Fabrications – Heliocentricities (part seven)

With my leaves complete, I’m ready to move on to the quilt top embellishment phase. However, I thought I should backtrack a little and share how I pieced the quilt for those of you who are new to the art of quilting.

I chose the maple leaf sun print for the center of this quilt. To set the paint as well as prepare the piece for cutting, I pressed it for several minutes on each side. I then chose a large number of fabrics that I liked for the rest of the piecing.

Heat Set Sun Print

Next, I rotary cut the edges off the maple sun print so that I had an irregularly shaped center.

First Cuts

To prepare my sewing machine for quilting, I threaded the needle and filled the bobbin with 100% cotton thread. I then attached a patchwork foot. The new patchwork feet with guides are absolutely wonderful accessories for achieving perfect 1/4″ seams.

Patchwork Feet – Bernina #57 with Guide, Bernina #37, and Baby Lock

The free form piecing of this quilt made is both enjoyable and easy. For the first round, I rotary cut strips of fabric in random shapes as I worked my way around the center piece. After sewing each strip, I pressed the seam and then cut its edges to prepare it for the next strip.

First Strip

Squaring of First Strip

I repeated this process all the way around the center sun print. If you’ve ever pieced a log cabin or pineapple quilt, this will have a familiar feel for you.

First Round Complete

I deliberately kept my first round of strips on the narrow side. For the second round, I cut my strips wider than the first but used the same process in my piecing.

I continued strip piecing the quilt top until I reached the approximate size I desired. Towards the end, I shaped my strips so that they would begin to square up the corners of the quilt top.

Piecing Complete

Once I completed all the piecing, I then did a more accurate squaring of the quilt top to prepare it for the next stage.

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Rene
Time Treasured

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Fabrications – Heliocentricities (part six)

The fourth and last leaf design in this series uses a technique that produces a luminous web-like surface. I saw a similar technique in Quilting Arts Newsletter several months ago. My method is a little different, but it works well for me.

To create the leaves, first cut some synthetic organza a little larger than the size of your leaf templates. I used an organza print.

Cut Organza

Next, cut pieces of Stitch Witchery the same size as your cut organza. Place the organza on a pressing sheet. Top the pieces with the Stitch Witchery. Cover these layers with parchment paper. With an iron set on the “silk” setting, press the pieces for about 2 seconds. Very important! Do not over press or the Stitch Witchery will melt. The goal is to have the Stitch Witchery somewhat attached to the base organza but not melted into it.

Lightly Fused Stitch Witchery

Cover your work area with plastic or glass. Gather the following supplies: a stiff bristle paintbrush, a respirator, and several colors of Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments. Pearl Ex pigments are nontoxic, but when I use powders I always use a respirator.

Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments

Dip your paintbrush into one of the powdered pigments and brush it around on the surface of the Stitch Witchery. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. Add as many colors as you like, or use a single color if you prefer.

When you’re finished, transfer the pieces to a pressing sheet, and set your iron on a cotton setting with steam activated. You are NOT going to press the pieces. Pick your iron up and hover it over the organza pieces about 1-2 inches above the ironing surface. Do not let the iron touch your work. Move slowly above the pieces, allowing the steam to adhere the fusible to the base organza and set the powdered pigments. About 5-6 seconds should do the trick. Let the surface cool before touching your pieces.

Set Pigments

Transfer the pigmented organza to a glass or heat proof flat surface. Place your leaf templates on top of the pieces. (I used template plastic, which can be melted by the heat tool, but moved quickly so that the hot tip would not damage the edges.)

Leaf Templates

With a hot heat tool (stencil cutter or wood burning tool), move quickly around the edges of your template. The organza should melt away easily. Save your scraps for a future project.

Heat Tool Finished Edges

Transparency and luminosity give each leaf a truly unique appearance. Of course, leaves aren’t the only things you can create with this technique.

