you can never have too many…

…bookmarks that is and in the best Blue Peter vein, here are some I made earlier this week together with a new large mug rug for my workroom. Free motion stitched on a double layer of heavy duty interfacing then coloured with water colour pencils, backed with cotton fabric, and sealed all over with diluted PVA glue.

bookmarks 2

bookmarks 1

some of this, some of that

On Tuesday I set up my machine for some thread painting with the thought of making a short video of the process because I’ve seen so many sewing demos online and thought it couldn’t be too difficult. Ha! The lighting wasn’t quite right so the stitching didn’t show up clearly on playback (although my hands didn’t look too bad) and if the camera got knocked it sounded like a volcano erupting. Finding the ideal camera position was difficult and the lack of a zoom facility didn’t help although how I might have operated that as well as moving the fabric is still a quandry. How do others do this so successfully? Perhaps there’s just a lot of deft editing or they have someone else doing the filming or they use a camera more suitable than my webcam (which is tethered to my pc with a not-as-long-as-I’d-like-it-to-be cable). Frustratingly, I couldn’t find anything online that might explain how I could do it better so it might take a lot longer to win that oscar!

This is what was stitched during the filming and it’s obvious that I had no clear stitching plan in mind before I began. I used a layer of pelmet interfacing which had been painted with poster paints and sprinkled with salt crystals before the surface dried to give that mottled effect on the right. (I’m still finding salt on the work bench several days later.) I backed the interfacing with batting and a layer of cotton but I needn’t have done as it’s easy to thread paint on a single layer of the interfacing.

fme doodles

Yesterday I did some leaf prints on a scrap of thick canvas-type fabric and on the remaining coloured interfacing (which hadn’t been layered with anything else). I’d gathered leaves weeks ago and I wish I could now remember what I rubbed on them in an attempt to preserve them because it was quite successful! I do know that I subsequently ironed two of them between sheets of kitchen paper and those were the leaves I used for the print attempts as well as a leaf shape cut from flexible fabric in my craft supplies (there, because it hadn’t lived up to its original description as being suitable to prevent rug-creep). The backs of the leaves were rubbed with the flat side of an Inktense block and then placed upside down and the image transferred to damp interfacing/fabric with a brayer.  On dry fabric/interfacing I very lightly sprayed the coloured leaves with water before transferring. I think the interfacing as a background worked best of all because it’s quite rigid. The larger leaf stood up well to use and I think I could probably take further prints before it finally disintegrates.

leaf print

playing with orts

This week has been an unsettled one as far as needle and threads have been concerned. I needed to use a magnifying glass for my tulips embroidery but because the magnifyer and my d-i-y lighting system are hung round my neck and they got in the way of each other so I gave up on the tulips.  Several daytime sessions at thread painting were unsatisfactory too and most were binned, apart from this little bowl which used up some of my growing collection of orts.

Two layers of cotton fabric were topped with a circular layer of pelmet vilene marked into twelve segments. Orts were applied to each segment with a random free-motion zig zag under a layer of heavy-duty water soluble interfacing and then an automatic machine stitch was used to stitch a swirl from the centre outwards with satin stitching around the rim. Machine stitched bar-tacks and darts provide shaping to the bowl. The ort side has a fuzzy appearance but the surface is actually fairly compact and threads can’t easily be removed due to the free-motion stitching and the fact that the water-soluble interfacing was only partially washed out.  It’s not the prettiest bowl I’ve ever made but the method is one that could be developed so I’ll hang on to it.

orts dish

orts dish2

triangular box

A triangular box this time, with leaves and berries applied because the box was so dull with nothing added. The application of the leaves taught me that with a three-sided box, it would have been easier to embellish the lid before it was constructed. Ah well. I live and learn.

triangular fabric box

tea and coffee pots

Making fabric coffee pots, tea pots, and cups and saucers from heavy duty interfacing sandwiched between various fabrics to use in a display seemed like a good idea when I first thought of it but now I’m not so sure. The tea pots are roughly 10cm high, the coffee pots 12cm. After I’d stitched them all, I stiffened a couple with PVA glue but the fabric puckered as the glue dried and spoiled them I think and one that I sprayed with starch now refuses to uncurl and appears in the photo to be mishapen (the gold one bottom right). Perhaps there are too many patterns or the patterns are too big? Should the same fabric have been used throughout? Perhaps the cups and saucers are too big relative to the size of the pots? In any case, until I finally decide what to do next with them I’ve stuck them to the wall at the work room door so that I will have no ‘out of sight, out of mind’ excuses for this project to remain unfinished. Excuse the quality of the picture – the light is very poor today.