Saturday, 30 November 2013

Something for myself

Having spent the last 4 weeks furiously finishing pieces for the Christmas fair last Thursday I thought I would take a weekend off from felting but have failed miserably, I didn't even manage to get out of bed this morning before I was buzzing with ideas for a handbag. I could do with a new bag, so this one will be just for me.

I made an evening purse for the craft table, which to be honest is my favourite out of the bags I had for sale, but it doesn't contain enough pockets for my day-to-day use so I wanted to create something a little less glitzy, a little more boxy (so it can hold more of my "essential" junk) and have some pockets for phone and pens (I can never seem to find pens when I want them despite there always being at least 3 milling about in the depths of my handbag).

This is the evening bag I made a few weeks ago:

I have used purples and pinks for this bag with some rainbow dyed silk hankies for sheen and colour variation on what will be the front flap (bottom of the picture).

This is the same piece after felting. The wider section will form the sides of the bag to give it a box shape once it is stitched together. The lower part of the picture will form the flap, it is not very clear from the picture but the silk hankies have a lovely sheen to them.

And the internal sections with the pen and phone pockets, these pieces will be stitched into the "box" to create 3 separate compartments inside the bag.

I hope to get this sewn up tomorrow, pardon the pun ;o), so expect to share the finished bag with you tomorrow evening.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

First Craft Fair

I attended my first craft fair as a seller today. It was the annual Christmas Fayre where I do my day job. I approached it as a marketing opportunity so was pleasantly surprised by how much of my work sold (about 10% of the stock I took with me).

It was lovely to chat to the people I normally work with about crafting and had one person sign up to join our arts and crafts group which was a bonus :o)

I'm afraid the pictures I took are a bit rubbish but hopefully this will give you a flavour:

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Experiments in fabric lamination - take 2

Feeling a bit disappointed with the results from various metallic and hollographic papers I thought I would give fusible film a try. This will require a slightly different approach, the shapes will need to be cut out of the film before applying to the organza. I had expected to be able to fuse the film directly to the organza without the need for acrylic medium but that did not work. The film only limply attached to the organza, peeling away as soon as the organza was moved.

Acrylic medium to the rescue! Painting a thin layer of medium onto the fusible film and the pressing to the organza was successful. The fusible film was firmly attached, I gave it a quick iron before felting (literally less than 10 seconds on a medium heat).

As this had worked so well I thought I would give the aluminium foil another try, cutting out shapes, painting on the medium and pressing the shapes onto the organza. So far so good.... I'm afraid I did not think to take any pictures at this stage - sorry, but here are some after felting each piece.

This is fusible film, I laid out 2 colours, green and purple in a grid, some folds have appeared in the film where the wool has shrunk dragging the organza and film with it. As you would probably expect the felt has not attached where the film lies between the wool and the organza.

I love the metallic, multicoloured effect of the film. It is almost holographic in the way it changes colour as the direction of light changes.

I also had a play with aluminium foil.

The foil has rippled where the wool shrank. Laying the laminate with foil beneath the organza means the foil takes on the hue of the organza, in this case a pale blue.

I also experimented with using my die-cutter to produce more elaborate shapes, this sort of worked but the shapes are a little distorted from felting.

In this picture you can see how the foil prevents the felt from attaching to the organza where the foil has lifted in the lower right corner.

Finally, I tried one piece with the foil uppermost. This worked surprisingly well but I don't expect it will be as durable, although the foil feels well attached now I can easily see it being torn in the bottom of a handbag if I made this felt into a gadget case.

I plan to follow Ruth Lane's lead and embroider some of these pieces. Her machine embroidery of the laminated fossil shells really lifted the shapes and made them very special.

Further experiments in fabric lamination

I have been playing with some different materials for laminating with including aluminium foil, metallic and hollographic papers to see if they will laminate and what the effects will be once they are nuno felted. These images on the left were taken after applying the medium through some Christmassy stencils. The images on the right after soaking in warm water overnight and attempting to remove what had not been glued to the organza.

Aluminium foil
All the foil detached from the medium leaving just the medium attached to the organza.

