Thursday, 15 March 2012

Try It Out Thursday : Texturing Evolon

I was talking on Tuesday about how Evolon softens as you stitch it, and thought that I might encourage you to try it with this post.  This is a monoprint on Evolon, which I wanted to hand stitch.  I've hand stitched Evolon before, but never with a heavier thread than an average quilting cotton.  This time, I'm working with silk thread, and as you can see from the pictures, it's fairly heavy.  I had an interesting time trying out suitable needles; unlike woven cloth, non wovens don't have a regular structure.  Evolon has a consistent, fairly firm structure, unlike the spun bonded fabrics, and so are more difficult to hand stitch (machine stitching is easy).  I have ended up using a chenille needle; it is sharper than a tapestry needle, but with the larger eye needed for heavier threads.   I found tapestry needles too blunt; I had to force the needle through the cloth.  Chenille needles need a little bit of encouragement, but are distinctly easier to work with on Evolon.  Of course, if anyone knows of a better needle that this for this purpose, I'd love to hear about it!

I started in the centre, and began stab stitching randomly.  Random is easier said than done, you really do have to pay attention to which direction each stitch is running in, as its all too easy to make a number of stitches, all in one direction, in roughly the same area.  This attracts the eye, and rather defeats the purpose of random stitch!  I started with a darker thread, and then added a second, and a third colour, making sure to leave enough space each time for a selection of stitches in different colours.  The third colour, a dark brown, is devoted to french knots, rather than stab stitches, and I'll probably add some tiny beads when I have finished stitching. 

You can see from the images below that the cloth is already starting to pucker as a result of the stitches.  In my opinion, it's difficult enough to stitch through Evolon by hand using a heavy thread, without adding interfacing of any kind on the back; you could, though, add a layer of medium weight Lutradur to reduce the puckering.  Similarly, if you wanted a more textured effect, you could add a layer of wadding.  Try not to pull the stitches too tightly; that will increase the puckering.  As I continue to add stitch evenly across the piece, the puckering will at least even out!  I'll then iron it gently to encourage it to lie flat, and see what it's like.  If necessary, I'll block it.

Why not try it for yourself, at postcard size, perhaps (this piece is A4).  You will feel the fabric begin to soften under your hands as you work; it's a very pleasant feeling.   Sadly, the change in texture isn't particularly photogenic... you'll have to try it, to feel it!


Gill said...

I've used Lutradur a little but not Evolon yet! You've encouraged me to track some down and have a go!
Thank you!

Downunderdale said...

Marion - Evolon loves monoprints and I hand stitch all the time with a chenille needle becasue I always work big to small
I love Evolon - Dale

marion barnett said...

Gill, go for it!
Dale, glad to hear you use a chenille needle also... and I love Evolon, too. It's my preferred cloth for most things, these days.