Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Printing 2 from Prue

Here are photos of Prue's samples from the printing playday back in November.

This one was her rolling pin print. I love the texture this method gives the fabric.
This one is two prints from a texture plate.
And here, more printing on paper.

In this one, a piece of grid was used to print.
This one used a mixture of techniques (it's half the piece).
And here is the other half.

This one was her monoprint, from the paint on the tile.
Aren't they interesting? Printing on fabric gives it such interesting texture, as you can see on Beverley's piece. It's such a great starting place.

Merry Christmas

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas ....

we have 3 house guests for Christmas - and in keeping with the real meaning of Christmas, they've been told that there is no room in the house, and they have to sleep in the garage.

They were very interested the other day when I was doing some textile painting on the deck. I had a piece of green fabric, commercially printed - but I wanted to go one better. I added gold paint, by putting it on a texture plate then putting the fabric on top, and pressing firmly on the back of the fabric. I didn't bother to line things up very carefully.

I machine quilted the fabric, with thin batting and lining, in a rather random pattern. Some of it follows the patterns in the fabric - some of it just wanders.
I also couched down some fancy thread for added texture.

When I showed the finished result off at Fibrecircle, some people were horrified that I wanted to cut it up. But as I sat here last night, and saw the late night news come on ... well let's just say, I was much happier with my sewing machine, than I would have been Christmas shopping until midnight, and I think my aunt will like her matching glasses case and notebook with cover.

have a great Christmas

Monday, 8 December 2008

More melting stuff

Today we had another playday with our heat guns and soldering irons. Each person focused on different things.

Nola was interested in making stamps by melting, and in melting media onto another surface. The first attempt was to melt polystyrene meat trays with the soldering iron. These meat trays are more dense than polystyrene boxes, so they looked a promising media for stamp-makingby melting. First, the rim of the tray was cut off and the base was cut into two sections about 3 1/2in x 2 1/2in. One was drawn on with a sharp biro, to give a fine line drawing when printed. The second was drawn on with the soldering iron and most of the background was melted away, leaving some textural marks like woodcuts or linocuts. They're hard to photograph since the meat tray was black, but the results were very interesting. I'll show the resulting prints when I have some. I was surprised that melting the meat trays didn't cause more of a chemical smell, but I'd still recommend the use of a mask when melting any media.

I've also been given part of a yoga mat, since we'd been told that the material these are made from behaves like Memory Foam - when heated, it will take an imprint which remains until the foam is reheated. This is certainly true of this yoga mat. I cut a small rectangle, heated it with the heat gun and pressed it onto a Fiskars Texture Plate. The result was an interesting stamp. Why bother if I have the plate? The Fiskars Texture Plates are designed for embossing paper, so the pattern is below the surface of the plate (intaglio). If you take a print from the plate, the background of the pattern takes the ink or paint, and the pattern remains unpainted. Sometimes, you want the reverse of this - the pattern, in relief, to take the paint and the background to be unpainted. This process allows you to take a positive imprint of any negative pattern and print from it. When you apply heat to the yoga mat, the pattern disappears and you can take a different imprint.

I was interested to see whether the yoga mat would melt under the soldering iron and whether this would still make a removable imprint. I drew a design on another small piece of the yoga mat with my soldering iron. The yoga mat meltd more reluctantly than the meat trays but it did produce a rough outline. However, this outline is permanent, i.e. doesn't disappear when the medium is reheated. The meat trays seem like a better medium for this purpose.

I also tried using FunFoam, a very cheap craft foam, readily available from Two Dollar shops and other thrift stores. It did not take an imprint from the texture plates very well, and it did not melt well with the soldering iron, though it was possible to make a stamp of sorts. When reheated, the marks were found to be permanent, but the foam, being thin, tended to curl on itself.

Finally, I wanted to try melting media onto a base. I tested some felt, and found it was wool-based, so it wouldn't melt when hot things were added. Using the heat gun, I gently melted some children's wax crayons so they dripped and drizzled onto the felt surface. I also used the soft wax to hold down a tiny piece of organza that I melted onto the felt. The wax crayon dried stiff, so it might be too heavy for fabric, but it was fine on wool felt. The result was interesting but was improved by the addition of some embossing powder. The powder does tend to fly about under the heat gun, unless the base media is held up to prevent it. It's an interesting way to get a fine sprinkling of sparkle all over a piece, with some areas much stronger. I think this process offers some interesting possibilities. The melted crayon could be stamped into while still wet, and it could also be used to hold down other media.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

here it is! the jacket I made using the dyed in the microwave wool, hot raspberry and moss colours. I needlefelted it onto black silk organza, nuno felting technique, perfect to just slip on when its just a teensy bit cool. The big collar is so soft around my neck.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Printing 2