Holographic paper
Again, the holographic foil preferred to detach from the organza than from it's card backing
Foiled wrapping paper
This one worked reasonably well although the medium is a little thick in places leading to white lines.

Mirrored card
The red plastic film on top of the "mirror" partially adhered but obviously was not longer reflective.

Metallic card
This sort of worked, at least it detached easily from the paper but the result is not very metallic.

Textured metallic card
This did not work at all, it behaved a lot like aluminium foil in that the non-glued areas refused to detach.

The only one that really worked out of this batch was the metallic red wrapping paper. A bit disappointing really. :o(

I still attempted to felt a few of them, the medium on its own is quite effective.

Foil wrapping paper

The medium on its own 

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Fabric paper lamination

Last week Ruth Lane blogged about her experiences of experimenting with paper lamination, it was so inspirational I immediately bought a tub of gel medium, I couldn't wait to try it!

The medium arrived yesterday, so I have been busily following Ruth's instructions, this is how I got on...
I experimented with 4 different papers and using some stencils I had to hand, painting the medium on with a stiff paint brush.

Glitter paper:

Metallic green paper:

Red card:

Handmade paper with tea leaves (this is after soaking as you could not see the stencilling in the photo taken before):

These are the results after soaking and removing the excess paper...
The glitter paper

 The metallic paper, this stencil kept moving so it is not very well defined and looks rather scruffy:

I think the ladybugs on the red card have worked the best of all the stencils, perhaps the others are bit too detailed and the detail was lost (mostly due to my ineptitude with using stencils).

I also had a go at nuno felting a couple of them, I love how the glitter paper has turned out, the organza has ruffled beautifully and both the organza and the glitter catch the light in different ways, I'm afraid my photos don't do the glitter paper justice, but it really is very shimmery. I will definitely do this again.

The nuno felted lady bugs are pretty cool too and offered some additional learnings:

  • I half expected this to happen, but where there are large areas of the gel medium (the heads) the felt has not attached so well.
  • I'm not sure why but the paper has almost completely rubbed off the one on the right, leaving just the gel medium (which also looks nice) the other 2 are fine. I expect this may be avoided by felting with the organza side facing away from the felt so the paper remains protected. 

 Have you tried this technique? How did you get on?

shibori dyeing adventures on felt

Having used shibori to dye cotton for felting the next obvious step for me is to try shibori on a sheet of prefelt. This time I thought I would try using elastic bands to create roughly circular resists.

This is what it looked like all tied up, I think it looks like a field full of snowmen, Mr TB countered that saying it looks like haemorrhoids :o)

Pickle inspecting my haemorrhoids ;o)

I love the pleating pattern on the reverse side - will have to remember this when I next want to add some patterned texture to a piece. 

Luckily I had the foresight to check if the bound felt would fit in my steamer - It didn't! So one of the arms was cut off leaving me with a roughly square piece and an oblong piece.

I was striving to have the circles above the bands one colour and the base felt another colour. To do this I used my favourite rainbow dyeing technique that involves putting the felt in a zip-lock bag, squirting dye where I want it and massaging the felt to make the dye spread. This gives areas of different colour intensities and if more than one colour is used, colour blending.

Here is the dye added to the bulges above the rubber bands, you can see where I have started to massage the bulges in the lower left to disperse the dye:

On the reverse side I used red dye and massaged again to distribute the dye.

I used green and blue for the other piece, here is the green all massaged through before I added blue to the base.

After fixing in the steamer and rinsing:

I should probably confess... the lovely change in colour intensity in the red/yellow piece is due to a mistake. I forgot to add acid to the soaking water but did not realise until I was rinsing the piece and watching all the lovely colours disappear down the drain. I quickly soaked the piece in a sink full of water with half a cup of vinegar and it appears to have save the band in the middle.

 These are the pieces, front and back after the bands were removed. I find it surprising just how different the 2 sides are, especially on the green/blue piece

I also did a bit of rainbow dyeing on prefelt today, these are the results, I still haven't decided how I will use them though: