Sunday, 8 November 2015

Canvas - Experimental Sample for City and Guilds

It has been awhile since I have updated my progress with my City and Guilds Level 3 modules.  A recent presentation I made has prodded me to do some blogging about it. So, going back to Module 2, after the research on an artist (I chose a digital artist), the notes on shape as a design element, and the design exercises, we moved onto the stitching samples. I already shared about the Blackwork sample, so this time I will post about my experimental sample. 

Experimental Canvas Sample

As this experimental sample was to be done on canvas, we were instructed to create our own design, as most of our line designs and the shape designs created in Modules 1 and 2 would not be easily translated onto canvas. So, keeping in mind that the focus on the module is shape, I tried to create and add a variety of shapes on the canvas (12 count).  

Canvas sprayed with ink, painted Wonder Under applied and stencilled

I started by spraying the canvas with acrylic inks, and then applied chunks of painted Wonder Under to it.  I also added a little Angelina fibre to add a tiny bit of sparkle. Finally, I stencilled on the canvas with paint. 

Distressed painted Tyvek, crocheted washer, stitching, and commercial trim

I also wanted to add several diverse elements to the piece win addition to those achieved with thread, so I added painted wood sticks wrapped with wire, Sizoflor, silk sari yarn, distressed Tyvek, leather, paper, commercial trim, and crocheted and thread covered washers.

Painted wood sticks with wire accents

The stitching was done with a variety of threads, from a heavy acrylic yarn, to a #8 pearl cotton. 

Working on a canvas was different for me, as I usually work on a fairly solid background of some sort. It was also different to create elements that were basically linear, except for the washers.  All in all, it was engaging and this was the final piece for Module 2. 

Monday, 14 September 2015

Lemon Juice - The Eco Friendly Paint

You all probably remember the secret writing with lemon juice that could only been seen when you held it to a candle.  Well, that and a recent (last year) article in Quilting Arts, got me thinking and wanting to do some printing with lemon juice, as I loved the scorched brown look when you took an iron to the lemon painting. 

Lemon Juice painted onto flour sack fabric

Painting with lemon juice on paper is not too bad, but on fabric, not so easy. As lemon juice is thin and is absorbed by the fabric very quickly, you are unable to make distinct lines.  

Thermofax screen onto Tissue Tex, 
using the Sodium Alginate and Lemon Juice mixture 
So, I have been experimenting with thickeners or carriers for the juice and after lots of failures, I think I have come up with a couple of “formulas” that work and allow you to use the lemon juice with thermofax screens and stencils to produce images on paper or fabric, that are sharper than you can “paint”, but still with some softness.  Here is a sample of a screened image on Tissue Tex paper:

 It is all depends on what sort of look you want, and if you want to have really crisp images, paint your fabric with “No Flow” by Jacquard™ prior to using.

The first workable mix is the Print Mix out of Ann Johnston's book, Color By Accident (Page 92). This thickened print mix can be mixed with lemon juice, on an approximate 2:1 ratio of print mix to lemon juice. You may need to add a little more lemon juice, depending on your environment. The mix needs to be as thick as apple sauce, otherwise it will be too runny and not produce a clear image through the stencil or screen.

Another simpler mix, which I prefer,  is to simply  make up a mixture of lemon juice and sodium alginate.  Make up this mix by adding 1 1/2 - 2 tsps of sodium alginate to 1/4 cup of lemon juice.   Having the lemon juice at room temperature makes mixing this up easier. Start with 1 1/2 tsps of the alginate and stir the mixture constantly for at least five minutes. Again, the mixture should be the consistency of apple sauce, so adjust the lemon juice accordingly. Let it stand for a couple of hours before using to ensure that all the sodium alginate is dissolved.

SA/Lemon Juice sponged over dried hot glue gun stencils

Once you print onto your fabric, or paper, let it dry completely.  Your image will either appear non-existent, or very faint.  Iron the fabric or paper with an iron on the hottest setting you can use on the particular fabric or paper without burning it. Continue moving the iron around the fabric until the image appears. The longer you iron the image, the browner it will become.  If you are ironing paper, you should put it between two pieces of parchment paper to prevent any burning. You can also use a heat gun to make the image appear, but ironing is generally faster.
SA/Lemon Juice sponged through stencil
(left) and through screen (right). Fabric was
painted with No Flow first.

The thing that I like the best about the Sodium Alginate/Lemon Juice mixture is the graininess you get. It can be very effective and add interest to the print.

SA/Lemon Juice screened onto Lutradur

This method worked for screening images onto handmade paper, Tissuetex, cotton and silk fabrics, silk organza, and it also worked screening onto fusible web.  The tricky thing about the fusible web is that you will not see the image until you iron it onto a fabric. This image is very grainy and indistinct.

There is more experimentation to come!
SA/Lemon Juice through screen onto deli paper.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Drizzle Stitch

Drizzle Stitch in a tight circle
This is a three dimensional stitch most often used in Brazilian embroidery. You can do the stitch as a single stitch or in groups, in lines, or in circles, and you can make each stitch as long or short as you like. It is particularly useful in creating underwater scenes.

