Monday, September 24, 2012

Hand stitch 'flowers'

I have finally finished a piece of hand stitch that I have been working on throughout the summer. I got the idea to do this from a piece in Workshop on the Web by Jennifer McFarlane. It is stitched onto a single layer of muslin in a hoop, which allows the threads to make a hole in the middle of flower. As you can see I have used every type of neutral thread I possess and it was interesting to see the effect each type gave. Some were not that nice so after using up the thread in the needle it didn't get used again. Some others were very pleasing and so I used them a lot.
I started by just stitching whorls of flowers, usually with eyelet stitch, and added buttonhole wheels, woven and ribbed webs, lazy daisies, diagonal satin filling, bullion knots and pistil stitches. I also sewed french knots in between. I made some free-machined flowers and webs on water soluble fleece to add a different texture in places and stitched them on too.
I didn't set out to cover the whole area of the hoop but it felt right to carry on until I had!
When I had finished stitching there were still quite a lot of gaps so I raided the bead box and sewed a load of beads on too. I particularly like the seed pearls standing up on end in the middle, secured with a tiny pink rocaille - they look like insect eggs in the middle of it all. I'm not sure what I am going to do with it now it's done!

Otherwise, this week I have been doing practical sewing - making a roman blind for our bedroom. I have been meaning to do this for a year now but college work was always more interesting!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Bondaweb 'prints'

This week a piece of my textiles based on Daisies was accepted for publication in online creative textiles magazine, Workshop on the Web. I feel honoured and very pleased about this - it is the culmination of a fantastic sabbatical year - and I will be paid too!

The editor of this magazine is Maggie Grey and by chance she was speaking at the local Embroiderer's Guild this week, so I went along and met her. Her talk was engaging and full of interesting techniques, one of which I have tried out straight away.

It is a method of transferring an image onto fabric using the adhesive powers of Bondaweb. As I am working up to a large wall hanging based on a theme of 'wastelands' I chose the image on the right.
This is a drawing from the chapter headings in an old wildflower identification book - 'Dry Wastelands' in this case!

I photocopied it on the printer. Then I cut a piece of calico and Bondaweb to the same size. Iron the Bondaweb onto the calico and remove the backing paper when cool.

Next iron the printed image, ink side down onto the Bondaweb under a piece of Baking Paper so that you don't burn the print.
I left it overnight to 'develop', as recommended by Maggie.

To reveal the print, brush the back of the paper with water to get it thoroughly wet. When you can see the whole image through the wet paper start gently scrubbing away at the paper with the rough side of a kitchen sponge. This is messy but quite quick.
When finished, rinse under the tap and leave to dry.

I am impressed by how easy this was and how clear the final result is. It feels soft and not at all plasticky.

I guess that if you used a less smooth fabric the image would be less clear - Maggie showed us some samples on felt which were quite faint and blurry.

My background fabric and paper colour are a similar colour but you would get a completely different result if done on a dark fabric as some of the white paper fibres are still stuck to the Bondaweb.
I got the results of my seaweed pressing workshop - all my samples survived the pressing process and look amazing. My favourite is this one - the detail it preserves is incredible. It looks like a very fine pencil drawing.

Finally, there were some beautiful quilts on display at Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum Heritage Day, where I volunteer. They were by the local quilting group and all on the theme of 'By the Sea'.

Festival of Quilts

I have been a bit hopeless in writing about my visit to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC last month. I enjoyed it much more than I was expecting and my friends from college and I went round all the displays saying 'I wonder how they did that' to each other constantly!

These are my favourites from the many hundreds on display. I cannot name their makers as this info was contained in the catalogue, which I was too tight to buy.

I liked this round design because the central part is all made out of patterned fabric, which probably looked most unpromising but has been used to brilliant effect to create a kind of iris.
A clever design - I'm guessing that the main trunks were appliqued onto the strip background but the way the background evokes tree trunks too is brilliant.
This looks like some photo-editing effect on an atmospheric photo of some old stairs. I think it was done using reverse applique.
Part of a quilt which was created with gaps in joined by rows of beads. The accuracy and patience needed for this is astounding.
A massive colour-fest all done with checks and stripes.

Above is the whole quilt and to the right is a close up. They were squares of dyed silk, stitched in the centre and then probably twisted when wet to reveal the shading - gorgeous!
As you have probably worked out from this blog I am a sucker for anything with seed heads on.
Simple but very effective - and a prize winner. I particularly like the composition of the branches to give the effect of looking up through the trees.

Above is the whole massive quilt - I am not mad about the colours here but I loved the little birds and bullrushes, shown in the detail on the right. This shows how effective a stencil or screen print can be.

We all loved these fish - this is only part of the quilt and for some reason I didn't photograph the whole thing. I'm not sure how they were created but they really looked like a shoal of silvery mackerel on that inky background.
Finally, my favourite one of all. This came first in its category and again shows the effective use of stamps or stencils for both the foliage and the flower heads.