Finishing Hats and Scarves.

Did you think I had forgotten it was my time to post again? I didn’t I have been running around like crazy getting things ready for the Guilds Sale and Exhibition that starts Saturday. But as I am co-chair of the committee running it I have lots to do and set up is Friday at 4:00. And of course, as per my usual operations, I am not ready to be in the show yet either. Not to worry its only Tuesday, Lots of time… Right?

So, yesterday I was working on hats. I had pinned them to dry 2 days before. This one is black, with a blue silk cap stretch over ti. I am really happy with how the silk looks. I will try to get a picture of it off the block but no time right now.

This is the redo of  the one that was shapped oddly at the midway point.

I shaped and pinned and after it was dry tried fiddling with the curls. I didn’t like them. I decided they needed to be curling the other way and be tighter.

I wet them down and rolled them up again in the other direction and on smaller little crat tubes. They need to dry again.

Lastly was the purple one. I cut the elongated edge into strips and wove it together again and pinned it in place to dry.

Yesterday while waiting in the car I trimmed it and sewed it into place. Not the best background for a picture but it was better than my messy computer desk.

All in all I am quite happy with them. Next time I hope to have pictures with no pins for you to see. I will probably have to take them at the show. Where did the time go?

 

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Fabric Collage Landscape Part 3

Here’s the next edition of my progress on the fabric collage landscape I have been working on.

In the photos from left to right, I worked on texturing the middle ground green area. I used a mixture of chopped up pieces of fabric, thread and yarn. I worked small areas at a time since the fabric mixture was easily shifted around as I machine stitched it. Using a wooden skewer to hold things in place definitely helps and protects wayward fingers. Once the green was all stitched in place, I noticed that the water on the left didn’t look exactly right. The portion of water going into the distance towards the left should have been shadowed by the hill behind it and not had any pink reflection. I needed to fix that.

So I covered that piece of water on the left with more of the blue green water fabric, stitched it down and then stitched along the edge of the shore and into the pink reflection to integrate it into the area better.  I also added a few more fingers of purple sheer fabric into the water on the left in front of the peninsula. Then on to more stitching details along the shoreline.

You probably can’t see a lot of difference in the photo on the left but I added black stitching along the shore line to give a bit of shadow at the water’s edge. Then in the right photo, I used a dark green thread to add some details including tree shadows into the water and little “island” bits and tree shapes on the peninsula portions.

Next I checked the green foreground again to see if I needed to fix anything else in the completed parts before I started the foreground. Another water error was definitely in evidence. Water should look like it is lying horizontally to the horizon line. My water was falling down the front because of the pink lines that were diagonal instead of horizontal. My stitching lines should have been more horizontal as well but they didn’t show as much as those pink fingers. Those needed fixing!

I used some scraps of the red sheer fabric and filled in the areas so the diagonal pink fingers were disguised. This looked much better and I was satisfied with the background and mid ground so now to move on to the foreground. Stay tuned for the next edition!

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Botanical Printing Fun

Autumn has definitely arrived in my little corner of the world, the trees are turning breath-taking shades of red, gold and orange and starting to fall to the ground.

This week I met with two friends who I normally meet every couple of months for a felting play-date but we couldn’t pass up the perfect opportunity to use the abundance of natural materials at our feet and have a go a botanical printing. Not something any of us are experts in but its always fun to try new things isn’t it?

I have been playing with botanical printing for a couple of years now, so I already had a selection of materials to hand (rusty water, logwood extract, a tea urn and fish kettle for steaming etc) but Janine and Nancy also brought materials (red onion skins, another fish kettle, hot plate etc) with them, along with the all important vegetation and mordanted fabrics.

After looking through some of my previous attempts we settled on a logwood carrier blanket for the first attempt. The leaves were dipped in iron water before laying on our fabric, covering with the logwood-soaked carrier blanket and steaming. These were our results…

Janine’s dye blanket was smaller than the fabric she was printing, I love how her leaf prints appear to be breaking free from their logwood “frame”:

unmordanted habouti silk

I loved the greens Nancy achieved with jasmine and rose leaves:

Alum-mordanted cotton

This was my silk scarf part way through the reveal…. logwood blanket with leaves still stuck to it on the left, printed scarf on the right. I was a little disappointed with the eucalyptus leaf in the top centre of the picture, I have previously achieved some lovely orange prints from this tree but not today.

Left: carrier blanket and leaves, right: alum-mordanted habouti silk

My silk scarf revealed….

Alum-mordanted habouti silk

Never one to make life simple, I added a previously printed nunofelt scarf to the other side of my logwood blanket. I was reprinting it because I did not like the original, insipid print, but I like the over-print even less! 😦

unmordant nunofelt (chiffon and merino)

Now it is dry it arguably looks even worse! Not to my taste at all. Yuk!

