieces on the edges increases the amount of fabric you can use.

When this fabric layout was fused, I then cut fabric no. 4 a little wider and a few inches longer than the current combined fabric piece. And fused the back of it.
Fabric no.4 is a crepe back satin. So, I used the shiny side up as it 'reads' lighter.

Again, time to slice the fabric, but remembering to go the opposite direction. Stagger the strips on the 4th fabric.
This is where you begin to see how exciting your 'new' fabric is. So many little bits of fabric in many different combinations and coming together in a way you could never have developed if you didn't follow these steps.

Now fuse them down.

One last go! Cut fabric no. 5 a little longer and a few inches wider than your combination fabric. I cut mine from the back of the crepe back satin...the crepe side 'reads' darker. Put fusible on the back.

Cut the 1cm strips from the combination fabric (no.1-4)

Place them on fabric no. 5 and fuse them down.

And for my purposes, this now is the final fabric!
This fabric will be cut into the shape and then mounted on an even darker blue.*

Do you see how interesting this new fabric you have built is? A lot of movement, a lot of texture, and a lot of combinations of the shapes and colours.
I usually use shades and tints of a certain colour, but you can do this with a variety of colours. I wanted to build a fabric to use for a jungle.
After this step, I also cut the strips diagonally.
You can see how this piece could be developed to show the idea of leaves and shades of the jungle.

There are a lot of places in the steps which I covered where you can say, What if I did this? It all depends on what your final use will be. But for the most part, you need to do at least 4 steps. If you are doing more than 5 steps, you need to be sure your fabrics are well fused to one another in the first few stages. Otherwise, they are tiny when chopped up and can easily begin to come undone.

After cutting my shape, when I fuse it to the backing fabric, I also do a bit of free machine embroidery. The fusing is good, but as it is pieces, could easily get caught on things, then pieces can get picked off.
Do remember though that you have several layers in some parts, so take your time and use a larger needle so it has more oomph to push through. Oh, and if you haven't used Misty Fuse, the glue in the fusible areas of the layers may create their own layers.
It may also mean that because the needle is working harder, it gets hot and you might find the glue melting/sticking to the needle, gumming it up. You can still do it, but you may have to have a handy bit of the hand cleaner gel on a bit of fabric to clean your needle off every so often. You will know! The thread starts to shred! (I haven't tried this, but I understand a needle with titanium coating is helpful in that instance.)

Another idea I have done in the past is to layer the whole with a synthetic organza - free machine it down in a close pattern, and then zap it with a heat gun. Some of the organza will melt away between the stitching to reveal the built fabric. It also creates a wonderful crunchy texture where it has melted.

Let me know if you try this!

*This fabric I have built will be used in the piece I am making for the Fly Me to the Moon project. Quilts made to the theme of the Moon will be put into a book to celebrate the 50th year anniversary of the Moon Landings.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

building a fabric

If you remember back in January I built a fabric from a variety of fabrics to make a dragon.

Well, now I am starting to build a fabric again, but this is for the project I can not show.

I have started with a selection of colours - dark medium and light - which when together will give the look I want.
In this case, I have been drawn to the shinier fabrics because the thing I cut from it needs to have a bit of a glow. (I have asked if I can actually tell you what it is I am making from this, even though I can't show it. Still waiting for the reply.)

I am starting with the lightest piece. It will end up in the smallest bits, so they will be highlights, if you will.
This piece is an offcut of lining I somehow ended up with in my stash. I have a good collection of bits of shiny and lining fabrics. I started collecting them when I used to do dressing up costumes for the school. You always need things to make a child feel like a prince or a princess! And now they are useful when you need a small bit of this or that. This piece would normally be tossed because it has light fading where it was folded. But that works for me because it means the fabric is not flat - all one colour. Instead it has a subtle ombre affect.

I cut a piece - I am not precise about measurements. You can see from the metric ruler above and the inches cutting mat below and the dot matrix feed paper it is on, that it is about A4/letter paper length. The width was just the width of the offcut!

