March 20, 2011

Nuno Felting

Nuno felted silk scarf
I've done felting for years - starting with wet felted pictures, hats and slippers. I've done knitted items that are then wet felted by throwing them in the washer with towels or jeans. I've done lots of needlefelted pictures and sculpting. But I've never done nuno felting.

Nuno felting utilizes a sheer type of fabric with wool. It's wet felted very gently and with cooler temp soapy water so that the wool fibers will slowly get worked into the fabric. Once the wool has migrated into the material, then the soapy water temp should be hotter and you can roll and agitate the material more.

'Shingle' the wool onto the sheer material

The first thing I tried was a silk organza scarf and varieties of wools in coordinating colors. I put the painting blue tape on the table first so I'd know the original outline of the scarf. This is only important if you are going to be laying out wool for both sides of the scarf. I put down plastic, then bubble wrap, then a mesh curtain material, and laid out the wool, and then the scarf and then more wool fiber on top. All this was encased in polyester sheer curtain material, wet with cool/warm soapy water. Roll up in bubblewrap and gently roll - like 100 times, turning the roll. Unroll and roll up again from the other end of the scarf and gently roll another 100 times. Unroll and roll tighter and rolling tougher. Check to see if the wool is migrating through the material. Squeeze out excess water and do it all again with hot soapy water. Then I started squeezing and rinsing at the sink with changing water temps, and even throwing the scarf into the sink. (I found some great tutorials on YouTube.)

Finished silk scarf

After making the scarf, I did some practice pieces using cotton gauze material and black merino wool. The wool does shrink, pulling in the material some, and I wanted to test the amounts of wool, so did a variety of designs. I might make a blouse with these test pieces.

Nuno felting on cotton gauze material with merino wool
I want to practice this technique more.

March 17, 2011

"Tapestry" Knit Shawl - Finally Done!

"Tapestry" knit shawl
I started knitting this shawl over 1 1/2 years ago from a kit I bought from KnitPicks. The circular needle was 60" long. I've blocked it and it measures 22 x 65 inches. Now for a backing material - going to get a light brown cashmere type wool. It has to be backed because of all the knotted yarn. I call it "tapestry" because I left strands of wool hanging, to be knit when coming to that place in the following rows. As in tapestry weaving, you have to twist the two yarns at each color change to prevent holes or slits. This is the hardest thing I've ever knit, and it was easiest to leave it sit by the couch we sit on as we watch movies. I finished about 2 rows per movie! So I figure the piece averages about 72 movies!!! Though I didn't totally knit it while watching movies - I like to take bigger projects as we travel. I'll knit while listening to audio books too ...

St Patrick Quilt

I almost forgot ... it's St Patrick's Day! I made a quilted piece years ago for adorning the dining table at this time. I had some gals over for a tea lunch and felting last Saturday and pulled out this quilt for the table and it's been out since.

When I was looking for patterns, all clover leaf patterns were with four leaves. Since Patrick used a three-leaf clover to talk about the Trinitarian God, I wanted three leaves as well, so had to create my own quilt pattern.

Watercolor Craft

The MOPS craft yesterday was watercolor painting on note-cards. I'm a MOPS Mentor Mom (Mothers Of Preschoolers), now into my 11th year, and watercolor painting for the craft was a 1st. It really was fun, and walking around, everyone's was uniquely wonderful! A guest artist came well prepared for working with a large group. Here's two favorites that I did -

March 10, 2011

Machine Thread Painted Landscape

with a flash
I'm finding I love sewing machine "painting"! And too, doing it on soluble fabric. I did this landscape picture as my final project for my color-design class.

Painted Lady butterfly machine stitched on soluble fabric
Over a month ago I did the butterflies. I placed the soluble fabric on butterfly pictures in a book and traced them, trying to circle most of the larger color changing areas. I traced several and then put in an embroidery hoop - without this it would totally draw in, as you're stitching so heavily. Since the butterflies (and too, the separate flowers in the picture) were to be free-form as a lace, I used colored sewing machine thread in the bobbin. When I'm mass stitching a piece and the back won't be showing, I use a very thin thread, like a #50-60, in the bobbin - and it's kinda white, actually more clear.

When stitching on soluble fabric, the main need is to have a base of crossing threads to support the shape when no fabric is there. Most of the time I'll leave the same bobbin color and just keep changing the top thread color. As long as there's the base threads, you can have gaps in your stitching. When done, simply run water over the project to dissolve the stabilizer. If you want to do more handstitching and/or add beads, it's easiest to do it while still on the soluble fabric. Usually, I pin the structure first onto a styrofoam backing and then run the water over it to dissolve the stabilizer. Then let it dry. Depending on how much you rinse it, the stabilizer leaves a stiffening residue, if you so desire - which I did for this piece.

I did an acrylic paint wash on the coarse-weave fabric. First I'd ironed on a circle of freezer paper as a paint resist for the sun. When done and dried I found I preferred the back of the material - a bit more vague. There is a thin batting behind the piece. Originally I did the trees before adding the batting, then stitched a bit more over them in the final stitching with the batting, as well as some sky stitching.

background flowers free-form machine stitched over print on lutrador
The front detailed flower panel was done separately. Rather than an image transfer like I usually do, I printed on lutrador - a new to the craft world material, like a spun, not woven, interfacing. I printed a flower picture from my computer of an area of my yard. I then ironed the printed lutrador with wonder-under to a piece of the same background material. Being smaller, it's easier to maneuver for free-form stitching. And too, I don't have to worry about how much the heavy stitching is going to draw in. Actually, with the weight of the lutrador and wonder-under it hardly drew in, and was nice to work with, without having to be in an embroidery hoop. Here's where I didn't worry about the bobbin color, just leaving the thin thread. Of course, as you can see, the top thread was changed a lot. I just keep shifting from place to place, flower to flower, and eventually cut the stretched across threads. I love variegated threads! Once done, this piece was stitched onto the backing. I free-form stitched the edging so it wasn't just a straight-stitched seam - how non-nature that would have been!

without a flash
Monte's going to make an earthy wood frame for this. And we're pondering a unique matting - if we want one. I want to do a small version of this with one butterfly for Monte's mother. She's intrigued, and descriptions over the phone, including photos, don't do it justice. Art definitely need be met in person!
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