Since I missed the printing day this week, today I thought I'd experiment with the things I'd packed to take along.
First, I played with the rolling pin, as seen on the Threads site. First I tried wrapping the rolling pin in rubber bands.
I spread some textile printing ink on my glass cutting board, rolled the rolling pin in it and printed onto cream quilter's muslin. I repeated this four times, turning the fabric around each time so I began at alternating ends. This is what my print looks like: Much like I expected. It gives an interesting pattern, but the drawback, not mentioned on the Threads site, is that you only get a clear print for one revolution of the rolling pin (or brayer). If you wanted to print a ripple pattern like this over a length of yardage, such as for dressmaking, you would need to use the normal methods for registration of repeat patterns - a regular mark on the fabric and a corresponding alignment mark on the roller - so the pattern was continuous, or at least contiguous.
I also found a stretchy headband at the local Vinnies shop that I thought might be interesting wrapped around the rolling pin. The headband was stretched evenly around the rolling pin and held on by rubber bands. I rolled the inked rolling pin diagonally twice across my fabric.As I'd hoped, it gave a very interesting textural print.
By now the glass plate was drying out but I had some interesting patterns in the remaining ink. I took a monoprint directly from the glass, by laying the fabric over it and rolling it with the brayer. Very moody! I took a second print, which was much paler. Then I moved on to the straw placemats I bought at Vinnies. I wanted to see if the print was any different between laying the fabric over the place mat and rolling the paint on with the brayer or laying fabric paint on the placemat and rolling on the fabric with a dry brayer. Rolling the paint on with the brayer gave me this:
Rolling the paint onto the straw placemat and rolling with the dry brayer from the wrong side of the fabric gave me this: The difference seems to be that it's easy to overload the brayer with paint with the first method, even when you're trying not to. The pattern is still visible but it's much clearer and more delicate when you take a print from the straw itself.
I had some paint left on the glass plate, so I took a monoprint. I really like monoprints (even though this one looks like a brown splodge!) because you never quite know what you're going to get.

I also had some Fiskars Texture Plates to play with (thanks, Carol!).
I printed from these by spreading several colours of gouache onto the plate and rolling the fabric on the back with the brayer.
This one had a little too much paint on the plate! The second print from the same paint was better:It's hard to see how these would be different from inking the plate and using it as a stamp, though! Maybe you have a little more control of the process with the fabric on top.I took a third print, by rubbing the fabric with my fingers from the back rather than using the brayer, so it pressed down a little into the ripples of the plate. This gave it a softer, more blurred print, with the last of the paint on the plate, which I quite like too. This is possible to do even if you had previously been stamping with the plate.
I can see the plates are going to be fun to play with. I'm not sure I'll bother with rolling pin prints much, though I do like the patterns I made.

Monday, 10 November 2008

November playday

Here are some photos from our playday today (thanks Helen!)

Stay tuned for more information...

Friday, 3 October 2008

Here is the result of our microwave dyeing merino wool some weeks ago - my wild raspberry and moss colours, from the Landscape dyes range.I seem to remember this was one of the recommended colour combinations that Jenny Hopper mentioned in her workshop years ago.
I like it! Now to use it, I think I will needlefelt it, but you'll just have to wait and see!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Here are two scarves that Carol describes as being what one gets a six year old to do when they want to learn to knit. You simply tie a thread of fluffy wool to a 2 metre ribbon, with the other end sticky taped to a short piece of dowel or even a pencil. Then just start wrapping the thread around and around the dowel, every now and again pulling it down the ribbon.
You end up with a lovely fluffy scarf in no time! I have already been wearing the bright one a lot, and haven't even got around to showing everyone in the group!!

microwave dyeing

Adding to Bev's description of microwave dyeing - here she is adding the Landscape dyes to her wool, a spoonful at a time.

Then Carol has rolled her wool wet with the dyes into a sausage.

The plastic rolled wool is in a micowave container ready for some heat!
After microwaving leave for 24 hours then squeeze out and rinse.
Dry over a broomstick to avoid ridge marks.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

dyeing wool

Last Fibrecircle day, Tricia showed us how to dye wool in her microwave. I used Sage and Bloodwood Landscape dyes, and I'm pretty pleased with the results - but I don't have clear plans about what I'll do with it. It is always fun to add to one's stash, and I'm sure I'll find a use one day.

And here is Carol's :

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Out of the Blue

These are the 2 pieces that I have put in the ATASDA exhibition, currently in the Botanical Gardens. As Nola mentioned, I was definitely very 'unproductive' on Monday, as I was recovering from a last race to get them finished - but I'm pretty pleased with them. Of course, like most things, they look better in 'the flesh'.

I knew I would never wear a necklace of charms, so I put my charms down the spine of a book, that I made. Inside, I have named it 'Collections' - with several pages of samples of things that I have been known to collect. A page of samples from my much larger collection of lace - a page of stamps - a feather found on the footpath last weekend - and the last page has all the names of the Charm makers.

the pics are to do with the HMAS Sydney - another long story, which I wrote about for the exhibition.
In this photo you can't see the 3D bits of organza - I really enjoyed seeing what the heat gun did to scraps!! My daughter also joined in on this one. (One of the teenage boyfriends wandering through wasn't quite sure what he had struck - but he got dinner - and that seemed to make up for the madness!!)

BUT - I can still see my traditional quilting background - next goal ... break away from the straight bindings (if I'm brave enough?!)