I put fusible on the back of the fabric with black Misty Fuse. Normally I wouldn't use black under a light fabric, but I wanted subtle texture. I laid it on the paper so you can see the webbing of the Misty Fuse fusible.
About fusing with Misty Fuse. It does not come with a backing paper, so work with 2 layers of baking parchment. Always lay the item to be fused between the layers when you fuse. Sometimes your fusible is cut slightly bigger than the fabric (see the left edge of the piece above), so you will have edges of fusible you want to protect the iron from. and of course you want a layer between it and your ironing board as well.
A VERY GOOD TIP: write or squiggle something on the side of the parchment that you are going to have next to the fusible. That way when you use it again, you can be sure not to put your iron onto fusible that remains on the paper. It is easier to see the black, but white fusible is easy to miss...till it is on your iron or ironing board. I wrote "This" this time because I used an X last time and had to keep looking very closely to see which side it was written on! Because the baking parchment is translucent, I can tell if the word is up or down better than if an X is.
Another good tip...let it cool down before you peel the parchment away. It comes away much easier.

Then I cut the next piece which is the lightest of the darker fabrics, and put fusible on the back of it, too.
It has been cut a few inches longer than the first one, and a little bit wider. This is a lighter weight fabric, so it bubbled a bit. Probably because I didn't turn the steam off. But I don't mind. It will be small pieces in the end, and lots of pressing, so any bubbles left will be a bit of texture.
It is a good idea to leave this fused piece on your pressing surface when you have peeled away the paper because you will lay strips onto it and it is not easy to move it to fuse them down if you do the placement somewhere else!

Next, I began to cut the first fabric into strips 1 cm wide using the width of the fabric. I placed them staggered on the second fabric and with small gaps between each strip. Don't be too precise about the placement. The slight unevenness will help the work to be more alive. Or in art speak - have movement.
You can stagger alternate - to one edge then to the other edge,
or you can make the staggering less abrupt by having strips halfway between.

For this one, I chose the second method because when it gets all chopped, it gives some interesting effects.

At this point, the 2nd fabric has already been laying on a layer of baking parchment on my ironing board, so all I have to do is lay the other piece of baking parchment on top and press to fuse.
Once I am sure the fabrics are sticking together, I turn the whole sandwich (baking parchment with fabrics between) over and press again to be sure they are fused well.

The next step is to cut a piece of fabric a few inches wider than this new piece you made and a little longer. I chose the second lightest fabric.

Then fuse it.

More about cutting into strips and placement tomorrow. But if you are following along, don't cut it the same direction as these strips were cut!

Monday, 31 August 2015

desk changes

A Certain Young Man has been making changes in his bedroom and in the guest bedroom, which is now more like his office.

And so, because I benefit from the changes, The Thoughtful Man has been busy changing my computer corner, whilst I got on with the next project.

The old desk hadn't much space that you could actually sit into.

But now I can sit straight - not twisted. When I get my bits and pieces back in place, they won't be encroaching on my working area.
There are shelves underneath as well, so some things I can put under there.

So, maybe less back problems? Who knows!

Sunday, 30 August 2015

And the bead keeps going on...23-29 August

Week 35 - Aug 2015








Saturday, 29 August 2015

Stitch on It 1-7

I mentioned at the end of July that I have decided to take part in Take a Stitch Tuesday from Sharon Boggon's blog. I am still working on my Slow Cloth, but I wanted to take up the challenge to do something more with a stich if you are already good with embroidery.

At the beginning of the year, I put a list of things I would like to try to do this year. Stitching on paper was one of them. I have had a bright yellow and a bright blue handmade set of papers in a container looking at me for some time, so I chopped them up into 3in squares. The first attempt showed me I needed to back it with something, so I also chopped up a bit of old curtain lining. Besides being support, it also helps with the knots or ending and finishing threads.

So, I said I was doing Sharon's TAST. But she had already started. So, I am showing the caught up pieces, too. The colours may not always alternate. This is because I couldn't work out why running stitch and chain stitch weren't first, so I have been doing those, too, this month. and then I discovered they come later. ;-) Which is useful because I can have a bit of time in this coming month for focusing on some of the other things I need to do.

As you can tell, I am not posting every Tuesday, but once a month. Not sure yet if doing it on the last Saturday is going to be the default. But we will see.

So, without further ado.