Rene
Time Treasured

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Fabrications – Heliocentricities (part five)

I was asked a question about heat tools. When I’m working with organza or other synthetic sheers, I usually use a stencil cutter for cutouts or edge finishing. Some people use a wood burning tool. Both of these accomplish the same end. I recently purchased the Creative Versa-Tool by Walnut Hollow, and I must say this is one nice toy! You’ll probably be seeing it used in my blog entries soon.

Leaf one and two left me with lots of pretty little scraps that I decided to use in leaf three. I cut a circle of copper organza and placed a piece of Heat n’ Bond Lite (minus the paper backing) on top of it. I then cut the scraps into various random shapes and placed them on top of the Heat n’ Bond. I topped these layers with copper tulle and moved the group to a Teflon pressing sheet.

Scrap Sandwich

Next, I placed a piece of parchment paper on top of the layers and pressed on a wool setting for about 7-8 seconds.

I then prepared my sewing machine for free motion stitching and threaded the needle with a variegated rayon thread. The rest of leaf three was worked in the same manner as leaf two. First, I free motion stitched the surface. I then marked the outline of an oak leaf with a chalk marker and hooped the organza circle.

Hooped Organza; Chalk Outline

I stitched around the chalk outline eight times, building up thread.

Stitched Outline

Completed Stitching

Using sharp craft scissors, I carefully cut the leaf out, leaving a tiny bit of organza showing around the edges. I then used a heat tool (stencil cutter) to finish the edges.

The trapped scraps gave this leaf wonderful shading and texture. Additionally, I could make any number of these leaves, and they would all have a different appearance.

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Rene
Time Treasured

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Fabrications – Heliocentricities (part four)

The second leaf I crafted was the largest of the four. I began by cutting a circle from a very sheer print (either nylon or polyester) and placing it in my 7″ embroidery hoop. I cut a strip of variegated “Harvest” organza ribbon (1 1/2″ wide), lightly sprayed the back with 505, and positioned it on the sheer background fabric.

Hooped Sheer Fabric

I continued cutting strips of ribbon and placing them in the hoop until the center was completely covered.

Organza Ribbon Strips

Next, I set up my sewing machine for free motion work, dropping the feed dogs and attaching a closed free motion foot. For my top thread, I chose Superior Halo #369. Halo is a thick decorative thread for bobbin or serger work , but it can also be used as an upper thread if you insert a large-eyed needle such as a jeans/denim #100/16, loosen your upper tension, and sew at a slow speed.

Using a simple meandering stitch, I free motion stitched the entire ribbon area.

Superior Halo Thread

Meandering Free Motion Work

This time I transferred the leaf outline to the fabric by tracing around a template with chalk. Contact paper would have worked just as well, but sometimes I like to mix things up a little.

Chalk Outline

With the same thread and machine settings, I free motion stitched the chalk outline. I made about eight passes in order to build up the thread.

Stitched Leaf Outline

I then cut around the thread outline with my nice sharp craft scissors and finished the edges with a heat tool (see previous post).

Edges Finished with Heat Tool

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Rene
Time Treasure

Fabrications – Heliocentricities (part three)

I wanted some dimensional leaves for the surface of my nameless quilt, so I pulled out some sheer fabrics in the autumn color range. As I moved the fabrics around, a nest of threads began to build around my fingers. Most of the threads were organza and chiffon. I thought they looked interesting, so I cut the little cluster away from their sources and decided to use them in my first leaf.

For the bottom layer, I cut a circle of copper organza. I then placed a piece of Heat n’ Bond Lite in the center. Actually, it was a piece of Heat n’ Bond that had separated from its paper backing. Next came the thread nest, which was topped with a piece of copper tulle.

Organza, Thread, and Tulle Sandwich

I set the layers on a Teflon pressing sheet, placed a piece of parchment paper on top, and then ironed the sandwiched items on a wool setting for about 8 seconds.

Next, I set up my sewing machine for free motion stitching and threaded the needle with a #40 variegated rayon. To secure the layers and add a little extra decoration, I free motion stitched some wavy lines back and forth, filling the entire sandwiched area.

