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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