Using Cheese Cloth in Textiles
Cheese cloth must have hundreds of uses and many fiber artists use cheese cloth in their work. Debra from Cheese Cloth Fabric.com sent me a sample of their cheese cloth recently to post about.
Here’s the package I received and there is lots of cheese cloth here. Thanks Debra! If you check out their site, you’ll see that they have a variety of grades of cheese cloth and they sell in large quantities. Unfortunately, they only ship to US addresses at this time but their cheese cloth is very affordable especially if you need large quantities.
Cheese cloth is graded by the number of vertical and horizontal threads per inch. The grades range from #10 to #90. I have also seen #30, #40, #50 and #60. #10 grade has 20 x 12 threads per inch and #90 has 44 x 36 threads per inch. You can see in the photo above that this is one of the higher grades of cheese cloth. In the US, the cheese cloth that you find in the grocery stores is usually #10 grade.
Many of the uses for cheese cloth are things that you might do in the kitchen. You can strain stock or broth, use as a spice or tea bag, thicken yogurt, make tofu, cover a lemon so that when you squeeze it, no seeds will pop out or even make cheese!
I used a bit of the cheese cloth to make a spice bag for hot spiced cider over the holidays.
Here it is simmering in the cider. But the point of this post is using cheese cloth in textiles. I have made several samples as well as a few different pieces with cheese cloth.
Cheese cloth is easy to dye. The photo above was dyed with the ice dyeing method. Fiber reactive dyes are best for dyeing cheese cloth since it is cotton.
I recently used the ice dyed cheese cloth to make little flowers.
I’m thinking about adding the little flowers to this stitched piece. The cheese cloth flowers are just pinned on right now but I am sure that I’ll use some of them.
You can use cheese cloth to provide texture in felting. The cheese cloth in this piece is just above the white novelty yarn.
You can use cheese cloth in between layers of wool to provide strength. This notebook cover has cheese cloth in the middle of the felt. You can’t see it at all but it works great for items that will get a lot of wear and tear.
This sample has cheese cloth that has been ruched and then stitched down. You can either do the stitching by machine or by hand.
Here’s another sample where cheese cloth was stitched down in rows very close together. I also used cheese cloth to make a stitched cord. I love how organic the cheese cloth looks when you fray it.
This piece is by my class mate Lynette Barnes. She used cheese cloth to depict moss on an old barn. Isn’t it cool?
This is an experimental piece in which I wanted to make ruffles of cheese cloth across a piece of felt. The edges of the cheese cloth were covered with wool and placed in rows and then felted.
Cheese cloth can even be used in fine art. I just love these portraits by Mary Pal. She “paints” with cheese cloth. I find this quite amazing.
Another interesting use of cheese cloth is using it as a print surface. Kathyanne White uses many alternative surfaces to print photos and cheese cloth is just one of them. She even has a post about printing on to felt.
Cheese cloth can even be used in sculpture. The piece above by Alicia Forestall-Boehm is one of many that she combines encaustic and cheese cloth as well as wire and foam.
My plan now is to dye the cheese cloth that I received from cheeseclothfabric.com and do some experimenting. I am going to send a portion of the cheese cloth to Zed and to Ann so I thought it would be fun if I gave away another portion to anyone who is interested in playing with cheese cloth. So if you’d like to have some dyed cheese cloth, just leave a comment below and tell me what color you’d like and how you plan to use it. I’ll draw a name on January 23rd and announce the winner on that date. I will send the winner the dyed cheese cloth once it’s finished which will be in a couple of weeks. Zed and Ann, let me know what colors you would like as well. Then I’ll write another post and show the results of all our cheese cloth experiments.
(We have no affiliation with cheeseclothfabric.com except that they offered to send us some free cheese cloth in exchange for posting about it.)