Free Motion Stitching

I then positioned the stitched organza in a round embroidery hoop. Back in my hand quilting days, I would sometimes use contact paper to make removable templates. I used this same technique for the maple leaf shape.

Contact Paper Template

After positioning the leaf, I stitched around the template about 8 times, allowing the thread to build up.

Leaf Outline Stitching

Thread Buildup

I then cut around the stitching and used a heat tool (stencil cutter) to finish the edges. When using a heat tool, always work in a well ventilated area. For more information on this technique, see In Bloom, Part Three.

Completed Leaf

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Rene
Time Treasured

Fabrications – Heliocentricities (part one)

Several years ago I met a woman at a guild meeting who shared my interest in fiber art. We talked for hours, well after the meeting had closed and all participants had departed. We’ve been fast friends ever since. Every time we talk, I come away recharged and anxious to begin some new project. I hope you have someone like this in your circle of friends.

All this to say, I hung up the phone last week after a long conversation with this same friend and headed for the paints. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I was itching to apply color to fabric. I chose four colors of Setacolor Transparent Paint and took them outside.

Setacolor Transparent Paints

Next, I gathered the usual painting supplies and set up an area to paint on our picnic table. I then walked around the yard and gathered some maple, poplar, oak, fern, and boxwood leaves.

Collection of Leaves

I took my little nature collection inside and pressed the assorted greenery between two paper towels, adding the weight of a quilting ruler on top. Flat items work best with sun painting.

“Leaf Press”

When I returned to the picnic table, I noticed a few clouds in the sky but kept working. First, I placed my PFD Kona cotton fabric square in a stainless steel pan and sprayed it with a little water.

Dampened Fabric

I then painted the first piece of fabric, making sure the entire piece was covered. White areas do not work when transferring designs.

Painted Fabric

I placed the wet piece on a prepared foam board covered with a white trash bag. Next, I placed fern leaves on the surface, pressing them down with my fingers. Items usually stick to the paint, which helps to keep them flat.

Fern Pattern

As I prepared to paint the second piece, I felt a few sprinkles. My beautiful sunny day quickly changed into a stormy, windy, downpour of a day. So I grabbed my painting supplies and headed for the patio. Since the air had become so damp, I knew my piece wouldn’t dry very quickly.

After a short time, the sun returned and I went back to work. I painted three more pieces of fabric and placed the leaves I had collected on the surfaces. I then set them all in the sun. Since there was a lingering breeze, I placed a few pebbles on top of the leaves to hold them in place.

Maple Leaf Patterns

About 20 minutes later, my four fabric squares were dry. My husband had just returned from the golf course, saw my leaf-covered fabrics, and told me to wait for him before I removed the all the toppings. There’s always the “Ahhhh” effect when you first see the transferred patterns on the fabric and he didn’t want to miss it.

So off came the leaves and there we stood gazing at our little gifts from the sun. It’s never loses its thrill.

Sun Painted Ferns

In recounting my day of sun painting, I mentioned most of the information you need to do this yourself. Here it is in review.

1.  Use Setacolor Transparent paints. You can mix them or apply as many colors as you like to your fabric. Cover all white areas.
2.  Prepare your cotton fabric by prewashing to remove any sizing or use PFD fabric. Iron it to remove wrinkles.
3.  Have all your supplies close at hand (brushes, paper towels, water, spray bottle, paints)
4.  Flatten the items you wish to use as patterns.
5.  Protect the painting surface.
6.  Work quickly.
7.  Keep fabric flat.
8.  Spray fabric with water before painting.
9.  Remember, painted fabric always looks darker when wet.
10. Secure your patterns if it’s a windy day.
11. Peak under one of your patterns when the fabric appears to be dry to see whether you have achieved the desired effect.
12. When fabric is thoroughly dry, press for 2-3 minutes at a cotton setting to set the paint.

So what kinds of things can you use as patterns when sun painting? We’ll explore the possibilities in part two.

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Rene
Time Treasured

Fabrications – Heliocentricities (Coming Soon)

Nameless at the moment

I apologize to those of you who visited the blog Saturday and found most of the pictures missing. Our website was down for awhile, and we store most of the Fembellish graphics on that server.

