Sunday, 29 June 2008

A little catching up

I've been meaning to share these lovely things that friends have given me lately.

First, Erica gave me these gorgeous dyed cheesecloth pieces a few weeks ago. I don't know what they will turn into but aren't they beautiful? I just love these rich colours.

Then my friend Prue brought me this gorgeous little owl bead from Timbuktu To Kathmandu in Noosa, because she knows I collect owls. Sorry about the picture quality but it's so hard to photograph such tiny things. Isn't it cute? I'll have to think of something very special for this one!

Then my friend Kaite sent me a little piece of MailArt to brighten my day.
I'm sure my postman will be very intrigued!

Saturday, 28 June 2008

My new toy!

I haven't been blogging much lately, mostly because I have been busy with Real Life Stuff (RLS). RLS is usually considered boring but, as part of it has been making my only daughter a wedding dress, I can't really say that, can I! Nor can I really show you a picture of the toile version, in case the Man Of Her Dreams happens to visit (hi Jon!).

But it hasn't been all RLS, because on Friday I took delivery of my New Toy. Here it is: Yes, it's a little travelling loom. I love it! I love the possibilities of it, I love the way the scarf I'm weaving from cheap Spotlight wool is coming out,I love the way weaving has the same Zen feel of hand quilting. You just sit there and your hands do stuff and your mind goes away into some far, far place, and returns refreshed, and gee, did I do all that while I was gone? (Reminds me how I've missed hand quilting. I really must sew some backings for the pile of quilt tops awaiting attention... once the RLS is over and done with!) I'll show you the scarf once it's off the loom. It's nothing very complicated, because I decided, for once, to start easy and work up to the trickier things. But the colour is that hard-to-capture deep turquoise, alternating with purple in the warp and with a couple of other yarns in the weft. I'm learning a lot and I already have yarn for the next scarf, which will be a houndstooth, I think.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Playing with Foils

Today I played with foiling onto fabric with the Fibrecircle group. I'd played with this before, using fusible web and foiling glue, but this time I also used the hot glue gun and bonding powder. We used foiling packs from The Thread Studio and Jones Tones foils from Spotlight. The Jones Tones foils say they do not need heat to transfer, just pressure & glue, but we found they were not very successful cold-foiled, and transferred much better with heat as well as pressure. I haven't distinguished significantly between the two types of foil, since we used the same method with both.

First we played around with glues. We used a grey glue sold by Diane Groenewegen in her classes and a white foiling glue, just called Glue for Foiling. We tried painting the glue directly onto fabric, stencilling it through paper stencils cut with scrapbooking punches, stamping it with wooden stamps and drawing freehand using the applicator nozzle on the white glue. We also made patterns with the hot glue gun. We set these aside to dry and moved onto fusible web.

This one was done with a piece of fusible web, with straight strips of a type of hemming tape, marketed to quilters to adhere 1/4in seams, ironed onto the fabric. I always find fusible web gives a very strong transfer, which is fine for big patches of colour, or when the foil sheet is almost exhausted, but otherwise is a bit strong. I also stamped some leaf shapes with a wooden stamp on the lower part but they are not very clear.

By this time, the glued fabrics were dry. I began with the sample brushed with glue. This was acrylic fabric I had melted over a candle, and I just brushed the top with the glue. The low heat of the iron did not affect the fabric at all. I used a copper-coloured foil.

Next, I tranferred foil onto the stencilled glue images. This was a scrap piece that had previously been painted and stamped. I made glue stencils of tiny leaves to foil. The stencils were not always very successful, perhaps because the stencils were so small, but they do look somewhat leaf-like.

I began to play around with the different glues. The grey glue gave very clear stencils, though the second stencil was also from a punch, measuring about 1in square and with a lot of detail(second left bottom). The white foiling glue was not as clear when stencilled (first and third left bottom). I also tried drawing with the white glue applicator (centre) but that was not very successful, though others had better success with this technique. Using very fine bonding powder gave quite coarse results through the stencil (upper right) and some of the bonding powder adhered to the baking paper and retransferred when the foil was moved. The bonding powder was very hard to control for this kind of use.

Howeevr it's fine for general sparkle effects.

I had used the hot glue gun to draw a combination of thicker and spidery lines onto red velveteen. I foiled it with a gold iridescent foil. I found that the hot glue gun took the foils extremely well but the glue didn't adhere to the red velveteen at all well. It would be possible to peel off at least part of the design. But it looks great, doesn't it? This is my favourite of what I did. I'd quite like to try the hot glue gun on baking paper and then foiling it - you'd end up with free-standing elements that could be stitched to other work.

The hot glue gun glue took the foil so cleanly that I had a lovely negative shape left on the foil. I used fusible web to attach that to a deep blue, possibly silk fabric. It also looks great! Much more exciting than it looks in the photo.

It's always hard to tell from samples just how foiling can add to a finished piece, since foiling is usually the last step. That's partly why I used samples that had already been painted and stamped but weren't very successful. Adding some glitz in the form of foils certainly improved them. I'm not sure this is something I will do often but it's an easy way to add a bit of shine.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

More quick sketches

Textile progress has been slow here lately, but I have managed a few more sketches, of things I see in my travels.
Lunch at a friend's house
Puddles outside the library