Monday, May 21, 2012

double swap

I've been swapping again on the Cloth Paper Studio, Yahoo Group (CPS).  A creative, sharing group with interesting swaps and just the right amount of chatter.  The focus is mixed media and they offer a varied range of interests (fabric, paper, beading, dollmaking, stamping, etc).  It suits my off-beat, eclectic nature, but don't let that stop you from joining.  There's something for everyone!

Four Fabric Flowers Swap - Original fantasy flower background, cotton batik, free motion quilted, heat distressed  organza (using a candle flame and not a heat gun). The flower centre is machine wrapped braid, coiled and then stitched by hand).  More details to follow:

Flower # 1 - this one is very calm and appealing!

Machine wrapped braid ------------tear three strips of narrow fabric (a little less than 1/2 inch). Tie them at the top and drop the feed dogs on your sewing machine. Twist the strips and place under the presser foot. Take a stitch and draw up the bottom thread. Set your machine to zigzag and then just stitch!!! I use one colour of rayon thread in the bottom and another colour on the top. Stitch backwards and forwards to get good thread coverage. When you get to the end, zigzag in place to finish the end. Without cutting the thread, zigzag backwards again until you return to the top and bump up against the knot. Zigzag in place again, then switch to straight stitch and take a few more stitches. Cut thread! I use a machine braiding foot for more control, but you can use any free motion embroidery or quilting foot. I haven't tried to do this with a darning foot, but have found that it works quite well with my large quilting foot. You'll need to experiment with the accessories that come with your machine. If you like the technique, then I suggest that you invest in a braiding foot. It's worth it!!
I started with the braid spiral, but thought that the flower was too plain, so I added a couple of layers of organza and then heat distressed. (Note: the melted organza is toxic, so protect your lungs by ONLY doing this in a well ventilated area with the proper ventilation mask (not a dust mask). Check out your local safety store and ask their advice!  I am not responsible for your lungs, you are!!!). I was a little happier, but thought that it still needed something, so I decided to add a quilted flower. The design was drawn on the dull side of freezer paper (FP), cut out and then ironed to the quilt sandwich (cotton batting sandwiched between two layers of cotton batik). I free motion (FM) stitched (dropped feed dogs) just outside the edges of the FP and then removed the paper. I then FM stitched the quilt design, cut just outside the stitched edge and assembled the flower with a tiny tacking stitch.

Flower #2 - this one is actually a yummy pink and orange, but you really don't see much of the pink in this photograph.

Flower # 3 - I originally thought the blue organza was too dark, but it grew on me! 

Flower # 4 - my sunny flower! 

The whole gang!  No particular flower in mind when I designed these, but for some reason they remind me of water lillies.  Am I crazy?

Lessons learned! 

  • Check your stash before going to the fabric store.
  • Don't buy the expensive organza in the drapery section.  It doesn't melt properly! Good for drapery sheers, but bad for mad fibre artists!
  • Test before you stitch!
BTW, you need synthetic organza, not silk!  The flowers are approximately 4" wide.


Playing By The Numbers Swap - torn masking tape background, acrylic paint, text on computer paper (torn,  FM stitched on watersoluble and then dissolved), collaged text, hand carved stamp, Stazon ink, straight stitching. 

The textured background was made by tearing small pieces of masking tape and attaching it to cardstock.  Painted with acrylic, left to dry and then rubbed with Stazon ink.  If I use this techniqe again, I'd probably use distress inks instead of the Stazon for a more muted effect.

Torn paper sandwiched between two layers of H20 Gone, watersoluble stabilizer.  FM stitched  and then dissolved in water.  Warning!  Not all printer inks are the same, some will wash away (dye based) but this technique works great with Epson DuraBrite pigment inks. I don't know about toner copies. 

The background for the stamp is just text, collaged onto cardstock and then painted with a watered down layer of gold acrylic.  The stamp was designed and then carved out of a dollar store eraser (the design needs to be transferred backwards) with Speedball Carving tools and stamped with Stazon ink.  The last time I carved a stamp was in high school!!!  Back then we used potatos and real lino flooring tiles.  From what I remember, the eraser was easier to carve, but the lino held the lines better.  The potato was just plain weird!! I think my stamping technique needs work!  The stamp kept slipping on the acrylic.  I should have attached it to some type of handle or block.

I was going for a graphic, grafitti or comic book type of look......did it work?

I decided to carry on the theme for the back.  I cut a styrofoam meat tray into ATC size (2 1/2" X 3 1/2"), used a pen and carved 7's backwards all around the edge.  I stamped with distress ink!  It's not a polished look, but interesting!  I will be doing more of this in the future.

Lessons learned:

  • my stash items need to be better organized.  Where is that nice, thick block of carving material I purchased several years ago?
  • practice makes perfect
  • Stazon ink smells nice
  • small stamps need a firm background to stabilize them
  • acrylic paint is a slippery stamping surface
  • a larger surface is better for fledgling carvers (the eraser was too small)
  • I want to do more of this, but next time with the proper carving material and a combination of the Speedball tools and an Exacto knife,

I really enjoyed these swaps!  I hope that you did as well


kaiteM said...

Beauty and whimsy - the flowers do look like waterlilies you're right, and i love the way the colours work. And the 7s are such fun, i enlarged them and you have taken the 7 theme right down to the stitched background, very whimsical.

Beth said...

Love the flowers.... they would make really fun pins.... Hummm if I had the time I might actually play with making one... but alas... time is much too short!!!

Anne Marie - Toronto said...

Kaite & Beth, thanks!

Kaite, both were fun to make! I never thought of the ATC's as whimsical though, so I'll need to contemplate that a little. Is is the comic book feel?

Beth, just save the post until you get a chance to make the flowers. It would be a fun thing for your stitching friends to make after they're finished with the postcards. At 4", these ones are actually a little large for a pin (at least for me), but smaller ones would look good. Too bad about the time thing. You know that I feel your pain!

Judy Ferguson said...

I have done many of these same techniques on various projects. It is pretty amazing how there are so many variations to explore. You went to a lot of work posting all these. Thanks for all the instructions.

Els said...

Wow Anne Marie, these flowers are gorgeous !
(my favourite is the orange one ;-) !)

LissC said...

LOVe these flowers! Especially the pink and orange one!

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Lucky indeed are the recipients of those flowers! I like the 7's too, but the flowers win my heart.

Anne Marie - Toronto said...

Judy, Els, LissC and MA, thanks!

I love the flowers too and haven't even made one for myself yet. The "7" were interesting to do as well.

Aakash Gupta said...

Warm Greetings!

Today, I visit your website and after reading your blog i realize that it is very informative. I'm highly impressed to see the comprehensive resources being offered by your site.

Thanks and Regards

Braiding Machine