I think this is the longest I’ve ever gone between posts. I’m afraid work before pleasure has ruled this week, but I have been stealing a few hours here and there to do some fabric painting, heliographic fabric painting to be more exact.

The pieced quilt above frames a sun painting of some maple leaves from my yard. I finished the piecing early this morning and hope to start on some embellishments next week. This is a work in progress, but I’ll share the process from start to finish as time permits. If I haven’t said it before, I LOVE painting fabric, and of all the fabric painting methods out there, I think I love sun painting the best.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and while I’m at it, let me thank you again for your kind, encouraging comments via the blog and email. I appreciate every one of them (and all of you).

Note: I’ve uploaded another colorform shape file (fjrectangel.dst) for those of you with embroidery machines.

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Rene
Time Treasure

Fabrications – All in a Row (part two)

For the flower centers, I used a similar Stitch Witchery technique. First, I cut a small square of fabric and Stitch Witchery. I then backed the fabric square with a fusible interfacing.

Stitch Witchery

Second, I painted the Stitch Witchery square with Lumiere Pearl Magenta.

Painted Stitch Witchery

Third, I dropped some metallic threads on top of the fabric square. I then topped it with the painted Stitch Witchery and covered the layers with parchment paper. I pressed them on a wool setting for about 10 seconds.

Metallic Threads

Fused Threads

Using a small circle template, I penciled cutting outlines on the back of the fabric and then cut out the circles.

Marked interfacing

Next, I placed the circles on the background fabric in a somewhat random fashion. The only important thing here was to leave enough room between them for the petals. When I was happy with their positions, I tacked them down with a tiny dab of fabric glue so that they would stay in place as I continued working.

Placement of Center Flowers

The next step was the flower stems. I decided to use green quarter-inch organza ribbon. To get a nice rounded shape, I twisted the ribbon as I couched it down using the Bernina free motion couching foot. (This could be done just as easily with a cording or braiding foot or an open toe foot.)

Couched Organza Ribbon

The flower petals were created with Moda Dea Jai Alai (Bloom) eyelash yarn. I couched the yarn around the center, first working in a loopy motion to form the petals and then taking a final round at the outer edge of the center.

Free Motion Couched Yarn Petals

A free motion couching foot would be necessary to apply the yarn exactly as I did. However, you could achieve very nice petals through bobbin work with perle cotton or another heavy thread or fiber of your choice. To do this, sew a straight stitch around each circle. Wind your bobbin by hand and then prepare your machine for free motion work. Turn your fabric to the wrong side and stitch the petals around the previous sewing lines. (It’s always a good idea to work on a test piece first to make sure your tensions are correct.)

When my flowers were complete, I chose a leaf stitch on my sewing machine and added leaves to the stems. I could have thread painted the leaves, but sometimes I like to use the built-in stitches on my sewing machine simply because they so often go unused!

Machine Stitched Leaves

To complete the piece, I added a yellow glass bead to each flower. Instead of sewing the beads on with the hole to the side, I stitched them with the hole facing up and used a lighter yellow thread. The stitches formed a small “Y” design on the surface of each bead.

Bead Work

I really liked the role that Stitch Witchery played in this project. It performed well both as a fusible and as a paint transfer medium without leaving its own footprint.

Note: I’ve added another colorform file (fjsquare.dst) to the Fem-Gratis box in the sidebar. Enjoy!

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Rene
Time Treasured

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Fabrications – All in a Row (part one)

Sometimes I order fabric online. Occasionally, it’s not what I had hoped for so it becomes a makeover candidate. This floral print came with a grainy looking surface that I disliked.

I thought it might be nice to trap some snippets on the surface. When considering what kind of fusible to use to accomplish this, I decided to experiment with Stitch Witchery. First, I cut a piece the same size as the floral background fabric. I then painted it with Liquitex Medium Viscosity paint, mixing burnt sienna and green for the dark green area. I used magenta for the corner.

