Monday, 25 June 2012

Inspiration Monday

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

My apologies for an unscheduled week off.  Normal service is resuming as we speak...

Monday, 18 June 2012

Inspiration Monday

A stair not worn hollow by footsteps is, regarded from its own point of view, only a boring something made of wood.

                                                                                                                                Franz Kafka.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Tip Of The Week

Lutradur is useful for mixed media work; try it with paper and paint, as well as with needles and thread.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Texture and Pattern

Nature creates its own texture and pattern.  This is one of Ely Cathedral's outside walls.   The colours are caused by chemical changes, some caused by the copper higher up.  They are beautiful, and random.

Photo Friday

Same structure, same size, same basic monoprint as a starting point...but two completely different quilts.  I much prefer the top one; what about you?

Friday, 15 June 2012

Try It Out Thursday : Lutradur Rose

One of the things about lutradur, and other spunbonded fabrics, is that they don't have a bias edge, as they are not woven.  You use the bias edge in wovens to make shaped things like silk flowers, because it is stretchy.  That made me wonder about whether I could use lutradur to make flowers with.  So... I took a piece of florists wrap, which had little pieces of glitz on it, and coloured it lilac using transfer dyes.  I then cut a strip roughly 4" wide, and folded one short edge in on itself, and fused it down (see below).  You could do this with both edges, but it's not really necessary.

I then folded the whole strip in half across the width, and stitched along the bottom, using a doubled thread.  As you can see from the image, the stitches are fairly regular, but not the same; this gives a more random look to the finished flower. It does help if they're in a straight line, but as usual, I'm incapable of keeping anything straight <g>.

You can gather up the cloth as you go, or leave it until all the stitching is done, it doesn't really matter, but make sure you gather it all up as you want it before you finish stitching, using a double back stitch to secure it.  Incidentally, I've used dark blue thread here so that you can see what's going on; you would normally use thread that matches the cloth, so that it can't be seen.

Now, start with the end which you fused down, and roll it up tightly to create the centre of the flower.

Keep rolling, to make a flower head.

To finish it off, wrap the bottom end of the flower with thread, or take a few stitches through it.  If you want to give your rose a stem, then use florists wire to do this, and then tape it with green florists tape.  I'm using mine on a hat, so I'm not wiring it.
To finish it off, you can stitch the other end down using small stitches; I'm going to have mine lying on its side, so you won't see the unfinished end.  Note that lutradur doesn't fray, so you don't need to worry about it coming apart.  And there's my finished flower!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Wondering Wednesday

It's me doing the wondering this week.  I wonder...what would you like to see on this blog?  What would you like to see more of?  Less of?  Different?

Please do leave me a note, and help me to help you!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Try It Out Tuesday : Lace Flowers.

I showed you how to make Lutradur Lace in a previous post.  I made a little piece recently using florists wrap, just to see how it worked (very nicely), but it wasn't really big enough to do anything with.  So I thought I'd make a flower as an embellishment for a hat (possibly).

Take your piece of lace, and fold it in half.

Pick it up in both hands, one on either side of the lace scrap, with the fold at the bottom.  Gently push the sides together, as if you were trying to make a tuck or a pleat in the centre, and then play with the resulting shape until you something that looks flower like.

I thought this was quite sparse, so I added a smaller, second piece of lutradur lace around the flower shape, to flesh it out a bit. 

When I had a shape I liked (I think it's a sort of freestyle frilly carnation...).  I took a secure grip of the bottom with the fingers of one hand, and tied it together with a piece of cord.  If you wanted to make a proper stem for it, use wire instead of cord, and tape the wire, using florists tape. 

And here's the end result...

I think it's quite nice... why not try it out?  It took me about ten minutes to make, and would look good on a headband or hat, or, for that matter, an embroidery...

Monday, 11 June 2012

Inspiration Monday.

Inspiration comes from the strangest of places... anyone know what this is?  Not that it matters, of course, the more useful question is...what would you do with it?

Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Missing Post...

sorry, Saturday went by in a haze!  More texture for you to enjoy...  Time is ticking on if you want to take part in the May/June Challenge...

Tip Of The Week

Remember, when using fusible with spunbonded fabrics, always encase them in greaseproof paper or some other non stick surface.  Because of the way that the cloth is constructed, you will end up with a lot of fusible on your iron if you don't!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Photo Friday : Peaks And Troughs, detail.

This is a detail from one of my quilts, called Peaks And Troughs.  I think it illustrates beautifully the benefits of working with spunbonded fabric; this is a piece of Lutradur 100 on top of a piece of hand dyed fabric.   The fabric itself is highly coloured and interestingly patterned, as well as having a slight sheen (it is vintage rayon).  I wanted to show that on the surface of the quilt in some places, so I cut back the motif.  To strengthen its visual impact,  I added some fabric paint following the lines of the quilting, to give the swirling effect that you see above. 

How could you apply these techniques in your own work?