Next we tried a dye bath (as opposed to steaming our bundles), we mixed a sweet-smelling concoction of eucalyptus bark and red onion skins:

I thought most of the leaf print results from this batch were a little disappointing (only the cotinus appeared to work) although we did get some nice shibori style stripes. The colour difference between the alum-mordanted and unmordanted silk was striking, mordanting really does yield brighter colours.

We sprinkled dried safflower petals among the iron-dipped leaves before bundling and simmering for 90 minutes.

Alum mordanted silk
Unmordanted silk
Alum mordanted cotton
Alum-mordanted cotton, washed and dried

Nancy had better luck with a second piece of cotton in her bundle:

Alum mordanted cotton

Finally we tried soaking our fabric in tea and using an iron-soaked carrier blanket, the tea gives a gentle yellow-brown colour but where the iron reaches the tea, it turns almost black:

I was quite surprised by how much the colour of the leaf contributed to the colour of the print, in previous tests I found the orange and red leaves gave yellow and brown prints, just like the yellow leaves…. this really is a craft that relies on serendipity! 

unmordanted chiffon/merino nunofelt

Another surprise was the beauty of the iron carrier blankets, they really stole the show!

top: nuno felt scarf with leaves, bottom: iron carrier blanket
Janine’s Acer on the iron blanket
Nancy’s Geranium leaf on iron blanket

Nancy also had a promising looking result from a heuchera leaf

But when the leaf was removed the print underneath was a little disappointing…

Our final bundles of the day were arguably the best. Janine and I used some large fatsia leaves and I included some wisteria that Janine had brought, this gave one of the most beautiful greens I have ever achieved from a botanical print. We dipped the leaves in iron water and used a logwood carrier blanket again.

My alum-mordanted habouti silk scarf

While I love the white silhouette effect of the large fatsia leaf on my scarf, I am in awe of the detailed print Janine achieved from hers…

Janine’s unmordanted habouti silk scarf
Nancy’s print on heavy slub silk

Feeling inspired by the wonderful greens Nancy’s jasmine had given, I carried on after they left, pruning my poor garden far more than it really needed 🙂 However, while the maple and liquid amber leaves printed beautifully, my jasmine wasn’t as pretty as Nancy’s:

Alum mordanted silk

I included a nunofelted scarf on the other side of this dye blanket too and was pleased with the colours from the sycamore and oak leaves, I think the yellows work beautifully next to the blue-grey background:

unmordanted nunofelt

I also put another bundle in the red onion and eucalyptus bark dye pot, but this time it was simmered for 2 hours, and I think the leaf prints were much improved from the extra 30 minutes of cooking:

Alum-mordanted habouti silk

Thinking of having a go yourself? You should, its a lot of fun if you like unwrapping presents! You can never really know what you will get 🙂

All but one of the scarves / fabrics in this post were steamed or simmered for 90 minutes, however, I found simmering in the dye bath yielded better results if they were left in for at least 2 hours. I know some botanical printers steam for a lot longer or leave their bundles to cool overnight before unwrapping, but I never have the patience to do that! 🙂

All the leaves were placed with the veins facing the fabric to be printed, in theory the stomata (the holes that the leaf “breathes” through) on the leaf underside should give a better print as there is more opportunity for the tannins to be released, but the prints on the iron blanket (they are printed from the top of the leaf) were equally stunning, I will leave it to you to experiment with that and see which works best.

In most cases (not when the iron blanket was used) we dipped the leaves in iron water before laying on the fabric.

All fabrics were gently washed after printing to remove the iron and organic material.

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October Workshop Peg Doll Looms

October Workshop Peg Doll Looms

How did I ever manage to get anything done when I was working?

I have been working on importing and exporting File maker databases for the 2020 workshop and the guild library. I did 2 options for the workshop flyer for Elizabeth, our workshop coordinator, to choose from and will restart the workshop 2020 catalogue in the requested sort order after I have written my blog post. There was much fussing but with a bit of help I got the files exported in a format for the guild website and handed that part of the job off to the rest of the workshop team. <deep breath> I need to celebrate! Isn’t there a workshop coming up I really wanted to take when we were working on the catalogue last year? Yes! It was #1949 Peg Doll Loom Weaving with Mariann Hegedus as the instructor. Oh no! It’s about to run and we don’t have enough students! Quick, bug Elizabeth and Kelly and post it on the Facebook page! Yes, we now have enough students!

 

On Saturday I arrived early like usual and discovered a line of people blocking the door to go into the building! Oh, there is a huge fabric sale happening and they have leather hides and scraps!  Oh well, maybe I can make a quick run in at lunch. (i was able to get a bag of scraps of leather before the sale closed). now on to what i was actually there for.