Painted Stitch Witchery

While the paint was drying, I placed painted (Lumiere Pearl Magenta) Cariff .50 stabilizer snippets on the surface, creating a heavier concentration in one corner.

Painted Cariff Snippets

I then placed the painted Stitch Witchy square over the fabric and snippets, covered it with parchment paper, and pressed the layers for about 10 seconds on a wool setting.

Altered Surface

Owing to the web-like quality of the Stitch Witchery, the resulting surface retained some of the background while allowing the snippets to shine through without being totally subdued. However, the original floral was now completely transformed.

Next, I set up my sewing machine for free motion quilting and threaded the needle with Valdani 35 wt. Green Grass cotton thread. After stabilizing the fabric with thin cotton batting and backing, I stitched the green surface with a free form leaf design.

Free Motion Leaf Design

For the magenta area, I used Valdani 35 wt. Hawaiian Orchid cotton thread and stitched a meandering design.

Meandering Quilting

In part two, I’ll share how I created the flowers.

For those of you experimenting with the colorform shapes, I’ve uploaded another file (fjpaisley.dst) to the Fem-Gratis box for you to download.

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Rene
Time Treasured

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Fiber Folio – Colorforms Nouveau (part three)

The collection grows. I keep thinking of more shapes that I would like to use in future projects and adding them to my little box.

Angelina Colorform Collection

As I looked at the orange triangles, I thought about what cute fish they would make, so fish they became! Angelina really lends itself to ocean scenes owing to its luminosity. This project takes on a different look from every angle as the various fibers catch the light.

You will find the digitized triangle file in the Fem-Gratis box on the left sidebar. Of course, you can make the shapes without the aide of an embroidery machine.

First, I chose three water fabrics and cut them with wavy edges. I then arranged the Angelina scraps to see how I liked the basic composition.

Water Fabrics and Angelina Scraps

Next, I cut a piece of chiffon on the bias and layered it in the center. I then placed some dark green and light blue tulle (cut with wavy edges) over the entire piece. If you look closely at the introductory picture above, you can see the various shading effects that this produced.

Chiffon, Angelina, and Tulle Layers

When I was happy with the placements, I used a little temporary spray adhesive (505) on the backs of the different pieces and repositioned them.Using 35 weight cotton thread (Valdani Mediterrana), I free motion quilted the water areas.

Free Motion Water Quilting

I then switched to Valdani Midnight Sea and stitched small round loops on the ocean bottom, creating the look of seaweed.

Free Motion Stitched Seaweed

With the same color, I thread painted a few sea plants.

Thread Painted Sea Plants

I tacked the orange triangles down with a dab of fabric glue to keep them in place as I worked.

Tacked Down “Fish” Triangles

The edges were worked with a free motion zig zag stitch using Sulky Holoshimmer thread. When the edges were complete, I worked the fish tails and then the stripes on the bodies. That completed the machine work.

Fish Detail

I chose some metallic colored beads for the eyes and for some of the bead work on the lower reef.

Fish Bead Work

I also used bugle beads on the reef along with a copper star for a star fish.

Reef Bead Work

For bubbles, I applied clear glass beads. And with that, the project was complete.

Glass Bead Bubbles

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Rene
Time Treasured

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Fiber Folio – Colorforms Nouveau (part two)

After cutting out some newly digitized shapes this afternoon, I noticed that the Angelina scraps looked so pretty together. So I arranged them as a background for a colorform flower.

Angelina Scrap Arrangement

Next, I covered the Angelina arrangement with a piece of parchment paper and pressed it for about three seconds (on silk setting). Angelina scraps can always be refused to each other. To attach the arrangement to the backing fabric, I sprayed the Angelina with 606 spray on fusible web (on the back). After is dried, I positioned it on the backing fabric, covered it with parchment paper, and pressed it.

Using white rayon thread, I added some decorative stitches to various areas around the center.

Decorative Stitches

I then prepared my sewing machine for free motion stitching and threaded the needle with green Sulky Holoshimmer thread. I used a viney leaf motif to quilt the area covered with lime green Angelina.

