Saturday, March 26, 2016

Almost too small again!

I thought I would try to make another small piece for the charity sale at the Fibre Arts week at Ballarat. This time I printed a photo out onto silk.

As there are two charities, one 10cm x10cm and one 15cm x 15 cm, I carefully worked out the sizes of the images in Photoshop. I even allowed an extra 2 centimetres for shrinkage.

I put the images onto one piece of silk twice as I didn't want to waste the pre-prepared silk. It works on the inkjet printer quite well - when you have enough ink. I did get one quite green print out as we only seemed to have yellow and blue. I thought I would use them anyway, just to see if I could work out a good way to stabilise the fabric, but that was when I realised the images don't translate from Photoshop to the printer all that well.

Not to be put off, I resized the images and worked out how to make them stay the right size for the printer - I can't actually remember what I did now, so will have to go through it all again next time I try this method. Maybe I used the A4 paper setting even though the silk is the US paper size. Something to think about later.
I printed the smaller one too close to the edge and the silk shredded a little when I took off the backing. 

After printing out the images, I ironed them onto adhesive interfacing. I hoped this would stop too much shrinkage and allow me to get away with not using a hoop.

It worked to some degree. One of the images was only 13cm. I have mounted it onto some matt board to make it the required 15 x 15cm.

The other was - just - the 10 x 10cm. We are not supposed to mount that one, so I hope it is sturdy enough.

The interfacing worked ok. It did wrinkle a bit but I ironed it from the back when I was finished and got out most of the wrinkles. It still needs some work but will be ok for the charity sales.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Birds on light poles

I have been reading The Others series, by Anne Bishop. An element of the story is the crows, and Crows (you have to read the books) who are always there, watching and warning.

Today I was at an intersection and saw this.

It reminded me of the books.

I also like the images because of the silhouettes and lines of the poles.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Autumn - hooray!

It's that time of year again, when the heat is much less, you can go out in the sun and the sports are changing over.

We took the dog out today and saw three school fields with various football goals: rugby, Australian Rules and soccer.

The soccer season is coming to an end.

The nets are gone, the goal posts for Aussie Rules are ready to be put in.

The posts are in at one end of the ground.

The main Australian Rules competition starts this week and rugby probably starts soon too - after all, who in Victoria cares about rugby??
The rugby posts are new to this area, I don't remember seeing them last year. 

My excuse for having this on my textile-based blog is the wonderful shadows and lines. And just my enjoyment of the changing seasons.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Making a small fabric collage.

I have been asked to do a demo of my fabric collage method for the Creative Play group that meets monthly at the Embroiderers Guild. So today I did a trial run.

I have made it quite small as I will either use it for the demo or take it with me to the Ballarat Fibre Arts forum. Even if I don't take it to the group, making it today has allowed me to record the step by step procedure so I can be organised for the day.

Participants at the Fibre Arts workshops are asked to donate a 15cm x 15cm work or, even smaller, a 10cm x 10 cm piece. The money raised is either for a student scholarship to attend the week-long workshop, or for a charity, Mind.

For the demo, which is in May, I am hoping to make another sample, using wadding instead of the interfacing, just to see if there is much difference in the outcome. It will give me the option of offering two slightly different methods that might suit the machine and hand sewers better.

This one is fairly simple and I think it will be possible to do it by hand - there will be hand embroiderers at the play group. I used the machine, heaven forbid that I do hand sewing!

I used a square of adhesive interfacing. I made it about 2cm bigger than needed, to allow for shrinkage that happens with heavy sewing.

As the piece is so small, the pieces of fabric needed to be small also. Yet another reason to never throw out anything, even the tiny offcuts.

I found some pieces of silk that I had dyed previously, using eucalyptus leaves or bark, they were the perfect colour for what I wanted and would give a slightly different texture.
I laid the pieces of fabric out on the interfacing and ironed them on. This is the only ironing the fabric gets - I like wrinkled and textured pieces.

Then I sewed over them to carry the colours across areas, meld edges and generally make it very secure.

At this stage, it looked very boring. So I took some more fabric, a very small amount, and ironed it onto some leftover Vliesofix. Then I cut the small pieces even smaller and added them to the collage - using my original photo as the cartoon.
I used this image for a small tapestry in my first year of the Studio Textiles and Design Course. 

I think I went a bit overboard (pun intended) on the masts.

After I had finished sewing, I cut it to size and put a piece of felt on the back and zigzagged around the edges.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

A different approach

Having made my crocodile partial face too small, I tried again this morning. I must have been tired.
I had enlarged the image and printed it out on silk again. But then I used Vliesofix and put it on the wrong way round - extremely annoying, except I couldn't be bothered being too annoyed.

So I then decided to take a different approach.
I have been playing around with fabric collage for several items lately, some larger and some quite small: the banner quilt and a much smaller piece for my interest group, machine embroidery, at the Victorian Embroiderers' Guild. We have been asked to use an image and interpret it, then leave another image for the next person. I thought an abstract interpretation would be good. It is only about 15cm x 10cm (that's a guess because I can't be bothered going and measuring it. Getting the message about energy levels?).
I only interpreted the rocks. 

So, for the mystery piece, I laid out some background fabric onto some wool batting (it was left over from a project from years ago and was the right size), attached it to the backing and then laid out some small bits of fabric. As it is a small piece, about 20cm x 18cm, they were quite small bits of fabric. As I have said many times, it pays to keep all the scraps.

Then I sewed them down and realised that I would only need a couple of colours for my thread.

I discovered the self-threading ability of my sewing machine. I have had if for nearly a year and haven't used it yet. This is because I had my free lesson and the person teaching me said she hated using it, so I have done my own threading ever since. But I wanted to use a thicker thread today (I had put in a slightly bigger needle) and decided that I wasn't going to be able to do it without help.

Out came the instruction book - lo and behold! it was easy.

Then I decided it needed something extra and I found some knitting wool in my stash (it serves for my tapestry weaving and my sewing, but not for knitting). I couched that down.

Remembering my last disaster, I had allowed room for it to shrink by making it a bit bigger than the finished size. Knowing that it has to fit in with many other pieces, I started to stress about how to make it the correct size. I measured the distance from the lighter patch to the edge and used that as my starting point.

I hope the distances are correct and that it will all line up in the final piece. I suspect it is a wing. Time will tell.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Try again

I finished a piece for my interest group at the Embroiderers Guild today. We are working on a mystery photo. We have small sections of the photo to work on and one day it will be revealed to us all.

I have only had this piece lying around for about a year.
It is quite dark and I have not been inspired. Part of the reason is that we are supposed to make each piece an image in itself and I have not been able to see anything in it.

Recently, I asked a nephew if he could see anything in it. He saw the partial top of a crocodile's head - amazing.
I then worked on the image in Photoshop, making it lighter and to the size I wanted.

I printed it out onto some silk that will go through the inkjet printer. I backed it with some adhesive interfacing and I sewed it.

I forgot it would shrink - or I hoped it wouldn't. But it did. So it is too small.
Start again. Soon. Not now.

I am not sure it actually looks like a crocodile's head and it is lighter than the image, so I might play around with it a bit more. Maybe the misfortune will turn out to be fortunate.
But time is running short, I set myself a deadline of taking it to the group meeting on Sunday. I'll have to work on it in the next few days and not worry too much about being perfect, as long as it is the perfect size.

For those of you who can't see - it is lying on a log, floating in water.