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Mariann had brought the little Peg Doll looms in for show and tell and their cute shape piqued my interest. She had brought them back from a visit to Hungary. She said they were used to weave sleeves and had examples of dolls and puppets she had woven on them.

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She had a book with good pictures but unfortunately it’s in Hungarian. I did an online search to find more info but I mostly found Peg looms which are not like the peg doll looms. I did find 3 books; two of which might be the same (I don’t read Hungarian and I suspect  that one is the hardcover and one the paperback version?)  The book with the green cover is the one she showed us. Even not being able to read the language it was still educational to look at. There were a lot of more advanced techniques to try with this loom.

  6-8 szövés kereten szádfán karmantyúfán

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The concept we were working with was not too taxing in one way; how can you screw up under then over then under than over….(plain weave).  Let me tell you we found a lot of ways to mess that up! But the light bulb eventually went on for all of us.

This loom allows for plain weave, weft face or tapestry and all the two harness finger manipulations. I started to think about Butinay!!! Maybe the next work will have some!

If you sew the bottom (or top) end together you get a pouch. If you add a circular base of fabric or leather you get a cylinder that would be good to put a spindle or other small equipment in.

Warping is not too difficult. Keeping the tension snug and even is important. You wind your warp around the pegs up and down until you have gone around twice. (You can change colours as you go.) Each peg has 2 loops on it so that would be pairs of threads. The exception is the first peg, which needs to have 3 threads in one group.  This gives an odd number so you can create a continuous plan woven cloth as you weave.

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Now wind a butterfly and starting at the bottom weave every second thread.

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(This is a very old needle felted sheep I made years ago standing with the new loom and second weaving.)

I suspect I may have not interpreted the instructions as spoken.  When I took the weaving off I stated to loosen my first row of weaving! ( I thought about this and decided to modify the instructions for my second attempt. – third row I used a crochet hook between the loops and created a loop which I went through capturing the first and second row before going on to the next bit of weaving. Let that try to unravel!!)

 

I was admiring the bands of what looked like inkle banding in one of her samples. So I tried it. It looks complicated but it was achieved by alternating a gray row with a blue row, then compacting the weft to make it weft faced.

 

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One of my classmates finished her bag during the workshop I decided to purchase the loom (she had a couple more of the smaller ones available for sale) so I could make my bag taller in hopes of having it fit a spindle. As you can see, the top comes off the loom.

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Here is the second one that was completed. I gave a piece of the leather scraps I had purchased at the fabric sale (yes, I made it in time to buy a bag of leather scraps)

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I kept going, adding a fringe and switching to a long needle that is either an upholstery needle or a dollmaking needle (I’m not sure which) but now it is a peg doll loom needle. So I have plain weave and various stiffnesses of compacted weft face weaving. I also added a fringe. When I took off the weaving, the bottom (which suddenly became the top) started to unravel. I fixed that inappropriate behavior by a quick overhand blanket stich and then tightened up the plain weave so I could put a lacing cord through and use a edging stitch to stabilize the lower side of the lacing spaces. I think the purple cord will work better or I may make a blue and grey kumohimo band to use as a tie. I have decided on the grey leather to make a circular base .

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I had enough fun that I bought the loom and started a second project immediately. There has been a bit of chatting amongst a few of the guild members who are curious with this cute little loom and we have a few ideas on modifications to allow taller bags to be woven. I will let you know if anything develops from this curiosity.

Now I have to get back to the Guild catalogue and I accidentally seemed to have driven to Carleton Place winding up at the wool growers Co-op after visiting a Friend in Kempville. It was a wonderful visit and now I have a car that smells of wool and 4 more fleeces to wash before the snow flies, and more bulbs to plant and the guild Sale Ann is running to help with. Maybe it’s time for bed.  I have so much to do tomorrow!

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 The two coarse fleeces I took which are actually nice and soft.

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Some of the fleece that is coming in to be sorted

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Some of the fine grey and dark brown I didn’t buy but I did buy a light and medium grey!

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This is the rest of the Not-White fine bin. I will tell you more about this wonderful source of fiber another day right now it’s time to sleep.

 

Posted in Uncategorized, Weaving, Wool, workshops | Tagged | 11 Comments

Finished Scarves

I managed to finish the 2 scarves I was working on,  They are now dry and ironed.

This is the white one. It is nuno felt down the middle. I had wanted to put black locks on the ruffles but what I thought were black locks are purple and they bled when I tested one.  So not going on a white scarf.

Here’s a close up of the end with the white locks. They are Bluefaced Leicester locks.

Here is the red one. No close-up, it just bounced a red blur into the camera.

They are a bit of a nuisance to iron. you have to do the edges one at a time, separately from the center. It looks like this when you are ironing.

This is what they look like rolled up, like fancy dumb bells. It does keep the ruffle snice though.

