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Surface Design and Texture with Machine Lace

Surface Design and Texture with Machine Lace

I took a small break from the differential shrinkage pod pursuits as I wanted to add some surface design and texture. I needed to see what type of free motion machine stitched lace would look the best.

My first attempt looked like this after stitching. I used a variegated brown thread on the top and a black thread in the bobbin.

I then laid it out on a thick layer of the same green wool I have been using for the pods. The photo on the right shows it wet down and already starting to felt.

Here it is after felting. I do like the texture on the surface of the felt but the “pattern” looks too much like a brain and isn’t random enough for me. So another attempt.

This one I tried to be less perfect and had some single lines of stitching running through other lines that were 2-4 stitched lines on top of each other.

Here’s the sample after the machine lace is felted in. I like the randomness of this sample better but I think it needs a little more empty spaces perhaps? Again, I like how the machine lace sits on the surface and gives a rough texture. Then I started thinking about adding some nepps into the mix. What would it look like if I added nepps underneath the machine lace and then felted? Or perhaps some lines of wool yarn to give ridges?

Making samples seems to lead me to making more samples. Perhaps eventually, I will come up with a plan for the final project. Or maybe I’ll just keep enjoying the journey of experimentation and sampling.

How about you? What have you been trying new lately?

Sampling Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy

Sampling Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy

Recently, I got an order from Sulky for more machine threads and a product that I have wanted to test out for a while.

It’s called Sticky Fabri-Solvy. I have used the Fabri-Solvy for machine lace and liked it. But this one has a sticky surface, so you can press it down on a piece of fabric or felt and it sticks. Or you can stick smaller bits of fabric or felt down to it and then stitch. You can also run it through the printer to print a design on it and then use the printed design for your stitching guidelines. I haven’t tried that yet but I’m planning on testing that out as well to see how that works.

Here is a piece of the Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy. It has a backing paper which you pull off to reveal the sticky surface. I did a small square about 6″ x 6″ for my sample. I cut two pieces the same size.

I then cut up some old printed felt in small bits and place it over the surface. The felt sticks down and holds fairly well.

I kept adding felt in a variety of colors filling up the blank spaces. You could certainly leave blank spaces if you wanted the result to be more open and lacey.

Once I had all the felt laid out, I then put the other piece of Sticky Fabri-Solvy on top with the sticky side down. I should have left a bit more room around the edges but it ended up working out OK although the edge pieces tended to bulge out and want to jump off before being stitched.

I then used four of my new thread colors to free motion machine stitch over the sandwich. I didn’t use a hoop and it seemed to work just fine. You have to be careful that the edges don’t get sucked down into your machine though. I used a meandering stitch to give an organic feel. I didn’t want any straight lines.

And here is is with all of the stitching done. You need to catch all of the pieces of felt with your stitching to prevent the pieces from falling apart once you dissolve the water soluble fabric.

Then you just stick the whole thing in some warm water, let it soak for a bit and the Sticky Fabri-Solvy dissolves and disappears. If you don’t wash it all out, you can use it to help hold the shape in different positions. It acts like a stiffener. I washed mine mostly all away so there is no residual stiffness. I plan on trying this technique with some sheer fabric pieces too.

Have you tried a new product lately? We’d love to hear your results. Show us over on the forum. 


A Glimpse of Free Motion Class Projects

A Glimpse of Free Motion Class Projects

I took Ruth’s Free Motion Stitching on Felt class in March. While I have done some free motion before,  it was good for me to stay on task to practice and learn some more about it.  We covered the basics of the machine, moving the fabric, supplies and set up.

At first we practiced a lot of lines, loops and circles to get used to moving the fabric and felt around under the needle.  I definitely needed a lot of practice.

The first piece of felt I practiced on to create dimension was a sample I had done a while back using some scraps of silk paper. If you look closely you can see circles.  However, the felt was just a bit too thick to create too much dimension.

Here is the sample of machine lace I did.  I used a flower pattern which turned out to be too open.   It looked better before I felted it. It’s laying on a piece of paper, but if I were to hold it up to the light it would look like a window.

I did more of the thread sketching and started to feel more comfortable and confident.

Here is  some coral in the water.

My Bird of Paradise.  Here I filled in the back of the leaf where it turned over, but I didn’t like it so I tore out the filling which isn’t fun in felt.

I probably should have just made the leaf whole.

Cathy (Luvswool) had given me some of her felt scraps and I really liked this red piece. (Thanks!) I debated what I could put on it to make use of the red.  Then I decided on a bare tree and some  stones and birds.  I call it Red Dawn.

I used metallic thread on the stones because I felt if they were dewy they would probably reflect differently in the red dawn.

I haven’t finished my final project, but will share that when I do.  It was a great class and it helped me gain confidence and skill.  I still need more practice but feel I made progress.

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