Free Motion Stitching with Holoshimmer

For the remaining areas, I used Sulky Sliver Metallic thread (wonderful stuff!!).

Sulky Sliver

The center motif was created with 5 fan shapes and one small circle, which were attached with fabric glue. I further embellished the flower motif with beads.

To complete the design, I free motion stitched the outer edges with Sulky Sliver.

You will find another colorform stitch file (fjleaves.dst) to download for your personal use in the Fem-Gratis sidebar box.

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Rene
Time Treasured

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Fiber Folio – Colorforms Nouveau (part one)

While working on a project the other day, I was thinking about Angelina and how I might integrate it into a decorative trim that I could use on various accessories. My first thought went to small circles that I could attach to ribbon with beads.One thing led to another, and soon I was cutting out various shapes and playing around with ways I could mix them up to create new designs. The whole thing had a very familiar feel to it, and then it suddenly hit me. I’ve done this before!

Back in 1951, a couple of art students were doing the very same thing I had just been doing, only they were using vinyl. They noticed that the pieces stuck to glossy surfaces and began experimenting (playing) with the shapes. What has been described as the “ultimate creativity toy” was born and given the name “Colorforms.” The original Colorforms, consisting of basic shapes, were selected for the Toy Hall of Fame.

So, here I was playing with Colorforms again, only this time the fiber art version. I must admit that it has been a huge distraction every since.

To create the shapes, I digitized circles, triangles, etc., and stitched them out on an embroidery machine. I have uploaded the circle file for your personal use and placed it in the “Fem-Gratis” sidebar box for you to download. It is labeled “fjcircles.dst” and fits the 100mm (4″x4″) hoop. I will upload more shape files with future blog posts. (You will need to convert the dst format to one that works with your particular machine.)

An embroidery machine isn’t absolutely necessary, but it does facilitate the project. Alternately, you could simply draw the shapes on the backing stabilizer and cut them out if you don’t have an embroidery machine.

First, create a piece of Angelina fabric that measures approximately 4″ x 4″. If you are new to Angelina, you can find my previous instructions for working with this fiber here and here.

Angelina “Hot Fix” Fiber – Ultraviolet

Next, cut a piece of acrylic felt (the same color as your Angelina fabric) to fit your 4′ x 4″ hoop. Saturate it with spray starch and iron. I use a 50-50 mix of starch and water. By starching the felt, you end up with a nice flat piece of colorful stabilizer. I chose felt as the stabilizer because it comes in so many colors and is readily available. However, you could also use any cutaway stabilizer and simply paint it with fabric paint before stitching the shapes. The felt adds a little more dimension, but any backing you like will do the job.

Starched Acrylic Felt

Hoop the felt and give it a light spray of 505. You will notice that my hoop has shelf liner attached to the sides. The shelf liner is a great embroidery aide, gripping whatever fabric you hoop. (If you would like to add this to your hoops, purchase the thin, inexpensive variety of mesh shelf liner found in dollar stores.) I also use a topless, bottomless, “box” made out of template plastic shaped to fit my various hoop sizes for spraying. The box protects the hoop itself from sticky residue.

Hoop Protector – 505 Spray

Position your Angelina fabric over the sprayed felt and attach the hoop to your embroidery machine.

Angelina Fabric Positioned in Hoop

Embroider the shapes, cut the jump threads, and then remove the fabric from the hoop.

Paisley Shapes Being Embroidered

Using a sharp pair of craft scissors, cut out the shapes about 1/16″ – 1/8″ beyond the stitching line.

Cut Shapes

I think you’ll find many creative uses for these little shapes in your projects.

Multiple Colored Shapes

They can be mixed and matched indefintely, giving you countless design opportunities.

Circle, Paisley, and Leaf Shapes

They would be great embellishments on ATCs (artist trading cards), trims, accessories, etc. Additionally, if you have daughters or granddaughters, this is a great way to introduce them to the world of fiber art (and an enjoyable summertime activity).

Watch for more shape files this week and see the design possibilities grow. Have fun!

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Rene
Time Treasured

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