I did mange to get 3 more done this week. I finished them today. They are hanging in the bathroom drying so no pictures yet.  I did start a new one and forgot to take a picture of it until I was wetting it down.

and a close up of the lace and the end. This fabric came from an odd-looking little poncho. I can’t remember where I got it but it must have been part of an outfit. You can see the silk fibres I added to the edge in the first picture. The second picture is when it was flipped over so I could neaten up the edges. the finished edge of the fabric will look really nice sticking over the end I think.

More pictures next week and I hope, at least one finished hat. Hats are tomorrow’s job.

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Posted in Design, Nuno Felting, Scarves, Uncategorized, Wet Felting | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Fabric Collage Landscape Part 2

Continuing on with the saga of the fabric collage landscape, I am steadily working my way down the piece.

I added texture to the mountains including threads, yarns and bits of cheesecloth.

I then stitched the bits down with free motion machine stitching. The trickiest part here is keeping everything in place but I just didn’t worry if things shifted. I kept going and moved things back as needed and just got it all stitched down.

I decided the grey cheesecloth was a bit much on the central mountain and added more brown cheesecloth on top. Then I stitched that in place.

Then I discovered that I didn’t like how the orange cloud and the distant mountain were so much alike. I tried stitching some darker thread on the mountain first and that helped.

But I thought it still needed a bit more attention in this area, so I added more blue stitching into the sky. I didn’t want to eliminate the orange, I just wanted more distinction between the sky and the mountain.

Next up, the central mountain needed a bit more detail. So I stitched some vertical dark lines in place. The trick is to add enough detail to get the impression you want but not to over do the distant mountains. The detail needs to be less here than in the foreground of the picture. (I just noticed that I must have stitched this part before I stitched the sky but you get the idea, I hope.)

 

Next up, I put the green mid ground in place and worked on the water. The sunset reflection had felt a little dark so I place a piece of light blue fabric in that portion instead of the blue green going all the way across. I then added a blue purple sheer fabric covered with a red sheer fabric. I messed around with the edges to make them look more natural. You can see here on the left if you look closely that there is a straight line going down the right side of the sunset reflection, that is where the blue green fabric butts up against the light blue fabric. I cut that edge in V’s so that wouldn’t catch my eye so much. I also played around with foreground fabric to see how it would eventually look with more green added at the bottom of the picture.

I then stitched the water into place. I wanted the water to have minimal stitching and texture so it would appear flat against the rest of the textured landscape.

Then I added the green mid ground pieces and fused them down with the iron.  You will notice that there is some white in one of the green mid ground pieces. The original photo that I was inspired by had snow in the mountains. In the end, I decided not to have snow in my picture so that will be covered up soon.

Next time I will show you texturing the green mid ground and some changes I ended up making to the water. Luckily, this is a forgiving process so mistakes can be covered up pretty easily.

Posted in free motion embroidery, Free Motion Stitching, Mixed Media, Stitching | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Roots and Leaves

In my last post, Work in Progress, I wrote about the A4 challenge I was working on with my local group at Waltham. I was well underway with my planning but, as often happens once I start on a piece, part of my plan changed. I decided not to use the felted backgrounds I’d originally made and instead I created the forest floor using painted and heat distressed Lutradur hand stitched to a cotton background. I used 70gsm Lutradur from Spunart and painted it with tones of green, yellow and grey Inktense. By applying the heat tool you can make wonderful lace effects which are very effective when they are layered.

Once all the elements were ready to be assembled, i.e. the pebbles, greenery and leaves, I positioned the roots in order to decide where everything else would fit. The easiest option for assembling would have been to use glue but, as Waltham is predominantly a “stitch” group, I went with the more time consuming method and hand stitched it all in place. The final stage was to attach it to a canvas to make it more robust for transporting and hanging.

Roots

I’m really pleased with the finished piece, which I’ve called Roots, and looking forward to showing it at The Big Textile Show at the end of this month.

I was hoping to show you Jacky and Caroles finished A4’s but unfortunately life’s got in the way for both of them! Neither ladies have managed to do anymore to their work as yet so instead here are some images from a recent workshop I attended with Textile Artist Jan Dowson.

Jan’s Workshop Sample

Jan was teaching a technique made popular by Susan Lenz. Susan layers polyester velvet onto polyester felt, free motion stitches with 100% cotton thread and then hits it with the heat gun……what’s not to like!! This was right up my street but rather than using square shapes as Susan does I used a leaf theme for my overall design. I’m now waiting for my order of polyester felt to arrive so I can make a larger piece…..

Adding free motion stitch to my leaf design.
The stitching is easier to see from the back
Ready for turning up the heat!
The finished piece.
Posted in 3D, Guest Writer, Mixed Media | 13 Comments