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

August do your own thing

Due to a mental failure, few photos were taken this month and none at the last meeting. Here's what I did capture:
Tricia's gorgeous Tunisian crochet wrap

This has a beautiful necklace to go with it, which I was not quick enough to capture.

Carol was working on bookmarks for sale at ATASDA's Palm House Exhibition, in the Sydney Botanic Gardens from today until August 26. Aren't they gorgeous?

Beverley was in a post-creative mood, after finishing her work for the Palm House Exhibition. She was working on a patchwork friendship block, here roughly assembled so we could see what it would look like.

I didn't photograph Helen's work - sorry, Helen! She was making kits for her embroidery group to applique as a group project.

I'm sorry to say I was hemming pants, but I must add, in justification, that I'll be carrying them onto a plane later this week. However, my show and tell, which I was working on last meeting, was a newly-finished fine wool wrap. I'm very happy with it, even though it was made with leftover baby wool. I wanted to improve my selvedges by working with fine wools, and I'm very pleased with the way it looks.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Fibrecircle Monday

Another fun day playing! Today, we made silk paper. Some of us had made silk paper before, while others were making it for the first time. I made one multicoloured one in blues, reds and golds

and one in red and gold with sparkly Angelina fibres embedded in it. This one is hard to photograph, like all shiny things, even without flash. I plan to iron this one, because the angelina fibres are very much on the surface and I'd like them to melt in.

I always seem to be a bit stingy when I lay down the fibres, so the result is always quite thin and lacy. I quite like that but I need to learn to apply the fibres with a more liberal hand!

Our method:

Lay down a piece of tulle (netting).

Lay silk fibres onto the tulle until it looks like enough, making sure the fibres cross one another and are not all lying in the same direction.

Lay another layer of tulle over the top.

Brush over a detergent solution on both sides, with a sponge brush, to open up the fibres and make them receptive to the adhesive.

Brush over textile medium on both sides, with the sponge brush.

Hang the resulting soggy sample out to dry.

When it's dry, peel off the layers of tulle.

There were some variations on the method. Some in our group peeled off their tulle before the samples were dry. Carol peeled it off one of her samples (a silk/wool mix) immediately, in order to form the paper over a cup. Atelier Gloss Medium and Varnish was used to give the mini bowl body:

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Out of the Blue Madweave

Today, Wednesday, 2nd July, has been a very cold and windy day, I'm sure that the wind is coming straight off the South Pole, and then via the Snowy Mountains to reach us here. Consequently, I've had a busy indoors day as you can see on the left.
The overalls front is now madwoven on both legs and looks just a bit 'over the top', but I like things to seem a little crazy. It looks just like the quilting style of 'tumbling blocks' but is woven in 3 directions at once so it's a triple layer without even any batting or backing. I can stare at it for hours as there are a few extra little surprises in there.
Of course it's nowhere near done yet, as I've got the top to alter yet, as well as put a backing on and join up the legs. This is a fun project, maybe even a 'show stopper' - in my dreams!
Blogging is most enjoyable. I like to think of it as a way to write and show something to celebrate the day or some part of the week. I'm beginning to like the word 'Celebration' . Peter Cundle ( the gardening Elder) says that "every day is a celebration of life". And it is necessary to celebrate life, in some creative way.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Beads etc

I hate ironing!! But, as a consequence, I seem to have too many plain long sleeved T-shirts at the moment. Yesterday, at Fibrecircle, I finished sewing beads around the neckline of a black one, and today I was able to wear my new creation. I found 2 packets of tiny, mixed metallic coloured beads in a discount shop and just sewed them around the front, about 3 or 4 'deep', following the line of the rib. I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself - the top looks good, and it feels great to get something finished.
Sorry I don't have a pic yet - need to sort out the camera next.


Monday, 16 June 2008


We're a small group of textile artists, who met through the Australian Textile Art and Surface Design Association. This year we decided to get together regularly and explore different aspects of textile media. With this blog, we want to share all the fun things we discover.

Playing with Foils

Today Fibrecircle played with foiling onto fabric. We used fusible web, foiling glue, fusible thread, the hot glue gun and bonding powder. The foils were 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, so we used the iron with both types of foils.

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, from Craft Depot. 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. Fusible web gives a very strong transfer, which is fine for big patches of colour, or when the foil sheet is almost exhausted, but generally is a bit strong.

This sample was brushed with glue. This was acrylic fabric Nola had melted over a candle, with the top brushed lightly with the glue. Then a copper-coloured foil was ironed over the top, at a low heat.

These images were stencilled with glue using a stencil made with a scrapbooking punch. This was a scrap piece that had previously been painted and stamped. Nola 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.

There was quite a lot of difference between the various bonding media we used. 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). Drawing with the white glue applicator (centre) was not very successful here. 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.

However it's fine for general sparkle effects.

Nola had used the hot glue gun to draw a combination of thicker and spidery lines onto red velveteen. It was foiled with a gold iridescent foil. 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? It would be fun to try the hot glue gun on baking paper and then foiling it - maybe 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 there was a lovely negative shape left on the foil. It was attached to a deep blue, possibly silk fabric using fusible web. It also looks great! Much more exciting than it looks in the photo.