It is important to use a needle with the shaft the same size as the eye, so the stitches will slide off it easily. So, depending on your thread size, use Milliners or straw needles. 
Photo a

Photo b
To make this stitch, knot your thread and bring your needle up on the right side in the desired location. (Photo a)

Put your needle back into the fabric close to the position where you came up. DO NOT put the needle all the way through the fabric, just pierce it with the end. Leave the needle partially in the fabric and pull  the thread out of the needle. (Photo b)

Photo c
Photo d
To wrap the thread, circle the needle and put the thread through the circle. As you will want to make each of these wraps the same way on the needle, remember whether you are going over the needle or under the needle with the thread to begin. This wrap is similar to casting on with a knitting needle, or doing a needle lace stitch. Pull the thread to tighten the wrap, but not too tightly around the needle, but not too loose either. (Photo c) 

Continue wrapping the needle, snugging up the wraps each time. Keep these wraps a consistent size. (Photo d)

Photo e
Photo f
When you have finished the number of wraps desired, re-thread your needle.  Hold the wraps down the fabric with your thumb and pull the needle through to the wrong side of the fabric.  The more you pull on the stitch, the more it will rise and twist.  You can also move the wraps around in a spiral, or make them stay straight. (Photos e & f)

Monday, 1 June 2015

Double Chain Stitch

This stitch can be used with fine or heavy threads. It can be straight or curved, and the width can be varied as well.

Photo 1

To begin, mark two working lines on your fabric with a disappearing pen. I like to use the FriXion™ pen by Pilot. These come in several colours and disappear with heat. 

Work this stitch from top to bottom. Begin with a waste  knot.  

Photo 2
Bring your thread up. (Photo 1).  Keeping your thread below and to the right  of your needle, take your needle down half  a stitch length above starting position but on the right line and take your first stitch, bringing the needle up at half a stitch length below starting position, still on the right line. Pull the thread through creating an open chain stitch. (See photo 2)  Again. this stitch should be long enough to extend a half stitch below point.


Photo 3
The next chain stitch will be made from your initial starting point to a half stitch length below where you ended your first stitch, along the left  side line. Keep your thread under and to the left of the  needle. The chain stitch should extend a half stitch length below. (Photo 3)



Photo 4
Continue by starting your stitches inside the chain, keeping your thread below and to the right of the needle, coming up a half stitch length below the last stitch, but on the right side line. (Photo 4)

Work alternating open chain stitches along the two lines and finish with a small stitch over the last loop. Weave in threads. 

Friday, 27 February 2015

Blackwork With a Bit of a Twist

Blackwork Sample On Burlap
In Module Two, City and Guilds Level Three Certificate in Hand Embroidery, we are asked to do a Blackwork sample. However, we are also asked to do something that is not traditional.  So, I decided to do my blackwork on lime green burlap. I also used some ribbon floss as my "grout lines" and some tulle for some shading in a few of the sections. 

This sample started with some design work, of which there is a lot in the City and Guilds courses. I am taking my courses through The School of Stitched Textiles.  They provide online courses of study broken up into distinct modules and I have been enjoying my studies through them. 

Oil Pump Sketch
Motif from Oil Pump Sketch

Module Two is based on an industrial theme, at least this is where you start. Among the many sketches I did, at least a couple were of oil pumps (being from Alberta!).  From the sketches, you develop designs. For a few of my designs, I chose to work with the motif of the most recognizable portion of an oil pump.

Cut up pump motifs 

One "design exercise" that I used with this motif involved cutting out three of the motifs, then cutting those up. I used a marbelized paper for this. I moved the pieces around until I had a design that I liked. Some of the pieces were simply moved apart and others moved to fill in spaces. Finally, the pieces developed into a "fish", of sorts and I felt that the design was finished. From this "fish" I made my design for the blackwork and got stitching.

What I really enjoyed in making this sample, was doing the blackwork patterns. There are such a vast array of potential patterns you can make. It was different doing this on burlap as burlap is not exactly an even weave fabric, but I was pleased with the final result.  The black really stands out on the lime green and the little bit of shading that the tulle provided added something a little different to the patterns.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Hungarian Braided Chain Stitch

I have been doing a lot of embroidery lately, and have been enjoying learning some new embroidery stitches. I am glad to share these directions for a stitch that you do not see very often:

Hungarian Braided Chain Stitch

Hungarian Braided Chain Stitch (Also known as Braided Chain Stitch) 

This stitch is worked as a reverse chain stitch. This raised stitch very good for making bold lines of stitching.  



Initially take a small stitch and make this into an isolated chain stitch, or daisy stitch. (See photos 1 and 2)



Now, Make another chain stitch, using the first stitch made, but do not pull this stitch tight. (Photos 3 & 4)


Make another chain stitch, putting the needle under the loops of the first chain stitch made. These are the inner loops. Before pulling the thread through, pull the thread fairly snug around the needle, tightening the loops of the previous chain stitch. (Photos 5 & 6)


Continue making loose chain stitches, bringing the needle through the previous chain stitch loops, and then tightening the outer loops after putting the needle under the inner loops.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

I am involved in an upcoming show with the Surface Design Association.  Here is the poster: