Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sea and sky

I have been suffering with a dose of flu , and been very lazy, but I have been experimenting with sea and sky effects.
First my final cloud samples before actually making the real thing for....a project.
In the picture above I have used pale blue satin as a foundation.  The cloud on the left is cotton wool.  No, it is not a cotton wool looking cloud it is actually needlefelted with cotton wool - from the supermarket.  I actually liked the effect it had better than the marino tops/roving which is on the right.  I have used the cotton wool in a very, very secret project.
Whilst I was experimenting with needlefelting on the satin, I accidentally scorched some satin with a too hot iron.... and I liked it.  It reminded meof the surface of ripples in a pool of water.  I thought about how the pebbles at the bottom would show through and then I decided to repeat this with some organza which is more transparent.  In the samples below I have put a printout of pebbles under a range of scorched organza samples to see how it looks.
This first white organza bubbled up reallynicely and I felt it would form a nice clear edge for a pond.
The next white organza was a bit more grainy in texture and looked alittle more frothy.
In the sample above, which is a pale blue,  I went a bit far with the iron,  but I liked the ripple effect.  Every piece of organza had a different heat tolerance even if they were from the same batch but different colours.
This one is a deeper dark blue that would be good to use in the deeper part of the pool.
This pale blue green sample buckled in a very tight grid.
And this final sample of very dark blue was very touchy about temperature and time and even with several goes I could not catch it at the bubbling stage.  More experimentation needed here.

Then I went on to some samples to look like the ocean.  I have been dilly dallying with organza of different shades of blue and overlapping them to create the effect of waves.  I came up with this idea.
Here is the initial layer. I used organza with fusible behind.   It is important to keep fusing periodically so the little snips of water don't get moved or accidentally turned over, however you need to keep the heat to a minimum as well or else the organzas will start to melt.  They won't really buckle like in my above experiment, because the fusible stops the shrinkage, but they will melt and look a little glassy.
Here is a final sample after many layers have been fused and overlapped over each other.  I found as I went on that the squiggly shape was not really neccessary and that it took a long time to fill in areas due to it's shape.
So there we are I think I have found the texture I want for ocean waves.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Needle Felted foundations

Next week I have been asked to show some needlefelting and landscape work to a local group.
Today I have been working up some 5 minute needlefelted landscape samples for this workshop.
When I say five minute samples, I mean it.  I did not take much time or effort in arranging items, and was more interested in the texture of each combination.
I would use these as backgrounds for stitch and embellishment, they are not finished work per se.
You might also like to look at Janet Lasher's article in Quilting Arts dec 2009 p44.
In no particular order, here are some of my samples.
This is actually my favourite background from today's experiments.  It uses dyed scrim (very coarsely woven muslin or cheesecloth) on a cotton backing.  It gives a very textured and painterly effect.  I like this one because the lovely white area, which was intended to signify clouds, actually looks like a snowcapped Mt. Fuji to me and I think a little stitching will make it so.
This one is simply wool rovings on a cotton backing.  It is a very simple arrangement more along traditional lines, which I intend to create another set of samples for. 
This one is organza on medium weight interfacing.  Organza scrunches up as you needlefelt and creates beautiful texture, yet has almost no bulk and can be layered and layered.
This one is made from hand dyed pieces of batting, both wool and bamboo, on scrim.  I just used the irregular strips I had on hand and they made a great surface.
This one used textured yarns on a piece of woven wool.  After I had started, I saw how the bottom yarn was creating splashing waves and went with it,  however, the silky eyelash did not felt well and would require stitch.
This one is simply threads of yarn on a piece of medium weight interfacinng.  It began as a hill with sky behind, but it actually reminds me of a cliff overlooking the sea.  It just depends on your perspective - and the stitch you add later,of course.
This last one began as a desert scene and still retains some of that feel.  It uses a variety of fabrics: scrim, shot organza, silk, satin, other organzas, textured furnishing and metallic fabrics, all on a backing of stretchy fleece (tracksuit fabric) which makes a great backing and is very cheap, and can also be needlefelted itself.

So I now have a wide variety of fabric samples using many combinations to show the group next week.  I think the main thing to impart to them is that needlefelting is about serendipity.  Sometimes textures and effects happen that you weren't expecting, and if you had never had a go at different things with it, you would never discover these gems.