Stitch on It

Fly Stitch

Buttonhole Stitch

Feather Stitch

Cretan Stitch

Herringbone Stitch

Chevron Stitch

Detached Chain Stitch

Because this is a bit of an experiment about what I can do with free stitching on paper, not everything comes out like a show piece! But that is what sampling is about.

Friday, 28 August 2015

What dogs do...

...or at least this one.

Does this help her very little brain?

Or not?

Holly sure doesn't like fussed, though when she is trying to sleep.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Chopping and Changing

Before I get tucked into this next project, I have taken a few days to sort out changes with some of my summer things.

This blouse fits, but with the horizontal pleats, it is far too snug on my arm. The pleats didn't actually show much because they lined up so well with the plaid.
So, I unpicked the top pleat and cut it off just below the folds. I was concerned it would still be a bit snug, so I had a good think.
chopped off bit to the left - mini godet on the sleeve above right.

I made a little godet just at the centre of the hem on the outside of the arm using a section of one of the chopped off bits. So, still a little detail, but easier to move my arms!

Another problem:
This dress never seemed to be the right thing for the current weather. Too hot in summer with the long sleeves and too cool in the spring because it is rayon/linen mix and very light weight. I never ended up choosing it, or if I did, I regretted it!

So, I chopped off the sleeves. Already better.

As I thought, I can fit my cap sleeve pattern on the length!

And so here we are.

The difference in the way the grain lies is not a problem because it is cap sleeve anyway, so is only required to cover the top of the arm.

So, guess what else is getting that treatment?
I have never actually worn this yet!

Other things I have been sorting include taking shaping darts out of some of my summer blouses.

Including recutting sleeves for this. As for the other blouse, the decorative bit has meant the sleeves are now too snug.
But instead of doing changes like the blouse sleeves above, I have leftover fabric, so I can recut a cap sleeve.
I do hate that I have gained weight with this health thing, but I may as well do something to get some clothes I am not ashamed to wear again!

Who knows, maybe next year I will have to do this all again because I am back to the original weight for when I made it? But at least when it comes summer again, I won't have to try to find clothes to fit.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Running man

One (among many things this spring and summer!) of the delays on this piece was that I was not quite happy with the selection of browns I had to choose from. I wanted to cut a silhouette of a running Abebe Bikila to place on the larger green piece. I thought brown would help to reference the "1st African Gold Medal winner" part of things.

Lighter brown/tan would be more like the natural skin of an Ethiopian.* And was almost but not quite the colour of the lion. But it was too pale and insignificant against the bright colours of the rest of the piece. Very dark brown was not good either. So, the option was a slightly reddish brown. I hadn't much of it, but I thought I could manage to cut the figure from it.

When I was at the Festival of Quilts, I saw that Doughty's had a wide range of solid colours for good prices. It wasn't just about green - which I also was looking for - or brown, but which green or brown! And then a reddish brown kept catching my eye.

Wow. just right.
Okay, not very obviously reddish here.
But, it is more of a darker shade of the brown of the lion. And, more crucially, if you look close in the pattern of the background, you can see it is just the right colour of brown as in the background.

The selection of browns.
Two dark browns, the tan brown, the first reddish brown and then on the right, the just right brown!

So, the running man was duly cut from fused fabric using my freezer paper template.

And here is the finished top.

Now this will go on hold to finish the sandwich and quilting later in the autumn. (Because the Stretching Art Exhibition will be at a different show in the spring.)

I am thinking that when it is done with the exhibition, I might give it to my friend who works in Ethiopia. She can hang it in the school to urge on future Ethiopian long distance runners! Which is one of the reasons why this particular event in 1960 stood out for me. Already, one of the blind girls at the children's village has been scouted for a runner in the Ethiopian Paralympics and Ethiopian Athletics have begun training her!

Basically, I could finish this piece now, but I need to get on with the next project that has been pushed back. In theory, it should go quickly because it is a technique I use a lot, but you never know till you get started.

Unfortunately, I can't show it for a quite a long time yet. If it works and fits the plan, it may be in a book!

*Did you know there is a creation fable in some parts of Ethiopia to explain their skin colour? Or so I read in a National Geographic Magazine some time ago. It is said that when God made people, the first batch came out not done enough, so He threw them to the North. The second batch was done too much and He threw them to the South. The third batch was just right and they became Ethiopians!