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Try It Out Thursday : Making Embellishments

This is a quick and easy follow up to Tuesday's post.  I said I wanted to do something with the third flower I had cut out; so I made a freestanding flower with a little bit of glitz.  I took some angelina fibres and ironed them together to make 'cloth', and put that on top of a piece of heavyweight Lutradur.  I didn't have any XL to hand, so used Lutradur 100, it was fine.  I then put the last of the flowers on top of the angelina, making a three layered sandwich.  Then, covering it with greaseproof paper, I ironed all three layers together.  The layer of fusible already on the flower was enough to hold all three layers together, as the angelina is very fine.  If you wish, you could add stitch round the edges as we did with the bag.  I'm intending to punch a hole through one of the petals, to hang it on a piece of ribbon, which I will tie round the handles of the bag.  Try it out with a bit of scrap; you can make embellishments for mobile phones, key fobs, anything you like, using this incredibly simple technique.

Have fun!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Wondering Wednesday : Is Lutradur Fusible?

In a word, no...or at least, not by itself.  I use lutradur in combination with fusibles such as Bondaweb to create my own fusible Lutradur, but you can't by it pre-glued (as it were).  The same applies to both Evolon and Zeelon; they cope fine with fusible web, but they don't come in a pre-glued version.   Unlike fusible on silk, though, which tends to look as if it has been glued, unless you're very careful, Lutradur shows no sign of having been glued.  Good news for enthusiastic fusers and applique fiends!

All three layers of the Lutradur brooches, above, were fused together before they were stitched; can you tell?

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Try It Out Tuesday : Embellishing A Bag.

If you remember, I made some flower patterned cloth on Thursday, and said I would use it in a project this week.  My original intention was to use the flowers to embellish a tshirt, but I came across this bag in my stash, and decided to embellish it instead, as it was a good colour for the embellishments. 

I started by putting fusible on the flowers I wanted to use, and cutting three out.  I put one aside for later, in true Blue Peter fashion (!), and fused one on each side of the bag. 

I then put some firm interfacing on the back of each flower, a square big enough to support it, and stitched into the sandwich.  Though this interfacing was sold as fusible, it turned out not to be, so I simply held it into the right place, and anchored it with the machine foot.  You might like to pin it, but don't fuse; the next stage, after stitching, is to cut the excess away.  You could also use Stitch and Tear, if you prefer it.  Or, if you have neither, try one of the heavier weights of Lutradur (not XL; it's too heavy).  It will only use a very small scrap.

I stitched in my own style, which is not regular at all... I prefer it that way, because I think it defines the piece well.  You could, of course, use a decorative hand or machine stitch instead, if you wish, but I chose straight stitch so that you could still see the chunky drawn edges of the flowers.  Remember that florists wrapping, like Lutradur, doesn't fray, so there is no real need for stitch other than as support for the fusible, and to add a little visual interest and contrast. At this point, just trim the excess interfacing away (told you not to fuse!).

I then added some stitch in the same contrasting thread at the top of the bag, to pull it all together.

Hmm.  Not bad...but not finished, either.  I would have been happier with bigger flowers, or more flowers, but I have a Plan...  which you'll see on Thursday.  This method works just as well on anything textile... try it out!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Tip Of The Week

If you are working with pastel colours in transfer dyes, it's worth marking the right side of the paper with a pencil.  It can be really quite difficult to tell which is the 'right' side when it has dried (and it does make a difference...).

Saturday, 2 June 2012

May/June Challenge

Now that we're into June, time is ticking on... if you haven't already seen the Challenge, you'll find it here; the prompt is
"Spring rain
leaking through the roof
dripping from the wasps' nest."
- Matsuo Basho
This is early spring rain; I find it fascinating how water distorts your view.  

Friday, 1 June 2012

Photo Friday : Dervish

We tend to think of lutradur as a fabric we use on its own, or with a different fabric below it.  Here, though, hand dyed cotton has been fused on as a top layer, to describe a dervish type figure blowing its way through the quilt.  I stitched this one first, as suggested by the marks below the lutradur, but felt that it needed more than that to have adequate visual impact. 

I'd really love to feature YOUR work here... if you have something suitable, please do send me an image and a short artists statement, telling us about the thinking behind the piece, and the techniques you used.  I'll link it to your blog or website.

Try It Out Thursday : Keeping It Simple.

It is possible to buy spunbonded materials which are similar to lutradur in construction; one type of such material is known, here at least, as florists wrap.  It comes in a wide variety of colours, and may even be patterned; I have on which has the names of European capital cities in black on a white background, ideal for journalling. The temptation is to use them as they come, but remember you can always add to them using transfer paints or other media.  The image above shows a piece of orange florists wrap which I have printed some flowers onto in red.  I think it's really effective; it's simple, but striking.  It would be better, of course, if I had remembered that florists wrap is not as heat resistant as lutradur... the pattern was not transferring, so I turned up the heat a bit...only to melt the fabric onto the paper in one place.  Oops...

To try this, just take a piece of typing paper, and doodle flower shapes all over it with transfer paint or transfer crayons.  Leave it to dry, then iron it onto your florists wrap, or onto lutradur.  It would be fun to put something underneath it, but I have designs on those little flowers... which we'll look at next week.