I have only covered a small group of fabrics and backings and have not really looked at felt and rovings in a traditional way, so there is still a lot more to do, but this is a good start to the workshop.

Create every day and every day will be full of discovery.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Felting and Lutradur - 4

Well, this project is finally finished with this post.  Sorry it has taken so long.
Today I am just going to show you how I put it together for display.
Here I have squared up the finished piece at least 1/2 an inch from the beads on all sides.
You will need:
Four 1 inch wide strips of fabric for the peeper border.  I have cut these large enough for the long side (width) plus an inch. The strips are pressed wrong sides together along the length.
Fabric strips for the border.  I have cut my strips less than half the width of the main piece.
A glue Stick.
Begin by placing the peeper strips with the fold towards the artwork.  Use the glue stick to temporarily keep them in place.  The cut edges should line up with the squared up edges of the piece.
When you have all four peeper borders secured down, Place the first border fabric, face down, lined up along the squared edge as previously.  Secure both the peeper and the outer border with a 1/4 inch seam.
The top piece is secured with a 1/4 inch seam as detailed previously.  When both top and bottom outer borders are secured, press them open as shown above on the bottom piece.
Here, all four borders are attached and the peeper is visible.  Press.
For the next step you need:
Your top
Backing fabric
Double sided volume vilene (batting that is fusible on both sides.  If you can't get this, you can create your own with some light fusible and batting)
Simply press the backing and top to either side of the batting and everything is stable.
To finish, you can add binding in the usual way, however I did a simple zig zag over the edge in monofilament and followed that with two lines of couched thread, using the same thread and zig zag.

The yarn I used was a fluffy wool which had many of the beach colours in it.
 And voila! A finshed piece in under half an hour.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Organza, collage and entrapping

I have been hard at work on renovations again, but I have a few things to post.
This first picture is one of my postcards I printed on organza.  Judy, from Tangled Textiles suggested I try an organza overlay for my clouds.  I haven't got to the clouds yet, because my printer spat the organza out at me, but it is behaving now and I will try again tomorrow.  I think this technique has potential, especially if it is used as an overlay as in 'Rainbows and sunbreaks'  by Gerrie Congdon of Twelve by Twelve.

This next one is a collage I am working on using scraps of painted fusible,  fused fibreas and some pastel painted fabric.  It looks very like a landscape - and I didn't intend it to, but we will see how it evolves.  I will be thread painting on it and adding a few more elements as the need arises.  I feel that I need to try and do more abstract work, since abstracting things is one of the hardest things for me.
This last one is some fibers trapped between two layers of tulle and free machined.
Here is a close up of the stitching.  I intend to lay it over foil or a metallic fabric and use it on a journal cover with some beading.

Happy stitching

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

All about clouds

I have been putting together some samples for my Tangled textiles challenge. 
My first tryouts are to get some clouds going.
I thought I would give a few tips on how I made these samples.
This photo has lots of little wispy bits and lumpy bits on the edge and it was my inspiration for the samples.
In this sample (top is on left, bottom is on right), I used my  burning technique  to fuse down the edges of synthetic sheers.  I also layered some more sheers in the centres of the clouds, but found later it was not neccesary. 
Using sheers in this way, allows the thread painting to be much looser.  It is like an underpainting.  The thread painting would have to be very dense if there were no fabric underneath
I simply thread painted very loosely in circles (granite stitch) over the sheers, going out past the edges, to give some wispyness.  You can see from the back side (above) that the granite stitch is very loose.

I liked this, but decided to try out needlefelting the clouds on my embellisher.
 In this sample, (top is on left, bottom is on right) I started on the right hand side of the picture and felted onto the background with white. 
I kept the wool tops in a loose  sort of  yarn or sausage shape and went around the edges, trying to make the lumpy bits of the clouds show.  The result was not as fluffy as I had thought it would be.

On the left hand side of the picture, I put some blue tops down first. then added the white tops in little cotton ball shapes, only loosely rolled.  This gave a more whispy cloud, but very smooth edges.

In the picture of the back, you can see that both sides of the embellished piece could be used depending on how blended you want the clouds to appear.

So these samples have given me and you, I hope, a few ideas for creating clouds in landscapes.  You don't really have to stick to a photo.  Any children's geography book should give you some line drawings of clouds to use.  Practice with some different shaped clouds, such as wispy, windy day clouds, and have fun.

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.
Rabindranath Tagore